Thermatel® TA2 Nominated for Flow Control Innovation Award

Magnetrol® is pleased to announce that our Thermatel® TA2 thermal dispersion mass flow meter has been nominated for a 2015 Flow Control Innovation Award. This award program recognizes outstanding solutions for fluid movement, measurement and flow_control_innovation_awardscontainment. Flow Control is a widely distributed and well-respected fluid handling publication, and we are proud of the honor to be named a nominee.

The THERMATEL TA2 mass flow meter was recently updated to include an innovative new auto-switching feature, which enables it to automatically switch between calibration tables. This provides the most value in applications in which turndowns can be substantially higher than 100:1. The calibration tables can apply to the same gas, such as natural gas, for a low flow range and a high flow range. They can also measure two different gases with distinct low flow and high flow ranges.

The TA2 has been very successful in flare gas applications in part because of the lack of technologies available to make this measurement. Oftentimes, the gas is at extremely low flows and low pressures. Thermal mass flow meters are the most economical choice and continue to gain ground because of their versatility.

VOTE NOW! You can show your support of MAGNETROL and the innovative THERMATEL TA2 flow meter and have a chance to win a $250 Amazon gift card by voting in the 2015 Flow Control Innovation Awards. Please click here to participate.

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Key Questions Answered About Thermal Mass Flow Meter Function

Flow Control’s thermal mass flow measurement technology portal provides important information about flow instrumentation and measurement. Tom Kemme, our thermal dispersion product manager, answers questions about the technology in the portal’s Ask the Expert column. This week’s blog shares some recent Q&As.

Question: Does a thermal mass flow meter require temperature compensation during gas flow measurement?

Answer: Yes, thermal mass flow requires temperature compensation. However, this is not the same as the temperature correction you would utilize with a multivariable transmitter or external to flow technologies such as differential pressure in order to obtain Nm3/h, SCFM, SCFH, etc. Thermal manufacturers understand that gas properties that effect heat transfer vary with temperature. The process temperature is already being measured (using a Resistance Temperature Detector) and is accounted for in the calculation.

Question: Can thermal mass flow meters be used with combustible gases?

Answer: Thermal dispersion flow meters can be used in combustible gases. Typically very little heat is added to the system (how much heat depends on the manufacturer). Sometimes customers ask us this question, as they are worried about exceeding the auto-ignition temperature of the particular gas. The maximum temperature rise of our sensor recorded by FM during the approvals process was 4K above ambient. Therefore, this little temperature added to the process temperature does not cause ignition, but it should be evaluated as needed on an application basis with the proper manufacturer.

Question: For wet gases/vapors (e.g., compressed air), what is the maximum allowable moisture content that will allow the thermal mass flow sensor to work without incurring significant error due to heat loss from surface condensation? What size droplets (microns) & mist eliminator efficiency would have to be required to post-treat acid-laden vapor before reaching the temperature sensors? Can the temperature sensor pins be coated with PFA or ETFE for use in corrosive acid vapor service?

Answer: Thermal flow meters are used in applications that have vapors present, as well as gases that are considered “wet,” such as digester gas. If actual condensation is present and it comes into contact with the probe tips, then this can cause a spike in the reading due to the additional cooling of the liquid. There are no specific specs on droplet size.

Liquid drops themselves would not damage the sensor, but corrosion is a different issue. Most manufacturers offer a standard stainless steel probe option, but many have a Hastelloy® option as well, for more corrosive gases. Upon request, other sensor materials can be looked into.

An option when going into an application where condensation could be present would be to install the probe at an angle to prevent the liquid from dripping down the probe and coming into contact with the pins. Thermal flow meters do not have to be installed top dead center of a pipe or duct and can go into horizontal or vertical lines. An example of this is shown here.

Thermal flow meters installed in a pipe

Thermal flow meters installed in a pipe

We would typically not recommend coating of the sensor given the fact it would change the thermal characteristics of the sensor. This could affect sensitivity and achievable flow rates.

