Level Measurement Solutions for Acid Settling Tanks

Alkylation is a combining process that creates alkylate, a premium, high-octane blending stock. Many refineries have alkylation units in order to increase their capacity for producing valuable end products. The reactor effluent flows to a large tank within the unit, which allows for separation of the acid/hydrocarbon emulsion created in the reactor. These devices are known as acid settling tanks. acid settling tanks

Magnetrol® has produced an applications brochure for the petroleum refining industry detailing level measurement challenges and solutions for each step of the refining process. This blog post is part of an occasional series exploring each application in detail.

Level Measurement Challenges and Considerations

Interface level control of an acid settling tank 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.

Sight glasses have traditionally measured level in acid settling tanks, but these are susceptible to plugging and require diligent flushing at regular intervals. More reliable instrumentation is needed to ensure safety and keep the unit running efficiently.

Level Measurement Solutions

MAGNETROL has produced level measurement solutions for acid settling tanks:

  • For point level
    Model A15 displacer-actuated level switch
  • For continuous level
    Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar transmitter or E3 Modulevel® displacer-actuated transmitter
  • For visual indication
    Atlas or Aurora® magnetic level indicators can be supplied with switches or transmitters

More Information

For more information on level measurement solutions for acid settling tanks or other petroleum refining applications, download the petroleum refining brochure. And for more information on interface level measurement, download the interface brochure.

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Case Study: Accurately Measuring Level in a Molten Sulfur Pit

Not every level measurement application is straightforward. In some instances, the nature of the substance being measured creates a hostile measurement atmosphere requiring creative solutions. Without reliable instruments in these environments, the level measurement readings can be inaccurate and cause significant problems.

Magnetrol® produces a broad portfolio of level instrumentation designed to tackle tough challenges. This blog post shares the story of a company that found a reliable way to measure their most challenging application, a sulfur pit, using MAGNETROL instrumentation.

Application Challenges

A gas production company required an accurate level measurement in a molten sulfur pit. Previously, the company used a bubble system that required regular maintenance and recalibration to keep it operational. Obtaining an accurate level measurement is difficult in this application due to both the low dielectric of the process medium and dry sulfur buildup. In addition, the relatively high temperature (300 °F / 150 °C) and the corrosive properties of the molten sulfur increased the demands for service and maintenance.

Application Solution

The MAGNETROL Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar transmitter provides accurate and reliable level measurements in difficult process conditions. When compared to other technologies, the ECLIPSE requires less maintenance and does not need calibration. To ensure the maximum accuracy and reliability, MAGNETROL equipped the Model 706 with a Model 7YF single-rod probe.

sulfur pit

An Eclipse® Model 706 working to measure the molten sulfur pit.

Before the ECLIPSE was accepted as the molten sulfur pit level control device, it was tested and monitored. Plant operators using the manual hand-dipped method checked each measurement made by the ECLIPSE. After two weeks of testing, the performance of the ECLIPSE was verified and its application was endorsed.

The single-rod probe performed well despite the problems that can be caused by sulfur buildup or coating. A strong pulse was still detected from the liquid surface despite the buildup.

Reliable level measurement of molten sulfur in a pit is difficult to obtain. The ECLIPSE proved to be an excellent solution for process level control that was not adversely affected by high temperature, probe build-up, or the corrosive properties of the media measured.

More Information

For more information on ECLIPSE guided wave radar and related applications, visit our radar site.

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20 Years of Innovation: Guided Wave Radar at Magnetrol®

The popular loop-powered transmitters we know as guided wave radar (GWR) burst onto the scene in the late 1990s. Here are some insights into this breakthrough technology and the effect it has had on the level measurement world.

In GWR transmitters, the principle of time domain reflectometry (TDR) utilizes pulses of high frequency electromagnetic energy to measure distances. When a pulse reaches a dielectric discontinuity created by the surface of the process medium, the pulse is reflected and modern low power circuitry measures the time of flight.

Magnetrol® experts were among the pioneers in the field of guided wave radar. In 1998, MAGNETROL released the first guided wave radar transmitter, the Eclipse® Model 705. Over the years, the ECLIPSE family has expanded to include a variety of probes for a broad range of applications, an enhanced version of the Model 705, and most recently the high-performance, cutting-edge Model 706 with best-in-class performance.

guided wave radar

The Eclipse® 706.

Initially, the ECLIPSE was not considered to be very revolutionary. Why would a customer use a “RF capacitance-looking device” with a probe? Non-contact devices were also available at that time, and appeared to have clear advantages over a contacting device. With ultrasonic and radar transmitters already carving out their own niche in the marketplace, installing a probe seemed almost archaic.

