Thursday, April 28, 2016

PART 1: Setting Up and Operating the United Electric One Series Safety Transmitter

One Series Safety Transmitter
One Series Safety Transmitter
This is PART 1 in a series of training videos for the United Electric Controls One Series Safety Transmitter.

The One Series Safety Transmitter is a pressure or temperature monitoring transmitter switch that provides a NAMUR NE 43 standard 4-20 mA analog output. Its programmable high-capacity solid-state safety relay output enables the fastest emergency shutdowns.

The One Series Safety Transmitter is certified for use in SIL 2 functional safety applications (HFT = 0), and is capable of SIL 3 applications when augmented by redundancy and voting logic. Its simple design means fewer nuisance trips — for greater safety, productivity, and throughput.

The One Series Safety Transmitter was designed with features that simplify installation, improve productivity, and eliminate nuisance trips. “I Am Working” sensor diagnostics with redundant data processing detect open, shorted, and plugged sensing elements.

The transmitter’s analog output conforms to the NAMUR NE 43 standard and provides process variable (PV) and detected-fault information. Discrete outputs provide a fail-safe (open) emergency shutdown when a fault is detected. Set point and deadband (reset point) are 100% programmable.


The instrument is password protected to prevent unwanted parameter changes; eliminating the risk of tampering. In addition, LED backlighting enhances viewing of process variables, parameters, and status in dimly lit areas.

  1. Fewer nuisance trips for greater productivity
  2. More affordable than adapting a process transmitter for SIS
  3. Internal relay for faster emergency shutdowns
  4. Higher safe failure fraction simplifies SIL achievement

For more information, contact:
Ives Equipment
(877) 768-1600

PART 2: Setting Up and Operating the United Electric One Series Safety Transmitter

One Series Safety Transmitter
One Series Safety Transmitter 
This is PART 2 in a series of training videos for the United Electric Controls One Series Safety Transmitter.

The One Series Safety Transmitter is a pressure or temperature monitoring transmitter switch that provides a NAMUR NE 43 standard 4-20 mA analog output. Its programmable high-capacity solid-state safety relay output enables the fastest emergency shutdowns.

The One Series Safety Transmitter is certified for use in SIL 2 functional safety applications (HFT = 0), and is capable of SIL 3 applications when augmented by redundancy and voting logic. Its simple design means fewer nuisance trips — for greater safety, productivity, and throughput.

The One Series Safety Transmitter was designed with features that simplify installation, improve productivity, and eliminate nuisance trips. “I Am Working” sensor diagnostics with redundant data processing detect open, shorted, and plugged sensing elements.
The transmitter’s analog output conforms to the NAMUR NE 43 standard and provides process variable (PV) and detected-fault information. Discrete outputs provide a fail-safe (open) emergency shutdown when a fault is detected. Set point and deadband (reset point) are 100% programmable.


The instrument is password protected to prevent unwanted parameter changes; eliminating the risk of tampering. In addition, LED backlighting enhances viewing of process variables, parameters, and status in dimly lit areas.

The Series One leads the market in process safety transmitters because:
  • Fewer nuisance trips for greater productivity
  • More affordable than adapting a process transmitter for SIS
  • Internal relay for faster emergency shutdowns
  • Higher safe failure fraction simplifies SIL achievement
For more information, contact:

Ives Equipment
(877) 768-1600

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Common Areas to Find Fluid Control Valves in Wine Production

valves used in wine making
Valves and controls play big role in wine quality
Wine making and craft breweries are becoming big business in the Mid-Atlantic region. Their growth leads to a need for continuous process improvement in fermentation, filtering, and bottling. Automation, with higher efficiency valves, sensors, and piping  becomes increasingly important as the enterprise grows. In wine making, process control is critical. Careful control of temperature, pressure, level and flow, and detection of solids, acidity, and sugars needs constant monitoring to assure the best quality and consistency.

A variety of fluid control valves are commonly used in the production of wine, both large scale production and smaller scale. These valves are found in many areas, from sanitary valves handling the product itself, to hot water valves for cleaning equipment, to pneumatic valves transmitting pneumatic signals to handling equipment.

