Latest Instrumentation Articles

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.

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.

Cavitation is a destructive condition that can destroy the inside of a pump before you even realize it is occurring. Early detection can minimize damage, reduce downtime, and save money. Cavitation involves the creation of bubbles formed when the fluid being pumped vaporizes due to a decrease in pressure as the fluid enters the pump. These bubbles are then acted on by the pump impeller, causing them to implode.

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.

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.

For controller-to-controller coordination, wireless Bluetooth is an excellent alternative to Class 3 radios.

Your company has recently purchased a laser based alignment system. Your newly trained technicians are asked to align a critical process pump. You witness the alignment. They save the final alignment data. You review the data, but what does it mean? How does it compare to dial indicators? Why did they rotate both shafts when measuring the misalignment? Why are the numbers at the feet higher than you would like? How do you KNOW the alignment is good? The debate begins.

Today's electricians are often found working in applications outside the realm of what is traditionally considered "electrical." Through new programs sponsored by the IBEW-JATC training schools and others, the skill sets of the electrical union workforce have broadened to include automation and controls.

A variable frequency drive (VFD) can be a valuable asset in reducing the life cycle costs in certain types of pumping applications. The traditional method of motor control in pumping applications is a low cost mechanical starter, which is essentially a large switch with a built-in motor protection device known as a thermal overload relay. A conscious decision to reduce upfront costs by using a mechanical starter may result in higher energy consumption, excessive component wear and poor power quality.

Introduced in June 2010, the VibXpert II (VXP II) has many different uses and functions. The primary use is to extend the lifespan of equipment within a plant or facility using vibration signatures. One of its many applications is detecting bearing faults, either early or pre-existing within the machinery. It can also detect cavitation within pumps.

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.

Identifying the source of vibration by following the amplitude: the case of a company that thought the problem was a pump impeller, but, in fact, the problem was over 15-ft away and not a pump at all.

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.

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Upstream Pumping

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