However, what the process industries have discovered over the past 20 years is that a probe contacting the process medium can be the key to accurate level measurement in those difficult low dielectric, high temperature applications. A probe offers a conductive path into the vessel upon which the extremely low energy signal can travel. This allows the maximum amount of energy to reach the surface, where it is reflected and sent back to the transmitter for interpretation. Liquids with very low dielectrics and specific gravities can be measured accurately. In addition, since the probe is a conductive path that maintains control of the signal, energy is not scattered within the tank where it can encounter objects that can create false targets. In other words, the initial perceived weakness of the product requiring a probe is actually the strength of the entire system.

The ECLIPSE family has also solved many nagging measurement problems over the 20 years of its existence. One major issue often found with radar devices is a relatively low signal-to-noise ratio, or SNR. If there is a noise level interfering with detection of the actual signal, level measurement can be affected. MAGNETROL leads the industry in guided wave radar devices with superior SNR. ECLIPSE devices also feature Overfill Safe Operation, a function that allows the probe to measure true level throughout the tank, with no “dead zones” at the top of the probe.

Difficult process conditions, such as high-temperature, high-pressure, or saturated steam applications, do not affect ECLIPSE devices, which are able to measure accurately even in challenging environments. These are just a few of the ways that MAGNETROL guided wave radar transmitters stand head and shoulders above other radar-based products.

MAGNETROL continues to innovate in the field of guided wave radar, as we have for the past 20 years. To learn more about our transmitters, visit radar.magnetrol.com.

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Level Measurement Solutions for Hydrocracking

Fluid catalytic cracking is the standard way for petroleum refining plants to convert low-value feedstocks into valuable end products. However, not all feedstocks can be processed in this way. Heavier feedstock that is difficult to process by catalytic cracking or reforming can be converted by hydrocracking. There are two primary chemical reactions that occur in a hydrocracker: catalytic cracking of heavy hydrocarbons into unsaturated hydrocarbons; and the saturation of these hydrocarbons with hydrogen.

By combining catalytic cracking and hydrogenation to crack feedstock in the presence of hydrogen, hydrocracking produces gasoline and distillate blending streams. Petroleum refining plants can increase their distillate yield by including a hydrocracker in their plant. About a dozen different hydrocracking process schemes are in current use. hydrocracking

Magnetrol® has produced an applications brochure for the petroleum refining industry detailing level measurement challenges and solutions for each step of the refining process. This blog post is part of an occasional series exploring each application in detail.

Level Measurement Challenges and Considerations

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 must be able to withstand these punishing environments and still deliver accurate, reliable measurement.

Level Measurement Solutions

 MAGNETROL has produced level measurement solutions for hydrocracking:

  • For point level:
    Series 3 float-actuated external cage level switch or B40 float-actuated level switch
  • For continuous level:
    Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar transmitter or E3 Modulevel® displacer-actuated transmitter
  • For visual indication:
    Atlas or Aurora® magnetic level indicators can be supplied with switches or transmitters

More Information

For more information on level measurement solutions for hydrocracking and other petroleum refining applications, download the petroleum refining brochure.

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Magnetrol® Sales Training School Takes a Sharp Customer-Centric Approach

From May 20th to 24th, 2018, Magnetrol® welcomed new sales representatives from all over the world to their biannual sales training school. Located at the Aurora, Illinois headquarters, representatives came to the school from as far away as Japan and as nearby as Iowa.

This one-week intensive training has been a staple of the MAGNETROL sales strategy for many years. New reps have the opportunity to visit MAGNETROL and meet associates and leaders. Training class material is broken down into subsections, such as technologies, tools, and value propositions. Training schools take place all across the world, wherever MAGNETROL has a presence, but every school has the goal of equipping salespeople with all the tools they need.

sales training school

Participants in the Magnetrol® training school.

In the past, these training schools have focused on the specifics of MAGNETROL technology. Sales reps learned how to talk extensively about the details of different products, and sales tactics were geared toward displaying the catalog of MAGNETROL instrumentation. The more chances to speak about product, the better. But recently, MAGNETROL sales training has undergone an important shift in focus.

MAGNETROL leaders realized that successful sales programs are driven by responsiveness to customer needs. Without the ability to speak to customer pain points and understand the complexities of the industry, companies are often ignored by potential customers. To help facilitate this meaningful interaction, MAGNETROL adjusted the focus of the sales training school.