Here is a quick video showing some typical areas where fluid control valves can be found in the wine making process.


For more information, contact:

Ives Equipment
www.ivesequipment.com
877-768-1600

Friday, April 8, 2016

Veterans in Automation

Hire Vets
Veterans are excellent candidates for
Automation careers
Reprinted with permission from the Automation Federation (www.automationfederation.org)
Note: At time of writing, both Preston Mihalko and Nick Abbenante were employees of Ives Equipment.





Automation jobs require a combination of technical know-how combined with interpersonal skills, making them a great fit for veterans.

It’s always difficult to find suitable candidates for openings in industrial automation as most of these jobs require both technical and interpersonal skills, often with a bit of management expertise added to the mix. Universities graduate hundreds of thousands of mostly young men and women every year with business and liberal arts degrees, and many of these grads have excellent interpersonal skills, but generally aren’t very technical.

Engineering and other STEM graduates have the required technical background, but are always in short supply and command very high salaries. And many of these grads are a bit lacking in interpersonal skills as they have spent their formative years relentlessly hitting the books, not developing relationships.

As far as management skills, these are best gained through on-the-job training, where actual supervision takes place. Unfortunately, not many candidates for entry and mid-level automation jobs have this type of experience.

But veterans naturally combine all three of these skills, as just about every position in each branch of the military requires training and hands-on experience in one or more technical areas. Interpersonal skills are developed by forced close cooperation among those serving, and many relatively young veterans have impressive experience managing teams as commissioned and non-commissioned officers (NCOs). If fact, many would say NCOs, in particular, make great job candidates because they have risen through the ranks to become the backbone of the Army and Navy as sergeants and petty officers, respectively.

Preston Mihalko and Nick Abbenante are two great examples of veterans who have made the successful transition from the military to industrial automation, and their stories illustrate how their skills seamlessly transferred from the military to the civilian sector.

Navy vet finds success in sales

Mihalko spent three years as a service warfare officer in the Navy. He was onboard a ship for much of this time as his specialty was anti- submarine warfare. Technical training was part of daily life as he was required to understand ship operations, as well as the specialized equipment used to detect submarines.

In many ways, a ship is a small city at sea, with larger vessels crewed by thousands, and even smaller ships crewed by hundreds. As such, there are onboard systems for everything from propulsion to electrical generation to water treatment. And, of course, these systems need to be monitored and controlled around the clock, with very stringent requirements for reliability and uptime.

The mechanisms of a nuclear submarine or large surface ship rival any industrial installation, so the parallels between onboard and industrial automation systems are obvious. It’s virtually impossible to serve aboard a ship for any length of time without absorbing extensive technical knowledge and gaining lots of hands-on experience.

As far as interpersonal skills, these are naturally gained by living in very close quarters with hundreds or even thousands of sailors. These colleagues span the range from front-line workers to supervisors, starting with newly enrolled sailors and advancing to experienced ship captains. Close cooperation is forced, and virtually no one leaves the Navy without knowing how to develop and maintain work relationships with people from every walk of life and exhibiting most every temperament.

If one is an officer, like Preston, then these work relationships contain a supervisory component. The management training given to officers in the Navy and other branches of the service has been honed for over a hundred years, and it consists of both book learning and hands-on experience. Those who move up the ranks exhibit a strong sense of personal responsibility and judgment, giving them the ability to lead and work effectively with others.

Upon his honorable discharge, Preston was looking for a career where he could successfully combine his interpersonal and technical skills. “I was interested in sales and not operations because I like being in front of customers, and because I enjoy face-to-face technical interactions. I first went into medical device sales, then from there to industrial automation sales,” says Mihalko.

Successful industrial salespeople must work with application- driven products, as does Mihalko, and therefore need to exhibit a combination of capabilities. Technical skills are needed so salespeople can understand the products and how they t customers’ needs, and interpersonal skills are required so salespeople can properly communicate how products satisfy customer needs and expectations.

