Friday, May 27, 2016

Lost Plant Air a Hidden Source for Energy Savings

Save energy costs
Save energy costs by reducing
consumption of plant air.
Industrial plant air is one of the easiest sources of power to transmit and use. It’s also one of the most costly to generate. Information from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) indicates a wide variety of factors determine the cost of compressed air. These include, but are not limited to, local electrical energy cost, efficiencies of electric motors and compressors, load factors, and service time.

Plant maintenance are becoming more aware of air leaks and the subsequent increases in cost to overcome lost power because of those leaks. One of the major culprits for lost air in a plant is the pneumatic control valve positioner and the air required to operate them. In a typical process plant, there could be hundreds of control valves. Each control valve uses a positioner to move the valve actuator, based on a set point signal from a controller.

Control valve with SIPART
Control valve
with Siemens SIPART
It is the control valve positioner where the greatest air consumption savings lies.

Years ago, when electricity was cheap and when valve positioners were first introduced, plant maintenance and engineering were not concerned with something called the “bleed rate” of the positioner. Over the years though, plant personnel lost track of bleed rate and pretty much forgot that a positioner is just part of the system and it operates on air. Today, a modern process facility such as a power plant, refinery, or chemical plant can have several hundred control valves with positioners. The combined air loss due to the positioner “bleed rate” can be significant.

SIPART positioners
Siemens SIPART positioners
An immediate solution to this problem is to replace the control valve positioners with modern, energy-efficient, low-bleed models. One model, the Siemens SIPART PS2 has a proven track record of providing substantial savings to large plants. In one case, a tabacco company that had 2500 positioners was planning on spending $600,000 on a new compressor to increase output. After reviewing the capabilities of the low bleed positioner and running some tests, the plant decided to implement a plan for replacing the positioners which mitigated the need for a new compressor.

The significant change in technology came with the adoption of the adoption of a piezo ceramic valve block in low bleed positioners. Traditional positioners used an I/P and spool valve which both leaked air. Over time the leaks from these two parts is significant.

Could you and your plant be in the situation where lost energy efficiency through leaky positioners is costing big bucks? If you’re even the slightest bit concerned, call in an applications expert now for a system review.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Adhesives Manufacturer Saves Energy and Stays in Compliance with Flammability Anayzer

Flammability Analyzer
Flammability analyzer increases
safety while lowering energy cost.
A large manufacturer of adhesives needed to reduce energy costs in their plant. A large part of their energy cost was literally going out the window in the ventilation system and associated fuel costs. The heated air they produced for ventilation was expensive, yet is was necessary in order to comply with the NFPA's (National Fire Protection Association) standard of 25% LFL (lower explosive limit) on solvent vapor concentrations.

The 25% LFL applies to areas using just ventilation, but increases to 50% LFL if a continuous flammability analyzer is installed. If the manufacturer installed vapor analyzers, they could reduce the amount of energy on ventilation and fuel.

To meet the objective of lowering energy costs, the company installed PrevEx Flammability Analyzers, manufactured by Control Instrument Corporation, on each adhesive dryer. The PrevEx is a flammability analyzer for lower flammable limit monitoring (LFL/LEL) designed to provide fast response time (less than 1 second), capable of quickly changing gas concentrations, and with failsafe performance.

PrevEx flammability analyzers use a heated flame cell and an integrated controller that continuously measures total flammable vapor concentrations from 0 to 100% of the Lower Flammable Limit (LFL) range. To avoid condensation during sampling, the entire analyzer pneumatic assembly is heated.

A PrevEx analyzer was fitted on each printing press dryer to detect the possibility of solvent vapor accumulation. The PrevEx analyzers were chosen because of their "Universal Calibration" feature which prevents downtime due to re-calibration requirements.

By installing the flammability analyzers, the manufacturer was able to decrease ventilation and the associated energy costs while still staying in compliance with the NFPA code.

To understand more about flammability analyzers, look over the product document below:


For more information on flammability analyzers, contact:
Ives Equipment
www.ivesequipment.com
877-768-1600

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Clamp-on Flowmeter Locates Hard-to-Find Water Plant Leak

SITRANS FUP1010 clamp-on flowmeter
SITRANS FUP1010 clamp-on flowmeter
A rural water treatment plant in the Southwestern United States treats, stores, and distributes 325,00 gallons per day of water to the village it serves. The village consumes an average of 125,000 gallons a day and can store up to 1 million gallons.

The Problem

Unfortunately, the treatment plant was also losing 210,000 gallons a day due to an unknown leak.
Because of the leak, water storage was critically low at 100,000 gallons and the water service had to be temporarily shut off to half the village.

The village management hired a consultant company, at $1000.00 a day, to find the leak. The consultant worked for about a week without any luck.

The Solution

Read in the document below on how a Siemens SITRANS FUP1010 clamp-on flowmeter was used to find the leak.

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.