The Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitter has been a trusted instrument for some of the harshest process industries for more than three decades

The new frontier of innovation

Aug. 18, 2023
New capabilities improve the Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitter user experience

It’s not easy to follow a legend. In the sports world, players often feel the pressure (no pun intended) when they take the field, pitch or court immediately after a hall of famer. In entertainment, actors dread bad reviews when recreating famous roles. But sometimes a shadow cast by an icon can provide the extra incentive for the next person, or in this case, product, to be even more memorable.

Those who have worked in process automation know that the Rosemount 1151 Pressure Transmitter was something special. It was twice named to lists of the top 100 products made in America. It transformed what was then Rosemount Engineering Co., now Emerson, from an aerospace-specific supplier to an industrial automation company. You can even find the Rosemount 1151 Pressure Transmitter in the Smithsonian Institution.

So, the pressure was on when innovating beyond the capabilities of the Rosemount 1151, which transformed conventional pressure transmitters at the time. When it debuted in 1988, the Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitter was intended to do the same for digital units, and the company has been on a 35-year march to consistently innovate the Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitter to stay ahead of fast-paced digital technology advancements.

“When we started developing the Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitter, we wanted to bring in a new era of instrumentation for our customers. That meant new sensing, new electronics, new transmitter design, new everything,” says Scott Nelson, Emerson’s vice president and general manager for Rosemount pressure products. “A lot of that thinking is what led to the Rosemount 3051’s success and the fact that it ended up unseating the super-successful Rosemount 1151.”

Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitters are now in their 36th year of production and Nelson has been around for all of it, having come onboard with Emerson around the same time as the Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitter was in development. While there have been many updates to the transmitter over those years, Emerson recently released its biggest update since the initial design. With a focus on efficiency and safety, the latest advancements discussed in the following pages showcase how the updates bring the user experience into the modern age. With a dynamic graphical display, easily accessible data, Bluetooth® wireless technology, and extensive diagnostics capabilities, the updated Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitter caters to a younger generation of engineers—particularly mobile workers—but still maintains the same familiarity for existing users.

As Nelson points out, users still get the Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitter model they’ve always known, but the new capabilities offer much more to technicians in modern plants. The updated Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitter is like a new product that existing users already know how to use right out of the box.

Coplanar continuity

One thing that customers will find familiar is the coplanar design of the device. Emerson pioneered the Coplanar process connection with the Rosemount 3051, which features two process connections at the bottom of the pressure transmitter. Because it can be positioned on a single process flange, the mounting becomes lighter in weight than traditional biplanar styles that also limit flexibility.

“One objective [of coplanar design] was to achieve a higher level of performance and reliability,” Nelson says. “We are able to move the pressure sensor away from the process.”

The result is heat, vibration, and electrical noise, as well as other disturbances, can be isolated. It protects the transmitter from static pressure. But the most important element of the coplanar connections, Nelson adds, is that the configuration makes it possible for the Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitter to be a completely integrated application solution for an expanded market.

One reason the pressure market is such a large business is because pressure technology is versatile and can be deployed in many different applications. These days, it is vital that a pressure transmitter measure flow and level, and such versatility makes the Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitter a popular choice for applications ranging from chemical plants to oil refineries.

"Coplanar connections are an important driver for making the Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitter an efficient instrument capable of measuring a breadth of pressure, flow and level parameters through different configuration changes," Nelson says.

Ushering in a new era

When Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitters were introduced, pressure transmitters were largely pneumatic devices. As Emerson set out to usher in a new era of digital technology for pressure transmitters, the engineers knew it would have to be future-proofed. Nelson says that while Emerson invented the HART® protocol that became the industry standard for three decades, no one at the time envisioned the developments of FOUNDATION™ Fieldbus and PROFIBUS®, let alone local wireless communications such as WirelessHART or local Bluetooth technology.

The understanding that the Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitter had to be designed for an unknown future is one important aspect of the device’s longevity. The unit has not only thrived for 35 years, but also has been able to incorporate just about every technology turn that has taken place over that time.

“Its been able to incorporate the latest and greatest technology without obsoleting its installed base,” Nelson says.

The same applies to this year’s updates, the most advanced capabilities ever added to the Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitter. “Amazingly, those electronics and software capabilities that we’ve added weren’t even identified 20 years ago,” Nelson continues. “You can take those electronics off our production line today and go install them in existing 3051 transmitters and they will be fully functional.”

For Emerson, it was important that, even with such technological advancements, it maintained the familiarity of the units for its installed user base. The reason is simple. The ability to maintain the process interface—not only physically, but also mechanically and electronically—stems from the fact that the 3051 is used in some of the most challenging and demanding environments in the industrial sector. Changes can create safety and operational challenges, so Emerson wanted to keep the updates to existing applications seamless.

Many of those existing users have taken years to prove and accept the products they use in their processes. For that reason, Emerson kept the exact same footprint in the new Rosemount 3051 Pressure Transmitter, including the same materials of construction and model numbers.

So now users both existing and new are able to procure the latest and greatest technologies in a transmitter they already know and trust. 

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