Mihalko found the specific skills he learned in the Navy transferrable to the field of industrial automation. “I was able to apply shipboard systems and concepts to understand industrial automation issues. Interaction with equipment on a daily basis helped me to gain hands-on experience and understanding, which I found applied both on board a ship and on land. In terms of intangible benefits, I gained the ability to network with co-workers through my interactions with other Navy personnel,” he notes.

Fittingly, Mihalko uses nautical terms to describe the position he’s held for the last three years working in outside sales for an automation distributor based in the Maryland/Washington, DC area. “I’m the captain of my own destiny in outside sales, and I enjoy marketing myself along with the brands I represent. The challenge of the uncertainty and having to figure out solutions is also appealing,” he indicates.

Among ‘a few good men’

As the iconic ad intones, the Marines are “looking for a few good men.” Nick Abbenante thought he might t the bill, and he ended up serving for four years as a Marine Corp First Commander Infantry Officer. In this position, he worked as a military occupational specialist in the areas of combat and weapons. Abbenante’s plans weren’t as specific as Mihalko’s, but were similar in many ways. “I wanted direct interaction with customers, and knew I wanted to be in outside sales,” he says. As a member of one of the most tightly woven cadres in any branch of service in any country, Abbenante knew what it meant to work closely with and depend on others. These interpersonal skills and deep relationships were something he could transfer directly to a sales position.

Sales, like many other areas of industrial automation, requires organizational skills, which Abbenante felt he gained in the service. “The Marines taught me the value of prioritizing, multi-tasking, attention to detail, taking initiative and persistence. And, like any branch of service, not being afraid to get involved,” he explains. Abbenante combined his skills and training to find the type of job he wanted in industrial automation, where he’s worked for the last two years as an outside sales rep with responsibility for the company’s Maryland territory. He works very closely with process plant personnel in this position to help them analyze applications, and specify the proper equipment to solve problems and optimize processes.

“Being a salesperson is like having my own little enterprise. One must show ownership and take stock in the success of your own business territory, which contributes to the success of the larger enterprise. Every day brings new challenges at different plants,” he notes.

Both Mihalko and Abbenante have some advice for other veterans looking to make the transition from the military to industrial automation.

Advice to other veterans and potential employers

Some people look at military life and don’t immediately see the connections to the private sector. To an employer considering a recently discharged candidate, or even a new veteran moving back into civilian life, there may seem to be a gap. Abbenante thinks both sides are looking at it incorrectly, and need to reconsider how to match military skills and experiences with job requirements. “Don’t look for an exact match to your skills, but instead look for positions with requirements complimentary to your knowledge, and then build upon that,” he suggests.

Mihalko chimes in with his advice: “You have an open-ended career choice because you’ve gained many different skills in the service. Sales is one area, but there are many other avenues which might match up your skills and abilities,” he points out.

And both Abbenante and Mihalko encourage disabled veterans to look for positions in sales and other areas where heavy lifting and other physical rigors aren’t involved. “Sales gives you the opportunity to solve problems and think on your feet, but not necessarily in a physical way,” Mihalko emphasizes.

Mihalko used the services of the military to find private-sector work. “I went through a transitioning veterans’ organization to find a position. I attended a career event with interviews set up based on my resume’s match with available jobs,” he says. Abbenante took a different route than Mihalko. “I worked with headhunters I met at a conference, and they assisted in setting up interviews,” Abbenante notes.

Although Abbenante and Mihalko served in different roles in the military and followed their own unique paths to find positions in the automation eld, both are proud to be automation industry professionals.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Compact NTEP Approved Custody Transfer Coriolis Flowmeter Means Easier Installation and Space Savings

SITRANS FC430
SIEMENS SITRANS FC430
Running an industrial plant carries with it a very high level of responsibility. You must adhere to the highest standards of safety and hygiene, ensure that your final products are of consistent quality, and comply with stringent industry and governmental regulations.

