Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Pneumatic Actuator For Corrosive Environments

Corrosion Resistant industrial valve pneumatic Actuator disassembled
Commando XL Corrosion Resistant
Pneumatic Valve Actuator
Courtesy Hytork - Emerson
Industrial process control operations sometimes call for equipment to be placed in physical locations or environments that are not conducive to a long and productive component lifespan. Extremes of temperature, humidity, and vibration can have substantial effect on equipment performance and longevity. Deleterious impact can also arise from elements of the process itself, in the form of corrosive liquid or vapor prevalent in the processing area. While most industrial equipment is provided with some level of protection, there are instances where standard coatings and protective materials may not provide adequate resistance to the deteriorating impact of their installation environment.

Valves of many types are used throughout industrial processes to provide control of fluid flow, with quarter turn movement being one of the more prevalent.
Pneumatically powered quarter turn valves have an actuator option that provides a high level of corrosion resistance, along with the field proven performance of a recognized leading product. 
Hytork™, an Emerson brand, offers their XL line of actuators with a special treatment to withstand aggressively corrosive environments. The corrosion resistant version has been labelled "XL Commando" and, in the company's own words, has...
A durable Fluoropolymer impregnation (using CORROGARD-CG941) of the actuator body parts (inside and out) for maximum corrosion resistance. This durable impregnation can best be achieved in cast aluminum parts (all XL COMMANDO body parts are cast aluminum). As the aluminum metal grains are expanded under heat the CORROGARD-CG941 is applied, entering the grain structure and, upon cooling, is locked at the surface, integral with the grain structure. Extruded surfaces can only be coated and are more susceptible to scratches and other mechanical deterioration.
You can review the performance range, sizes, and other features of these pneumatic valve actuators through a review of the document included below. Bring your process challenges to a valve application specialist and combine your process knowledge with their product application expertise to achieve a solid practical solution.



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Multiport Valve Block Demonstration Video

multiport valve block for pharma and food and beverage processing
Stainless Steel Multiport Valve Block
Courtesy Gemu
Industrial fluid processing operations routinely include distribution, mixing, and dosing operations on the path to a finished product. With numerous valves, fittings, pipe sections, supports, and other components required to form the fluid path combinations needed to accomplish the process goal, designs can easily become complex and installations unwieldy. Greater parts count puts upward pressure on the probability and frequency of leakage or other types of failures that will divert resources from otherwise productive tasks.

The traditional method of fluid routing through a process may have involved one or more valve stations consisting of manually constructed piping and valve assemblies with numerous fittings, pipe sections, and support structures. These assemblies are often sizable, due to the nature of their manual assembly and required space allowances for field service and maintenance.
Designers and builders of fluid processing equipment should consider an alternative with some distinct advantages. 
A multiport valve block can combine numerous valves into a single compact unit. By doing this, large counts of fittings, pipe lengths, and supports are eliminated, substantially reducing the parts count and number of potential failure points. Of equal importance is the reduction in the required installation space provided by the compact form factor of  the valve block. There is also potential for reduction of dead leg space and volume of fluid retained in portions of the system.
industrial multiport valve block starts with solid metal block and is machined and polished to finished form
Muliport valve block starts with a solid metal block
which is machined and polished to finished form.
Courtesy Gemu

There are endless configurations of multiport valve blocks that can be designed and configured to match the requirements of simple to highly complex valve networks. Materials of construction range from plastics to stainless steel. Variants are suitable for CIP and SIP operations.

The video below shows real world (not animated) functioning of a demonstration unit designed for a mixing operation. Essentially, a multiport valve block allows the installation of a whole lot of valves in a comparatively small space, reducing parts count and associated risk.

Watch the short video. Think about how this modern and effective method of valve networking can bring benefits to your operation. There is much more application detail available from product application specialists. Share your process challenges with them and work together to generate the best solutions.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Process Measurement - Tank Fluid Level Measurement

industrial magnetic level indicator
Industrial Magnetic Tank Level Indicator
Courtesy Granzow
Industrial process control often requires the storage of liquid in vessels or tanks. Continuous and accurate indication of the liquid level within the tank is an essential data point for safety and process control. There are a number of methods and instrument types utilized to provide tank level measurement, each with attributes that may be advantageous for a particular installation. Some of the selection criteria for a tank fluid level indicator may include:
  • Direct or indirect measurement of level
  • Tank shape, regular or irregular
  • Media compatibility with measurement device
  • Requirements for maintenance or calibration
  • Compatibility with process temperature and pressure range
  • Local display and visibility
  • Level indication signal type and transmission
  • Level alarm switches or other indicators
When the instrument of choice is a magnetic level indicator, also referred to as a magnetic level gauge, the selection has usually hinged upon one of this instrument's strengths. Its use for providing level indication has a number of positive attributes:
  • Continuous level measurement
  • Operable without electric power
  • Direct visual tank fluid level indication, regardless of tank shape or profile.
  • Wide range of operating temperature and pressure
  • Breakage resistant construction
  • Range of construction materials available to accommodate corrosive media
  • Measuring indicators, switches, and transmitters mounted externally, without contacting the medium being measured.
  • Low maintenance operation.
  • Readable level indication from greater distance than glass sight gauges.
  • Applicable to large fluid level ranges with a single instrument.
These process measurement devices have a strong position in the tank level measurement field and should be considered as a candidate for fulfilling those application requirements. I have included a technical data sheet from Granzow, one of several manufacturers of this type of instrument, so you can see more detail. Share your application challenges with a sales engineer that specializes in level measurement. Combining your process knowledge with their product application expertise will yield positive solutions.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Close Look at Butterfly Valve Seat

Butterfly valve soft seat cutaway view
Cutaway View of Butterfly Valve With Soft Seat
Courtesy Flowseal - Crane CPE
Butterfly valves are found throughout the fluid based applications in the process control field. They are one of many common and special types of industrial valves used to regulate fluid flow in ways that are compatible with the media being controlled and the degree of precision needed to produce the desired process outcome.