Rather than simply learning the features of the product, sales reps are being trained on how to sell the most up-to-date application-based solutions. They learned the latest issues and developments in the process industries and how MAGNETROL can help customers manage some of their most difficult measurement challenges. As a result, MAGNETROL reps are experts on efficiency, safety, and addressing customer pain points. The big question they’re always asking is: how can these products benefit the customer?

MAGNETROL recognizes that a company is only as great as its service to customers. With the new focus for the sales training school, we hope that our entire company is better equipped to help meet all customer needs, from simple to complex. For more information on our portfolio of level measurement solutions, contact us today.

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The amazing journey: Team Magnetrol® in ROPARUN 2018

Do you remember what you were doing on Monday, May 21?

There’s an intrepid group of Magnetrol® employees who will never forget that day.

It marked the end of a nonstop 3-day adventure that took them over 530 kilometers (330 miles) and over the challenging roads of Europe.

Their inspiring trek was part of ROPARUN, a relay race from Paris to Rotterdam where teams raise money for people with cancer. Team Magnetrol included runners, cyclists, drivers, navigators, and even physical therapists and catering support. The team was divided into two subteams, so one group could rest while the other was racing.

ROPARUN

Team Magnetrol® is energized for the start of ROPARUN 2018.

Just as vital as the team were the generous sponsors who helped to raise money. Together, they supported the critical ROPARUN mission of “Adding life to days, when days often can’t be added to life.”

To understand how unforgettable the journey was, let’s share a few highlights from ROPARUN 2018.

Saturday, May 19: Post time in Paris

5:15 pm marked the official start time for Team Magnetrol. The team was positioned 185 of out of 225 teams in ROPARUN, but they were determined to move up in the standings. Above all, they were going to give it their all for a very good cause.

Sunday, May 20: Pirates in Zele

Zele is the home of MAGNETROL Belgium. It’s also the scene of a big ROPARUN party every year. This year, the theme of the evening was “Pirates in Zele.” On Sunday evening around 11:00 pm, Team Magnetrol passed through town. They were greeted by the hearty cheers of many MAGNETROL colleagues. But this was no time to slow down. There was less than a day left and many kilometers yet to go.

Monday, May 21: The race to Rotterdam

The finish line was finally in sight. Around noon, Team Magnetrol arrived in Rotterdam and completed ROPRUN 2018. How did they fare? Well, the team moved all the way up from 185th position to 9th.

The biggest winners

The top ten finish was a remarkable achievement, but it wasn’t the driving force for Team Magnetrol. We are extremely proud that we will be able to donate €10,000 ($11,635) to help people who suffer from cancer. Thank you to all our sponsors and our team. To see more from Team Magnetrol, you can visit our Facebook page.

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Magnetrol® Visits Oil Refinery to Discuss Level Measurement Challenges

Magnetrol® recently visited the second largest oil refinery in California. The facility produces roughly 270,000 BPD. It primarily produces gasoline, jet fuel and diesel, in addition to propylene gas and CO2.

During this visit, MAGNETROL Engineers had a chance to discuss the applications, measurement challenges and current instrumentation, in addition to touring the refinery to see various applications and instruments in action.

oil refinery

Magnetrol® Engineers and Product Managers at the refinery.

MAGNETROL listened to the latest industry concerns from plant instrument engineers and operators. These concerns include the time and money required for instrument maintenance, the need for instrumentation reliability, challenges with various level measurements, and troublesome applications that are resisting accurate measurement. In turn, MAGNETROL shared some possible level solutions and engaged in dialogue about the advantages and disadvantages of the various measurement technologies.

The level measurement needs of an oil refinery are complex and wide-ranging. In order to ensure process optimization, environmental protection, and worker health and safety, a variety of best-in-class instrumentation is required. The diverse processes and operating conditions within a refinery present unique challenges to plant operators looking for reliable, accurate level measurement.

For instance, refineries typically contain large numbers of seal pots, which store barrier fluid that protects expensive rotating equipment. Measuring and ensuring proper liquid levels in these seal pots is fundamental to the safety and longevity of the refinery.

The toughest level measurement challenge in oil refineries is hydrocarbon/water interface measurement. These immiscible liquids undergo emulsification in storage and process vessels. Knowing the position and thickness of interface emulsion is necessary for maintaining product quality and operations efficiency, while monitoring the top liquid level is critical for safety and overfill prevention.

As MAGNETROL looks to the future of level measurement, the chance to hear from industry partners is invaluable. We’re grateful for the opportunity to visit this refinery and for the time they spent with us.

For more information on MAGNETROL level instruments for refinery applications, download the petroleum refining brochure or the interface level measurement brochure.