As important as accuracy is many times in compressed air applications customers are looking for a relative indication of the amount of leakage. Knowing this measurement assists in calculating the approximate savings by eliminating such leaks. Every flow meter has advantages and disadvantages. For thermal, some of the main advantages are:

  1. Direct mass flow measurement
  2. Strong signal at low flows or low pressures
  3. High turndown

If you have more questions about thermal mass flow meters, you can check out previous answers in the technology portal.

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Level Control for Conversion Applications in the Petroleum Refining Process

The safety and efficiency of every aspect of the petroleum refining process is dependent on accurate level measurement. Reliable instrumentation is especially important in the extreme temperature and pressure environments that are often a part of the process. This blog post explores level instrumentation for conversion applications in the petroleum refining process. This is the third in Magnetrol’s series on level control for petroleum refining. Be sure to check out the previous two posts, from May 26 on treatment applications and from June 9 on separation applications.

CATALYTIC CRACKER

petroleum_refining_process_1The Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) cracks heavy, low-value feedstocks into high-value, lighter molecular weight hydrocarbons which are blended to finished products. A cracker can produce a wide variety of yield patterns by operating in either Gasoline, Distillate or LPG modes.
Challenges: Catalytic crackers utilize a reactor and a catalyst regenerator with connecting risers where the reactions take place. Level controllers are often positioned on the first stage regenerator and at the top of the reactor. Level measurements involve fluidized solids levels at high temperatures. Conventional measurement techniques can be subject to plugging.
Level Instrumentation:
Continuous Level: E3 Modulevel® Displacer-Actuated Transmitter

CATALYTIC STRIPPER

Variations in cat cracking include Selective Component Cracking (SCC) for polypropylene production, a two-vessel and external-reactor design for processing heavy residue feeds, and a UOP process for converting gas oils and resid feedstocks. All crackers employ a petroleum_refining_processsteam stripper to remove hydrocarbons entrained in the spent catalyst.
Challenges: Stripper level control allows sufficient residence time for stripping steam to displace hydrocarbons for recovery. It also maintains sufficient pressure to keep air in the regenerator from reverse flow into the reaction system, thereby causing a hazard. A waste heat recovery steam drum would also require monitoring.
Level Instrumentation:
Point Level:
Series 3 Float- Actuated External Cage Level Switch or B40 Float-Actuated Level Switch
Continuous Level: E3 MODULEVEL Displacer Transmitter or Eclipse® Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter
Visual Indication: Orion® Instruments Atlas™ or Aurora® Magnetic Level Indicators

HYDROCRACKING

Heavier feedstock difficult to process by cat cracking or reforming can be converted by hydrocracking. By combining catalytic cracking and hydrogenation to crack feedstock in the presence of hydrogen, hydrocracking produces gasoline and distillate blending streams. About a dozen different hydrocracking process schemes are in current use.
petroleum_refining_process_3Challenges: Level controls for the catalyst stripper, separator liquid and flash drum liquid must contend with severe process conditions to maintain optimum operation of the hydrocracker. These conditions include elevated temperatures and pressures, the presence of steam and high pressure hydrogen, and aggressive corrosives.
Level Instrumentation:
Point Level:
Series 3 Float-Actuated External Cage Level Switch or Model B40 Float- Actuated Level Switch
Continuous Level: E3 MODULEVEL Displacer-Actuated Transmitter or ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter
Visual Indication: ORION INSTRUMENTS ATLAS or AURORA Magnetic Level Indicators

ACID SETTLING TANKS

Alkylation is a combining process that creates alkylate, a premium, high-octane blending petroleum_refining_process_4stock. A large acid settler tank within the unit allows for separation of the acid/hydrocarbon emulsion created in the reactor. Sight glasses have traditionally measured settler level, but these are susceptible to plugging and require diligent flushing at regular intervals.
Challenges: Interface level control of the settler is required. Product/acid cross-contamination causes overall efficiency problems and can result in hazardous conditions. Inaccurate settler level indication is a frequent cause of physical acid carryover in the reactor effluent. Release of acid can cause extreme hazards to both process and personnel.
Level Instrumentation:
Point Level: Model A15 Displacer- Actuated Level Switch
Continuous Level: E3 MODULEVEL Displacer-Actuated Transmitter or ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter
Visual Indication: ORION INSTRUMENTS ATLAS or AURORA Magnetic Level Indicators