The industrial process control field benefits from a large array of valve manufacturers in pursuit of the favor and business of process operators. Operators continually seek better performance and lower life cycle costs. Manufacturers respond with increasingly improved designs.

A butterfly valve has a disc that is positioned in the fluid flow path. It rotates around a central axis, the stem, through a 90 degree arc from a position parallel to the flow direction (open) to perpendicular (closed). A critical element of a butterfly valve is the seat, where the disc seals to the body in the closed position. Seat design should provide these positive operating attributes:
  • Low friction to reduce valve operating torque
  • Resistance to wear
  • Arrangement that provides for easy replacement
  • Seal or shutoff tightness appropriate for the application
Flowseal, part of the Crane, CPE group of brands, utilizes their specially designed Soft Seat valve sealing arrangement on their resilient sealed butterfly valves. The Soft Seat feature provides beneficial fulfillment of process requirements for the attributes listed above. The valve is available in a range of sizes, with options and variants to meet a wide array of industrial process requirements.

Learn more about the Flowseal Soft Seat butterfly valves by watching the short video below. You can delve deeper with a browsing of the illustrative brochure that is also included below. It provides some detailed illustrations of how the seat functions under differing operating conditions. Contact a product specialist and share your process challenges. Your process knowledge and their product application expertise, when combined, will produce a useful solution.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Cooling Tower Case Study: HDPE vs. Metal Clad

HDPE constructed cooling tower
HDPE Constructed Cooling Tower
Courtesy Delta Cooling Towers
In any business venture or other organization, relying on doing things the way they have always been done can be detrimental to real progress and improvement. Certainly, incorporating change has risk, but careful consideration and planning can make deciding upon and implementing change a big win for an organization.

Cooling towers are common elements of heat rejection systems, like building HVAC and industrial process cooling. By design, cooling towers have large wetted surfaces in almost continuous contact with aggressive solutions of water and various chemicals used to maintain certain fluid conditions. Many towers are constructed using metal for the wetted parts and case of the unit. This has traditionally been an area of concern with cooling tower ownership, since the combined elements of water, treatment chemicals, and time take their inevitable toll on the equipment.

There is a good solution to the deterioration of metal clad cooling towers. Construction utilizing high-density polyethylene (HDPE). HDPE is impervious to corrosive water treatment chemicals and elements often present in the air, whether harsh chemical vapors emitted from nearby industrial plants or natural corrosives such as salt air.

Delta Cooling Towers, Inc. is a US based manufacturer of HDPE cooling towers with a substantial portfolio of completed projects. Below is a short case study showing how one industrial user benefited from installing HDPE cooling towers.

Read the case study and get more information from an application specialist. See how incorporating HDPE cooling towers into your operation can reduce maintenance burden and lead to longer machinery life.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Special Solenoid Valve for Pneumatic Valve Actuators

Industrial Valve With CATS Solenoid Valve Control
Industrial Valve Actuators With
CATS Solenoid Control
Courtesy Emerson Hytork
In our industrial process control operations, we strive for uninterrupted reliable operation of control valves to maintain safe conditions and produce the desired process outcomes. Let's look at pneumatic valve actuators and their control solenoids. Hytork™ has a well thought out solution to enhancing actuator performance and longevity with their CATS solenoid valve. Instead of paraphrasing, I share the manufacturer's own words describing the operational benefits...

Hytork™'s 'CATS' (Clean Air To Springs) is a solenoid valve designed specifically for superior operation of pneumatic actuators. 
All spring return actuators that use a 3-way solenoid valve require air to enter and leave the spring chambers. As compressed air is introduced to the actuator to push the pistons apart, air from the spring chambers must be allowed to vent. During the fail or spring stroke, the compressed air between the pistons must exhaust to permit the springs to drive the pistons together. This piston movement creates a vacuum in the spring chambers which is usually filled by ambient air that may contain dirt, abrasives, corrosives and moisture of which are bad for the actuator - reducing its performance and life. 
A wrong solution for this problem is the use of a 4 way solenoid valve (sometimes referred to as "air assist"). It does prevent the ambient air from entering the actuator, but it will also pressurise the spring chambers. The actuator now acts like an air to open, air to close unit. In the unlikely event of a spring breakage or if the valve torque increases, due to line media build up within the valve, the actuator would still appear to operate normally until its fail action was needed in an emergency. At this most critical time, with supply air not available, the actuator could not perform as intended and it's function as a safety device would be defeated.
Hytork™'s CATS solenoid valve prevents this undesirable action from happening.
As the solenoid is de-energised, permitting the springs to push the pistons together, an internal by-pass in the CATS valve permits some of the exhausting air to fill the spring chambers at atmospheric pressure while the remainder exhausts to atmosphere. No ambient air enters the actuator.
Only clean supply air gets into the actuator - Air that was normally planned to be vented!-There is no pressure build up that can lead to false torque availability on the fail stroke, as in the case of air assisted springs! No extra clean compressed air is used!
The solenoid valves are available in a number of configurations to accommodate almost any installation. To summarize, the advantages include:

  • Maximises actuator life.
  • Reduces installation and initial costs.
  • Prevents actuator seal failure.
  • Prevents corrosives from entering actuator.
  • Prevents dirty air from entering actuator.
  • Proves that the actuator springs are working correctly every stroke.
  • NAMUR standard - Easiest assembly possible - only two mounting screws.
  • Eliminates brackets and tubing - mounts directly to the NAMUR pad on the actuator.
  • Only one style of solenoid valve required for Spring Return and Double Acting actuators - reducing inventory costs.
To explore how these solenoid valves can improve your pneumatic valve actuator operation and longevity, contact a product specialist and share your requirements. Combining your process expertise with the product application knowledge of a professional sales engineer will move you quickly toward a good solution.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mountain States Engineering and Crane Expand Their Relationship

Triple Offset Butterfly Valve
Krombach Triple Offset Metal Seated Valve
Courtesy Crane CPE


Mountain States Engineering and Controls has been selected as the new distributor of the Krombach branded valves from Crane CPE. MSEC has been a master distributor for various brands in the Crane family for fifteen years, and will be capitalizing on knowledge and experience gained from their many years of providing solutions in the industrial process control and valve fields. The Krombach branded valves complement the applications range of other industrial valves handled by MSEC.