By combining the Siemens SITRANS FCS400 sensor and SITRANS FCT030 transmitter, the digitally based SITRANS FC430 is suitable for applications within the process industries. It is also one of the first Coriolis systems worldwide to achieve SIL 2 and 3 approval in hardware and software, respectively – the ultimate assurance of safety and reliability.

The Siemens SITRANS FCS400 is the market’s most compact sensor, making installation and replacement easier than ever. It provides an accuracy rate of 0.1% and high sensitivity for optimal measurement of even low flows. The SITRANS FCS400 features a very stable zero point, low pressure loss, and high immunity to process noise and plant vibrations.

The SITRANS FCT030 transmitter delivers multi-parameter measurements with enhanced efficiency, simplicity and security. Available in a modular design, it can be remote or compact-mounted with all SITRANS FCS400 sensor sizes. An enclosed micro SD card serves as a removable database of operational information and provides direct access to all certificates and audit trails.

The SITRANS FC430 is ideal for a broad array of process industries and applications, including:
  • Chemical. Designed for optimal performance in hazardous areas and compliant with a wide variety of certificates and approvals, including SIL 2 (hardware), SIL 3 (software), FM, ATEX, CSA
  • Food & Beverage/Pharmaceutical. High level of accuracy improves quality control, while multi-parameter measurement ability strengthens process management. 
  • Oil & Gas. NTEP approved for custody transfer and capable of measuring mass flow directly, ensuring performance is not affected by fluctuating process conditions. Unique tube design results in minimal pressure loss and high resistance to process noise.
  • Affiliated Industries/OEMs. Highly customizable nature offers versatility to meet the needs of customers in many different businesses, from food and beverage to automotive to HVAC, to oil and gas to pulp & paper and beyond.
Formore information, contact:

Ives Equipment
877-768-1600

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Specialty Temperature Sensor Specifically for Improving Heat Tracing Applications

Heat Tracing RTD
Heat Tracing RTD (courtesy of
Applied Sensor Technologies)
A temperature sensor is key to any heat tracing application as it provides temperature feedback about the pipe temperature, which in turn, is used turn on or off the heating system (electric pipe tracing or steam control valve).

The temperature sensor is critical for both categories of heat tracing - process temperature maintenance and freeze protection.  Failure to maintain process temperature in a pipe or vessel could significantly effect product quality, or cause failure of ancillary equipment such as pumps, valves, and compressors. Properly protecting against freezing keeps pipes from bursting or product from blocking the flow. For both situations, product maintenance and freeze protection, accurate and reliable temperature sensing is critical.

There’s a new and very innovative line of RTD temperature assemblies specifically designed for heat tracing applications. The unique, replaceable element concept can save customers both time and money, plus increase overall system reliability and up-time.

A major refining company determined that they save over $1,000 in labor each time they have to replace a sensor and have reduced their repair time from two days to less than one hour.

The design consists of a terminal head and right-angle shaped outer sheath, with a curved weld-pad at the end. The replaceable RTD element assembly is contained in the outer tube and, when installed, presses against the pipe. Heat transfer is excellent and heat conduction away from the element is minimal. Should the element ever need to be replaced, it's a five-minute job to open the terminal head, unwire the sensor, slide it out and slide a new one in.

For more information, contact:

Ives Equipment
(877) 768-1600

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Ten Things Everyone Should Know about pH and ORP

pH ORP probe
pH ORP probe
(courtesy of AquaMetrix)
Reprinted with permission from AquaMetrix

1. pH measurements are only good to 0.1 pH units

Electrodes are funny things. They are the only electronic components that don’t even have specifications listed in their data sheets. One major figure of merit, the impedance of the glass electrode, is on the order of megahoms and can vary by a factor of two. Cross sensitivity to other ions (e.g. sodium), response time and differences between any two electrodes limit the accuracy of measurement. Expecting accuracy of greater than 0.1 pH units is unrealistic.

2. Speaking of accuracy... It is not the same as precision.

For a consistent process a pH probe can achieve precision of results to within 0.02 units but it’s accuracy will always be limited by variables such as calibration accuracy, high sodium content or Careful routine calibration, however, will narrow the gap between the accuracy of readings closer to the lower level of precision.

