Friday, October 30, 2015

Suggestions for An Efficient Industrial Steam System

(image courtesy of
Here is a video, courtesy of Armstrong International, which provides a broad overview, and suggestions for proper use, of the key components of a well designed steam system.  Covered in this video are:
  • 4 basic components of a steam system
  • Water-side care
  • Steam mains
  • Drip legs and drip traps
  • Branch piping, or runouts
  • Non-condensible gases
  • Proper selection of trap type and size
  • Thermostatic and thermodynamic traps
  • Thermostatic air vents
  • Vacuum breakers
  • Condensate management
  • Heat exchangers
  • Return lines

For more information on any steam or hot water system, contact:

Mead O'Brien
(800) 892-2769

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Innovative Pressure Transmitter Automatically Selects Calibration Range

Foxboro S Series
Foxboro S Series
Typical 2-wire intelligent transmitters require the operator to manually program and use a single calibration range suited to the specific application. Not anymore. A winner of a 2015 Flow Control Innovation Award has come up with a significant change in transmitter set-up.

Foxboro, through its patented “Foxcal” firmware allows the Foxboro models IDP10S, IGP10S, IAP10S transmitters to automatically select and use any of 11 preset calibration ranges (stored in firmware). These calibration ranges cover the full pressure range of the transmitter. Upon installation, the S Series transmitter automatically selects the appropriate calibration range based on application inputs; and, if application inputs change, automatically transitions to another, more appropriate calibration range – all while maintaining a reference accuracy of 0.05%.

It is the first pressure transmitter to incorporate not only multiple calibration curves, but the ability to automatically select and transfer between them in real time. With the new technology, users have a wide-range capability with high reference accuracy for all industries requiring precise differential, gauge, and absolute pressure measurement. Additional benefits are inventory reduction and simplified tech training. Because of their wide turndown range with such high reference accuracy, adopting one model of S Series transmitter eliminates the need to inventory, learn, and maintain multiple transmitter models that handle more limited ranges (e.g., 150 psi, 800 psi, 4000 psi).

The Foxboro IDP10S datasheet can be downloaded here.

Or, you can review it online below:

For more information, contact:
Mead O’Brien
(800) 892-2769

Cybersecurity, ISA, and Automation Federation and How We Got Here

Author, Stephen R. Huffman, Vice President, Marketing and Business Development, at Mead O’Brien, Inc.
Published: InTech Magazine, May-June 2015

Cybersecurity and
Technical leaders had the foresight to create the ISA99 standards committee back in 2002. They recognized the need for cybersecurity standards in areas outside of the traditional information technology (IT), national security, and critical infrastructure areas of concentration at the time. In the following years, a number of ISA99 committee members spent time and effort advocating and even testifying on Capitol Hill about our profession, which was not well defined, and our cybersecurity efforts therein, which were not well discerned from IT perceptions.

When Automation Federation (AF) refocused its efforts in 2007 with both automation profession advocacy and industrial automation and control system (IACS) cybersecurity as two of its strategic imperatives, we ventured forth to Capitol Hill with a message and a plan. We found that in general our lawmakers equated process and industrial automation as “IT” and thought that IT was already addressing cybersecurity in terms of identity theft and forensics, and that the Department of Defense was handling cyberprotection for national security. For the next several years, AF built its story around cyberthreats in the operational technology (OT) area and how ISA99 through its series of standards, technical reports, and work group output was providing guidance for asset owners, system integrators, and control system equipment manufacturers specifically for securing IACS.

The operating philosophy of IT cybersecurity versus OT cybersecurity is quite different. Although the approach of shutting down operations, isolating cybersecurity issues, and adding patches may work well to mitigate IT breaches, the same cannot be said for operating units in a real-time process. In short, it really is not feasible to “reboot the plant.” The message resonated enough for us to help create the Liebermann-Collins Cybersecurity Senate Bill introduced in 2012, but opposition (more political than reasonable) doomed this first effort.

In 2013, the President issued Executive Order 13636 for enhancing cybersecurity protection for critical infrastructure. It included directing the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) to establish a framework that organizations, regulators, and customers can use to create, guide, assess, or improve comprehensive cybersecurity programs. Of the more than 200 proposals submitted by organizations receiving a request for proposal, almost all were IT-based. The AF/ISA submittal took the perspective of operational technology backed by the strength of the existing ISA99 set of standards. After a set of five framework meetings of invited participants, including the AF “framework team,” over the course of 2013, the OT and IACS teams were much more successful in defining the needs, and the automation message was much better understood. NIST personnel with legislative experience with AF on the 2012 Senate bill understood that private industry is a key piece of the cybersecurity and physical security puzzle.

AF organized a series of NIST framework rollout meetings in 2014 around the country with attendees from the AF team, NIST, and the White House. The meetings were hosted by state manufacturing extension partnerships, which are state units of NIST. After these meetings and more work with Senate lawmakers, a bipartisan Senate bill, The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act, was signed by the President and put into law in December 2014 ( In summary, the act authorizes the Secretary of Commerce through the director of NIST to facilitate and support the development of a voluntary, consensus-based, industry-led set of standards and procedures to cost effectively reduce cyberrisks to critical infrastructure. As you can imagine, ISA99, now IEC/ISA 62443, will play a more prominent role in securing the control systems of industry in the future through a public-private information-sharing partnership. Thanks for the foresight and fortitude of the ISA99 standards committee.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Steam Table, Terms and Heat Transfer Concepts

Steam Table, courtesy of
Armstrong International
(click image for larger view)
Here are some basic steam terms associated with the Steam Table (left). Below is a slideshow of basic heat transfer concepts.

Saturated steam is pure steam at the temperature that corresponds to the boiling temperature of water at the existing pressure.

Absolute and Gauge Pressures
Absolute pressure is pressure in pounds per square inch (psia) above a perfect vacuum. Gauge pressure is pressure in pounds per square inch above atmospheric pressure, which is 14.7 pounds per square inch absolute. Gauge pressure (psig) plus 14.7 equals absolute pressure. Or, absolute pressure minus 14.7 equals gauge pressure.

Pressure/Temperature Relationship
For every pressure of pure steam there is a corresponding temperature. Example: The temperature of 250 psig pure steam is always 406°F.

Heat of Saturated Liquid
This is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of a pound of water from 32°F to the boiling point at the pressure and temperature shown. It is expressed in British thermal units (Btu).

Latent Heat or Heat of Vaporization
The amount of heat (expressed in BTU) required to change a pound of boiling water to a pound of steam. This same amount of heat is released when a pound of steam is condensed back into a pound of water. This heat quantity is different for every pressure/temperature combination.

Total Heat of Steam
The sum of the Heat of the Liquid and Latent Heat in Btu. It is the total heat in steam above 32°F. Specific Volume of Liquid. The volume per unit of mass in cubic feet per pound.

Specific Volume of Steam
The volume per unit of mass in cubic feet per pound.

Basic Heat Transfer Concepts from Mead O'Brien, Inc.

For more information about any commercial or industrial steam or hot water systems, contact:

Mead O’Brien, Inc.
10800 Midwest Industrial Blvd
St. Louis, Missouri 63132
Phone (314) 423-5161
Toll Free (800) 874-9655
Fax (314) 423-5707