ALKYLATION TANKS

Storage and wash vessels in the alkylation unit include those for fresh and depleted acid and water, an acid analyzer settling pot, and a number of wash tanks. Caustic washes petroleum_refining_process_5neutralize free acid carried over from the reaction zone and neutralize alkyl sulfates in the net effluent. Water washes decompose remaining esters and remove caustic and salt that might have carried over from the caustic wash.
Challenges: Interface level control in caustic and water washes prevents corrosion and fouling of the deisobutanizer and other downstream units. Levels rising above high set points can cause carryover of caustic or water, while too low levels can cause hydrocarbon carryunder.
Level Instrumentation:
Point Level:
Series 3 Float- Actuated External Cage Level Switch
Continuous Level: E3 MODULEVEL Displacer- Actuated Transmitter or ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter or Pulsar® Model RX5 Pulse Burst Transmitter
Visual Indication: ORION INSTRUMENTS ATLAS or AURORA Magnetic Level Indicators

CATALYTIC REFORMER

Catalytic reforming upgrades low-octane naphthas into high-octane gasoline blending components called reformates. Using heat and pressure with platinum catalysts to petroleum_refining_process_6rearrange hydrocarbon molecules, this process converts low-octane gasoline fractions into petrochemical feedstocks and higher octane stocks suitable for finished gasoline blending.
Challenges: A hydrogen-rich gas stream is removed from the separator for recycling. Liquid product monitored for level at the bottom of the separator is sent to a stabilizer. Where stabilizer fouling has occurred due to the formation of ammonium chloride and iron salts, a monitored water wash system should also be included.
Level Instrumentation:
Point Level:
Series 3 Float- Actuated External Cage Level Switch
Continuous Level: E3 MODULEVEL Displacer- Actuated Transmitter or ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter or PULSAR Model RX5 Pulse Burst Transmitter
Visual Indication: ORION INSTRUMENTS ATLAS or AURORA Magnetic Level Indicators

COKING OPERATIONS

Coking is the final means of converting the heaviest products of atmospheric and vacuum distillation. Feed is heated and cracked into light gases, gasoline blendstocks, distillates, and gas oil. Level applications for delayed and continuous (contact or fluid) coking include petroleum_refining_process_7the fractionator, light gas oil stripper, steam, condensate, blowdown and settling drums, and vent gas knockout drums.
Challenges: Process conditions that level instrumentation must contend with include high temperatures, high pressures, foaming, and steam. An interface level gauge in drums that are susceptible to foaming will help avoid foam-over and increase coke drum output.
Level Instrumentation:
Point Level: Series 3 Float- Actuated External Cage Level Switch or B40 Float- Actuated Level Switch
Continuous Level: E3 MODULEVEL Displacer-Actuated Transmitter or ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter
Visual Indication: ORION INSTRUMENTS ATLAS or AURORA Magnetic Level Indicators

ISOMERIZATION

petroleum_refining_process_8Isomerization in a variety of process configurations alters the arrangement of atoms to convert normal butane into isobutane, and normal pentane and hexane into high-octane gasoline components. Isomerization is similar to catalytic reforming in that the hydrocarbon molecules are rearranged, though isomerization only converts normal paraffins to isoparaffins.
Challenges: Near the end of the process, reactor effluent is cooled and separated into the liquid product isomerate and a recycle hydrogen-gas stream. Isomerate is caustic-washed and water-washed, acid stripped, and stabilized before going to storage. Stabilizer bottoms and wash tanks require level monitoring.
Level Instrumentation:
Point Level:
Model A15 Displacer- Actuated Level Switch
Continuous Level: E3 MODULEVEL Displacer-Actuated Transmitter; or ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter
Visual Indication: ORION INSTRUMENTS ATLAS or AURORA Magnetic Level Indicators

Petroleum Refining Process Applications

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Level Control for Separation Applications in the Petroleum Refining Process

Reliable level measurement is needed to ensure safety and efficiency throughout the petroleum refining process, particularly in high temperature and high pressure environments. There are a wide range of level control applications for separation operations in petroleum processing. This blog post is the second in a Magnetrol® series on level instrumentation for petroleum refining. Be sure to check out the previous post, from May 26, on level control for treatment applications.

