Latest Instrumentation Articles

Vibration monitoring of rotating equipment and analysis of the resulting data are effective ways to evaluate the health of production machinery in order to achieve best maintenance practices, extend equipment longevity, and avoid unplanned shutdowns. Plant equipment seldom fails without giving signals well in advance, so breakdowns can normally be predicted by listening for the warnings and passing that knowledge on to those in a position to prevent such problems.

Wireless control and monitoring are a vital part of pump systems.

Use of disposable components in product downstream processing and final fill operations is increasing as technology improves for performing these steps in a single-use mode. There is a high demand for systems that support single-use purification, formulation and filling operations.

Soft foot is one of the most prevalent conditions found in rotating machinery. This condition, if not corrected, makes an alignment job much more difficult and sometimes impossible. If the internal alignment is not correct, the external alignment will not matter.

The 4-20mA current loop is used to transmit analog data representing various process variables like level, pressure, temperature or flow. Although conceptually simple, a 4-20mA current loop can be tricky to troubleshoot. Current flows in a single direction through each device in the loop.

An 1,800 MW power station in the Midwest experienced constant trouble with four of its four-stage boiler feed pumps, which were driven by steam turbines and operated at variable speed to meet the required plant load.

Vertically mounted pumps can resonate as a total structure in a "rocking" mode, as shown in Figures 1 and 2 below. This is one of the toughest unsolved vibration problems at several plants.

Qualified, quality solution providers can resolve many aftermarket problems.

Even though control technology has become an integral part of many pumping systems, over half of our readers have not expressed much interest in pump controls. I think I know why - today's controls are simply not as intuitively understandable as they once were. Who wants to read about the advantages of PID control without a basic understanding of P, I, and D itself?

One electrical equipment specialist is relying on a cleaning system to ensure that a variety of stamped and turned parts are thoroughly degreased at their production facility.

Lindmore Irrigation District uses Ethernet radios to improve SCADA communications system and pumping efficiency.

Last month, we ended our discussion of proportional control by saying there are times when P alone cannot provide the accuracy required by a process. Take, for example, a constant pressure booster system under VFD control. If changes in flow and the resulting change in pressure occurred gradually over a long period of time, the VFD could use proportional control to keep pressure constant.

Frequency analysis is an important method of vibration analysis.

It required only a couple notes of the haunting soundtrack to signal an imminent shark attack in the movie Jaws. As the theme began to swell, it became obvious that someone was going to “get it.” It would be nice to have a sixth sense that allowed us to hear "warning" music in daily situations. Condition monitoring systems provide a means of sensing when sharks are skulking toward your critical machines.

Starting can have a significant effect on the life of the winding insulation of an AC motor.

One of the most neglected tools in the vibration analysis toolbox is phase. This neglect is partially due to the extra time and effort often necessary to collect the information. Many analysts are also not properly trained in phase measurement and analysis.

In the past, the nuclear power industry has experienced equipment failures due to improperly set oilers. There was never a precision tool available to help ensure the level was being properly set on a typical oiler . . . until now.

When measuring vibration, one of the most important factors in obtaining accurate information involves selecting the proper vibration transducer. Selecting the wrong vibration transducer can yield results that are misleading or, worse, mask a problem.

PWM inverters introduce motor shaft voltages and bearing currents. The bearing damage in inverter-driven motors is mainly caused by the shaft voltage and bearing currents created by the common-mode voltage and its sharp edges [1]. All inverters generate common-mode voltages relative to the power source ground that cause coupling currents through the parasitic capacitances inside the motor. The main source of bearing currents is the capacitance-coupling currents that return via the motor bearings back to the ground.

When the City of Delaware, Ohio, expanded its wastewater treatment plant, it looked to increase more than just capacity. It also wanted to increase its efficiency and automation capabilities to benefit the plant's operators and taxpayers.

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