The Krombach line includes:
  • Butterfly Valves - High performance, resilient seated, double-eccentric, triple offset and special purpose butterfly valves.
  • Ball Valves - Process one-piece, two-piece and three-piece, metal seated, soft seated and compact ball valves.
  • Globe and Angle Valves - Bronze, cast iron, cast steel and stainless steel globe and angle valves.
  • Gate Valves - Bronze, cast iron, cast steel and stainless steel gate valves.
  • Check Valves - Ball, dual-plate, foot, full body swing, steam stop, tilting disc, wafer style swing, nozzle-type and pressure seal check valves.
  • Vacuum Relief Valves - Available with flanged or threaded connections.
  • Aerating and Deaerating Valves - Essential for trouble-free operation of pipeline systems handling liquids.
  • Float Valves - Single seated and double seated versions for a variety of applications.
  • Throttle Valves - Available with flange connection, wafer- or weld-in type.
  • Bottom Drain Valves - Available manually operated or with a diaphragm actuator.
I have included below one of the many comprehensive data sheets available. More information on any application or product is available from the process control specialists at MSEC. Combining their product knowledge with your process mastery is the key to positive outcomes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pipeline Strainers: Proper Selection and Application

Pipeline Basket Strainer Cutaway View
Basket Strainer
Courtesy Spirax Sarco
Pipeline strainers are one of those simple devices that perform a critical role in maintaining the smooth operation of any piping system. They are found in any operation that has fluid moving through a pipe, and their proper selection and application is the subject of a great tutorial authored by the experts at Spirax Sarco, a premiere manufacturer of specialties for industrial piping systems.

One of the basic tenets of industrial process control operations is to maintain a specified function or outcome, to keep things working. Reduced to its simplest, the function of a strainer is to trap materials flowing in the pipeline that should not be there. Rust, scale, joint compound, and particulate materials can impact the function of valves and other elements in the system. A strainer will trap and hold undesirable material, for removal at a later time.

The attached article is excerpted from the company's extensive tutorial library, which you can access by contacting an application specialist. That same application specialist can provide additional detail at any level you need, as well as work with you to meet application challenges and improve your industrial or commercial operations.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Capable Single Tank Level Display Solution

Oil Refinery Storage Tanks
Oil Refinery Storage Tanks
Earlier this year, King Gage released their LP1 Tank Level Indicator. The unit provides a number of integrated features that give the user accurate indication of tank liquid level. Mate the LP1 with any level sensing instrument that produces a 4-20 ma output signal and it can calculate tank inventory based upon hydrostatic pressure or direct level measurement. Tank level is displayed directly in engineering units, referencing a capacity profile that correlates the transmitter output to actual tank geometry. All application parameters are preprogrammed at the factory, based upon supplied application data, and stored in nonvolatile memory. Options include an isolated 24 Vdc transmitter power supply, Modbus communications, and more.

This simple, accurate, flexible unit can be easily applied in many industrial process measurement and control settings. Discuss your application possibilities with a product specialist to save time and take advantage of their wide range of application experience.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Steam Heat Exchanger Stall - Eliminate It For Best Performance

Steam Heat Exchanger
Industrial Steam Heat Exchanger
Courtesy JFD Tube & Coil Products
Efficient and reliable operation is always an objective of a steam system owner or operator. If your system employs heat exchangers, an understanding of heat exchanger stall will put you on a path to efficient operation, lower maintenance, and possibly longer useful life for major parts of your system.

Heat exchanger stall occurs when low load conditions reduce the steam pressure in the heat exchanger, decreasing the pressure differential across the steam trap to a point below the back pressure in the condensate line. The resulting condition causes condensate to back up into the heat exchanger, reducing its efficiency. There are other negative effects that are illustrated in the animated video below, produced by world recognized steam system experts Spirax Sarco and presented by Mountain States Engineering, a distributor in the Western US.

The video is useful and comprehensible to a wide range of  skill and knowledge levels. It takes only four minutes to view, and will leave you with a better understanding of how you can get consistent and efficient performance from your steam system.

For a steam system survey and evaluation, contact the engineers at Mountain States Engineering. They have the technical knowledge, products, and other resources to deliver solid and positive solutions for keeping your steam systems at peak operation.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What You Should Know About Industrial Steam

Electric power generation plant
Electric Power Generation Plant
One of many industrial and commercial uses of steam.
Steam has been an important part of industrial operations since long before your parents were born, and not just for electric power generation. The staying power of steam for commercial and industrial operations stems from its use as a delivery medium for power, heat, and moisture. Today, other than for power generation, steam is frequently used as a method of delivering heat. That, and a range of other uses throughout industry mean that your familiarity with the various elements of a steam production and delivery system are a key part of your personal knowledge base. Your understanding of the basics will serve you well in planning sessions, project discussions, and decision making throughout your industrial career. Even if you are not an engineer, do not carry a tool bag, and only wear a hardhat when you visit the plant floor, knowing about steam systems can boost your decision making skills and confidence on projects where steam is employed.