CRUDE STORAGE
petroleum_refining_process_1
Upon arrival at the refinery terminal, crude oil is pumped into above-ground storage tanks with capacities of thousands to millions of gallons. Raw crude is stored in floating- or fixed-roof tanks field-built to API standards. Tank level measurement by noncontact radar has gained share over mechanical float type and servo gauges due to its accuracy, low maintenance, no moving parts and fast set-up.

Challenges:
Tank level is maintained by valve actuation. By triggering an emergency cutoff, level controls prevent overflows and shut down pumps when level falls below low level. Safety-certified controls may be necessary due to crude’s low flash point.

Level Technologies:
Point Level:
Model A15 Displacer-Actuated Level Switch
Continuous Level: Pulsar® Model RX5 Non-Contact (Pulse Burst) Radar Transmitter; or Eclipse® Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter with 7X7 Flexible Twin Rod Probe

CRUDE DEWATERING
All unrefined crude oil stored in tanks has a percentage of water entrained within it, and while stored in tanks, separation naturally occurs with water collecting at the bottom of the tank beneath the oil. The two fluids are very distinct except for a “black water” or “rag” interface layer which is an emulsion of mixed oil and water. To dewater the tank, water ispetroleum_refining_process_2 drawn off of the bottom of the tank and is then sent off to water treatment.

Challenges:
Level controls designed for interface detection will sense the beginning of the oil/water interface during dewatering procedures and provide feedback to a control system which will terminate water draw-off when appropriate.

Level Instrumentation:
Point Level: Model A15 Displacer-Actuated Level Switch
Continuous Level: ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter; or E3 Modulevel® Displacer-Actuated Transmitter

CRUDE DESALTING
Inorganic chlorides, suspended solids, and trace metals found in untreated crude must be removed by chemical or electrostatic desalting. This reduces the risk of acid corrosion, petroleum_refining_process_3plugging, fouling and catalyst poisoning in downstream units. Measurement of the oil/water interface in the desalter is crucial in separating the cleansed crude from contaminants.

Challenges:
Coating and build-up on probes may create interface measurement errors. Instruments susceptible to electrostatic grid interference may require special filters. Interface-dedicated level transmitters fitted with quick-disconnect probes provide optimum performance while reducing cleaning and maintenance time.

Level Instrumentation:
Point Level:
Model A15 Displacer-Actuated Level Switch
Continuous Level: ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter; or E3 MODULEVEL Displacer-Actuated Transmitter

PREFLASH DRUM
Located in the preheat train of the distillation column, a preflash drum system separates petroleum_refining_process_4the vapors generated by preheating before entering the heater or main column. This prevents higher heater firing or pressure drops and reduces vapor loading of the column to avoid flooding.

Challenges:
Preflash drums create moderate foam that can affect measurement accuracy of liquid levels and decrease distillate production in the atmospheric column. Too low of a pre- flash drum level will cause pump cavitation of the flashed crude. Too high of a level will cause liquid carryover to the distillation column.

Level Instrumentation:
Point Level: Series 3 Float-Actuated External Cage Level Switch
Continuous Level: E3 MODULEVEL Displacer-Actuated Transmitter; or ECLIPSE Model 705 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter
Visual Indication: Orion® Instruments Atlas™ or Aurora® Magnetic Level Indicators

DISTILLATION COLUMN
petroleum_refining_process_5
Following desalination, crude oil enters the distillation column where fractional distillation separates hydrocarbons into separate streams, cuts or fractions. For optimum operation of the distillation column, level controls must contend with occurrences of foaming, bubbling and moderate-to-high temperatures.

Challenges:
Sight glasses and displacer systems mounted in external chambers have traditionally provided distillation level measurement. Today, radar retrofitted in these existing chambers is gaining popularity due to radar’s less demanding maintenance schedule and ease of retrofit. High product temperatures necessitate temperature-tolerant level sensors.

