October 2022

Trends and Resources


AW-Lake now offers a new Portable Transit Time Ultrasonic Flow Meter in addition to the full-sized clamp-on version that provides non-contacting flow measurement for the most challenging industrial environments with minimal installation complexity and costs.

Rhodes, Mike, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Portable flowmeter for on-demand pipe flow measurement

FIG. 1. The AW-Lake Portable Transit Time Ultrasonic Flow Meter.
FIG. 1. The AW-Lake Portable Transit Time Ultrasonic Flow Meter.

AW-Lake now offers a new Portable Transit Time Ultrasonic Flow Meter (FIG. 1) in addition to the full-sized clamp-on version that provides non-contacting flow measurement for the most challenging industrial environments with minimal installation complexity and costs. The new portable ultrasonic meter was designed to be deployed easily to measure flow on-demand, without difficult installations or process interruptions.

The hand-held unit is encased in a rugged IP67 housing and works with the same three interchangeable transducers as the full-sized meter, which makes it suitable for measurements on a wide range of metal and plastic pipe materials on pipes with diameters from 0.5 in.–48 in. A simple menu allows for fast and easy programming of pipe diameter, pipe material, liquid types and measurement units. In addition to providing a standard 4-20mA/0-5V analog output, optional Modbus RTU and HART communications provide instantaneous flowrate, volume, total, run hours and diagnostic information.

An intuitive on-screen user interface with a data logger enables operators to view flow reports or download logs for use in other programs, and it features data management storage of 12.5 MM data points with logger software for data viewing and reporting. Through the use of an integrated USB-C port, the PTFM 6.1 seamlessly expands its input and output capability to meet future requirements without replacing the whole meter.

The flowmeters use the transit time ultrasonic principle of measurement that works by measuring the flight difference for ultrasonic sound pulses transmitted from one transducer to another. The time between transmitted and received signals is precisely measured by the flowmeters. Both ultrasonic flowmeters are ideal for measuring the flowrate of clean, non-aerated fluids in full pipes such as water, chemicals and fuel oils with highly accurate and reliable flow measurement.

Automatic heavy-duty pressure switch

FIG. 2. WIKA India has launched its PSM-630 automatic heavy-duty pressure switch.
FIG. 2. WIKA India has launched its PSM-630 automatic heavy-duty pressure switch.

WIKA India (a wholly owned subsidiary of WIKA Global) has recently launched the PSM-630, an automatic heavy-duty pressure switch for applications like air compressor and water pumps. The model PSM-630 (FIG. 2) can also be used in industrial control, monitoring and alarm applications. The switch point is engineered so it can be manually adjusted onsite and is also adjustable for automatic cut-off within the prescribed range. An entire electrical system can be controlled by the pressure switch to maintain the pressure of the storage unit.

The instrument can switch electrical loads of up to AC 440 V, 16 A. The integrated relief valve (option) is used for depressurizing the pressure chamber of the compression piston before starting the compressor. With the manual on/off knob, the contact system can be locked in the open position, regardless of the process pressure. This helps to maintain the safety of the machine and workplace.

The PSM-630 has an integrated relief valve to ensure smooth restart of the compressor. This adds to the safety measures provided by the manual knob on the top, which is easily accessible by the customers. Among the other safety measure, the switch cannot be easily tampered with as the process connection is done through forging or casting. The switch has a snap action mechanism built into it—it stops automatically once the pressure reaches the defined particulars, causing no side effects to the machine itself. Also, the single process connection is threaded in four different ways to accommodate safety valve and other type of switches

Predict and avoid incidents with AI

Digital Energy has released ODIN Safety, a health, safety and environment (HSE) application that predicts and avoids incidents using artificial intelligence (AI). ODIN Safety provides industrial sites with an immediate impact on safer operations by leveraging AI and digital twin technology. With Digital Energy’s unique HSE knowledge library and AI-powered predictive HSE, organizations can quickly access predictive safety insights augmented by the Bentley iTwin platform. ODIN Safety provides leading indicators and real-time digital advisory for risk assessments, permitting and other key forms. With ODIN Safety data and insights visualized with iTwin technology, any team or manager can easily and quickly assess relevant activities and key areas of focus for a given period while minimizing any key messages potentially lost during a shift handover or during a toolbox talk.

Operations control software

AVEVA has launched the 2023 release of its operations control software, the first major coordinated release of its HMI/SCADA software portfolio, available in both perpetual and subscription purchases. The new release further supports the delivery of AVEVA Operations Control, a flexible, subscription-based solution of integrated capabilities that promotes greater efficiency and workforce collaboration at the scale that best suits the business.