Spirax Sarco, a world class manufacturer of products and turnkey solutions for the control and efficient use of steam for industrial and commercial users, has produced a set of tutorials that allow you to learn about a wide range of topics directly related to the production and use of steam in industrial and commercial settings. The tutorials are grouped in major sections, with subtopics dividing each subject into smaller parts, making it easy to find a specific topic or break your knowledge gathering operation into more manageable pieces. Major topics include:

  • Introduction
  • Steam Engineering Principles and Heat Transfer
  • The Boiler House
  • Flow Metering
  • Basic Control Theory
  • Control Hardware: Electric/Pneumatic Actuation
  • Control Hardware: Self-acting Actuation
  • Control Applications
  • Safety Valves
  • Steam Distribution
  • Steam Traps and Steam Trapping
  • Pipeline Ancillaries
  • Condensate Removal
  • Condensate Recovery
  • Desuperheating
  • Equations
Few of us will want or need to get through all of it. This is, however, and excellent resource for stakeholders that want to have a bookmark where they can build or refresh their knowledge about the subject. You can gain access to the tutorials through contact with a sales engineer, another valuable resource you should employ in seeking industrial process control solutions.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Easy Pressure Switch Installation for Hazardous Areas

Adjustable Setpoint Pressure
Pressure Switch for Hazardous
Areas
Courtesy Custom Control Sensors
Industrial process control applications present an unending stream of challenges to designers, engineers, technicians, and other stakeholders. Because of the general nature and scale of industrial operations, there is often danger and risk involved during normal operation, as well as the potential for catastrophic impact to personnel, environment, and other assets in the the case of failure. The equipment and components we employ in our processes have three areas of consideration. Firstly, they must perform some range of functions reliably under normal operating conditions. Second, the contribution of any device to the risk of process failure must be minimized. Thirdly, there may be performance requirements for the device under abnormal process or environmental conditions.

Hazardous areas, with potentially explosive atmospheres due to the presence of certain gases or fine particulates, pose a particularly challenging set of circumstances to those of us striving to make things work properly. Everything within the hazardous area must be hardened in such a way that it poses no risk of being the source of ignition of the surrounding atmosphere. There are various effective methods for accomplishing this, most of which involve substantially increased cost and time.

Custom Control Sensors, a manufacturer that devotes a substantial portion of its product line to control devices for use in hazardous areas, has added a new development to their series of adjustable setpoint industrial pressure switches. The latest addition to the line is suitable for hazardous areas and has a unique feature that will save time, money, and a even a little space in your process area.

The newest version of the company's 6900 series industrial pressure switch features a Turck® connector that simplifies installation in Class I, Division 2 applications. Use of the connector eliminates the need for an electrical junction box at the sensor location and makes installation or removal of the device a simple operation. This improvement simplifies the deployment of pressure switches in hazardous areas.

The features and specifications for the product are included in the data sheet that I have shared below. The manufacturer sees applications for the product in:

  • Wellhead control panels
  • Chemical injection skids
  • Hydraulic control packages
  • Gas compression skids
  • Off-shore and on-shore installations
You may have your own potentially advantageous applications for this or some other CCS products. Contact a product specialist to explore product solutions to your process challenges.





Monday, October 5, 2015

Cooling Tower Corrosion Resistance - It's Easy

Corrosion resistant cooling tower installation
Corrosion resistant cooling tower
Courtesy Delta Cooling Towers
Machinery that will be continuously bathed in a spray of water throughout its operating life is certainly a good candidate for some corrosion protection. Locate this equipment outdoors, perhaps in a coastal area, and the potential to gain benefits from a corrosion resistant installation are more than clear.

Cooling towers fit my previous description admirably, and their scope of application makes them an essential element of facility operation. Every unit is exposed to combined effects of variable water chemistry, constant saturation at elevated temperatures, and aeration. Some cooling towers also are impacted by potentially harmful agents in the process water and various airborne pollutants, including sulfur oxides and acid rain.

For those not entirely familiar with how a cooling tower works, here are the very basics. Cooling towers transfer an amount of heat from one or more water-cooled machines or systems to outdoor air. Heated water from the water cooled systems enters the cooling tower, distributes over a heat transfer surface (sometimes called the fill), and is cooled by an induced air flow that is forced through the fill. The flowing air causes a portion of the water to evaporate, removing heat and lowering the temperature of the water. The cooled water is collected in a basin and returned to the system to repeat the heat transfer cycle.

Traditionally, cooling towers were fabricated of metal because of its structural strength and ability to be formed using readily available fabricating means. Differing metals were employed, at basic to premium price points, to provide increased levels of resistance to the ever present corroding nature of water and weather. Many cooling towers built today employ the same, or similar, materials and methods used decades ago. There is, and has been for quite some time now, a modern alternative to metal cooling tower construction that provides substantially increased levels of corrosion resistance at a competitive price point.

Delta Cooling Towers, Inc. manufactures cooling towers using structural and other plastics, enabling them to provide a 20 year warranty covering the basic structure of the unit. The product line provides capacity and performance range to cover almost any requirement. If you are in the business of specifying heat rejection equipment for your own facility, or one of your client's, you should get more detailed information about this equipment. Have a discussion about your application requirements, and concerns about operational longevity, with a product specialist. Good decisions come from combining the knowledge and experience of many.

As a quick reference, included below is a list of materials used in the construction of the Delta Cooling Towers unit. A quick glance by anyone familiar with the corrosion susceptibility of metals used in tower construction will see that the superior performance of the plastic materials should be given serious consideration on a cooling tower project.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Triple Offset Valves - Some Advantages and Considerations

Flowseal brand triple offset butterfly valve
Triple Offset Butterfly Valve
Courtesy Flowseal, Crane CPE
Industrial process control often involves the control of fluid flow, ranging from slurries or petroleum to highly refined liquids and gases. The enormous variety of application specifics has given rise to a wide range of valves with performance characteristics to match those requirements. One common valve type is the butterfly valve. In it's simplest form, it is a disc located in the path of fluid flow that is connected to a shaft. The disc rotates through a 90 degree arc to present either its face (valve closed) or its edge (valve open) to the fluid flow path. I wrote about some advantages and disadvantages of butterfly valves a couple months ago under the title "Is a Butterfly Valve Right for Your Application?".