Level Instrumentation:
Point Level: Series 3 Float-Actuated External Cage Level Switch
Continuous Level: E3 MODULEVEL Displacer-Actuated Transmitter or ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter
Visual Indication: ORION Instruments ATLAS or AURORA Magnetic Level Indicators

REFLUX ACCUMULATOR
A heat exchanger removes vapor from the upper parts of the fractionator, cools it to a liquid, and pumps it into an accumulator (reflux drum). Reflux pumps then draw liquid from the bottom of the accumulator and pump part of it back (reflux) where it is reintroduced at a lower point in the column. This refluxing process improves separation inpetroleum_refining_process_6 the column by assuring sufficient downward liquid flow meeting the rising vapor.

Challenges:
Accurate and reliable level monitoring and control is necessary for the reflux accumulator to serve as a distribution point for reflux and distillate, and prevent excessive reflux from returning back to the tower.

Level Instrumentation:
Point Level: Series 3 Float-Actuated External Cage Level Switch
Continuous Level: E3 MODULEVEL Displacer-Actuated Transmitter or ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter
Visual Indication: ORION Instruments ATLAS or AURORA Magnetic Level Indicators

COLUMN REBOILER
A heat exchanger positioned near the bottom of the distillation column re-heats and vaporizes liquid and reintroduces the vapor several trays higher. This improves separation petroleum_refining_process_7by introducing more heat into the column. For effective functioning of the reboiling process, level monitoring of the reboiler is required.

Challenges:
In some steam reboilers, the level must be controlled so that only a percentage of tubes are covered. This allows a control scheme to regulate the heat transfer in the reboiler by controlling the percentage of the reboiler tubes covered by liquid. This is a critical control loop as heat transfer into the liquid is a strong function of the percentage of tubes covered.

Level Instrumentation:
Point Level: Series 3 Float-Actuated External Cage Level Switch or Tuffy® II Float- Actuated Switch
Continuous Level: E3 MODULEVEL Displacer-Actuated Transmitter or ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter
Visual Indication: ORION Instruments ATLAS or AURORA Magnetic Level Indicators

SOLVENT EXTRACTION
The heavy fraction remaining following the distillation of crudes is called petroleum resids. A variety of solvent-extraction processes yield deasphalted oil (DAO) from these petroleum_refining_process_8resids. These oils serve as downstream feedstocks for catalytic crackers and hydrocrackers. Depending upon the system configuration, level monitoring of the separator, pre-flash, stripper and hot oil phases may include surge and flash drums, separators and strippers.

Challenges:
Level control is critical because interface level control of the separator feeds the flash drum, whose level feeds the stripper, etc. Application extremes include high temperatures, high pressures, and the presence of steam.

Level Instrumentation:
Point Level:
Series 3 Float-Actuated External Cage Level Switch
Continuous Level: E3 MODULEVEL Displacer-Actuated Transmitter or ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter
Visual Indication: ORION Instruments ATLAS or AURORA Magnetic Level Indicators

Petroleum Refining Process Applications 

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Magnetrol® Announces Higher Process Temperature Ratings for E3 Modulevel® Displacer Level Transmitter

E3_ModulevelMagnetrol® International has announced the release of the E3 Modulevel® displacer level transmitter with an increased upper temperature rating. E3 MODULEVEL transmitters now handle process temperatures of up to +850o F (+454o C) for non-steam applications and +800o F (+427o C) for steam applications. This capability helps protect downstream equipment by providing accurate, reliable liquid and interface level control in extreme process conditions.

Using linear variable differential transformer (LVDT)/range spring technology, E3 MODULEVEL transmitters offer outstanding output stability, structural integrity and ease of use. Vertical in-line design of the transmitter results in low instrument weight and simplified installation.

For a technology overview of E3 MODULEVEL transmitters, visit e3modulevel.magnetrol.com or contact info@magnetrol.com for more information.

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Level Control for Treatment Applications in the Petroleum Refining Process

Chemical treatment in petroleum refining processes requires precise, reliable level control to safely and effectively measure media in high temperature, high pressure and caustic environments. Treatment operations in the petroleum refining process include the following level control applications.