AVEVA Operations Control simplifies day-to-day routines of teams by aligning workers around common digital threads of information, delivering the data and insights they need to drive growth at every level through increased efficiency, agility and reliability. With rich visualization technologies, analytics and development tools deployed within a hybrid cloud and on-premises environment, customers can ensure performance consistency, remove opportunity for human error, and improve operator insight and reactions to process deviations. Not only can critical information be retrieved faster, but inbuilt flexibility provides greater scaling of data, users or routes to revealing the correct decision.

The 2023 operations control release focuses on worker empowerment with UI/UX enhancements, increased flexibility for web and mobile users, and greater connectivity. This release consists of updates in the following offerings: AVEVA System Platform 2023, AVEVA InTouch HMI 2023, AVEVA Edge 2023, AVEVA Plant SCADA 2023, AVEVA Historian 2023, AVEVA Communication Drivers 2023, AVEVA Reports for Operations 2023, AVEVA Development Studio and AVEVA Teamwork.

The 2023 operations control software release is available through several procurement methods, including AVEVA Flex, the advanced industrial software subscription program. Customers can choose individual software offers within the operations control portfolio or realize new transformational value with end-to-end visibility across operations by subscribing to AVEVA’s broad portfolio through AVEVA Operations Control. AVEVA Operations Control removes traditional limitations on implementation by including unlimited software usage (measured by the number of users) and offering maximum commercial flexibility.

AVEVA Operations Control helps workers to do their jobs in a more sustainable way. Its comprehensive digital framework supports quicker, data-backed responses to events that require resolution, providing reliable process management systems and reducing the effort required to train new staff. Customers across industries can further enrich their approach to environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives by leveraging the solution to tap data-driven insights for more efficient and environmentally sustainable operations.

Bearing protection in flooded and mist applications

FIG. 3. Inpro/Seal has introduced a new magnetic bearing isolator: VBMag.
FIG. 3. Inpro/Seal has introduced a new magnetic bearing isolator: VBMag.

Inpro/Seal has introduced a new magnetic bearing isolator: VBMag. Utilizing magnetically energized faces to create a liquid-tight seal, VBMag (FIG. 3) protects against lubrication loss and contamination ingress in challenging applications, such as flooded, high oil splash, or oil mist lubrication environments. With VBMag, there is zero shaft wear, making it an ideal choice for applications that historically used elastomeric lip seals, which can wear quickly at the point of contact and damage the shaft. VBMag delivers long-term performance and reduces the need for unscheduled downtime and maintenance costs.

VBMag bearing isolators are IP66 rated to meet high industry standards for bearing protection. Precision-lapped faces energized by rare earth magnets create a liquid-tight seal suitable for a wide variety of applications. The innovative design allows the maximum amount of lubrication to reach the faces, which provides optimum conditions for a long sealing life.

Hydrocarbon passive fire protection of downstream assets

In oil and gas facilities, fires can be disastrous—lives can be lost and damage costs can run into the millions of dollars. Hempel has launched its first product for the hydrocarbon passive fire protection (PFP) segment: Hempafire XTR 100. Providing UL 1709-certified hydrocarbon PFP in a lightweight coating with low dry film thicknesses, Hempafire XTR 100 offers significant safety and project benefits and reduces application time and overall project costs for asset owners, operators and applicators.

An epoxy intumescent coating, Hempafire XTR 100 insulates steel during a hydrocarbon pool fire, extending the steel’s load-bearing capacity for up to 4 hr, allowing more time for the safe evacuation of personnel and protection of valuable assets and equipment while fire-fighting teams extinguish the fire. The coating is designed specifically for the oil and gas segment, such as downstream refining and petrochemical plants.

Hempafire XTR 100 lowers the total applied weight per square meter, bringing additional benefits by making transportation and construction easier and lowering overall project costs. To simplify project complexity for customers, Hempafire XTR 100 can be applied to both stick-build and modular constructions, and it only requires mesh reinforcement around section flanges. It also aids high productivity: a 2-hr Hempafire XTR 100 system can be applied in one working day and the coated sections can be moved the next day. This enables applicators to increase productivity, especially when applying the product in-shop.

