Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Keep Industrial Control System Cybersecurity Top of Mind

depiction of industrial data around the world cybersecurity
Industrial control system cyber security is a 24/7 operation 
Cybersecurity risks should be a concern to any business with an internet connection or data port. Smaller operators may feel their limited size and notoriety renders them generally immune to invasion. This is a falsehood. Every control system should be considered as a potential target. That said, paranoia and fear should not be your primary decision drivers. Cybersecurity is accomplished through awareness, diligence, and collaboration.

Even if you consider yourself a small and insignificant operator, it is useful to begin, then maintain, a connection to the conduits for industrial control system cybersecurity information. Develop your awareness of the potential for intrusion into your control system. Start to become knowledgeable about how cyber threats can impact your operation, how cyber intruders gain access. As you build your knowledge, it is likely you will find ways to improve your level of security without major change or expense.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security houses the watchdog organizations for industrial control system cybersecurity. There is a group within the department that is dedicated solely to industrial control systems. The Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team, better known as ICS-CERT, works to reduce cyber intrusion risks for industrial control systems. The link for ICS-CERT should be your first stop when delving into industrial cybersecurity. The site provides links to many other resources and activities, all directly related to cybersecurity. You can sign up for newsletters, even receive alerts when new threats are uncovered.

Your steady progress of knowledge building will better prepare your organization for the cybersecurity challenges of the current environment, as well as those that will emerge in the future. A fact sheet from the National Cybersecurity and Communication Integration Center, providing some useful information on their functions and activities, is included below.

Any concerns you may have about the potential vulnerabilities of instruments or equipment currently in place should be shared with vendors as part of the evaluation of your current systems.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Power Generation Conversion From Coal To Gas - Impact on Valves

industrial gas turbine power generation
Gas Turbine
The combination of historically low gas prices and pressure from more stringent emission requirements for combustion operations has led to a wave of plant conversions from coal to gas as the fuel for power generating equipment. Conversions, as opposed to completely new facilities, pose a challenge regarding how much of the existing system can be used as part of the converted system. One aspect of that challenge is the valves on the existing system.

Crane ChemPharma & Energy, a globally recognized manufacturer of industrial valves for a wide range of applications, authored a white paper covering the subject of valve usage and replacement in power generation facilities converting from coal to gas. The paper provides a useful overview of the current state of power generating facilities with respect to regulation and the anticipated supply and cost of gas in the future.

The application and suitability of existing and new valves at various function points throughout the power generation system is outlined and explained. The paper does a good job of reducing the complicated issue into a few pages of direct understandable explanation.

The paper from Crane ChemPharma & Energy is included below. Share your industrial valve challenges with product application specialists, combining your own process expertise with their product knowledge to develop effective solutions.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Specially Designed Heat Exchangers Deliver Hot Water on Demand

plate heat exchanger steam to water Spirax Sarco
Plate heat exchanger for producing hot water from steam
Courtesy Spirax Sarco
Hot water is readily available on demand from your steam system with the application of a properly configured heat exchanger. The installation of a well designed steam to water heat exchanger can deliver large or small demand volumes of hot water efficiently and with little need for maintenance or attention.

Spirax Sarco, globally recognized leader in steam and condensate system solutions, provides complete pre-engineered heat exchanger packages for adding hot water production to a steam system. The company combines their renowned control components with a plate or shell and tube heat exchanger, all performance matched to provide optimum performance in a single package.

  • Compact design requires minimum footprint.
  • Control valves specifically designed for steam service deliver efficient operation and long service life with minimal maintenance.
  • Condensate removal system eliminates backup of condensate in steam space for maximized efficiency.
  • A single source for the entire unit assures a coordinated installation.
  • Low maintenance requirements.
  • All piping connections on one side for easy installation.
  • Hot water on demand reduces or eliminates the need to store hot water.
There is more to learn. Additional detail is provided in the document included below. Reach out to a steam system specialist with your questions, requirements, and steam system challenges. Combine your facility and process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Pressure Regulating Valves

industrial pressure regulator valve for steam brass
PIlot operated pressure regulator
intended for use in a steam system
Courtesy Pentair - Cash Valve
Many processes and equipment employ pressure regulating valves, the function of which is to maintain a desired outlet fluid pressure under varying conditions of supply pressure or outlet flow.

There are many pressure regulating valve variants, specifically designed to address a range of process conditions or offset a performance characteristic deemed undesirable in another design. Each variant has a suitable place in the range of possible applications, with cost, size, and complexity primary differences among the different offerings.

In its simplest form, a pressure regulating valve (PRV) consists of a flow restricting element, a measuring element, and a setpoint element. Outlet pressure applies force to the measuring element, often a diaphragm. As the outlet pressure increases, the diaphragm will move the flow restricting element toward the closed position, reducing the flow from the inlet. The restricting element is commonly a plug, disk, or some other recognizable valve trim arrangement. The setpoint element, likely a spring, provides a counterbalancing force on the diaphragm. When the force applied to the diaphragm by the outlet pressure reaches equilibrium with the counterbalancing force applied by the spring, movement of the restricting element stops. In this way, outlet pressure is controlled without the need for electric power, sensors, transmitters, or even a process controller. The entire assembly is self-contained and requires little attention.