Petroleum Refining Process HydrodesulfurizationHYDRODESULFURIZATION
Catalytic Hydrotreating treats hydrocarbon liquids in the presence of hydrogen. This process removes 90% of the sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen and metals from feedstocks. Hydrotreating can also provide hydrodearomatization (HDAr), heavy diesel hydrocracking (HDHDC), dewaxing and performance enhancements of pyrolysis gasoline and diesel.

Challenges:
Hydrotreatment will necessitate level indication of liquid/gas separators and water wash tanks. Level devices suited for high temperatures and pressures are essential in removing contaminants that can have detrimental effects on equipment, catalysts and the quality of the finished product.

Level Technologies:
Point Level: Series 3 FloatActuated External Cage Level Switch or B40 Float-Actuated Level Switch
Continuous Level: E3 Modulevel® Displacer-Actuated Transmitter or Eclipse® Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter
Visual Indication: Atlas® or Aurora® Magnetic Level Indicators can be supplied with switches or transmitters

Petroleum Refining Process Chemical StorageCHEMICAL STORAGE AND FEED
From acids to water treatment additives, a wide array of chemicals are stored at a refinery in vessels that range in size from plastic totes to large steel tanks. Chemicals such as sulfuric and hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, liquid catalysts, blending additives and water treatment chemicals are essential to a refinery’s day-to-day operation.

Challenges:
Liquid solution storage and day tanks require stringent level monitoring to ensure ongoing chemical processing. The nature of the chemical, the geometry of the holding vessel and the presence of mixers or other hardware will determine the most suitable level technology for the storage or feed application.

Level Technologies:
Point Level: Echotel® Models 910, 961 or 962 Ultrasonic Switches or Tuffy® II FloatActuated Switch
Continuous Level: ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter with Insulated Single Rod Probe
Visual Indication: ATLAS or AURORA MLIs can be supplied with switches or transmitters

Petroleum Refining Process Applications

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Level and Flow Wellhead Instrumentation Enhances Safety and Performance

Reliable wellhead instrumentation for level and flow control is critical to efficient processing and safety shutdown systems required of demanding production applications. The following steps in the wellhead production stream offer opportunities to realize better performance from your wellhead equipment, using level and flow measurement.

Wellhead Oil Field SeparatorWELLSTREAM SEPARATORS
Separators are large drums designed to separate wellstreams into their individual components. They are commonly designed to separate two-phase (gas/liquid) or three-phase (gas/crude/water) wellstreams. Separators are also classified according to horizontal or vertical configuration, operating pressure, turbulent or laminar flow, and test or production separation.

Challenges:
Interface level measurement will actuate a valve to adjust vessel level in the oil separation process. An emulsion layer along the oil/water interface can contaminate the oil with water or the water with oil. Foaming along the gas/liquid interface, if entrained, can cause liquid carryover or gas blow-by.

Level Technologies:
Continuous Level and Interface Level – Provides effective level measurement of gas/liquid interface that is insensitive to foam, to prevent liquid carryover or gas blow-by. Recommended: Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar transmitter
Visual Indication – Delivers technology redundancy and diversity, especially in remote, power-challenged sites where non-powered visual indication is preferred. Recommended: Orion Instruments® AtlasTM or Aurora® magnetic level indicator, or Jupiter® magnetostrictive transmitter
Flow Indication – Detects water level to activate shut-off. Recommended: Thermatel® Model TD2 flow/level/interface switch

Wellhead Storage TanksPROCESS AND STORAGE TANKS
Crude oil and water are stored at the wellhead. Unlike midstream tank farms at terminals and refineries, field storage consists of smaller vessels associated with oil and water processing. Diesel generator fuel, potable water and fire water are also stored.

Challenges:
Wellhead instrumentation that monitors level can provide overflow control and alarm systems or shut down pumps when level falls below the specified low level. Interface controls will sense the beginning of an oil/water interface during tank dewatering and control the water draw-off.