There is a variant of the simple version of the butterfly valve that provides distinct advantages for many applications. Referred to somewhat officially as a triple offset butterfly valve, it can also be more commonly called simply a triple offset valve.

How is a triple offset butterfly valve different from a basic butterfly valve?


The triple offset valve does away with the centric alignment of the shaft and disc, using instead a shaft mounting arrangement that relocates the shaft axis off both the center of the disc and the center of the bore. This shaft positioning, while creating a larger flow obstruction in the fully open position, sets the disc movement path in the proper alignment to take advantage of the third offset, which is the sealing surface. Triple offset valves have a different seals than other butterfly valve variants. There is an angular sealing surface, the angle of which is determined by sectioning an imaginary right angle cone shape that extends along the bore. However, the apex of the cone does not lie on the center of the bore. This inclination of the seal cone constitutes the third offset. You can see an illustration of this description in the document included below.

What advantages might those differences bring to your application?


  • Triple offset valves have discs that do not contact the sealing surface until the valve is closed. This is in contrast to other butterfly valve designs, which have contact between the disc and resilient seals for part or all of the disc travel, along with the associated friction and wear.
  • Elastomer or other similarly resilient materials are not needed to provide a zero-leakage, bubble tight shutoff. Sealing is generally accomplished with metal-to-metal contact.
  • Friction free stroking of the valve disc. Actuator power requirements may be reduced.
  • All metal construction provides elements of corrosion and heat resistance not found in other butterfly valve designs with resilient seals.
  • This valve is torque sealed, not position sealed like other butterfly variants. Actuator torque forces the seal of the machined metal surfaces to produce tight shutoff.
  • No breakaway torque requirement, since the disc is not contacting resilient seals. 
  • Seating arrangement prevents overstroking of the valve, a potential problem with other butterfly valves.
Different manufacturers may have slightly different feature sets, but this should help you consider the benefits of this butterfly valve variant. Though its initial cost may be higher, the expected lower maintenance requirement, longer service life, and better performance may be well worth it. Talk to a valve product specialist about your application. I've written many times that combining your process expertise with the up to date product knowledge of a professional sales engineer will produce a positive outcome.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mountain States Engineering Reference Library


Mountain States Engineering Reference Library
Industrial Process Control Product Reference Library
Mountain States Engineering 
Business is about getting things done.
In today's pressured environment, it's also about getting things done expeditiously. At Mountain States Engineering, we want our existing and prospective customers to know that we are here to help you get those things done....expeditiously. Our updated website includes a library of links and literature downloads for everything we sell. The goal is to help our fellow engineers in the industrial process measurement and control industry find answers and information quickly, anytime.

No registration, password, or revealing of personal information is required to access the information. Go to our website, select the menu bar item "Library" and you are in.

Mountain States Engineering is dedicated to support of industrial process engineers, technicians, and stakeholders of all types. With top flight products, problem solving, and support, Mountain States Engineering will be the group you turn to for industrial process control solutions. If you need anything not provided in the library, never hesitate to contact one of our engineering sales professionals.

Screen shot of Mountain States Engineering Library Page
Screen Shot for Mountain States Engineering Reference Library
No registration required

Monday, September 14, 2015

No Compressed Air? Use Water to Power Your Valve Actuator.

Hytork XLW Water Powered Valve Actuator
XLW Water Powered Valve Actuator
Courtesy Hytork
Air is everywhere, but very little of it is compressed for our use in powering a valve actuator. Sometimes, possibly at sites located remotely, a reliable source of compressed air is unavailable for process control valve actuation. Installing an air compressor at the site may be an option, but one with impact on the reliability of the installation deemed undesirable. One possible solution is a water powered valve actuator. With mains water available, pressurized within the range of 60 to 100 psi (4-7 bar), actuator power can be derived and valve operation successfully achieved.

Water always presents its own set of special considerations, not the least of which is that it tends to corrode most metals used in construction of actuator parts over time. Of additional concern are the particulates present in water systems which can cause premature deterioration of seals and scoring of cylinders in the actuator. Directional control solenoid valves will also function more reliably with a water supply free of larger particulates. While this is a concern, the solution is simply to place an inexpensive filter upstream of the devices, eliminating the contaminates from the water supply.

While it is possible to employ some "standard" actuators in a water powered setting, there are special adaptations that can be applied to common actuator design to better suit the use of water power. One manufacturer, Hytork, has done just that with their XLW Series of water operated actuators. The XLW Series is a water powered adaptation of the company's successful XL Series actuators. Special coatings are applied to critical parts to provide necessary protection for water applications. There are other differences between the compressed air and water versions of the actuator, detailed in the installation and operating instruction manual shown below. The manual is short enough to be read in a couple minutes (really, just a couple minutes) and provides useful and illustrative information about actuator construction, operating characteristics, and maintenance requirements.

Contact a valve application specialist for more information, or to discuss any of your fluid control application needs.


Monday, September 7, 2015

When is a Diaphragm Valve Your Best Choice?

Gemu Industrial Diaphragm Valve Metal Body Hand Operated
Hand Operated Metal Body Diaphragm Valve
Courtesy Gemu
Industrial process control, as a field of endeavor, covers an incredibly broad range of applications, all highly specialized in their own way. The control and handling of fluids is a prevalent activity in process control, leading to a wide variety of valves from which to choose for your application. Figuring out which flow control valve will best meet the needs of a particular application requires a detailed assessment of the physical elements to which the valve will be exposed, and under what conditions it will need to operate. In other words, know your process fluid, know your operating environment. A solid understanding of your process will make valve selection a simpler task, since there will likely be a small segment of your requirements able to be fulfilled by only one or two valve types.

