Micro Motion expertise leads industry transformation

Jan. 27, 2022

While digital technologies have helped to transform the physical design of Coriolis meters over the years, Emerson engineers were also amongst the earliest to embrace the potential of onboard intelligence to deliver higher instrument performance as well as extract meaningful information about the meter itself—and the process that it served.

Today we’d call it Industry 4.0 or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), but as early as the year 2000, Emerson was shipping Coriolis meters with MVD (for multi-variable digital) technology that featured high-speed digital signal processing, faster response times and dramatically reduced signal noise. Further, the meters were already in line with the latest NAMUR Open Architecture visions of today, supplying both an analog measurement output for control purposes as well as a parallel Modbus communication path for all that non-control data.

“We’ve long focused on the diagnostic capabilities of our meters—delivering information, not just data, about our meters as well as insights into the process,” says Tonya Wyatt, senior global product manager, Coriolis electronics, Emerson “It’s important that we accurately measure mass flow, but our meters can also help diagnose cavitation, vaporization and other process issues."

In 2005, MVD technology and other advanced transmitter features were repackaged for flexibility and convenience in the 2700, an integral-mount flow and density transmitter that offered a variety of I/O options.

Utmost confidence

Another focus area that has remained consistent over the years is using that secondary data to ensure “utmost confidence in your measurement,” Wyatt adds. Despite the well-established reliability of Coriolis meters, they were often painted with the same “guilty until proven innocent” brush often used to first blame the instrument—and not a process problem—for any unusual readings.

“It’s one thing to have a device tell you that there’s a flow of 60 gallons a minute,” Wyatt explains. “But if you don’t know if the instrument is correct, if you don’t know it’s having issues, if you don’t understand the health of it, then you can’t have complete confidence in that measurement.”

To address this situation in the context of Coriolis meters, Smart Meter Verification debuted in 2010, allowing end users to remotely initiate a diagnostic routine to verify that a Coriolis meter’s unique vibration signature had remained unchanged. Since there are no intrusions or moving parts to deal with in a Coriolis meter application, successful Smart Meter Verification carries with it an extremely high assurance that the meter continues to operate as it did when installed or last calibrated. It can be initiated by an operator on demand, or scheduled to run at prescribed intervals with pass/fail status messages sent automatically upon completion.

The transparency afforded by Smart Meter Verification effectively elevates users’ confidence in Micro Motion Coriolis meter reliability above that of most other instruments, allowing end-users unparalleled confidence in their meters’ performance. The confidence afforded by Smart Meter Verification even allows organizations to increase the interval between meter calibrations, yielding process uptime and availability improvements.

Early to the Industrial IoT

Emerson’s Micro Motion Coriolis meters again got a jumpstart on the Industrial IoT when the next-gen 5700 transmitter debuted in 2014. A transmitter of unprecedented digital capabilities, the 5700 even includes an onboard historian, automatically capturing a month’s worth of 20 key process and diagnostic variables at one second intervals.

Data can be downloaded as a simple .CSV file for further diagnostic analysis using Micro Motion ProcessViz, a standalone software application that takes the raw historian data and renders it in an easy-to-follow graphical format to check for irregularities, including an audit trail of configuration changes. “Obviously, when things go wrong, it’s always at 2 a.m. and nobody’s there watching it,” says Wyatt. “So that historian capability maintains a black-box recording of your process. Like after an airplane crash, you can go back and see just what happened.”

The original 5700 release also added “zero verification,” a 20-second diagnostic that, at the push of a button, checks whether the meter’s current zero is within specifications, which can be especially important at low flow rates. If the instrument’s zero is no longer within tolerance, the diagnostic will even check whether process conditions are quiet and stable enough to re-zero the meter without upsetting the process.