Technologies:
For Oil Tanks:
Continuous Level and Interface Level – Provides effective level measurement of gas/liquid interface that is insensitive to foam, to prevent liquid carryover or gas blow-by. Recommended: ECLIPSE Model 706 guided wave radar transmitter
Point Level – Effective “high alarm” device for overfill prevention. Recommended: Echotel® Model 961 ultrasonic level switch
Visual Indication – Delivers technology redundancy and diversity, especially in remote, power-challenged sites where non-powered visual indication is preferred. Recommended: ORION INSTRUMENTS ATLAS or AURORA magnetic level indicator, or JUPITER magnetostrictive transmitter

For Water Tanks:
Continuous Level – Effective level measurement across a wide range of process conditions. Recommended: Model R82 non-contact radar
Point Level – Effective “high alarm” device for overfill prevention. Recommended: ECHOTEL Model 961 ultrasonic level switch
Visual Indication – Delivers technology redundancy and diversity, especially in remote, power-challenged sites where non-powered visual indication is preferred. Recommended: ORION INSTRUMENTS ATLAS or AURORA magnetic level indicator, or JUPITER magnetostrictive transmitter

Wellhead Vapor Recovery UnitVAPOR RECOVERY UNIT
If allowed to escape into the atmosphere, hydrocarbon vapors diminish income through loss of hydrocarbon volume and create fire hazards and pollution problems. A vapor recovery unit (VRU) collects vapors from storage and loading facilities, reliquifies the vapors and returns the liquid hydrocarbons back to storage. Methods to recover vapors include absorption, condensation, adsorption and simple cooling.

Challenges:
A VRU is a simple, economical process unit that provides EPA compliance and improves operating economies by capturing up to 95% of fugitive emissions.

Technology:
Continuous Flow Indication – Provides precise monitoring of hydrocarbon vapors and flared gases. Recommended: THERMATEL TA2 thermal dispersion mass flow meter

For more information about level and flow control applications in wellhead systems, click the link below.

Wellhead Instrumentation

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Look for Advanced Performance and Safety Benefits When Choosing an Ultrasonic Level Switch

Contact ultrasonic level switch technology was first applied to process control in the 1960s – and continues to provide accurate and reliable liquid level measurement in virtually every process industry today.

How an Ultrasonic Level Sensor Works

An ultrasonic level switch utilizes either continuous-wave or pulsed-signal technology.

Continuous-wave switches use two piezoelectric crystals positioned opposite each other across the transducer gap. The transmit crystal generates an acoustical signal that the receive crystal converts into an electrical signal. When liquid is present in the transducer gap, the amplifier becomes an oscillator causing a relay circuit in the electronics to indicate a wet gap condition. When liquid vacates the gap, the amplifier returns to an idle state.

Pulsed-signal ultrasonic level sensors feature a digital electronic amplifier that produces a powerful pulse of ultrasonic energy five to ten times stronger than most continuous wave units do. This pulsed-signal technology provides more accurate measurement in conditions of aeration, suspended solids, turbulence and highly viscous liquids.

The transmit crystal of pulse signal units generates pulses of high-frequency ultrasonic energy only milliseconds in duration. In between each pulse, the receive crystal “listens” for the transmission. If liquid is present in the gap, the receive crystal detects the pulse and reports a wet gap condition to the electronics. When the gap is filled with air, the receive crystal cannot detect the pulse, and reports a dry gap condition.

Expect Advanced Performance and Enhanced Safety From an Ultrasonic Level Sensor

Ultrasonic contact technology provides liquid level measurement in virtually every process industry, including chemical, petrochemical, power, water and wastewater, pulp and paper, food, and pharmaceutical industries. Ultrasonic level switch devices are typically used in a wide array of industrial applications that can help prevent equipment damage, including pump control, pump protection and seal pot level control. Additionally, ultrasonic contact technology offers important tank overfill protection safety features, including high level alarms, that can help your process plant, pipeline terminal or tank farm comply with API RP 2350 4th edition updates.