Actionable insights to eliminate data gaps and achieve optimum plant performance

GE Digital has released a software solution combining Performance Intelligence™ with APM Reliability™ designed to form a performance advisory solution combining real-time thermal performance data and analysis software with the power of analytics for strategic and data-driven decision-making. Integrating the two provides a highly flexible, easy to use problem-solving solution to maintain a thermal power generation plant or fleet at optimal efficiency.

In response to factors including ways to lower emissions, fluctuating fuel prices, stagnant power prices and escalating operating costs, plant operations teams are being charged to act with greater speed and efficiency to maintain their assets’ economic expectation. Performance Intelligence integrates with APM Reliability to help plant personnel gain visibility to equipment health, assess and identify degradation and reliability issues, understand the impact to plant capability and financial performance, and empower teams to act with greater speed and efficiency.

The solution incorporates the power of 340+ GE and non-GE Digital Twin Blueprints from SmartSignal™ predictive analytics software, the analytics engine behind GE Digital’s Predictive Maintenance solutions. Combined with Performance Intelligence with Reliability, the solution is designed to enable fuel savings, productivity and risk reduction.

Performance Intelligence with APM Reliability is designed to help deliver a holistic problem-solving solution to maintain the plant at optimal efficiency with:

  • Advanced thermal modeling across the entire load range with actionable recommendations
  • Analytics covering the entire operating range of assets with actionable recommendations
  • Fully integrated data streams into the work management process
  • New analytics for economic predictions and “what-if” simulations.

Fire and gas system

FIG. 4. MSA Safety’s next-gen HazardWatch FX-12 fire and gas system.
FIG. 4. MSA Safety’s next-gen HazardWatch FX-12 fire and gas system.

Process and safety engineers who require a full-featured fire and gas system with built-in cloud-ready capabilities will find the advanced, next-gen HazardWatch FX-12 fire and gas system from MSA Safety delivers peace-of-mind and security when it comes to reliable plant safety monitoring.

Developed with MSA’s detection and systems integration expertise, as well as the process control/automation proficiency of Rockwell Automation, the HazardWatch FX-12 system is a powerful and flexible total safety solution designed to protect people, equipment, facilities and nearby communities. Designed for use in hazardous industries, the system is ideal for oil/gas production and tanker loading/unloading, petrochemical refining and storage, pipelines and gas compressor stations, LNG facilities, CNG and hydrogen (H2) production and vehicle terminals, electric power generation, aircraft maintenance facilities, aerospace launch sites, automotive and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The HazardWatch FX-12 system (FIG. 4) is designed with Rockwell Automation’s industry proven Allen-Bradley ControlLogix™ programmable logic controller (PLC) technology and MSA’s advanced gas and flame detection field devices. Allen-Bradley DLR-enabled communication protocols allow secure integration with other Rockwell products. Offering intelligence, flexibility and reliability, the system’s controller hardware configuration and software have been tested by Factory Mutual to verify NFPA 72 (2013) compliance.

The system includes: a stand-alone local fire and gas alarm panel with touch screen operator interface; a redundant power supply to support the fire and gas system per NFPA 72; easy integration with third-party auxiliary devices such as horns, beacons and fire suppression systems; and FM-approved Ethernet/IP system communications to DCS or ESD Systems, with optional Modbus. The HazardWatch FX-12 can accommodate up to 12 field devices per alarm panel, with the capability to network up to 12 panels. The panel is wall mounted in a NEMA 12 rated enclosure. User connections are made at a rail mounted “swing link” with terminal blocks organized by input/output type. The PLC processor and the touchscreen are fitted with non-volatile memory.

Highly versatile to support the full range of fire, flame and gas detection needs, the HazardWatch FX-12 is compatible with the industry’s leading flame and gas sensing technologies from MSA. The flame detector models available include the General Monitors Multi-Spectral Infrared (MSIR) FL4000H, the UV/IR Optical FL500 and others.

For combustible or toxic gas and oxygen deficiency (O2) monitoring, the HazardWatch FX-12 supports the Ultima® X5000 and General Monitors S5000 gas detectors. In addition, for tank or pipe leak monitoring, the Observer®i ultrasonic gas leak (UGLD) detector is available, and for plant or area perimeter monitoring the IR5500 or Senscient ELDS open path gas detectors are supported.

For safety monitoring onsite or in the cloud, the HazardWatch FX-12’s optional FieldServer Gateway supports sharing critical operational data 24/7 via BACnet, Ethernet/IP, Modbus, SNMP, and a host of other protocols. MSA’s remote monitoring and notification solutions help support fire alarm panels and the HazardWatch FX-12 fire and gas system by notifying the SCADA system of events in the field.