3. ORP measurements are only good to ± 20 mV. 

Once again the measurement of ORP might be characterized by a high precision but the accuracy of the reading is constrained by the difficulty of calibration, as explained in point 6, and the non-buffered calibration solutions that allow the ORP value of the calibration solutions to change over time. Whereas the buffered composition of pH calibration solutions insures that they will change minimally an ORP calibrations solution is a mixture of Fe2+ and Fe3+ salts. Just the addition of air to the mixture will increase the ORP of the mixture. So don’t look for “NIST traceable” on the label of an ORP calibration solution.

4. ORP measurements are relative.


The process electrode is nothing more than a platinum (or gold) band upon which oxidation (reduction) reactions take place. To complete the circuit, as in all potentiometric devices, is a reference electrode. Usually that is the same Ag/AgCl electrode used in a pH probe so the REDOX potential that you read is the difference between the Pt band process electrode and the arbitrarily chosen reference electrode. What matters most with an ORP measurement is its change to an agreed upon standard.

5. pH calibration requires two points.


Calibration measures the response of an instrument as one changes the measurement variable in a known way. For pH measurements that measurement variable is the concentration of hydrogen ions. One calibrates a pH probe by drawing a line through points representing the response of a pH probe to more than one H+ ion concentrations (or pH values). Therefore calibration requires at least two points.

6. ORP calibration can only realistically be done with one point.

This sounds like a reversal of point 4 but it’s not. ORP is not a measure of any one species (e.g. H+ ions or oxygen molecules). It measures the collective REDOX potential of everything in the water. Furthermore calibration solutions, e.g. 200 mV Light’s solution and 600 mV Zobell’s solution are two completely different mixtures of reagents. Therefore all we can is choose one calibration solution and calibrate for it.

7. ORP measurements can be slow.

Stick an ORP probe in a calibration solution and you will get a steady reading with- in half a minute. Take the same probe and stick it in a glass of tap water and it might take 20 minutes for the read-

ing to settle to the 200-300 mV that is typical of tap water. The response of the process electrodes to the REDOX reactions that take place on the surface of a Pt electrode depends on the speed of the many reactions that give the potential and the rate at which molecules diffuse through the water. The Fe2+ and Fe 3+ ions that comprise most of the ORP value in calibration solutions react very quickly with the Pt but the Cl- and dissolved oxygen that make up tap water react much more slowly. So the key to successful ORP measurement is patience.

8. pH measurements must be temperature compensated to be accurate.


A pH measurement is the determination of H+ ions in solution. Higher temperature causes the chemical activity to increase and the pH reading to increase accordingly. So we must remove the temperature effect by measuring it and using the well known Nernst equation to correct it for the reading at 250C. (The correction is quite simple. The pH value is proportional to temperature when the latter is an absolute value (i.e. in Kelvins).

9. ORP measurements are affected by temperature but are NOT corrected for it.

An ORP value simply reflects the ability of whatever is in the water to oxidize whatever contaminants are in the water. Of course oxidation speeds up at higher temperatures. But since ORP measures the rate of chemical reactions and not any one chemical species there is no need to correct it. However we can convert the temperature reading to the ORP that we would measure at 250 C so that we have a basis for comparing the chemistry of the process. That’s why we provide a temperature sensing thermistor or RTD with our differential ORP probes.

10. A differential probe properly cared for will last a long time but it won’t last forever.

Over time chemicals in the process make their way through the junction or salt bridge and into the pH 7 buffer that bathes the reference electrode. Manufacturers go to great length to minimize this contamination but they can only slow it down. Aquametrix differential probes allow the user to cheaply and quickly replenish both the pH 7 solution and the salt bridge so that our probes our industry leaders when it comes to probe lifetime. Nonetheless electrodes themselves lose their efficiency as the glass becomes contaminated and/or eroded by the process. However the good news that, with routine calibration and maintenance a differential probe can last for years in most environments.