Specific design features of ultrasonic level switches are intended to enhance safety in process environments. In the information below, Echotel® contact ultrasonic level switches from Magnetrol® are used to highlight available safety features.ultrasonic_level_switch

  • Low cost single- and dual-point sensing is accurate and reliable in a wide variety of liquids.
  • Dual-point option is ideal for two-alarm safety protocol configuration.
  • Advanced self-test technology provides unsurpassed testing of electronics, transducer, piezoelectric crystals and electromagnetic noise, which makes this technology suitable for use in Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 2 loops.
  • Best-in-class safe failure fraction of greater than 91%.
  • Adjustable time delay for turbulent aerated liquids that prevents false level alarms due to waves or splashing.
  • Integral or remote mount electronics enable easy installation and simple configuration.
  • Remote mount capability keeps workers off top of tank for switch modification.
  • Pulsed signal technology works well in challenging process conditions such as aeration, suspended solids and high viscosities.
  • Extensive FM, CSA and ATEX explosion proof and intrinsically safe approvals.
  • The ability to transmit a stable signal despite liquid property changes in specific gravity, conductivity, pH and dielectric or temperature shifts.
  • Electronic switches contain no moving parts, which prevents degradation and high maintenance costs.

Additionally, ultrasonic level switches compare very favorably to tuning fork technology, which can have a negative impact on performance and profitability due to the time and labor required to calibrate tuning fork level switches. For more information about how ultrasonic level switches compare to tuning forks, view the MAGNETROL video on the subject.

ultrasonic_level_switch_2

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Magnetrol® Announces The “Just Can’t Stop A MAGNETROL” Contest

Magnetrol® International announces the “Just Can’t Stop a MAGNETROL” contest to honor the hardest-working, longest-lasting level switches still in operation. Ever since 640x980_JustCantStop_adMAGNETROL invented and introduced the first mechanical buoyancy switches to process industries over 80 years ago, customers have counted on their exceptional reliability and performance in level control applications – even after decades of service.

MAGNETROL switch owners can visit JustCantStop.Magnetrol.com between May 1, 2015 and October 31, 2015 and submit the device’s age, its application and a photo to be eligible to win one of three prizes:

  • 1st Place: $500 Amazon.com gift card, plus a new MAGENTROL mechanical buoyancy switch
  • 2nd Place: $300 Amazon.com gift card
  • 3rd Place: $100 Amazon.com gift card

First and second place prizes will be awarded based on the age of the unit and a description of the application in which the unit works. Third place prize will be awarded based on a random drawing of all qualified entries.

To enter the contest and for complete contest information, visit JustCantStop.Magnetrol.com.

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Guided Wave Radar Provides Accurate, Cost-Effective Level Measurement for Single Use Systems

A variety of technology solutions can measure level, volume and mass in single use systems utilizing disposable bioprocess bags. These include load cells, floor scales, pressure transmitters and guided wave radar.

In single use systems in bioprocessing, each technology poses its own set of benefits and limitations. For example, load cells, which determine weight, provide accurate, repeatable measurement but at a very high cost.

On the other hand, guided wave radar (GWR) level measurement is a far more cost effective control solution. However, potential difficulties arise when GWR is used in an environment using single use bioprocess bags. The nature of disposable, single use bags (in that they flex, fold and/or inconsistently form to the wall of a tote or bin) can negatively impact the repeatability of GWR level measurement.

Technical Article Demonstrates GWR Repeatability Optimization in Single Use Systems

Guided Wave Radar Operating Principle

Guided Wave Radar Operating Principle

A recently published article in Pharmaceutical Engineering, authored by David Ladoski, principal engineer at Amgen, and Dan Klees, hygienic business manager at Magnetrol®, investigates the use of GWR technology in a wide range of single use system environments. “Investigation of New Level Technologies in Single Use, Disposable Systems” compares variables including stainless steel bins, plastic/polymer and steel totes; solid rod and flexible cable probes; and inside wall and outside probe placement.

The article demonstrates that GWR technology, which typically costs one-third of the price of a load cell system, can deliver repeatability rates as low as 0.25% of total process liquid volume.

Additionally, the article discusses other benefits of GWR technology in single use systems, including the ability to perform periodic calibration verification on a bench dry calibration stand. For more information, we invite you to read the Pharmaceutical Engineering article, or contact Dan Klees at MAGNETROL.

Single Use Systems Article

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