Selecting a PRV for an application requires coordinated consideration of process performance range, desired conditions, and valve attributes to produce a selection that will provide the desired service. A valve improperly selected for an application may perform poorly. Some of the items to be considered include:
  • PRV Type
  • Body size
  • Construction
  • Pressure Ratings
  • Maximum Flow Rate
  • Outlet Pressure Range
  • Accuracy
  • Inlet Pressure
  • Orifice Diameter
  • Response Speed
  • Turn-Down Ratio
A PRV is not a safety device, so independent means must be provided to protect the system from excessive pressure. Product specialists are a good source of help in selecting a properly sized and configured valve for an application. Share your fluid process control challenges with a product application specialist, combining your process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.


Friday, December 2, 2016

Diaphragm Valves For Heavy Duty Industrial Applications

industrial diaphragm valve with handle metal body and metal diaphragm
Series 611 Industrial Diaphragm Valve
Courtesy Gemü
Diaphragm valves are suitably used for applications requiring hermetic isolation of the valve bonnet and stem from the flowing media. They also are capable of throttling flow and are generally tolerant of particulate matter entrained in the media. Selecting body and diaphragm materials that are compatible with the media are primary elements of achieving a successful application.

Gemü, a globally recognized manufacturer of diaphragm valves and other control components, offers a line of industrial metal diaphragm valves available in a range of materials and sizes to accommodate heavy duty applications.
  • Suitable for inert and corrosive liquid and gaseous media
  • Chemical resistant bonnet
  • Insensitive to particulate media
  • Valve body and diaphragm available in various materials and designs
  • Compact design
Share your fluid process control challenges with application specialists, combining your process knowledge with their product expertise to develop effective solutions.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger Refurbishment

shell and tube heat exchangers tube bundle removed for refurbish
Two shell and tube heat exchangers getting refurbished
at industrial site. Tube bundles have been removed.
Shell and tube heat exchangers are regularly employed throughout industrial and commercial sites as a means of producing heated or cooled fluids. They consist of a pressure vessel and an internal tube bundle. The flow paths of the pressure vessel and the tube bundle are isolated from one another, giving a shell and tube heat exchanger four nominal connections.

  • Vessel inlet
  • Vessel outlet
  • Tube bundle inlet
  • Tube bundle outlet
Most often, the subject process fluid to be heated or cooled will flow through the pressure vessel, contacting the surface of the tube bundle contained within. If the heat transfer fluid flowing through the tubes is warmer than the process fluid in the vessel, heat will conduct through the tube wall into the process fluid, increasing its temperature. If the fluid in the tube bundle is cooler than the process fluid in the vessel, the process operates in the reverse fashion. Construction details of shell and tube heat exchangers can vary, but the basic operating scheme remains constant.

The lack of moving parts and ruggedly constructed nature of shell and tube heat exchangers tends to grant them a good measure of longevity for most applications. Regardless of any exceptions to that statement, there will eventually come a time when refurbishment or replacement is needed. If the pressure vessel is serviceable, or can be made so with a reasonable amount of cost, replacing the tube bundle may be the main element of an operation aimed at returning the heat exchanger to like new service.

Tube bundles are just that, bundles of tubes. With the right set of dimensional information and specifications, an identical fabrication can be purchased and put in place. It is not always necessary to revisit the original manufacturer. If drawings are still on file for the unit, sufficient information can be gleaned from them to produce a replacement tube bundle that will provide rated performance.

Ordering up a replacement tube bundle is not complicated, but the operation can be smoothed out through contact with involvement of an experienced engineer that can make sure all the necessary information is on hand and step you through the process. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Spiral-Trol Valve Disassembly Video

globe valves control valves pneumatic actuator
Globe control valves with pneumatic actuators
Spirax-Sarco
Spirax-Sarco is a globally recognized manufacturer of valves, traps, and a host of other steam system specialties. Their Spira-Trol line of globe valves can be employed throughout a steam of other process fluid system to provide accurate flow regulation. The valves are available with several options of electric or pneumatic actuators, as well as positioning controllers.

The video included below provides a demonstration of the simplicity involved in disassembling the valve in-line for regular maintenance or inspection. The video is short, as is the length of time needed to access the valve internals. These valves are designed for easy maintenance.

Share your fluid process and steam control challenges with application experts. The combination of your process knowledge and their product application expertise will deliver effective solutions.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

New High Pressure Float Type Steam Trap

steam trap high pressure float type
Model FTC62 High Pressure Steam Trap
Courtesy Spriax Sarco
Steam is utilized by industrial operations as a source of heat and power. Commercial and institutional facilities widely employ steam as a heating source. The overall cost of operating a steam system is generally significant, regardless of the size of the organization. Designing a system to deliver efficient performance and maintaining that performance throughout many years of expected operation requires continuous monitoring and attention.

One facet of efficient operation is to remove condensate from the steam system and return it to the boiler. This operation is the primary function of a steam trap. Additionally, a steam trap will also remove non-condensible vapor from the system. Liquid water and non-condensible vapor both will undermine efficiency in a common steam system.

There are many versions of steam traps available, and it is important to match the capacity and performance range of the trap to the steam system. Spirax-Sarco, globally recognized steam system specialties manufacturer, has added  a new steam trap model series to their already extensive offering.

The FT62 Series, which is available with a carbon steel (FTC62) or stainless steel (FTS62) body, has stainless steel internal components. It is intended for application on light and heavy condensate loads on steam systems with differential pressure up to 900 psig (62 bar).  The unit includes an integral air vent and an easily maintainable in-line strainer.

