Latest Instrumentation Articles

State and federal requirements increase the need for pump monitoring and control.

The Village of Mundelein, Ill., 35 miles northwest of Chicago, had a growing water demand and needed options for managing the increasing demand.

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

Third in a series. Advances in wireless technologies can help address many common failure modes in mid- to low-level criticality assets and eliminate wiring costs for a range of asset types.

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.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), a municipally owned utility, provides roughly four million residents in southeastern Michigan with an average of 710 million gallons of water per day.

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.

Pulsation and water hammer can be limited with proper forethought and equipment.

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?

Water system operators know the challenges of keeping municipal drinking water consistently and safely chlorinated. Increased safety concerns regarding common disinfectants and mandated chlorine residual targets make maintaining large or small water systems difficult.

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

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.

Frequency analysis is an important method of vibration analysis.

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.

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.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" may have been coined by process and plant engineers tired of repairing or replacing pumps. Pumps are often the most under-serviced pieces of equipment in process automation when it comes to maintenance and prevention best practices. Unfortunately, nothing moves without the humble pump, and a process becomes inefficient when a pump doesn't operate properly or completely shuts down. Many times the pump manufacturer is seen to be the problem, when in fact the process or the surrounding equipment configuration is the cause.

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.

Lubricated machines require clean, dry oil to work properly.

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.

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