Software optimizes refining and petrochemical operations

KBC (A Yokogawa Company) has released a new version of its award-winning Petro-SIM® process simulation software. Version 7.3 now has a more reliable and robust reactor for modeling bio-oils and an emissions calculation model for gas turbines and burners. As operators transition to clean energy, they now have access to highly accurate methods to design, monitor and streamline operations while improving margins. Petro-SIM 7.3 technology lays the foundation for AI-based automated model maintenance, supporting the first of a series of applications that will deploy throughout 2H 2022.

Many countries are transitioning towards cleaner energy sources and optimizing energy consumption to reduce carbon emissions. The result is stringent environmental regulations that process industries must follow, which squeeze their already tight margins. The Petro-SIM 7.3 simulation tool has broadened its decarbonization simulation capabilities to accurately depict decarbonization processes, making it a scalable solution that helps operators overcome these challenges.

The technology integrates into daily work processes to deliver reliable predictions of combustion emissions, potential equipment failures and operational risks. Engineers can now go beyond traditional model building to optimizing operations, advancing performance monitoring, automating production scheduling, and analyzing and reducing emissions from combustion sources.

The petrochemical-polymer industry in particular is seeing a growing demand. However, the complexity of polymer processing makes it challenging for polymer manufacturers to develop and design process technologies to meet the necessary product quality. Petro-SIM 7.3 software with Predici-SIM technology can now simulate polymerization processes. This allows operators to evaluate and manage challenges so they develop and produce new polymer grades with desirable properties while optimizing key performance indicators and maintaining operating conditions in steady-state and dynamic modes for the entire petrochemical-polymer supply chain.

Lightweight thermoplastic composite bearing

FIG. 5. Trelleborg Sealing Solutions’ latest lightweight thermoplastic composite bearing, the HiMod® Advanced Composite Bearing Plus.
FIG. 5. Trelleborg Sealing Solutions’ latest lightweight thermoplastic composite bearing, the HiMod® Advanced Composite Bearing Plus.

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions has launched its latest lightweight thermoplastic composite bearing, the HiMod® Advanced Composite Bearing Plus, an enhanced dual-layer bearing with a low-friction modified PEEK layer that reduces friction and increases wear performance for use in bearing, wear ring and bushing applications.

Manufactured using Trelleborg’s patented Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) technology, a thin low-friction liner is bonded to the inner diameters and can be added to the outer diameters of the bearing to create a high-quality solution for use in a wide range of industries. The HiMod Advanced Composite Bearing Plus (FIG. 5) will not seize or gall—unlike metal bearings—to reduce the likelihood of pump damage in chemical processing applications, has a low coefficient of friction, and can withstand extreme temperature ranges.

The addition of a low-friction layer within the HiMod Advanced Composite Bearing Plus provides up to 50% less sliding friction than with standard bearings, increasing performance and preventing damage to hardware components. These unique bearings can operate from an extremely low temperature of –156°C to > 274°C (–250°F to > 525°F) and are capable of continuous service even when wet, with nearly zero water absorption. Unlike other non-metal bearings, they do not crack or swell in extreme conditions, making them a reliable choice for a wide range of applications.

Trelleborg’s AFP technology is part of a special continuous-fiber thermoplastic composite manufacturing process, which uses pre-impregnated unidirectional composite tapes to produce strong, lightweight composite bearings and other components. The manufacturing process utilizes In-Situ Consolidated (ISC) technology that requires no autoclave or other post processes to eliminate fiber wrinkling and offers an unlimited choice of fiber angles. Components are rapidly formed by a melt-bond process, which removes the need for adhesives, fasteners or welding. ISC technology enables the bonding of different materials, which can result in the creation of new, hybrid structures.

Compressor performance monitoring system

Elliott Group, a leading manufacturer of process compressors for oil and gas, petrochemical, liquefied gases and other industrial services, has rolled out its Gemini Compressor Performance Monitoring System. Developed jointly by Elliott Group and Tri-Sen Systems, Gemini is a focused software solution designed specifically for continuous monitoring, evaluation and analysis of critical compressor performance and associated auxiliary support systems, leading to improved operational control, better machine diagnostics, more functional review capabilities, and optimized compressor operation with increased plant reliability and efficiency.