More information is provided below, with good illustration of the exterior and interior setup of the steam trap. Share your steam system requirements and challenges with experienced application specialists, combining your facility and process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Continuous Liquid Level Measurement Using Bubbler Method

bubbler or downpipe liquid level measurement schematic
Bubbler or Downpipe Liquid Level Measurement Schematic
Courtesy King-Gage
Measuring liquid level in a tank or vessel can be accomplished in a number of ways, all of which require some arrangement of instrumentation to either infer the liquid level through measurement of a related physical property, or directly deliver the liquid level visually using a scaled gauge arrangement. One indirect method of level measurement, referred to as the bubbler or downpipe method, is so named because it employs a purging gas that continually vents from the bottom of a dip tube extending into a tank of liquid. Through a simple apparatus, the level of a liquid can be inferred by the amount a back pressure exerted upon the gas flowing through the tube.

Probably the greatest advantage of this method of liquid level measurement is that the subject liquid does not contact the sensing instrumentation. The only portion of the apparatus in contact with the liquid is a tube immersed into the tank. Selecting the proper material for the immersed tube is left to the user. An additional feature of this method is the entry of the sensing tube from the top of the tank, eliminating the need for a fitting below the liquid level surface.

Basically, a purge gas flows through the immersion tube and may bubble out the immersed end of the tube, which is open to allow the contained liquid to exert a hydrostatic pressure on the purge gas. The back pressure on the gas that is exerted by the liquid contained within the tank will vary directly with the depth of the liquid. The back pressure can be correlated to a liquid level. Further calculations, which would include the tank shape, dimensions, and the liquid density can provide an indication of the volume and mass of the liquid.

It is possible for a user to assemble the components necessary to put a bubbler level indicator into operation, but King-Gage produces a device which consolidates purge control, pressure measurement, level signal transmitter, and necessary connections into a single compact device. There are versions of this level transmitter for electric and pneumatic output signals. They also include an additional level of protection in the form of an internal diaphragm that further isolates the device from the measured medium.

More details, along with some good illustrations, are provided in the document below. Share your process measurement challenges with application specialists, combining your process expertise with their product application knowledge to develop effective solutions.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Knowledge Base for Steam System Components

steam system schematic showing area of steam utilization
Steam utilization schematic showing array of products (blue)
Spirax Sarco
Steam, ubiquitous source of industrial power and commercial heat, ranks as a substantial continuing expense item for any organization where it is utilized or produced. Designing, installing, and managing steam system operation effectively can generate immense cost savings over less rigorous approaches.

An effective method of good decision making involves tapping into the experience and expertise of those that have gone before, accomplished what you plan to attempt. For steam systems, Spirax Sarco is a premiere source of information, knowledge, and expertise. The company has been deeply involved in the production and utilization of steam for many years, designing and manufacturing components utilized throughout the entire process.
steam system schematic showing components utilized in production of steam
Steam production schematic showing array of products (blue)
Spirax Sarco
In the steam generation section of an operation, the company provides a extensive array of interrelated products.
  • Blowdown Heat Recovery Systems
  • Blowdown Vessel
  • Boiler Feedtank Systems
  • Boiler Level Controls and Alarms
  • Bottom Blowdown Valves and Systems
  • Condensate Contamination Detection
  • Electrically Actuated Two Port Control Valves
  • Pipeline Strainers
  • Sample Coolers
  • Safety Valves
  • Spirax Range of Flowmeters
  • Steam Trap Performance Monitoring
  • Tank Level Controls
  • TDS Control
  • Vacuum Breakers
Throughout the balance of the steam system, the list of components available from the company expands even more, illustrating Spirax Sarco's depth of knowledge about steam system components and how they function together to deliver efficient and safe steam system operation.

Reach out to experts with your steam system challenges, combining your facility and process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Stainless Steel Globe and Gate Valves For Industrial Process Control

stainless steel gate valve globe valve for industrial process control
Stainless Steel Gate Valve
CPE-Aloyco
Gate and globe valves see common usage throughout fluid processing industries. The correct procedure for valve selection includes an evaluation of the process media, environment, and how the valve will need to perform.

Gate valves, unless specially adapted, are intended for applications requiring only fully open or closed service. Their slow operation is advantageous at preventing hammering in the piping system and a fully open gate valve presents little pressure drop.

Globe valves are well suited for shutoff and throttling operation, controlling fluid flow at points between fully open or closed. The "Z" pattern of their fluid path does add some pressure drop.

Selecting the right valve construction material is an important element of a successful installation. Aloyco, a Crane brand, recommends consideration of several factors.
  • Type of media
  • Media temperature range
  • Pressure range, including all possible conditions
  • Environmental conditions which may affect the valve
  • Extraordinary stresses to which the valve may be subjected
  • Compliance with safety standards and/or piping codes
Stainless steel valve construction will provide an additional measure of corrosion resistance and may be a selection that extends the useful life of a valve.

More detail is included in the document included below. Share your fluid control requirements and challenges with a specialist, combining your process experience and knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.



Thursday, October 6, 2016

Regenerative Turbine Pumps

regenerative turbine pump for industrial use
Regenerative Turbine Pump
Roth Pump
Most of us are familiar with centrifugal pumps and their generally understandable operating design. A regenerative turbine pump is significantly different in the way in which liquid moves through the impeller section, enabling this pump type to prove advantageous in a number of industrial applications.