When referring to valve types, common terminology generally describes the means utilized to control the flow. Some prevalent valve types, though certainly not an exhaustive list, include ball, plug, butterfly, diaphragm, gate, needle, and globe. Each of these basic designs have characteristics that make them more suitable than others for certain application conditions. Let's look at diaphragm valves.

A diaphragm valve controls fluid flow through the movement of a flexible membrane, unsurprisingly called a diaphragm. Numerous means can be employed to apply force to the diaphragm and a seal is created when the membrane compresses against a targeted portion of the valve body. A prominent feature of this valve type is the isolation, by the diaphragm, of the valve operation mechanism from the fluid. Two general body styles are available, referred to as weir and straight through. The weir design requires less extensive movement of the diaphragm than the straight through type, resulting in a longer expected life for the diaphragm. The straight through style, when open, provides little obstruction to the fluid flow and may be more suitable for some media.

Some diaphragm valve characteristics that might prove advantageous:

Pneumatically Operated Diaphram Valve, Plastic Body
Pneumatically Operated Diaphram
Valve, Plastic Body
Courtesy Gemu

  • Isolation of the valve operating mechanism from the fluid.
  • Design is easier to sanitize or sterilize in place than other valve types.
  • Throttling or shutoff service. Throttling generally limited to weir type.
  • Fast operation with powered actuators on weir type.
  • Valves can be lined with materials suitable for abrasive, corrosive, high purity, or other media.
  • Diaphragms available in wide variety of materials to suit application.
  • Leak tight shutoff.
  • Valves can be serviced in-line.
  • Suitable for many high purity applications with proper lining and membrane materials.

Diaphragm valve limitations that may be significant to your application:

  • Limited operating pressure range, when compared to many other valve types.
  • Flexing of diaphragm during operation limits usable life of the membrane and creates maintenance event.
  • Temperature range is limited to that of the membrane and liner material.
  • Range of available sizes is generally less than other valve types.
  • Manual operation is generally slow, requiring multiple turns of a handwheel.
Consider your process environment, consider your process fluid, consider if a diaphragm valve will provide the performance you need. I always recommend taking the time to discuss your application with a valve specialist. Their extensive knowledge base and application experience will enhance your solo valve selection performance. 




Sunday, August 30, 2015

Modern Refrigeration Technology Delivers Energy Saving Air Drying for Industrial Compressed Air Systems

Industrial Refrigerated Air Dryer
Modular Refrigerated Air Dryer
Courtesy SPX Pneumatic Products
Compressed air is a common utility and source of power in many industrial plants and operations. It is well known that limiting the amount of moisture in compressed air is advantageous. Modern operations increasingly demand drier compressed air supply containing fewer contaminants. Some of the potentially damaging effects of moisture in compressed air systems include:

  • In air operated instruments, corrosion, leading to incorrect readings and false responses by plant operators.
  • In industrial processes utilizing pneumatic controls, clogging of orifices and malfunction of controls due to rust and scale can result in additional maintenance and repair, even process malfunction or shutdown.
  • In industrial spray-on coatings, moisture can affect their color, finish, and adherence.
  • In industrial production equipment, moving parts can experience rust and premature wear due to the washing away of lubrication by excessive moisture in compressed air.
For many industrial applications, removing moisture from compressed air can be accomplished on a continuous basis utilizing a properly configured mechanically refrigerated air dryer. SPX Flow Techonology's Pneumatic Products brand of refrigerated air dryers applies best in class refrigeration technology to deliver substantial energy savings to the process. The ESM product line features:
  • Measurable energy savings.
  • Rapid return on investment
  • Load matching performance
  • Modular construction for multi-station design with isolation for service and maintenance
  • Fault tolerant operation
  • Integral filtration
Review the product data sheet below for more detail on the versatility, energy savings, and all around performance of the ESM Series Refrigerated Air Dryers. Product specialists can provide answers to your application questions, along with assistance with product selection and incorporation into your plant or process.




Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Steam Condensate Return Systems - Basic and Essential

Condensate Return Pump
Condensate Return Station
Courtesy Roth Pump Company
Many industrial processes and plants utilize steam in their operations. The generation and use of steam is one of the oldest industrial processes and is so well understood that it may be considered more of a utility than part an industrial process. Whatever the case, if your process or installation uses steam, then steam is a necessary input for successful operation. Keeping your steam system performing at capacity frees up time and resources for the more complex aspects of your work.

If steam is not consumed directly by the process as a component input, it is steam's heat of vaporization that is utilized by the operation. Efficient use of steam as a heating medium results in the conversion of vapor to liquid (water). Returning the liquid condensate back to the boiler for conversion to vapor again is a necessary step in the efficient operation of a closed loop system.

Condensate return systems are certainly not high technology, but keep in mind that a steam system may be the lifeblood of not just one, but many operations throughout a plant. Avoiding downtime in the steam system, of which the condensate return pump is an integral part, ranks highly on the list of "Important Things for Plant Operations". Condensate return is critical. What are some strong attributes of a good and reliable condensate return pump?


Condensate return station with dual pumps
Condensate Return Station with Dual Pumps
Courtesy Roth Pump Company
  • Minimize or eliminate cavitation at high temperatures. Cavitation will impede pump performance and cause premature deterioration of pump and drive components.
  • Ability to handle a high load during cold starts through motor and pump design.
  • Design and configuration to handle high temperatures without deterioration of pump and motor.
  • Develop higher pressure at lower motor speeds for extended service life.
  • Avoidance of mechanical seals below water line.
  • Consider a single unit with dual pumps for handling high loads and extending service life.
Specifying and installing a solidly designed and built condensate return pump may require an investment of your time and consideration. The return on that investment will be reduced maintenance, repair, and downtime. Talk to a product specialist about your steam system. Combining your intimate operational knowledge and experience with their deep product knowledge and experience with many installations will yield a good solution.