Gemini is a package that successfully integrates rotor dynamics analysis, process data, high-fidelity compressor thermodynamic analysis, and nearly real-time visibility of key performance indicators into a single package that can be accessed from a smartphone, tablet or computer. The Gemini application includes: a custom Elliott compressor model (a digital twin) for evaluating compressor performance and performance changes; advanced vibration analysis with best-in-class vibration evaluation tools; and remote controls monitoring “HMI-twin” providing contextually relevant compressor and auxiliaries data through a responsive internet browser interface.

Accurate density measurement

A Dynatrol® CL-10-HY density cell and Series 2000 density digital converter can accurately measure the density of multiple fluids, including crude oil, diesel fuel, distillates, gasoline, ethane gas, isobutene, jet fuels and LPG. Dynatrol cells come in a full range of corrosion-resistant materials that are weather-tight and explosion proof, and serve broad temperature and pressure ratings. The Dynatrol cell is double-sealed for protection against leaks and provides density measurement for high-pressure service up to 1,480 psig.

RTO technology to meet clean air regulations 

FIG. 6. Ship & Shore Environmental
FIG. 6. Ship & Shore Environmental's Steam Generating Thermal Oxidizer (SGTO).

Anyone who has encountered foam clamshells for restaurant take-out food, white or green “peanut” packing to cushion shipments, or those thick foam blocks for protecting boxed furniture is familiar with expanded polystyrene (EPS). In use since the 1930s, EPS continues to gain in use around the world in applications from surfboard cores to roadways and building materials.

Mordor Intelligence estimated the 2021 EPS market at 8 MM metric tpy (impressive for a substance that is > 95% air), with a 5% compounding annual growth rate (CAGR) through at least 2027. However, EPS production does carry certain environmental costs. Ship & Shore Environmental (S&SE), a multinational environmental pollution abatement and energy solutions firm, now offers steam-generating thermal oxidizer (STGO) equipment able to help mitigate these costs to help better meet environmental regulations and potentially qualify for “green” manufacturing incentives.

EPS begins as a collection of polystyrene beads, which soak in water and are then permeated with a “blowing agent” that allows the beads to expand (with steam) up to 40x their original size. These expanded foam beads then get pressed and molded into a desired shape for eventual use. EPS is lightweight, protective and a cost-effective thermal insulator. 

Very often, pentane is used as the blowing agent in EPS. Pentane compounds are frequently used as fuels and solvents. However, improperly managed pentane has a host of well-known health impacts, including damage to the eyes, skin, lungs and nervous system. It can also contribute to poor air quality (via ozone damage), which causes another chain of health effects. As a result, governments and industry manufacturers alike have embraced EPS treatment regulations. Only with proper handling and processing will EPS remain viable, responsible, profitable and feasible for recycling.

EPS fabrication requires highly customized abatement systems able to handle high concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including pentane. Specific requirements will depend on regional environmental regulations and the nature of the EPS operation or environment generating VOCs. Every such pentane/VOC nexus has its own emissions characteristics that will shape any abatement equipment design.

For more than two decades, Ship & Shore Environmental (S&SE) has specialized in the design, construction and deployment of high-efficiency abatement systems tailored to a broad range of industries. As ESG mandates and VOC emissions regulations expand in tandem, S&SE has emerged as one of the U.S.’s top resources for abatement solutions. Approximately 90% of EPS air pollution control systems throughout the country have been engineered, installed and maintained by S&SE.

Most of these S&SE solutions for EPS pentane emissions have been based on regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) technology, which has proven to be the preferred pentane abatement technology to present. Most RTO systems combine combustion and heat recovery chambers to achieve a 1500°F operating temperature suitable for destroying 98% of VOCs. Exhaust heat can be captured and repurposed by the business, such as for building air and/or water heating—this recapture often qualifies for rebate incentives from local energy utilities, with some payouts even reaching six figures. S&SE RTOs operate from either a minimal amount of natural gas or even from the pentane contained within the industrial operation, making the abatement process self-sustaining.

S&SE now improves on its RTO technology with its steam-generating thermal oxidizer (SGTO) innovation (FIG. 6). An SGTO is a thermal oxidizer built into a steam boiler. The SGTO also sustains at 1500°F for at least 0.5 sec to destroy pentane and other VOCs. However, radiated heat transfers via convection to a set of boiler tubes, which then produce hot water or steam. Depending on the application and environment, an economizer installed in the exhaust stack can capture this waste heat and convert it to energy, which can then be used for the SGTO or the business running it.

Any industrial plant that uses steam, hot water or hot oil for process heating while also working with VOC abatement requirements can benefit from S&SE SGTO solutions. HP  

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