A centrifugal impeller basically traps some liquid at the inlet and rapidly slings through the discharge port. The liquid velocity is increased by the impeller and manifests as outlet pressure. The key distinction here is that the liquid enters and exits the impeller only one time. A regenerative turbine pump has an impeller with a comparatively larger number of vanes, also of a different shape. This shape imparts a circulatory movement of the liquid from the vanes to the casing, and back to the vanes. Each return to the vane section increases fluid velocity, which can be converted to increased pressure. As the impeller rotates, liquid enters, leaves, then re-enters the vane section many times. This process is called regeneration. The impact of this design is a pump that can deliver substantially greater pressure than a centrifugal pump with the same impeller diameter and rotational speed.

A regenerative turbine pump is capable of pumping fluids with up to forty percent entrained gases without damage from cavitation or any performance loss. Fluid conditions with even low levels of entrained gases would likely produce substantial loss of performance in a centrifugal pump, evidenced as fluctuating discharge pressure and excessive wear and vibration. Where cavitation is a concern, the regenerative turbine pump holds the advantage over centrifugal. Applications with low flow and high head requirements will also be better serviced by a regenerative turbine pump.

There is more to be learned. Some additional detail and explanation are provided in the document included below. Effective solutions are developed through a combining of your process knowledge and the application expertise of a product specialist. Reach out and share your fluid transfer challenges for the best solution.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Multivariable Flow Measurement For Liquids, Gases, and Steam

Insertion flow meter for steam, liquids, or gases
RIM 20 Rotor Insertion Flowmeter
Courtesy Spirax Sarco
Combining multiple measurement capabilities into a single instrument is generally advantageous over installing separate devices to cover an array of parameters. A simple reduction in fittings and connection complexity can bring enough benefit to justify a selection of an instrument with expanded functionality.

Spirax Sarco provides a multivariable rotor insertion flowmeter, available in four configurations to match a broad range of flow measurement needs. All are based on a turbine rotor which is inserted in the fluid flow path. The instrument detects passage of the turbine blades by a sensor, using the measured frequency to determine flow velocity. Further processing with other measurements can provide volumetric and mass flow.

One version of the instrument delivers only volumetric flow rate. A second variant adds a temperature sensor and is capable of providing a temperature compensated mass flow reading. This model is often applied for measuring saturated steam.

A fuller featured version incorporates a pressure sensor along with the temperature sensor and can function as a flow computer, providing instantaneous readings of mass flow rate for gases, liquids, or steam. Several output signals can be configured to provide a selection of mass flow rate, volumetric flow rate, pressure, temperature, or density.

There is also a product version specifically intended for energy monitoring in applications involving steam, chilled water, or hot water. This multivariable version provides energy usage readings in selectable units, as well as supply and return temperatures, delta T, mass total and energy total.

The unique insertion design measures liquids, or gases, including steam, and can be installed without line shutdown. The unit is suitable for applications on line sizes from 2" to 80". More detail is found on the data sheet included below. Contact an instrumentation specialist and share your flow measurement requirements and challenges. The combination of your process knowledge and their product application expertise will produce effective solutions.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Replacing Heat Exchanger Tube Bundles

heat exchangers outdoors at oil refinery
Heat exchangers of many sizes are used throughout industry
Heat, a well recognized energy component of countless industrial processes. Heat exchangers are employed to move or transfer heat between two media, and are available in a wide variety of designs and configurations. They are manufactured from materials and in forms to accommodate the specific performance requirements of each process, machine, or operation.

The shell and tube heat exchanger is one common type of this heat transfer device that can be found in many commercial buildings and industrial plants. The unit is comprised of a vessel, or shell, with an array of tubes contained within. One fluid will flood the shell, encompassing the tubes through which a second fluid passes. The contact between the fluid within the shell and the outer surface of the tubes facilitates the transfer of heat energy between the two media. Applications for shell and tube units typically involve two liquids or one liquid and steam. They are not suitable for applications involving air streams.

Eventually, all heat exchangers need either major overhaul or replacement. Tubes tend to deteriorate faster than the shell, so replacement of the tube bundle can breathe extra life into a heat exchanger. Original documentation provided with the unit, plus a physical inspection, should provide all the information needed to have a new tube bundle manufactured. Numerous sources are available for replacement tube bundles, with the original manufacturer being only one potential source.
The replacing of a heat exchanger is also a good time to examine the performance delivered by the existing unit. Was it a limiting factor in the operation of the process? If so, perhaps this may be an opportunity to build in some headroom. Whatever the case, recognize that bringing in a product specialist with experience and knowledge will provide the beneficial leverage you need to get the job done right and finished on time.

Monday, September 12, 2016

New Anti-microbial Cooling Tower From Delta Cooling Towers

Delta Cooling Towers, globally recognized leader in the manufacture of corrosion resistant cooling towers, has added a new dimension to their product line. Cooling towers for industrial and commercial applications are now available with construction features and materials that significantly inhibit the growth of microorganisms in the tower fill and shell.

Microbial growth has long been a concern of cooling tower operators. The environment within a tower, continuously wet and warm, provides ample opportunity for microbial propagation. The new anti-microbial cooling towers make use of HDPE resin that is fully compounded (not just on surface) with an anti-microbial agent to provide the corrosion protection for which Delta is known, along with resistance to biofilm growth. The fill in the tower also provides the same level of resistance to microorganism growth. The corrosion resistant materials used in the construction of Delta towers allows the use of more aggressive chemical treatment than would be recommended with metal cooling towers.

