Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Pharmaceutical and Biotech Valve Communication Networks

Valve Communication Networks
Valve Communication Network
Pharmaceutical and biotech companies are facing increasing competition, driving their need for increased efficiency, reduced costs, and agility.

Automated valve systems that help reduce installation costs through easy set up, faster commissioning, and enhanced valve identification are being embraced in these industries. Features such as bright electronic indication, combined with optional remote wireless access systems, provide enhanced risk management and improved safety, which subsequently lowers overall cost.

Demands for higher product purity and productivity is pressuring Pharma and Biotech companies to make investments in new technologies that deliver improved quality and competitive agility. Process control systems, and specifically valve communication systems, are evolving to support these changes. The most significant changes to valve communications systems are:

Size

Valve communication modules that offer smaller, lighter and more durable form factors, and modules that conform to the needs of moveable process skids and flexible manufacturing provide operators are very popular in these industries. Also, the use of integral solenoid valves lessen the amount of tubing and cabling required for valve packages, affording smaller overall envelope sizes on skids.

Precision

Solid state continuous sensors increase reliability and provide precise position measurement compared to legacy mechanical or proximity-reed technology. These solid state sensors also allow for more sophisticated valve diagnostics, leading to reduced maintenance costs over the valve system's life cycle.

Predictive Maintenance

The information available for critical valve operating parameters allow operators to see potential problems early, thereby reducing the risk and potential expense from lost production and downtime. Remote valve function monitoring, which includes sensor temperature and cycle count, extends the life of critical valves and helps maintenance staff circumvent a problem before it causes a dangerous situation.

Improved Safety

Axiom
StoneL Axiom
Wireless communications and control modules allow operators to access difficult to reach valve systems safely, securely and conveniently. Critical situations are known and dealt with immediately from safe locations, and away from potentially dangerous areas or circumstances.

Remote Access and Data Collection

Typical modern valve communication networks provide tremendous advantages over traditional valve monitoring systems, namely:
  • Access devices up to 50 meters, depending on obstructions
  • Monitor on or off line and set open and closed switch positions
  • Monitor and set the network address
  • Operate solenoid valve(s) (if network- or power supply-enabled)
  • Identify model and serial number (preset from factory)
  • Identify valve automation components (entered by valve supplier)
  • Log maintenance information
  • Monitor diagnostics (valve cycle count, electronics temperature, and more)
  • Lockout of settings automatically when in operation
Solutions

Prism PI
StoneL Prism PI
Combining components such as StoneL’s Prism or Axiom platforms with a DeviceNet or AS-Interface protocol system to interconnect your automated valves will lower your construction costs and install faster than conventional systems. Additionally, using valve monitoring apps such as StoneL Wireless Link with standard iPads or iPhones provide further cost savings and security is assured. Maintenance schedules based on calendar days are no longer required - with access to cycle count data, you can perform valve maintenance when it is truly needed and replace parts prior to wearing out.
StoneL Wireless Link
Example of StoneL Wireless Link on iPhone.
To discuss any valve networking application, contact Mead O'Brien by visiting https://www.meadobrien.com or by calling (800) 892-2769.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Understanding Vortex Shedding Flow Technology

Foxboro Vortex Shedding Flowmeter
Foxboro Vortex Shedding Flowmeter.
Notice the shedder bar in the flow path.
Photograph of vortice
Photograph of vortices
(credit Jürgen Wagner via Wikipedia)
Vortex shedding flowmeters are a type of flowmeter available to the process industry for the consistent evaluation of flow rates. These flowmeters measure the volumetric flow rate of media such as steam flowing in pipes, gases, and low viscosity liquids, boasting both versatility and dependability. Since they have no moving parts, they are impervious to the kind of wear turbine or mechanical meters experience.

Principles of Operation
A "shedder" bar (also known as a bluff body) in the path of
Animation of vortex creation
Animation of vortices
(credit Cesareo de La Rosa Siqueira
via Wikipedia)
the flowing fluid produces flow disturbances called vortices. The resulting vortex trail is predictable and proportional to the fluid flow rate. This phenomena is know as the "Von Kármán vortex street" (see illustrations to the right). Sensitive electronic sensors downstream of the shedder bar measures the frequency of the vortices and produce a small electrical pulse with every vortex created. The electrical pulses also also proportional to fluid velocity and is the basis for calculating a volumetric flow rate, using the cross sectional area of the flow measuring device.

Typical Areas of Use
Vortex shedding flowmeters are used on steam, cryogenic liquids, hydrocarbons, air, feed water, and industrial gases.

Applications to Avoid
Splitting higher viscosity fluids into concordant vertices is extremely difficult due to the internal friction present, so using vortex shedding flowmeters on high viscosity media should be avoided. Also, avoid applications with low flow rates and low Reynolds Numbers, as the vortices created are unstable.

Consideration for Use
Consideration must be given to applications with low Reynolds numbers, as the generation of vortices declines at critical points of reduced velocity. Low pressure can also be a problem in this regard. Users must take Reynolds number, velocity, and density into consideration before choosing a vortex shedding flow meter. As always, it's best to discuss your application with an knowledgable support professional before specifying, purchasing, or installing this type of flowmeter.

Watch the video below for more information on vortex flow technology.


For more information on  vortex shedding flowmeters, visit https://www.meadobrien.com or call (800) 892-2769.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Inverted Submerged Bucket Steam Traps: How They Work

Diagram of the Armstrong Inverted Bucket Trap
Cutaway diagram of the Armstrong Inverted Bucket Trap.
The inverted submerged bucket steam trap is a mechanical trap that operates on the difference in density between steam and water. Steam entering the inverted submerged bucket causes the bucket to float and close the discharge valve.

Condensate entering the trap changes the bucket to a weight that sinks and opens the trap valve to discharge the condensate. Unlike other mechanical traps, the inverted bucket also vents air and carbon dioxide continuously at steam temperature.

This simple principle of condensate removal was introduced by Armstrong International in 1911. Years of improvement in materials and manufacturing have made today’s Armstrong inverted bucket traps virtually unmatched in operating efficiency, dependability and long life.

For more information on Armstrong steam traps, visit http://www.meadobrien.com or call (800) 892-2769.