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Accurate and Reliable Orifice Meters

A few weeks ago at the Emerson Exchange conference in Nashville, I wrote a real-time blog post on an experts’ session on flow measurement technologies. Since no one flow measurement technology excels for all applications, this session proved to be a lively & humorous one where each of the Emerson experts extolled the virtues of their flow metering technology and the shortcomings of some of the other technologies.

Representing the oldest and most widely used flow measurement technology, differential pressure measurement, was Emerson’s Steve Ifft. I mention all this because Steve wrote an article for Oil & Gas Engineering magazine, Five reasons orifice meters lead the way.

Oil & Gas Engineering: Five reasons orifice meters lead the waySteve opens the article noting that the most common DP measurement:

…is done with orifice plates that consist of an orifice with a concentric round hole machined to a specific size.

This orifice plate creates a:

…restriction to flow, while pressure taps on the upstream and downstream side of the restriction provide the necessary differential pressure.

These orifice meters are used commonly in natural gas custody transfer and other monitoring and process control applications.

The five reasons Steve gives for using orifice meters include:

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Approaches to Partial Stroke Testing Safety Valves

The safety valve within a safety instrumented function (SIF) must be tested regularly to help assure proper operation in the event of a safety demand. Operators usually perform an offline full stroke test during a scheduled shutdown because of the impact of this test on the process. But when a SIF (a.k.a. safety loop) requires more frequent testing, users can perform a partial stroke test (PST), per the global IEC 61511 safety standard, while the valve is online.

During a PST, the valve is stroked a portion of its total travel to verify it is not stuck and to uncover other dangerous failures. The solenoid valve (SOV) can also be tested by briefly removing power to the solenoid valve and examining the resulting pressure drop across the solenoid valve. These tests help to extend the interval between full-stroke tests.

Digital valve controllers, such as the Fisher FIELDVUE DVC6200 SIS, perform these tests on demand or scheduled through applications such as AMS Device Manager & ValveLink software or control systems such as the DeltaV distributed control system.

I caught up with Emerson’s Riyaz Ali. He noted that the digital valve control with PST capabilities for safety applications has been proven in use for years and years. Digital valve controller technology itself has been available for a quarter of a century. Some newer solutions have begun to emerge where the integration of PST control electronics into a single unit with the termination housing of a solenoid valve.

Riyaz highlighted some differences in these approaches. A digital valve controller-based PST device has a built-in travel sensor, pressure sensor and velocity sensor to provide comprehensive diagnostics around the performance of the valve. The integrated PST electronics with SOV-based technology (Smart SOV) requires at least an external travel sensor and pressure sensor along with its associated electrical wiring and pneumatic tubing to get similar diagnostics. Continue Reading

Successfully Applying Non-Contacting Radar in Black Liquor Mixing Tanks

In the Kraft pulping process, wood fibers are separated, and resinous materials removed, using an alkaline (typically sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfide) cooking liquor, also known as white liquor. This process converts wood into cellulosic pulp used in the papermaking process.

This digesting process turns the white liquor into black liquor, which contains:

…lignin fragments, carbohydrates from the breakdown of hemicellulose, sodium carbonate, sodium sulfate and other inorganic salts.

This black liquor:

…has about 20–30% solids. At this concentration the rosin soap rises to the surface and is skimmed off. The collected soap is further processed to tall oil. Removal of the soap improves the evaporation operation of the later effects.

Once this black liquor is concentrated, it’s sent to the recovery boiler to provide energy for the pulp making process.

I share all this as background for this short, 2:20 YouTube case study video, Rosemount 5408 Solves Measuring Issue in Black Liquor Mixing Tanks. These 18-meter mixing tanks contain a mix of lye and soap with heavy condensation and a sticky media. Continue Reading

Rapid Technology Advancements Fueling Digital Transformations

Why all this talk about digital transformation? It really boils down to the pressure manufacturers and producers are under to remain profitable, yet do so ever more safely, efficiently, and reliably. This pressure coupled with amazing technology advancements in just the last few years are driving this rethinking and actions companies are taking.

In an earlier post this week, Fostering Profitability through Digital Transformation, Emerson’s Doug White put his finger on exactly what technology advancements have occurred to enable big advances in business performance. You can now: Continue Reading

Fostering Profitability through Digital Transformation

Doug White on Digital Transformation at 2019 AFPM SummitEmerson’s Doug White shares his expertise on how refiners and petrochemical producers can digitally transform their organizations to enhance profitability in a dynamic market at the 2019 AFPM Operations & Process Technology Summit.

Doug opened showing the Gartner Group’s hype cycle and asking where Digital Transformation fits. Lot’s of hype and some disillusionment from some early products.

So what’s new about digital transformation? You can measure and collect data from almost anything. You can send data anywhere. Your can store all the data you want with fast/cheap access. You have access to sophisticated analytic algorithms for model development easier to implement. And finally, users have access to intuitive, convenient user interfaces.

These five changes have changed the way organizations can look at digital transformation and develop strategies to drive business performance improvements in many areas—safety, reliability, production, and sustainability/energy/emissions. Continue Reading