The new Delta Cooling Towers have some distinct advantages for health and safety, as well as extended operating lifetime. Reach out to a product application specialist. Get all the details on the new anti-microbial cooling towers and share your HVAC and industrial cooling challenges to get solutions.



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Severe Service Valves - Application Targeted

severe service flanged plug valve lined Fluoroseal
Sever Service Plug Valve
Fluoroseal
Industrial process control applications can be associated with some very stringent and challenging performance requirements for the physical equipment and components that are part of the process chain. In fluid based operations, the control and shutoff valves can be a significant impact point of extreme fluid conditions, requiring careful design and selection consideration to assure proper performance and safety levels are predictably maintained.

Industrial valves that are intended for application at the extremes are generally referred to as severe service valves. While there are plenty of published and accepted standards for industrial valves, one does not exist to precisely define a severe service valve. There is, however, some movement toward the development of severe service standards in some industry segments.

So, how do you know when to focus valve selection activities on severe service valves, as opposed to general purpose valves? There are a number of basic criteria that might point you in that direction:
  • Very extreme media or environmental temperature
  • High pressure drop operation that may cause cavitation
  • Rapid and extreme changes to inlet pressure
  • Certain types or amounts of solids contained in the fluid
  • High number of mechanical operations
  • Thermal cycling
Certainly, any of these criteria might be found in an application serviceable by a general purpose valve, but their presence should be an indicator that a closer assessment of the fluid conditions and commensurate valve requirements is in order. The key element for a process stakeholder is to recognize when conditions are in evidence that might overrun the capabilities of a general purpose valve, leading to premature failure in control performance or catastrophic failure that produces an unsafe condition. Once the possibility of a severe service condition is identified, a careful analysis of the possible operating conditions will reveal the performance requirements for the valve.

There are numerous manufacturers of severe service valves, each seeming to concentrate on a particular niche. Fluoroseal, a globally recognized manufacturer of lined valves for corrosive applications, has their own entry in the severe service arena that is based upon one of their popular general purpose valves. The focus for the FE Series valve design appears to be thermal cycling, excessive number of mechanical operations, and fugitive emissions.

I have included a technical bulletin that describes and nicely illustrates (with a cutaway view) the various features incorporated in the valve design.

You can always get more information, or discuss your special requirements, with a product application specialist. They have access to technical resources that can help with selecting the right valve configuration to meet your severe service applications.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Applications For Metal Seated Ball Valve

metal seated ball valve with handle and flange connections
Metal Seated Ball Valve
Crane - Krombach
Fluid process control employs valves of various types to start, stop, throttle, or divert flow of a fluid. Ball valves are a common selection for process application when their inherent advantages provide the greatest benefit.
  • Leak-proof service
  • Well suited for processes requiring only full flow or no flow operation.
  • Rapid open and close action, requiring only 90 degrees of rotation from fully open to fully closed.
  • Comparatively light weight and compact size.
  • Wide range of construction material options for body, ball, and seals make them suitable for many applications.
  • Require only moderate force to control valve position.
  • Flow path opening in the ball will often be “full port”, providing same cross section as the connected pipe and adding very little restriction or pressure drop to the flow.
  • Low maintenance, with no lubrication required.
There are numerous ball valve variants that provide modified features and performance, but let's focus on what is generally considered severe service applications.

Severe service, while not currently defined by an international standard, generally can be characterized by one or more operating conditions that put great levels of stress or wear on valves.
  • Very extreme media or environmental temperature
  • High pressure drop operation that may cause cavitation
  • Rapid and extreme changes to inlet pressure
  • Certain types or amounts of solids contained in the fluid
  • Corrosive media
Some of these conditions will greatly impact the valve seat. Many valves are provided with thermoplastic seats that, while providing suitable performance throughout a wide range of media conditions, will deteriorate quickly under conditions prevailing in severe service. An alternative to the soft thermoplastic seats is a metal seat design. 
  • Greater temperature tolerance
  • Self cleaning seat
  • Improved resistance to effects of particulate laden media or slurries
  • Corrosion resistance, enhanced by special coatings applied to metal construction
The document below provides an in depth view of a metal seated ball valve. Operating conditions, specifications, and illustrations (including my favorite, the cutaway view) are provided. Share your fluid control requirements with product and application specialists, combining your process expertise with their product application knowledge to develop effective solutions.


Monday, August 22, 2016

High Performance Non-Slam Check Valve

high performance dual plate check valve
Crane Duo-Chek dual plate check valve
Check valves are ubiquitous throughout fluid processing operations. These simple devices permit fluid flow in one direction only. While there are numerous design variants available in the marketplace, operation is very similar in all check valves. Fluid pressure and movement in the desired direction moves a plate, plug, ball, or other obstruction to a position that allows flow to pass. The plate or other obstruction has a design countervailing force applied to it by a spring, gravity, or some other means that will move the trim to the closed position. When pressure drop across the valve decreases below the design level, the trim will close. Fluid pressure exerted on the outlet side of the valve will maintain a closed position in the valve. In this manner, a check valve allows fluid to pass in one direction, but not in the reverse.

Beneficial features of a check valve would include some or all of the following:

  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Tight shutoff that meets any applicable standards
  • Low pressure drop when open
  • Operation that minimizes seal wear
  • Installation simplicity and flexibility
  • Easy to insulate
  • Low maintenance requirements
  • No slamming to the closed position
  • No valve chatter
  • Available in numerous configurations to meet wide range of applications
Share your fluid process control challenges with a product application specialist. Combine your process knowledge with their product application expertise for effective solutions.




