Posts Tagged technology

Five Key Features Required for a Perfect Fit Distributed Control System

If you work in the industrial sector, you understand the never-ending push to increase uptime and improve reliability at your plant. Today’s processes require faster and more accurate engineering. Because of this, most companies are looking for ways to boost operational effectiveness and increase maintenance efficiency at their plants.

A distributed control system (DCS) is a control system where control elements are distributed throughout the system, as opposed to using a single controller at a central location. But how do you choose the right DCS? And how do you decide what functions are critical to your process?Functional_levels_of_a_Distributed_Control_System.svg

Honeywell recently released a white paper that discusses five key features for a perfect fit DCS if you’re thinking about implementing one at your plant.

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Understanding Level Readings & the Truth about Level Measurement Instruments

In order to understand level readings, you must first comprehend how the instrument works. Three of the most common level-measuring techniques involve using a displacer, float, or differential pressure instrument.

Here’s the catch.

While each of these instruments can be used to report a level reading, none of them actually measure level.

I know what you’re thinking…

If none of these instruments measure level, how do we end up with a level reading? Read the rest of this entry »

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HART communications without busting the budget

The HART communication protocol has been firmly established as the standard means of configuring field instruments for some years.   But talking to a field instrument needs a communicator.

There are the handheld communicators, Rosemount’s  x75s and the “budget-priced” Meriam MFC 4150, but at a cost that’s more a capital appropriation than an MRO expense.  Even the Meriam, with a 3-year field device description subscription starts at more than $4000.

People continue to ask me if there isn’t a more budget conscious approach to HART configuration.

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How do I get an RTD signal to two different devices?

RTDs are great temperature sensors – accurate and easy to install.  But they are not friendly when it comes to trying to get a single RTD to go to two places, like when an RTD temperature measurement has to go to both a controller and a recorder.  People call and ask, “How do I split an RTD signal?”  The short answer is, “You can’t.”

An RTD cannot be wired in parallel or in series to a second device.  Any RTD input supplies a known, regulated ‘excitation’ current to the RTD.  Mixing RTD inputs would mix currents and that’s a Big No-No.

There’s also a lead wire compensation circuit for 3- or 4-wire RTDs that would create problems if a single RTD were connected to two different RTD inputs.  There’s just no feasible means of making two RTD analog inputs play nice together.

But all is not lost. There are several ways to achieve your goal.

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A “So What” review of Siemens new SITRANS LUT400 ultrasonic level controller

Part of my job as the technical specialist at Lesman is to make sense of new products and upgrades, and figure out what’s really going to matter most to our customers.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of a much-needed new functionality, or better configuration tools, easier mounting, or switching to the most current form of data storage.

In the case of Siemens’ latest ultrasonic controller, it’s all that and more.

Siemens SITRANS LUT400 Ultrasonic Level ControllerSiemens (and Milltronics) ultrasonic controllers and transceivers, like the HydroRanger, MultiRanger, and OCM-III have been around for years with no significant improvements. Instead of updating these devices, Siemens has done a complete redesign, and introduces the SITRANS LUT400 as the first device in the new ultrasonic controller family.

Here are my initial thoughts on this new player in the ultrasonic game.

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Why is my clamp-on flowmeter’s flow rate stuck at zero?

Siemens ultrasonic clamp-on flowmeter sensors mounted to a pipeI was working with a customer to replace a Siemens clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeter after its electronics had been replaced.  We followed all the connection and startup instructions, but the flow rate was stuck at 0.00 – no dithering, no hunting, not a single flicker in the low-order digits.

Very strange.

Ultrasonic clamp-on flowmeters can be very sensitive to low flows. But even at no flow with the pump turned off or the line isolated, the digits to the right of the decimal point would dither around zero, showing some very small positive values, some very small negative values.  It’s the nature of the beast.

So why were we getting an absolute zero reading? What was going on?

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Are pH analyzers and probes from different manufacturers interchangeable?

That was one of the questions that a customer shared after our recent webinars on pH measurement technology. Here’s a short answer, as shared by Jorgi Day, Sr Analytical Product Specialist for Honeywell, our featured speaker.

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