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Level Measurement Solutions for Catalytic Steam Strippers

The catalytic cracking process can be altered or adjusted in order to produce different end products. Variations in catalytic cracking include Selective Component Cracking (SCC) for polypropylene production, a two-vessel and external-reactor design for processing heavy residue feeds, and a universal oil products (UOP) process for converting gas oils and resid feedstocks.

All crackers employ steam strippers to remove hydrocarbons entrained in the spent catalyst. In steam strippers, the flow of vapors from the steam separates these hydrocarbons from the liquid petroleum, leaving behind the fractions that can be used to produce polypropylene, UOP, and other end products.  catalytic steam stripper

Magnetrol® has produced an applications brochure for the petroleum refining industry detailing level measurement challenges and solutions for each step of the refining process. This blog post is part of an occasional series exploring each application in detail.

Level Measurement Challenges and Considerations

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 instruments used to monitor the stripper and associated steam drum should be able to withstand steam environments, maintain reliable measurement, and protect against accidents.

Level Measurement Solutions

MAGNETROL has produced level solutions for catalytic steam strippers:

  • For point level
    Series 3 float-actuated external cage level switch or B40 float-actuated level switch
  • For continuous level
    Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar transmitter or E3 Modulevel® displacer transmitter
  • For visual indication
    Atlas or Aurora® magnetic level indicators can be supplied with switches or transmitters

More Information

For more information on level measurement solutions for steam strippers and other petroleum refining applications, download the petroleum refining brochure.

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Level Measurement Solutions for Catalytic Cracking

Fluid catalytic cracking, or FCC, is a key conversion process for many petroleum refining plants. The fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) turns heavy, low-value feedstocks into high-value, lighter molecular weight hydrocarbons using a chemical catalyst. The resulting hydrocarbons are blended to finished products, such as butane, propane or gasoline. A cracker can produce a wide variety of yield patterns by operating in gasoline, distillate or LPG modes. While not all petroleum refining plants have this kind of secondary conversion capability, the ones that do can generate a broader range of products.

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.

catalytic cracking

Catalytic cracking equipment

Magnetrol® has produced an applications brochure for the petroleum refining industry detailing level measurement challenges and solutions for each step of the refining process. This blog post is part of an occasional series exploring each application in detail.

Level Measurement Challenges and Considerations

Level measurements during catalytic cracking involve fluidized solids levels at high temperatures. Conventional measurement techniques can be subject to plugging. Instrumentation selected for this application must be able to withstand these high temperatures and avoid clogging. In addition, many FCCUs run 24 hours a day for as long as 3 to 5 years between scheduled maintenance shutdowns. Level instruments placed in FCCUs should offer the utmost in reliability and be able to continue running accurately on the same schedule as the plant.

Level Measurement Solutions

The level measurement solution that MAGNETROL recommends for catalytic cracking is the E3 Modulevel® displacer-actuated transmitter. This transmitter provides accurate, reliable level measurement, is easily installed and calibrated, and has a high temperature range.

More Information

For more information on level measurement solutions for catalytic cracking and other petroleum refining applications, download the petroleum refining brochure.

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Level Measurement Solutions for Solvent Extraction

As a consequence of the distillation process, raw crude oil is separated into various products, also known as fractions. These fractions are then subjected to solvent extraction, which further removes impurities from finished products by dissolving them in solvent.

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 resids. These oils serve as downstream feedstocks for catalytic crackers and hydrocrackers. Depending upon the system configuration, level monitoring of the separator, preflash, stripper and hot oil phases may include surge and flash drums, separators and strippers.

Magnetrol® has produced an applications brochure for the petroleum refining industry detailing level measurement challenges and solutions for each step of the refining process. This blog post is part of an occasional series describing each application in detail. 

Level Measurement Challenges and Considerations

Level control is critical because interface level control of the separator feeds the flash drum, whose level feeds the stripper, and so on down through the rest of the extraction process. Without proper level measurement, the entire system could experience problems and errors. Application extremes include high temperatures, high pressures, and the presence of steam. Level instruments selected for this application must be able to withstand these challenging process conditions.

Level Measurement Solutions 

MAGNETROL has produced level solutions for solvent extraction that can be relied on throughout the entire process, in every extreme:

  • For point level:
    Series 3 float-actuated external cage level switch
  • For continuous level:
    Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar transmitter or E3 Modulevel® displacer-actuated transmitter
  • For visual indication:
    Atlas™ and Aurora® magnetic level indicators can be supplied with switches or transmitters

More Information

For more information on level measurement solutions for solvent extraction and other petroleum refining applications, download the petroleum refining brochure. And for more information on instrumentation for interface level measurement, download the interface brochure.

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