Emerson continues to add new features and functionality to the 5700 transmitter, and in 2021 added Wi-Fi connectivity. “This is exciting because some customers have meters in hard-to-reach locations or simply suffer from lousy weather,” Wyatt says. “Wi-Fi now gives them the ability to interact with their device from the safety of the ground or comfort of their truck.” It also means that users can download all that historian data without having to physically connect to the device.

In 2008, Emerson debuted the Micro Motion 2200S, the first Coriolis transmitter to be powered by a 4-20mA loop, which meant it was low power enough be deployed in hazardous areas using intrinsic safety methodologies. This breakthrough opened up new possibilities for Coriolis technology to replace other, less accurate flow measurement technologies because it could use existing piping configurations and wiring infrastructure. Fast-forward to 2019, and the 4200 two-wire successor to the 2200S brought the capabilities of the 5700 transmitter to the two-wire realm.

Measuring multiphase flows

Perhaps the most dramatic advance that digital signal processing brought to Emerson’s Micro Motion Coriolis family was the 2016 introduction of Advanced Phase Measurement, the ability to accurately measure multiphase flows. Previously, the presence of entrained gases had been detectable, but was used primarily as an alert to operators.

A digitally refined ability to understand the energy required to drive the sensor coil allowed Emerson engineers to get a better read on the relative mass flow rates of the liquid and the gas phases. Emerson’s Tonya Wyatt likens the challenge to bouncing a basketball that’s half filled with water. “It’s going to bounce differently than if just filled with air, but it’s not just the combined weight of the air and water—all the sloshing around takes energy, too.”

“There are several dozen variables to consider in multiphase flow, including such subtleties as bubble size and surface tension,” adds Patrick Zimmer, director of product marketing. “With Advanced Phase Measurement we can certainly measure gas and liquid flows, but also two immiscible liquids like oil and water, or even gas, oil and water together.” Emerson has even built a three-phase flow lab at Emerson’ s Flow Measurement headquarters in Boulder, Colorado, where a broad range of applications have been validated for oil and gas customers as well as those in the food and beverage, dairy and other industries.

Purpose fit for F&B, life sciences

Emerson has long made “simple yet targeted solutions” a key strategy in its product development processes, says Wyatt. “We ask, ‘What problems are our customers trying to solve?’” she says, citing recent examples such as calibrating high-pressure hydrogen flows, and offering piece-wise linearization techniques to midstream oil and gas companies to increase custody transfer mass flow accuracy from 0.25% to 0.1%.

The most recent example of this strategy is the new Micro Motion 1600 transmitter set to debut in 2022. The 1600 transmitter is purpose-fit in both form factor and capabilities for the particular demands of the food & beverage and life sciences industries, says Melissa Stiegler, director, food & beverage measurement solutions, Emerson.

“The 1600 transmitter is a more compact, integral-mounted transmitter and is our first transmitter to feature hygienic finishes to complement our H Series hygienic sensors,” Stiegler says. Also, since hazardous area classifications are seldom required in these industries, the device is powered and communicates via a four-wire, Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) network connection. “It features performance and capabilities that are of specific interest to these industries such as the onboard historian and Smart Meter Verification,” Stiegler says. “It complements our 5700 transmitter and fills a specific market need.”

Across the organization, Emerson recognizes the growing importance of digital tools to streamline engineering processes as well as to guide and inform its customers’ operational decision-making. For example, the company’s MyEmerson platform makes it easier for customers to quickly and accurately specify the correct instrument for their specific needs while also providing curated, device-specific information to help operational and maintenance personnel execute their work.

Advancing digital transformation

“We’re also continuing to develop a range of tools to analyze instrument data and make it easy for our customers to understand what’s going on in their processes and how their processes are changing over time,” says Amy E. Johnson, vice president, Coriolis and ultrasonic meters, Emerson.

“Now that customers are upgrading their technology and communication protocols and the speed of data translation is getting better, customers are tapping into our meters because they are data machines,” Johnson adds. “As a result, they are using the data to drive second order improvements to their facilities. They are operating more efficiently, with less down time and more safely.”

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