Tuesday, August 16, 2016

New Piping and Pipeline Specialties Catalog

heavy duty industrial piping and pumps
Titan Flow Controls products are utilized throughout piping systems
Mountain States Engineering and Controls handles the full line of Titan Flow Control products and has the application expertise and product knowledge to help customers select the right products, properly configured for the job at hand.

The company recently published a new and updated catalog containing all of their standard products. Titan Flow Controls manufactures a broad range of flow control products.

  • Y Strainers
  • Duplex Strainers
  • Basket Strainers
  • Check Valves
  • Butterfly Valves
  • Pump Protection
  • Specialty Products
  • Custom Assemblies and Fabrications
The latest edition of the Titan FCI catalog is included below. All the technical assistance needed for properly selecting and configuring the right product for your application is available from the experts at Mountain States Engineering and Controls.



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Methods of Measurement For Boiler Drum Water Level

gas fired boilers in boiler room
There are numerous boiler water level measurement methods
Steam boilers have a long history in commercial, industrial, even residential applications. The steam they produce can be used to deliver heat, or to drive mechanical equipment and other processes. Maintaining the right boiler operating conditions is essential to safe operation and achieving the best use of fuel.

Boiler water level measurement is one of the essential elements of proper operation. Accurate and effective level measurement will indicate water levels that are too high or too low, both of which can have negative impact.

Spirax Sarco, a globally recognized leader in the development and production of steam related specialties, has developed content that summarizes various methods and technologies used to measure water level in boilers. Each is described in detail, with explanations of the technology, including some mathematical formulas. The piece is well illustrated and some advantages associated with each method are included. The document is from the company's website, under the Resources > Steam Engineering Tutorials section and provided in its entirety below.

Share your steam related challenges with a Spirax Sarco representative, specialists in helping achieve maximum performance from steam systems.



Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Corrosion Resistant Cooling Towers Allow Aggressive Water Treatment

cooling tower corrosion resistant plastic construction
Corrosion resistant cooling tower
Courtesy Delta Cooling Towers
Unless you are located in the northern or southern polar regions, churning away on the roof of the building in which you may work, or mounted on a pad adjacent to it, is likely an important unit of equipment. It is essential to climate control in the building, and possibly an integral heat rejection component for an industrial process. Yes, I am talking about cooling towers. While hardly glamorous, without their successful operation, much of your operation will grind to a halt. 

There is substantial cost involved in the operation of a cooling tower, including energy, water, treatment chemicals, and more. Corrosion and the accumulation of fouling material can measurably reduce overall cooling efficiency. Even modest accumulation can slash energy efficiency by 5%, increasing operating costs in a marked way.

Keeping a cooling tower operating near its design capacity requires a commitment to a regular maintenance and inspection schedule. When deficiencies are found, they should be corrected within a reasonably short time frame. Water treatment, to improve performance or reduce maintenance burden, can sometimes be overly aggressive and impart some negative side effects to the equipment. Plastic cooling towers provide a high level of resistance to even the most aggressive water treatment chemicals. Cooling towers fabricated from plastics can carry warranties extending to 20 years.

Water cooling towers are an important operational component of your infrastructure, as well as a significant continuing cost center. They should be cared for as an important appliance. Avoid choosing a "Run to failure" maintenance program.

There is much to consider when adding or replacing a cooling tower. Share your project requirements and challenges with an application specialist. Combining your process and operational expertise with their product application knowledge will produce an effective solution.

Back Pressure Regulator or Pressure Regulator Valve, Appropriate Application

pressure regulator valve
Pressure Regulator Valve
Courtesy Pentair Cash Valve
Fluids move throughout processes, driven by pressure produced with mechanical or naturally occurring means. In many cases the pressure generated by the driving source is substantially greater than what may be desired at particular process steps. In other cases, the operation may dictate that a minimum pressure be maintained within a portion of the process train. Both cases are handled by the appropriate valve type, designed specifically to regulate pressure.

A pressure regulating valve is a normally open valve that employs mechanical means, positioning itself to maintain the outlet pressure set on the valve. Generally, this type of valve has a spring that provides a countervailing force to the inlet pressure on the valve mechanism. An adjustment bolt regulates the force produced by the spring upon the mechanism, creating an equilibrium point that provides flow through the valve needed to produce the set outlet pressure. A typical application for a pressure regulator is to reduce upstream or inlet pressure to a level appropriate for downstream processing equipment.

Back pressure valves are normally closed, operating in a logically reversed fashion to pressure regulators. Where pressure regulators control outlet pressure, a back pressure valve is intended to maintain inlet pressure.  Similar internals are present in the back pressure valve, with the valve action reversed when compared to a pressure regulator. An inlet pressure reduction in the back pressure valve will cause the valve to begin closing, restricting flow and increasing the inlet pressure. A representative application for a back pressure valve is a multi-port spray station. The back pressure valve will work to maintain a constant setpoint pressure to all the spray nozzles, regardless of how many may be open at a particular time.

Both of these valve types are available in an extensive array of sizes, capacities, pressure ranges, and materials of construction to accommodate every process requirement. Share your fluid control challenges with a process control specialist. Combining your process knowledge with their product application expertise will produce effective solutions.





Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Operating Principle - Solenoid Valve


Solenoid magnetic field
A solenoid is an electric output device that converts electrical energy input to a linear mechanical force.

At the basic level, a solenoid is an electromagnetic coil and a metallic rod or arm. Electrical current flow though the coil produces a magnetic field, the force of which will move the rod. The movable component is usually a part of the operating mechanism of another device. This allows an electrical switch (controller) to regulate mechanical movement in the other device and cause a change in its operation. A common solenoid application is the operation of valves.

solenoid valve basic parts
Solenoid valve basic parts
A plunger solenoid contains a movable ferrous rod, sometimes called a core, enclosed in a tube sealed to the valve body and extending through the center of the electromagnetic coil. When the solenoid is energized, the core will move to its equilibrium position in the magnetic field. The core is also a functional part of valve operation, with its repositioning causing a designed changed in the valve operating status (open or close). There are countless variants of solenoid operated valves exhibiting particular operating attributes designed for specific types of applications. In essence, though, they all rely on the electromechanical operating principle outlined here.
A solenoid valve is a combination of two functional units.

  • The solenoid (electromagnet) described above.
  • The valve body containing one or more openings, called ports, for inlet and outlet, and the valve interior operating components.

Flow through an orifice is controlled by the movement of the rod or core. The core is enclosed in a tube sealed to the valve body, providing a leak tight assembly. A controller energizing or de-energizing the coil will cause the valve to change operating state between open and closed, regulating fluid flow.

Share your control valve requirements and challenges with an application specialist. Combining your process application knowledge with their product expertise will produce the most effective solutions.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Eight Process Control Valve Selection and Application Criteria

Sliding Gate Control valve with actuator
Sliding Gate Control Valve
Schubert & Salzer
Fluid processes will employ control valves to regulate flow or pressure in between the extremes of fully open and fully closed. Their function and design is specifically different from shutoff valves, which are designed and intended for isolation of segments of a fluid system. Improperly applying or sizing a control valve can have consequences in operation, productivity, and safety ranging from nuisance level to critical. Here are some items that should always be part of your selection  and application consideration.

  • A control valve is not intended to be a an isolation valve and should not be used for isolating a process segment. Make sure you select the appropriate valve for the function to be performed.
  • Select materials of construction that will accommodate the media and the process conditions. Take into consideration the parts of the valve that come in contact with process media, such as the valve body, the seat and any other wetted parts. Operating pressure and temperature impact the materials selection for the control valve, too. Conditions surrounding the valve, the ambient atmosphere and specific local conditions that may expose the valve to corrosives should be included in your thinking.
  • Install flow sensors upstream of the control valve. Locating the flow sensor downstream of the control valve exposes it to an unstable flow stream which is caused by turbulent flow in the valve cavity.
  • Establish the degree of control you need for the process and make sure your valve is mechanically capable to perform at that level. Too much dead-band leads to hunting and poor control. Dead-band is roughly defined as the amount of control signal required to affect a change in valve position. It is caused by worn, or loosely fitted mechanical linkages, or as a function of the controller setting. It can also be effected by the tolerances from mechanical sensors, friction inherent in the the valve stems and seats, or from an undersized actuator.
  • Consider stiction. Wikipedia defines it as "the static friction that needs to be overcome to enable relative motion of stationary objects in contact". This can be particularly evident in valves that see limited or no position change. It typically is caused by the valves packing glands, seats or the pressure exerted against the disk or other trim parts. To overcome stiction, additional force needs to be applied by the actuator, which can lead to overshoot and poor control.
  • Tune your loop controller properly. A poorly tuned controller causes overshoot, undershoot and hunting. Make sure your proportional, integral, and derivative values are set.  This is quite easy today using controllers with advanced, precise auto-tuning features.
  • Avoid oversizing control valves. They are frequently sized larger than needed for the flow loop they control. If the control valve is too large, a small percentage of travel or position change could produce an unduly large change in flow, which in turn can make stable control difficult. Unstable control can result in excessive movement and wear on the valve. Try to size a control valve at about 70%-90% of travel.
  • Think about the type of control valve you are using and its inherent flow characteristic. Different types of valves, and their disks, have very different flow characteristics. The flow characteristic can be generally thought of as the change in rate of flow in relationship to a change in valve position. Globe control valves have linear characteristics which are preferred, while butterfly and gate valves tend to have non-linear flow characteristics, which can cause control problems.  In order to create a linear flow characteristic through a non-linear control valve, manufacturers add specially designed disks or flow orifices which create a desired flow profile.
These are just a few of the more significant criteria to consider when selecting and applying a process control valve. Consider it good practice to discuss your selection and application with a product application expert to confirm your final selection. Combing your process knowledge with their application expertise will provide the best outcome.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wellhead Valves Meet Special Application Challenges

Wellhead in oil and gas industry with equipment and valves
Numerous valves are employed at oil and gas production site
Industrial valves are manufactured in a huge array of configurations to accommodate the specialized needs of a broad range of industrial process applications. The oil and gas industry is but one segment of many throughout the industrial sphere that presents its own set of application specific criteria.

