Latest Instrumentation Articles

The installation of an AC drive with an advanced software tool has dramatically cut call-outs for blockages at an Irish county council pumping station.

Determining the correct maintenance strategy for industrial production assets poses a problem for many plant asset managers and reliability and maintenance engineers.

Although the use of transmitters in pressure measurement is growing, mechanical pressure gauges are still used on most systems as local pressure display to back up electrical readings. The selection and installation of these gauges can be difficult in certain locations. Harsh conditions that can require special consideration include vibration, pressure pulsation, overpressure, corrosive media and extreme process and ambient temperatures. This article is designed to address harsh conditions with best practice recommendations to extend gauge life and provide for the safest installation possible.

When it comes to pressure and flow, variable speed pumping applications can be divided into three basic categories. Constant pressure-variable flow (Cp-Vf) attempts to keep pressure relatively constant over a range of flows. Constant flow-variable pressure (Cf-Vp) tries to achieve the opposite by using varying pressure to keep flow constant. Variable pressure-variable flow (Vp-Vf) applications can accommodate a change in both.

How a monitoring alarm system with control and shutdown capabilities prevented costly pump damage and environmental hazards and made the job of the pump operator safer and easier.

With the wide use of variable frequency drives in the pump industry and increasing unit size, it is becoming more difficult to design mechanical systems free from natural frequencies within operating speed range. If such an occurrence is allowed in the field, a resulting resonance condition threatens to significantly impact performance and longevity of the equipment.

Pumps are sent to rebuilding and remanufacturing companies because buying new can be expensive and require long lead times. For instance, a 39 in diameter, 1,000 lb bronze impeller may cost $28,000 and take many weeks to deliver. In these cases, the impellers involved in an overhaul are often built back up to the required specifications and rebalanced.

Back in the old days, level control had little or nothing to do with saving energy. In fact, it was often a necessary evil. Today, that is no longer true - the VFD offers the potential for power savings in lift station applications that range from a few hundred gallons per minute to those that have to move thousands of gallons each minute.

A dangerous misconception exists regarding the "Arc Rating" of infrared (IR) windows or viewing panes. Many reliability and maintenance professionals are under the impression that an IR window will protect them in the event of an arc blast. Others believe that installing IR windows will turn non-arc-rated switchgear or electrical equipment into "arc-rated" cabinets. Neither is true. Both misconceptions need to be corrected because they present safety concerns.

What Are Your Vibration Monitoring Goals?

Identifying goals before starting is key to designing a process tailored to specific needs. What are you hoping to accomplish by monitoring vibration? How would you like to acquire data? What are you going to do with the data? These important questions should be addressed before moving forward.

Many items must be considered when designing pump station control systems with power requirements, level control method and control panel location often among the most important.

Joseph Gallo Farms in Atwater, Calif., uses captured methane gas from its 5,000 dairy cows to run up to 50 percent of the electricity for its cheese factory.

Of the technologies available for condition monitoring of rotating equipment, the quickest return on investment is from vibration analysis. For the novice, vibration data seems complex and is generally difficult to assess compared to other techniques. Once trained, however, the novice can recognize the patterns and diagnose a machine problem.

Potential to Failure (P-F) curves graphically display the failure time cycle and measurement techniques that can be used to detect asset failures prior to reaching the asset incurring functional failure. Proactive strategies should focus on managing assets high on the P-F curve, or early (P1 to P5) in the failure cycle (Figure 1). The ability to detect failures early in development allows top quartile performers to proactively manage their maintenance programs by understanding the health of their assets. Many companies, however, find it difficult to operate proactively and continually react to assets that reach functional failure with little or no warning.

To achieve a sustainable future, the green movement demands increased energy efficiency and conservation. Here is a look at how these changes will impact the water industry and its use of pumps and controls.

To explain why the apparent temperature seen through a thermal imager can be significantly different than the actual temperature, we will review our knowledge of physics.

Outdated water systems are pumping beyond their original specifications, resulting in inefficient operation, higher maintenance and operation costs and the potential for a system shutdown. This article takes a look at updating the controls and pumps for a water system.

In the oil and gas industry, custody transfer transactions involve transporting physical substance from one operator to another, including transferring raw and refined petroleum between tanks and tankers, tankers and ships and other transactions. An accurate account of the amount of material transferred is of great value to both the company delivering the material and the eventual recipient. This is especially true in bunker fuel oil delivery since a ship's bunker contributes to the ship's operating cost.

Few would dispute that variable frequency drives (VFDs) save energy, but the exact amount depends on the system. Hydraulically speaking, the main difference between a variable frequency (speed) drive and a discharge valve is that a VFD only changes a pump curve, while a valve only changes a system curve. A pump operates at the intersection between its H-Q curve and a system curve, and a change in either moves the operating point to a new intersection.

Growing infrastructures are creating more complex problems for municipalities than ever before, forcing them to search for a diverse range of system solutions to issues involving energy savings, maintenance savings and total life cycle cost analysis.

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