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Economical Suction Diffuser Provides Industrial Pump Protection

Suction Diffuser for Industrial Pump
Courtesy Titan Flow Control, Inc.
Liquid handling in industrial processes commonly involves the provision of a pump to move the fluid in the desired manner. Industrial pumps operate best and longest when they are provided with inlet conditions within a range for which the pump is designed. Two conditions prevalent among many pumps are low levels of particulate matter greater than a tolerable size and minimized turbulence at the pump inlet. Piping and specialties approaching the pump inlet should be arranged to provide these conditions to promote low vibration, energy savings, and a long service life.

An effective way to provide pump protection, save installation space, and reduce the probable demands for maintenance and service over the machine's expected operating life is to specify and install a suction diffuser at the pump inlet. There are numerous advantages to this approach.
  • The unit is mounted directly to the inlet side of the pump, saving space and additional connection points.
  • An integral strainer prevents unwanted materials from entering the pump inlet.
  • Straightening vanes on the outlet side of the suction diffuser reduce turbulence in the flow entering the pump.
  • Provision of a suction diffuser reduces the total parts count and connection points (joints) approaching the pump inlet. A single cast unit takes the place of a strainer, reducing elbow, and entrance pipe. Reduced installation time and cost are achieved using the integral design of the suction diffuser.
Titan suction diffuser installation
Suction Diffuser shown installed on pump inlet.
Courtesy Titan Flow Control, Inc.
A suction diffuser may not be the most exciting specialty you ever install, but the benefits of its use warrant your attention. It's one of those simple product ideas that contributes to a good pump installation you can confidently sign off on. You can find out more by reaching out to a product expert and discussing your potential application.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Chemical Flow Meters for Hazardous Environments


ISTEC Aquametro Chemical Flow Meter
Chemical Flow Meters for Industrial Process Measurement
Courtesy ISTEC
ISTEC Corporation’s Aquametro Domino line of Chemical Flow Meters provide accurate measurement of water and liquid chemical flows using rotary piston or vane wheel technology. Versions of the instruments are designed for use in safe and hazardous areas (ATEX). The Domino line has flexible mounting configurations to minimize installation space, and is suitable for conductive or non-conductive liquids. Proper operation and accuracy of the instrument is not diminished by flow disturbances. The rugged units are manufactured in a wide array of sizes and configurations to accommodate every application.

Review the product literature below, or contact a product specialist to discuss your water or liquid chemical flow measurement requirement.



Thursday, August 6, 2015

Industrial Steam Coils and Unit Heaters - Specify For Longevity

Industrial Steam Coil
Industrial Steam Coils
courtesy of Industrial Mechanical Specialties, Ltd.
There are many applications for steam coils and unit heaters in the industrial  and processing fields. Lacking the sizzle of high technology, steam coils are simple, straight forward pieces of gear that are intended to transfer heat from steam to air. While simple in principle, their importance in process or application is notable. You are heating that air because it needs to be heated in order for something else to continue working properly. Steam coil thermal performance is predictable and well understood, making sizing of the coil tube and fin components a relatively simple task. A critical and practical element for steam coil selection is specifying attributes that will deliver ruggedness and longevity to reduce the probability of failure due to normal wear and tear associated with the process and installation environment.

Employing heavier gauge fins and tube walls can provide a longer service life. Cabinets or casings fabricated of corrosion resistant materials, such as stainless steel, may also lengthen the service life of the unit. Any motors, mountings, fan guards, or other hardware should also be evaluated for upgrading to enhance service life.

Industrial Unit Heaters With Motor
Industrial Steam Unit Heaters
Courtesy Industrial Mechanical
Specialties, Ltd.
Of course, there is always cost involved. Examining the true cost of downtime to repair or replace a steam coil will likely show that some carefully considered options are well worth the comparatively small additional cost. Consult with a coil specialist. Discuss your application and see what construction enhancements will deliver longer on-line performance for your process.




Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pneumatic Actuator With Air Fail Safe Operation

Pneumatic actuator on industrial valve
Air Fail Safe Actuator
installed on industrial valve
Courtesy Hytork, EPM
Pneumatic actuators are used throughout the industrial process control field to provide remote or automated control of valve operation. This type of industrial valve actuator employs pressurized air to move a piston or diaphragm and apply force to the valve stem, opening or closing the valve. Since, by the general nature of their scale and content, industrial fluid processes tend to carry substantial risk related to safety and financial loss due to failure, the engineer’s task is to plan and design for safe operation, should a wide range of possible failure modes occur. Hytork, an Emerson Process Management brand, provides a solution for fail safe operation of pneumatic actuators.
The Hytork Air Fail Safe Acutator is intended for use on larger valves with high torque requirements. The actuator has a built-in air reservoir that provides reserve air capacity to safely close the valve when the input air pressure fails. The accumulator stores compressed air at the highest pressure seen at the device. The design of the Air Fail Safe actuator delivers a high torque level in a double rack and pinion arrangement that is inaccessible using spring based designs. Learn about the Hytork Air Fail Safe Actuator and discuss your potential applications with a product expert.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Selecting the Right Valve Type - Plug Valves

Valves are the primary fluid flow control device employed in the industrial process control arena. The widely varied applications and requirements have led to an almost daunting array of vendors. valves and options from which to choose. For your particular project or application, the selection candidate pool can be shrunk down to a manageable size if you first select the type of valve that will best suit your needs.

industrial plug valve internal part
The "Plug" in a Plug Valve
Courtesy Fluoroseal Inc.
Valves are generally used to start, stop, redirect, or throttle (control at some intermediate level) the flow of a fluid. They may also be tasked with preventing fluid flow from going in an undesirable direction or regulating pressure. Industrial flow control valve types are generally classified according to the structure or arrangement within the valve body that provides the obstruction to fluid flow. Some of the common types are ball, butterfly, gate, globe, and plug. Surely there are more valve types, and this article is not intended to list them all. Some of our previous blogs have discussed selection considerations for ball, butterfly, and gate valves. Let’s look at one of the oldest valve types, the plug valve.

