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Guided Wave Radar for Tight Boiler Steam Drum Level Control

Boiler steam drum level control is critical in electrical power generation. Too high a level can mean water aspirating into the steam lines and causing damage to the turbine generator blades downstream. Too low a level can cause the boiler to dry and overheat.

In a Power magazine article, Controlling Boiler Level When Operating Conditions Change, Emerson’s Matthew Brummer compares different level measurement technologies for this application. Matthew opens the article highlighting the increasing difficulty of maintaining steam drum levels given constantly changing load demands.

Maintaining this critical level is challenging because a boiler drum is a very turbulent and chaotic place, with high temperature and pressure. Ideally, feedwater should be added at the same rate steam is drawn off. This is manageable when steam consumption is very stable, but when loading goes up and down, level can change quickly.

He highlights the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code PG-60.1.1. It

…does allow one of those direct-reading gauges to be replaced by two indirect methods of level measurement, which can include differential pressure (DP), displacers, conductivity, or radar technology.

These instruments are typically: Continue Reading

Measuring Sediment Buildup in Process Vessels and Tanks

Some processes, such as oil & gas production, not only have to measure liquid levels but sometimes must measure sediment levels that can come along in the production stream and settle in vessels and tanks.

This quick, 2:38 “How To” YouTube video, How Does the Rosemount Sand Switch Functionality Work?, shows how to change the settings in a Rosemount 2140 vibrating fork level detector from measuring liquids, to measuring sediment such as sand in the case of oil & gas production.

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Cybersecurity Attacks and Defenses

As analytics continues to turn the vast and growing sea of digital data into useful information, the need for strong cybersecurity also grows. In a CIO Applications article, Addressing the Complex Cyber Security Needs of Digital Manufacturing, Emerson’s Bob Karschnia highlights the collaboration between suppliers and end users to maintain an effective defensive cybersecurity strategy.

CIO Applications: Addressing the Complex Cyber Security Needs of Digital ManufacturingBob opens noting points of vulnerability where industrial wireless networks connect into wired systems. Security considerations must include an end-to-end holistic view of these data handoff points. He explains that security may be applied differently by different suppliers and ultimate responsibility:

…falls to the network managers to review specifications and practices carefully as they implement digital manufacturing projects.

He highlights the common cybersecurity attack vectors:

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Digital Transformation in Personnel Safety

Wireless instrumentation for industrial use has been with us for more than a decade. The extra sensing devices are being used to improve performance in reliability, efficiency and overall production. But how about personnel safety?

It’s critical to know the location of plant personnel in times of abnormal situations or even in normal situations, such as being properly trained for the current location.

The Plantweb digital ecosystem includes a scalable range of technologies, applications and services. One of these solutions, Location Awareness provides real-time, safety-focused monitoring of plant personnel.

In this quick, 1:40 video, Enabling Safer Facilities and Safeguarding Personnel with Location Awareness Technology, Emerson’s Amanda Alexander describes how this new location solution uses WirelessHART anchors and tags to digitally transform personnel safety initiatives in industrial facilities.

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Cybersecurity Considerations in Safety Instrumented System Architectures

Safety instrumented systems (SIS), which are designed to take the process to a safe state in trip conditions, come in several architectures with the basic process control system (BPCS). The SIS and BPCS can be totally separate, interfaced or integrated, yet separate. While the debate on which approach is best has been going on for a long time, what are they cybersecurity considerations of these architecture choices?

Control Engineering: Sustainable cybersecurity architecture for safety instrumented systemsIn a Control Engineering article, Sustainable cybersecurity architecture for safety instrumented systems, Emerson’s Sergio Diaz and Alexandre Peixoto explore these considerations.

They open noting that all architectures can be made more cyber-secure.

It is possible to deliver successful, hardened systems using an interfaced or integrated SIS architecture within the constraints of international cybersecurity standards such as International Electrochemical Commission (IEC) 62443 (ANSI/ISA 62443 family of standards) and/or local recommendations, such as the User Association of Automation Technology in Process Industries (NAMUR) guidelines.

They describe 3 zones—Core SIS, Extended SIS, Peripherals (control system architecture)—in the NAMUR guidelines. These are similar guidelines to the ISA 62443 standard.

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