Oil and gas production, essentially pulling raw material from the earth, has unique valve performance challenges. Extreme pressure and abrasive or erosive material are common elements of oil and gas production at the wellhead. The valves also need to tolerate the range of outdoor temperatures at the production site. Safe and reliable operation throughout these and a range of other conditions are part of the design criteria for these valves. Here are some of the specific valve variants and configurations applied in the oil and gas industry at the production wellhead.
swing type check valve for oil and gas production wellhead or manifold
Swing Type Check Valve
Courtesy DHV Indutries
cutaway view of slab gate valve for oil wellhead use
Cutaway view of Slab Gate Valve
Courtesy DHV Industries

  • Slab Gate Valve - Provides metal to metal seal and employs parallel gate and seal with a preloaded spring to assure positive upstream and downstream seal. Full port design allows for pigging.
  • Expanding Gate Valve - A parallel expanding gate seals positively against both seats, which are protected from the flow medium in the open and closed positions.
  • Mud Gate Valve - Designed to provide positive closure under rigorous field conditions with abrasive media. 
  • External Sleeve Adjustable Choke Valve - Designed to regulate production well flow and downstream pressure. Different trim configurations provide appropriate levels of control.
  • Needle Adjustable Choke Valve - Utilizes different trim arrangement than external sleeve type to provide good flow management, abrasion resistance, erosion resistance, and reliable service over a long life with low maintenance requirements.
  • Check Valve - Check valves of various types are utilized throughout practically all fluid flow operations, essentially anywhere that fluid is supposed to flow in only one direction. Oil and gas production presents some special conditions of abrasion, erosion, and pressure that call for special accommodation in design and materials of construction.
There are other specialty valves employed at or near the wellhead, but the key take away here is that oil and gas production generally cannot be accommodated by general purpose valves. I have included a document below that provides additional data and engineering detail for the valves touched upon in this article. Share your oil and gas production challenges with a valve specialist. The combination of your process and production experience with their product expertise will produce effective solutions.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Super High Efficiency Coalescing Filters Improve Compressed Air and Gas System Performance

Coalescing filter cartridges and media for compressed air or gas systems
Super High Efficiency Coalescing Filters
Courtesy SPX Pneumatic Products
Compressed air systems are, for many industrial installations, the lifeblood energy source. Keeping the system free of unwanted particulates, oil, moisture, and other harmful contaminates is a key step in maintaining full operational capacity and conserving energy. Instruments, tools, and equipment that utilize the compressed air will perform better and longer with a cleaner air supply.

Coalescing filters are designed to remove liquid aerosols from compressed air or gas streams. Locating the filters upstream of air dryers will provide a processing step that intercepts liquid aerosols and brings them together (coalesce) into larger droplets that migrate to the bottom of the filter housing and are removed by draining. The purpose of locating the coalescing filter upstream of the air dryer is to remove liquids the dryer is unable to remove.

Some desirable criteria for coalescing filters include low penetration of oil and low saturated pressure drop. Increased pressure drop will require proportional increases in energy to maintain rated system air flow.

Along with moisture, inlet air can contain a range of particulates. Filter media that is designed and constructed to trap and retain larger amounts of particulate matter can be beneficial because the time between filter media changes is extended.

Effective compressed air system design requires the inclusion of properly configured and sized filtration components. You can learn more about coalescing filters with a review of the document included below. It includes some quantitative means of rating filter performance and efficiency. Share your compressed air or gas processing challenges with product specialists and combine your process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop the best solutions.



Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Clean Steam Generator Packaged and Ready to Run

packaged clean steam generator with all needed controls and specialties
Packaged Clean Steam Generator
Courtesy Spirax Sarco
There are many applications for clean steam throughout the industrial processing, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, institutional, electronics, and healthcare fields. Clean steam is produced by a secondary generator using a controlled feedwater source free of contaminates that may be detrimental to the process or activity where the final steam product is used. An example, applicable in many areas, is humidification of supply air in a plant, commercial, or institutional building. In some humidification designs, steam is injected or dispersed directly into the air flowing through a duct delivering supply air to occupied spaces. The steam, absorbed by the supply air and increasing its moisture content, becomes part of the atmosphere in the human occupied space. Carryover of commercial boiler feedwater chemicals or other potential contaminates will adversely impact the air quality. A secondary clean steam generator, heated with steam from the central plant boiler and utilizing properly treated or purified feedwater, delivers steam to the humidification system free of unwanted substances.

The application of a familiar commercial boiler as a secondary generator is generally not a solution to the production of clean steam. In most instances of clean steam generation, the feedwater is treated and purified to a condition that makes it aggressive to the range of steel types used in the fabrication of boilers intended for common industrial use. Clean steam generators need fabrication from stainless steel or other metals that can withstand the corrosive effects of purified water.

Spirax Sarco, known globally for their expertise in steam specialties, provides a packaged answer to the need for clean steam. The company's CSM-C 600 Compact Clean Steam Generator includes everything needed to produce clean steam, once utilities are connected. This complete solution simplifies the task of upgrading an existing process to utilize clean steam or provide new capacity.

A technical data sheet for the unit is provided below. For more information or application assistance, reach out to a product specialist and share your process steam challenges. The best solutions come from combining your process knowledge with their product application expertise.



Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Pressure and Temperature Switches for Demanding Industrial Applications

industrial temperature switch for hazardous location
Industrial Temperature Switch
for Hazardous Location
Courtesy CCS
Industrial process control applications, by their very scale and nature in financial, operational, and safety terms, call for rugged and well performing devices and equipment. In the area of temperature and pressure related control, switches are often employed to achieve or respond to an enormous range of possible conditions.

Temperature and pressure switch reliability is especially critical in applications located within hazardous zones or locations. