Increasing Energy Efficiency by Tracking Natural Gas With Flowmeters

With today’s increased emphasis on strategic energy management, many throughout the chemical process industries and elsewhere are attempting to obtain better information on the natural gas consumption in their facilities. While custody-transfer flowmeters are typically in place at the property line (to track total gas consumption throughout the facility), the flow to individual combustion sources, such as heaters, furnaces, boilers and so on, generally remains unknown. When armed with better information on actual natural gas utilization, users can optimize the combustion performance by operating combustion processes at peak efficiency.

Similarly, when users measure actual natural gas flow, they are able to determine which of their units is the most efficient. The operating efficiency of furnaces or dryers will vary. Knowing which process unit is the most efficient can result in significant cost savings. For instance, if more than one furnace, dryer or other type of gas-consuming unit is available, the user will be able to choose the combustion unit that provides the highest efficiency.

A Magnetrol® TA2 thermal mass flow meter

A Magnetrol® TA2 thermal mass flow meter

The first step to better energy management and improved energy efficiency is to obtain good measurements of the flow rates of each individual combustion source. In addition to providing tools for improving energy management, the measurement of the natural gas utilized by individual combustion sources may also permit users to meet the regulatory requirements for determining emissions by reporting actual (rather than estimated) natural gas usage for each individual combustion source within the facility.

Concerns When Installing Flowmeters

There are many different ways to measure the flow of gases. The difficulty in obtaining good gas flow measurements is the simple fact that gases are compressible, and thus the volume of the gas is dependent upon the pressure and temperature at the point of measurement.

Chemical engineers will recall the basic concepts of the Ideal Gas Law, whereby gas volume is proportional to the temperature and inversely proportional to the pressure. This complicates gas flow measurement because, with the exception of thermal mass and Coriolis flowmeters, many gas flow measurement technologies measure the flow at the actual operating pressure and temperature.

Thermal Mass Flowmeters

Thermal mass flowmeters provide an inferred measurement of the mass flow of the gases passing through them. Specifically, thermal mass flowmeters measure heat transfer that is caused as the molecules (hence, the mass) of gas flow past a heated surface. The relationship between heat transfer and mass flow is obtained during the calibration of the instrument.

In addition to providing a mass flow measurement without the need for additional devices to correct for pressure and temperature (as is required with many other flow measurement devices), thermal flowmeters also provide the following advantages:

  • Lower flow sensitivity. A thermal mass flowmeter will easily measure flow rates that are much lower than those that can be measured using orifice plates or vortex flowmeters. This permits a thermal flowmeter to be retrofitted into existing natural gas pipes using a simple NPT (national pipe thread) thread or flange connection on the pipe. This simplifies installation compared to other flowmeters, which may require a reduction in the pipe size in order to obtain the desired rangeability.
  • Higher turndown capabilities. Some combustion systems may have a high natural gas firing rate during initial warm-up operation and then, once the desired temperature has been obtained, the flowrate of the gas is typically reduced to maintain the desired operating temperature. A thermal mass flowmeter can easily handle this range, which may be difficult to obtain with other technologies.
  • Simplified installation. An insertion device permits simplicity of installing the flowmeter using NPT connection, flange, compression fitting or even a complete retractable probe assembly. Using a “hot tap” permits the user to install the flowmeter without having to shut down the operation. The insertion design also permits the use of the same instrument in different pipe sizes. Some use the insertion probe as a semi-portable instrument and reconfigure the transmitter for the different pipe sizes.
  • Lower pressure drop. There is virtually no pressure drop when using a thermal mass flowmeter. This is advantageous in low-pressure applications where other technologies would consume operating pressure.

More Information

Magnetrol® produces a thermal mass flowmeter, the Thermatel® TA2, which can be used for natural gas applications. To learn more about the THERMATEL TA2 and other advantages of flowmeters, please visit


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How to Minimize Your Insurance Risk With Overfill Protection

The oil and gas industry is no stranger to incidents that have resulted in stricter regulations and guidelines for operating safely and responsibly. Since the Buncefield overfill accident in 2005, overfill protection has had a spotlight on it from global regulatory organizations to make sure this type of accident does not happen again.

Both American Petroleum Institute (API) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have instituted new guidelines to help ensure proper overfill prevention through management systems and safety-integrated systems of level measurement in storage tanks. All of these guidelines are targeted at reducing the risk of a Buncefield-type incident occurring at any storage terminal on a global scale. There are benefits to risk reduction that go beyond just incident prevention, including a reduction in liability insurance for storage terminals. Storage terminal operators and insurance providers have different perspectives on liability insurance and how they evaluate and minimize the risk.

overfill protection

Protect your plant against accidents and disasters.

Assessing Insurance Risk

Insurance agencies look at how much a storage terminal location has minimized the risk of events deemed catastrophic to the environment and employees. Overfill protection is one aspect of the risk reduction that is reviewed for liability insurance. The insurance agency will review the local jurisdictional requirements and industry guidelines when determining the insurance rates. During this review, the insurance agent is looking for evidence that the safety measures are properly maintained, as well as that each safety measure is functioning properly. It is important for the devices that are used as safety guards to have an ability to be easily tested and maintained.

Many insurance agencies will make recommendations based on failure modes they have experienced to ensure safety. These recommendations include processes to maintain operation, but also features of the level transmitters or switches themselves. Level transmitters for tank level should have internal diagnostics that are able to identify issues when they exist. Level alarms (or switches) should be able to be proof tested either electronically or manually to ensure proper functioning. By choosing the appropriate level transmitters and switches with these capabilities, the overall risk of an incident is reduced and the insurance premium is much lower.

Assessing Operation Risk

From the insurance customer’s perspective, the narrative changes. Plant operations staff are concerned with the ability to operate profitably based on expenses and costs. Storage terminals have to deal with both fixed and variable costs that must be managed in order to operate profitably. As it was noted above, this can be managed by making sure that risk has been reduced across the terminal. Operators can receive the recommendations of the insurance agencies and work to make the best selections of their level instrumentation based on those recommendations. Typically, they can expect to be audited by the insurance entity (external or internal) to review their level instrumentation annually, so it is important to stay compliant. Operators take on a large amount of risk by not following the recommendations of the insurance agencies and could face fines for not complying with industry standards if an incident were to occur. They can evaluate the level instrumentation on the market, but it can help to get guidance from suppliers that parallels the insurance agency recommendations.

Level Transmitter and Switch Providers

By selecting the appropriate level instrumentation, a storage terminal site can demonstrate that it has taken measures to reduce the risk of overfill or other hazardous situations. As level instrumentation technology has advanced, continuous level transmitters have become more prevalent in storage terminal level control. There are many transmitters on the market that have self-diagnostics that are constantly running to assess the health of the device. Based on the storage terminal’s assessment of critical tank levels, the transmitter can identify when these levels are reached, allowing ample time to remove product from the tank as part of the overfill protection system.

Beyond previously using point level controls, continuous level measurement devices can provide real time level readings to control rooms while tanks are being filled/emptied. This helps the operator reduce the risk of having a dangerous event by knowing the tank level in real time. A further risk reduction step is to utilize additional point level controls as the failsafe alarms. The continuous level device can have the output set to alarm certain functions, but if those were to fail, then the additional alarms at high and low level can provide emergency shut down or emergency pumping of product to avoid an overfill. These devices can be as simple as a mechanical level switch with manual proof test capability, or they can be as sophisticated as an electronic point level switch using ultrasonic technology with built in self-test diagnostics. Either of these are industry acceptable and provide an added layer of protection to meet industry standards and reduce overfill risk.

More Information

Magnetrol® has produced an overfill protection kit with resources to help you comply with regulations like API RP 2350 and minimize your insurance risk. Visit to download the kit today.


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There’s No Debate: It Pays to Take Control of Your Heat Rate

In this election year, two hot-button issues have been energy efficiency and cost control. Politicians on a local and national level have argued over the challenges these topics present in today’s business climate.

However, one point that’s not debatable is the potential savings a power plant can realize by improving efficiency. Taking control of your heat rate can help you use energy more efficiently, minimize fuel costs and improve your bottom line.

Here’s fact that underscores the point very clearly: Improving heat rate by merely 1% can generate $500,000 in annual savings for a 500-megawatt power plant. (A 1% improvement in heat rate is worth $500,000 in annual fuel cost savings based on: Fuel cost of $1.25/million Btu, Capacity factor of 85% and Boiler efficiency of 88%.)

Two Causes of Heat Rate Inefficiency and Fuel Cost Acceleration

Fuel expenditures are often the largest production expense for power plants. For most power plant operators, these expenditures account for 70% to 80% of production costs.

heat rate

Eclipse® Model 706 Guided Wave Radar

It’s also important to note that as a plant ages it becomes even less efficient. Most power plants have a life expectancy of 30 to 40 years, and many plants are at or reaching their operational longevity.

In addition, older plants often use outdated level technologies that cannot achieve a performance level sufficient to manage controllable losses due to instrument-induced errors.

Here are two causes of heat rate inefficiency that can be overcome.

  1. Mechanical or electronic drift due to aging instrumentation, moving parts or intrinsic design. Torque tube/displacer technology requires calibration between shutdowns to achieve reasonable accuracy and prevent nuisance deviation alarms between multiple level transmitters. In addition, this technology may take too long to respond to rapid level changes due to dampening effects that are fundamental to its principle of operation.
  1. Measurement technology that is vulnerable to process conditions.
    Shifts in specific gravity and the dielectric constant of media related to variations in process pressure and temperature affect the accuracy of differential pressure, magnetostrictive, RF capacitance and torque tube/displacer technologies. As a result, these technologies cannot provide accurate level from startup to operational temperatures without applying external correction factors – or can only deliver the specified accuracy at operational temperatures. To compound the issue, calibrations performed on these technologies during a shutdown often require adjustment when the process reaches operating temperature to maintain acceptable control and prevent unnecessary deviation alarms.

The bottom line is that aging level instrumentation combined with instrument-induced errors negatively impacts heat rate and fuel costs.

Proven Technologies for Heat Rate Reduction Efforts

Power plant operators that want to reduce their heat rate should consider highly accurate level control solutions needed to satisfy the most complex applications.

Magnetrol® provides a full array of innovative and reliable level measurement solutions, including the industry-leading guided wave radar:

Eclipse® 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter

Why Choose It: Leading edge level transmitter designed to provide measurement performance well beyond that of many of the more traditional technologies.

Key Benefits:

  • Complete proactive diagnostics with automated waveform capture
  • Available with DTMs and allows for HART or Foundation FieldbusTM installations
  • Accurately measures from the bottom to the top of the probe for small ranges without a dead zone or transition zone
  • Superior signal-to-noise ratio

MAGNETROL provides effective solutions to help make all of your level applications – including feedwater heaters, condenser hotwells, deaerators, cooling towers, air heaters and compressed/instrument air – as efficient as possible.

More Information

For more information about managing heat rate and controllable losses, visit

heat rate

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E3 Modulevel® Displacer Level Transmitter Outperforms Torque Tubes

For continuous liquid level measurement, many operators turn to a displacer level transmitter to monitor their applications. The two main technologies that are used as displacer level transmitters are torque tubes and range spring/LVDT (Linear Variable Differential Transformer) technologies. There are substantial advantages to range spring/LVDT technologies over torque tubes. Magnetrol® produces a range spring displacer level transmitter, the E3 Modulevel®, which is suitable for a wide range of applications, from light hydrocarbons to viscous slurries. Below are some of the many reasons why the E3 MODULEVEL is the superior choice for liquid level measurement:

displacer level transmitter

E3 Modulevel® displacer level transmitter

Advantages of the E3 Modulevel®

  • Increased sensor motion. MAGNETROL displacer transmitter output is produced by 1¼ inches of sensor movement, almost twice as much motion compared to the ⅝ of an inch of sensor movement that produces torque tube output. This increased motion leads to a stable output without a need for artificial damping or flow restriction.
  • Greater output stability. Torque tubes are generally oversensitive, producing an unstable output. The range spring technology in a MAGNETROL displacer level transmitter dampens the effect of vibration and turbulence. Not only does this result in an output with four times the stability, it also provides reliable measurement for tougher applications.
  • Decreased wear and tear. Torque tubes are constructed with a knife-edge bearing that leads to a point of stress, where wear and tear can significantly damage the function of the instrument. Vertical range spring movement is friction-free, eliminating the potential for wear and tear.
  • A smaller footprint. E3 MODULEVEL transmitters weigh 30% less than torque tubes, and are more compact, for a smaller footprint in the application and easier maintenance.
  • Enhanced remote mount capabilities. The E3 MODULEVEL can be mounted up to 400 feet away from the application and still perform at top levels. In contrast to that, torque tubes must be mounted no more than 30 feet away from the application in order to function.
  • Flexibility. Unlike a torque tube, the head of the E3 MODULEVEL can be removed without depressurizing the process or chamber if maintenance is required. In addition, the head can also be rotated 360° to accommodate any installation. Torque tubes must have their installation angle specified during manufacture and cannot be changed in the application.

More Information
For more information on the E3 MODULEVEL and how it can help improve the efficiency of your application, visit

displacer level transmitter

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Level and Flow Solutions for the Life Sciences Industry

The profitability and product quality of any life sciences industry facility is dependent upon sustaining the highest standards in cleanliness, sterility and process control through accurate, reliable process measurements. Bio-pharmaceutical sanitation regimens destroy residual organisms in process equipment like reactors and fermenters, and prevent product contamination between production batches. All life science industries rely on the aggressive cleaning processes of clean-in-place (CIP) and sterilize-in-place (SIP) to achieve their sanitation goals.

life sciences industry 2

Hygienic flow switch applications include foam detection, CIP operations and Water For Injection (WFI) systems.

Instrumentation Considerations for the Life Sciences Industry

Using hygienic instrumentation is one way for processes to maintain the cleanliness and sterility of their equipment, whether the hygienic component is the media contact surface of the instrument (such as its probe), or the entire instrument (both probe and housing). Some key characteristics of hygienic instruments are as follows:

  • Manufactured from materials selected for their microbial resistance
  • Stainless steel materials are processed to a surface smoothness that reduces the possibility of bacterial adhesion
  • Products are free from indentations or incorrect radii where bacteria harbor
  • Designed to foster the draining away of cleaning solutions and other liquids
  • Can be specified to withstand aggressive chemicals and sterilization

Applications that involve hazardous materials, such as solvent or alcohol recovery, may require level instruments with explosion-proof (XP) approvals. Due principally to the robust construction of its electronics housing, an XP instrument has been certified to withstand an internal explosion without allowing hot gases or flames to escape from the housing to trigger an explosion in the surrounding atmosphere.

Level and Flow Instruments for Life Sciences Applications

Magnetrol® produces a line of hygienic instruments which are suitable for a wide range of life sciences industry applications, including:

  • Air/compressed air
  • Bioreactors
  • Bubble traps
  • Buffer prep
  • Bulk storage
  • Fermentation
  • Filtration systems
  • Media prep
  • Process/waste gas
  • Pump protection
  • Sanitized water production
  • Single use systems
  • Solvent tanks
  • Tank blanketing
  • Waste treatment

To learn more about the hygienic instruments that MAGNETROL manufactures, download the Life Sciences Industry applications brochure.

life sciences industry

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Frequently Asked Questions About PACTware™ Software

In order to optimize performance of instruments, operators need reliable software that can be used to configure a device for the specific application. In the past, it has often been necessary to use several different manufacturer-specific programs to operate different field instruments to their fullest capacity. PACTware™ software was created to solve this problem and enable any and all adjustment of instruments with only one tool. Many Magnetrol® products are available with custom DTMs that are compatible with PACTWARE. This blog post will answer some frequently asked questions about this software tool:

What are FDT, PACTWARE and DTM?

FDT (Field Device Tool) is an interface code that describes the standardization between a frame program such as PACTWARE and manufacturer-specific DTMs. Its promise is achievement of the elusive ideal of interoperability; any host system working via any communication protocol (e.g., HART, Fieldbus, Profibus) to any field transmitter.

PACTWARE (Process Automation Configuration Tool) is a frame program that operates on a PC or control system. It is a device-independent software program that communicates with all approved DTMs.

A DTM (Device Type Manager) is not a stand-alone program. It is a device-specific software driver designed to operate within a frame program such as PACTWARE. It includes all special information needed to communicate with a specific device (e.g., Eclipse® Model 706, Pulsar® Model R96, etc.). There are two basic categories of DTMs—Communication (e.g., HART, Fieldbus, Profibus) and Field Device (e.g., ECLIPSE GWR transmitter). DTMs allow MAGNETROL to present their level devices to the user in a way that is simple and easy to use.

What capabilities do these different software programs offer me?

Utilizing DTMs with PACTWARE offers a broad range of monitoring, configuration and troubleshooting capabilities:

  • Level monitoring
  • Viewing, configuration and saving of all parameters
  • Viewing echo wave form
  • Capturing false target rejection profile
  • Trending data including level, signal quality, loop and %output
  • Viewing of Diagnostic conditions

Level Monitoring
Continuously viewing the level in a tank is the starting point for this new software. Position of liquid level can be viewed on the Home Screen in a simple graphical format. Level and output values are shown numerically as well. This screen can be left open to show the relative position of the liquid level.

PACTWare software 1

View and Configure All Parameters
Every parameter in the PULSAR and ECLIPSE radar transmitters can be monitored and modified remotely with a few clicks of the mouse. From units of measure to settings for dielectric range, each parameter can be viewed or changed to suit application conditions. Parameters can be developed offline or saved from one transmitter and loaded to another. Easy to use tabs and icons show the major commissioning categories of Identity, Basic Configuration, I/O Configuration, and Local Display Configuration, along with Advanced and Factory Configuration.

PACTWare Software 2


The ability to trend data over a period of time allows insight into overall operation of a device. For example, trending the LEVEL, SIGNAL STRENGTH and LOOP values is invaluable when attempting advanced configuration or troubleshooting. PACTWARE PC software also has the ability to track all parameters including DISTANCE and %OUTPUT. The vertical and horizontal scales can be manipulated to show as much or as little data as necessary. The data can also be saved as a picture (*.bmp) or data (*.txt) file.

Echo Curve Capture

An oscilloscope can be a handy tool when troubleshooting electronic equipment. Few companies own one and fewer people know how to use them. The ability to view an echo waveform is a classic example of “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Now any operator can see into the vessel through the eyes of an ECLIPSE transmitter. The Echo Curve screen yields a wealth of useful information such as configuration parameters, thresholds and level location that can be used to optimize performance.

PACTWare Software 3


How can I learn more information about PACTWARE?

MAGNETROL has produced a brochure with more information about PACTWARE software compatibility with our instrumentation. To learn more, please download the brochure.

PACTWare Software 4

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Level and Flow Solutions for WFI Distillation Skids

Many industries require water purified beyond the standard municipal water supply. Two industrial purified water standards are U.S. Pharmacopoeia Purified Water (USP PW) and Water-for-Injection (WFI) —the highest purity industrial water. PW and WFI are widely used in the food & beverage, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, biotech, and electronics industries. Industrial operators can configure their PW and WFI distillation as modular skid systems, enabling high-purity water to be generated easily and cost-effectively for a variety of applications. This blog is the final post in an occasional Magnetrol® blog series on modular skid systems and will discuss level and flow solutions for WFI distillation skids.

WFI Distillation Skid

Incorporating a multiple-effect still, this skid generates highly pure Water-for-Injection. The still can be configured to produce pure steam as an option. Level instrumentation should be of a hygienic design.

WFI production consists of a series of interconnected pressure vessels. These are called distillation columns (or effects). On each column a heat exchanger acts as an evaporator, its upper chamber used to separate pyrogens. The purified water is stored in a dedicated WFI tank.

WFI distillation skids

Level and Flow Applications

  1. WFI Pump Protection
    Whether caused by a closed valve or by pump cavitation, pumps operating in a reduced or no-flow condition can overheat, rupture the pump’s seal and cause a dangerous deviation in process pressure and temperature. A flow switch along a pump’s discharge piping will actuate an alarm and shut down the pump when liquid flow drops below the minimum flow rate.
    Flow Alarm: Thermatel® Model TD1/TD2 Thermal Dispersion Switch for low-flow cutoff (Hygienic THERMATEL designs are available)
  1. Distillation Column Level
    Depending upon its configuration, a WFI skid may contain one distillation column (Single-Effect Still); or, four or more columns (Multiple-Effect Still). Level switches in the separation columns provide control for the feedwater supply and feature alarm capabilities to ensure that all columns are operating at correct liquid levels.
    Continuous Level: Eclipse® Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter or E3 Modulevel® Displacer Transmitter
    Point Level: Model B35 External Cage Float Switch; or Echotel® Model 960/961 Hygienic Ultrasonic Switch
  1. WFI Storage Tank
    Stainless steel WFI tanks typically utilize hygienic clamp-style connections, an aseptic manway, and a spray ball for interior sanitization. The vessel and all components are fabricated to ASME Section VIII, Division 1 requirements. Tank sizes may range from 250- to 10,000-gallons (945- to 37,800-liters). A hygienic level controller monitors the tank level and can activate an alarm in the event of underfill and overfill conditions.
    Continuous Level: ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter; Pulsar® Model R96 Radar Transmitter or Model R82 Radar Transmitter
    Point Level: ECHOTEL Model 960/961 Hygienic Ultrasonic Switch


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Redundant Level Measurement for Chemical Overfill Prevention

In the chemical industry, level instrumentation is required to measure continuous liquid levels in flammable tanks and to prevent potential overfill. Chemical plants stringently enforce environment, health, and safety (EH&S or HS&E) management practices with the expectation that their suppliers have a similar culture. One way of achieving a high level of reliability in instrumentation is to provide redundant level measurement using separate technologies—in many cases, one technology for continuous measurement and the other as a high level switch for overfill prevention.

Case Study: Chemical Overfill Prevention

Magnetrol® was able to assist a chemical manufacturer in making their plants safer through the usage of two technologies for redundant level measurement. “KMCO is one of the world’s largest tolling facilities and our customer base reaches all over the world,” said Daniel Charles, an engineering manager for KMCO in Crosby, Texas. “Because of the turnover of multiple products in tanks, finding the right fit for a level transmitter was difficult. We went through several vendors and couldn’t quite get what we needed. After meeting MAGNETROL, we knew we were going on the right path.”

Redundant Technology for Reliable Measurement

chemical overfill prevention

KMCO installation with Echotel® 961 ultrasonic high level switch (left) and Eclipse® 706 guided wave radar (right)

Guided wave radar (GWR) technology was chosen for continuous level measurement in the facility. GWR is the fastest growing level measurement technology in the market, with MAGNETROL pioneering the first of its kind in the late 90s. The MAGNETROL GWR transmitter, Eclipse 706®, is a two-wire, 24 VDC loop-powered transmitter based upon the technology of time domain reflectometry (TDR). TDR utilizes pulses of electromagnetic energy transmitted down a wave guide (probe). When a pulse reaches a surface that has a higher dielectric constant than air, a portion of the pulse is reflected. The transmit time of the pulse is then measured.

For redundancy and greater safety, MAGNETROL also recommended ultrasonic gap switches, a popular technology for high level indication. The ultrasonic transducers can be supplied in single or dual-gap design, and with relay or two-wire current shift outputs from the electronics. The MAGNETROL Echotel® ultrasonic contact switches utilize ultrasonic energy to detect the presence or absence of liquid. They are available for single point (Model 961) or dual point (Model 962) level detection. Both GWR and ultrasonic gap switches are suitable for use in Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 2 loops.

Due to space limitations and the added expense of having multiple process connections, KMCO requested to have both technologies installed on the same process connection—a single 3″ flange. Open communication and accurate feedback allowed for the special design to be accommodated. Wireless communication was also desired, and the level devices were seamlessly integrated into the third-party wireless transmitter.

The Results

KMCO was impressed with the ease of installation and reliability of the MAGNETROL transmitters. “By using MAGNETROL products, we are able to make the operator more productive and make the process safer,” Charles said. “Using MAGNETROL has streamlined our tank level indication installation, allowing us to install more for less cost than the competitors. We have over 1,000 tanks at our facility and with the customer service and quality products we receive from MAGNETROL, it will just be a matter of time before all of them have MAGNETROL devices to depend on.”

More Information

For more information on level technologies for overfill prevention, visit

overfill prevention

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Level Solutions for Turbine and Compressor Wash Skids

Industrial gas turbines are used in plants throughout the power industry. While these turbines can be very effective in generating power, fouling on the compressor blades of a gas turbine can diminish performance of the turbine and reduce the power output of the plant. The cause of fouling comes principally from dust and lubricating oil leakage from the compressor’s main bearings. This results in a buildup of oily dirt and dust that causes increased surface roughness that can result in pitting of the blades. Performance gains of 2 to 4 percent are often achieved by regular cleaning. Using a turbine and compressor wash can help achieve a cleaner system.

Plant operators are increasingly configuring their wash units as modular skid systems in order to reduce site disruption and simplify the process. This post discusses level solutions for turbine and compressor wash skids and is part of an occasional Magnetrol® blog series on modular skid systems.

Turbine and Compressor Wash Skids

Online/offline wash skids are used to store, pump and heat solutions for cleaning turbine blades and vanes. Skids range from small, wheeled carts to large, fixed-skid installations that clean multiple generators.

Turbine and compressor wash skids typically consist of an electric heater, cleaning solution, mixing and storage tanks, wastewater tanks, control system, pumps, instrumentation, valves and interconnects. Updated water wash pumping systems use a variable frequency drive (VFD) to accurately control high-pressure water flow.

turbine and compressor wash skids

Level Solutions

  1. Cleaning Solution Mix Tank
    Mixing and blending the detergent concentrate with water is essential to the cleaning operation. An impeller in the mixing vessel accomplishes the blending of water and concentrates. Level controls monitor the mix tank and trigger alarms in the event of tank underfill or overfill incidents.
    Continuous Level: Eclipse® Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter; Pulsar® Model RX5 Radar Transmitter or Model R82 Radar Transmitter
    Point Level: Model B35 External Cage Float Switch; or Echotel® Model 940/941 Ultrasonic Switch
  1. Detergent Concentrate Storage
    To create the turbine wash solution, precise quantities of detergent concentrates are injected into the mix tank by a metering pump system. Concentrate storage tanks require stringent level monitoring in order to maintain continuous availability of the cleaning solution.
    Continuous Level: ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter; E3 Modulevel® Displacer Transmitter; PULSAR Model R96 Radar Transmitter or Model R82 Radar Transmitter
    Point Level: Tuffy® II Float Level Switch or ECHOTEL Model 910 Ultrasonic Switch
  1. Cleaning Solution Storage Tank
    The process-ready cleaning solution is stored in a metal or plastic tank. Tank level controls actuate tank-filling operations and protect against underfill and overfill conditions.
    Continuous Level: ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter; E3 MODULEVEL Displacer Transmitter; PULSAR Model R96 Radar Transmitter; Model R82 Radar Transmitter or ECHOTEL Model 355 Non-Contact Ultrasonic Transmitter
    Point Level: TUFFY II Float Level Switch or ECHOTEL 910 Ultrasonic Switch
  1. Spent Wash Solution Tank
    Spent water wash is collected in a dedicated collection tank and is periodically discharged as wastewater. Level monitoring will actuate fill valves and trigger an alarm in the event of an overfill incident.
    Continuous Level: ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitter; PULSAR Model R96 Radar Transmitter; Model R82 Radar Transmitter or ECHOTEL Model 355 Non-Contact Ultrasonic Transmitter
    Point Level: TUFFY II Float Level Switch or ECHOTEL Model 961/962 Ultrasonic Switch


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Improving the Efficiency of Industrial Steam Generation: Case Studies

Steam generation is an essential part of numerous industries. Although the pulp and paper industry is one of the largest producers of steam outside power generation, the primary metals, petroleum refining, chemical process, and food processing industries also allocate significant portions of their total energy consumption, anywhere from 10% to 60%, to the production of steam. Effective instrumentation solutions can improve the efficiency of industrial steam generation, helping plants to reduce fuel consumption, ensure product screen-shot-2016-09-01-at-4-40-09-pmquality and lower maintenance costs.

Two industrial plants implemented level control throughout the steam generation cycle and saw improved results. Here are the stories of how better instrumentation led to more efficiency throughout industrial steam generation.

Case Study #1: J.R. Simplot Fertilizer Plant

Operators at the J.R. Simplot fertilizer plant decided to optimize the efficiency of their existing steam system. For a cost of $180,000, a number of repairs were implemented and new instrumentation was installed. The focus was on improving boiler operation and increasing condensate recovery. The plant achieved this in a variety of ways, including improving its insulation and repairing steam traps. J.R. Simplot also began using recycled steam for greater energy efficiency. The result was a cost savings of $335,000 a year and energy savings of 75,000 MMBtu. J.R. Simplot saw a return on investment less than seven months after implementing these changes.

Case Study #2: Goodyear Tire Plant

The Goodyear tire plant needed to improve steam system efficiency in order to better manage cost and energy. There were three main components to the improvement process in the tire plant:

  • Phase 1: boiler operation optimization—boilers were tuned to reduce excess oxygen and lower fuel consumption.
  • Phase 2: a heat exchanger was installed to raise makeup water temperature using energy in condensate, enabling the plant to recover process waste heat.
  • Phase 3: insulation was added to process equipment in order to lower steam system energy consumption.

Goodyear spent $180,000 on implementation and saw a return on investment in less than three months. The improvements to the steam system resulted in a cost savings of $875,000 annually and energy savings of 93,000 MMBtu.

More Information

Optimizing the industrial steam generation cycle and condensate recovery process can reduce spending and increase energy efficiency in your industry plant. To learn more about instrumentation for all aspects of the steam generation cycle, visit

steam generation

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