Plug valves are similar to ball and butterfly valves, with their rotational movement of 90 degrees from the fully open to the closed positions. The “plug” in a plug valve is installed in the flow path within the valve body and rotated by means of a stem extending to the exterior of the body. Plugs are often tapered toward the bottom and are fitted to a seating surface in the valve body cavity. An opening through the plug, the port, can be shaped to provide particular flow characteristics. There are numerous variants of the basic plug valve which may make it suitable for particular applications. One common variant is the lined plug valve, with an interior lining of material suited to provide a measure of corrosion resistance for special media applications.

industrial plug valve
Industrial Plug Valve With Manual Operation Handle
Courtesy DHV Industires
What are the general positives for plug valve application?

  • 90 degree rotation from open to closed provides fast operation.
  • With proper configuration, can be well suited for frequent operation.
  • Availability of corrosion resistant liner may provide comparative cost savings because valve body can be constructed of less expensive material.
  • Design is simple and employs a low parts count.
  • Valve can be serviced in place.
  • Generally, low resistance to flow when fully open.
  • Reliable leak-tight service due to tapered plug wedging action, replaceable sleeve, and injection of lubricant in some variants.

What are some potential negatives for plug valves?

  • Higher friction in the closure mechanism may require comparatively higher operating torque than other valve types.
  • Generally not well suited for throttling applications without special design modifications.
  • Rapid shutoff may not be suitable for some applications where hammering may occur.

As part of your own assessment and selection process, share your application requirements and concerns with an experienced sales engineer. Their product knowledge and application experience can provide the additional input needed to make the best choice for your project.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Downpipe Liquid Level Sensor Purge Control

Downpipe bubbler type tank level indicator
Arrangement for bubbler type tank level indicator
with purge control
Courtesy King Gage
Industrial process control often requires the measurement of liquid inventory volume or mass. If the material is contained within a tank of known shape and dimensions, the volume can be determined accurately by measuring the level of the liquid. Various means are used to determine the liquid level. One of the simplest is the downpipe sensor, sometimes referred to as a "bubbler", where liquid level is inferentially derived using differential pressure. The downpipe is a length of pipe that is open at the end extending down into the liquid contained within the tank. The top end is connected to a purging device that provides a controlled flow of pressurized air or gas into the pipe. The pressure maintained within the downpipe will reach an equilibrium with the pressure produced by the hydrostatic force related to liquid level in the tank or vessel. Accurate measurement of this pressure, along with a thorough knowledge of the liquid's properties, can be used to determine the depth of the liquid within the tank and the corresponding volume.

King-Gage manufactures several industrial process level measurement devices incorporating downpipe purge technology and differential pressure measurement. They have applications in inventory monitoring, process control, hazardous and explosion zones, ballast monitoring, and other areas that benefit from their simple operation, low maintenance, and ruggedness. The company, in its own words describes the unit as an...
...extremely rugged unit designed specifically for hazardous areas requiring flameproof or ATEX (Ex d) rating. A proprietary wet check assembly ensures positive seal of fluids to ensure containment integrity. Loop powered transmitter provides 4-20mAdc output while components are isolated from the process media by a continuous air purge. Total consumption rate is less than 0.083 scfm for energy saving operation with external air/gas supply.The only internal element is a simple length of pipe extending into the tank.
Rugged design requires no setup or air flow adjustment due to its differential pressure regulation that avoids dynamic pressure drops common to other bubblers. This ensures highly accurate level measurement and repeatability within ± 0.2% while preventing turbulence or foaming of tank liquid. Applications include water/wastewater, sulfur pits, most free flowing liquids (including slurries) and temperatures in excess of 160 °C (320 °F) as the transmitter is effectively isolated from the process by the air purge.
The slides below illustrate various installation configurations, including one for explosion hazard areas. Contact an application engineer for more detailed information.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Is a Butterfly Valve Right for Your Application?

There are many manufacturers of industrial control valves, with each producing an array of sizes, types, construction materials, and other distinguishing characteristics that make it necessary to quickly narrow the field of contenders to consider for your valve application in order to be productive. A useful filter that can be applied to the broad offering of valves is selecting a valve “type”. Valve types are generally classified according to their means of closure, with some common types being ball, plug, globe, butterfly and gate, among others. Each type has particular application strengths, some that may prove advantageous enough for your application to exclude all others. Let’s take a look at butterfly valves.
industrial butterfly valve
Butterfly Valve
Courtesy Crane CPE

The closure means for a simple butterfly valve is a disc, positioned in the fluid flow path, that rotates around a central axis through a 90 degree arc. The valve stem serves as the axis and extends through a seal to the exterior of the valve body where it serves as an actuation point. The closed position for the valve has the disc positioned perpendicular to the direction of flow and blocking the flow path. When open, the disc is parallel to the flow path, but still positioned in the center of the flow. Butterfly valves are available in a variety of construction materials, making them suitable for an array of media.

Butterfly valve aspects that might be advantageous:
industrial butterfly valve
Butterfly Valve
Courtesy Crane CPE

  • Closure mechanism allows for comparatively low torque operation.
  • Small size and weight for reduced installation space and valve body support.
  • Low pressure drop in the fully open position. The disc, when parallel to the flow path, presents a thin edge of its profile to the fluid flow.
  • Low maintenance requirements and small parts count.
  • Transition from fully open to fully closed with a 90 degree turn provides for fast operation.
  • Suitable for limited range of throttling applications.

Aspects warranting closer scrutiny:

  • Throttling capability is generally limited to low pressure drop applications.
  • The orientation of the closure may cause cavitation under some conditions.
  • Choked flow can be a concern under certain conditions.

Performance, low maintenance requirements, and cost are always primary considerations. There are many more detailed sources of application information. Consult with a professional sales engineer that specializes in industrial process valves and get the information you need to make a good choice.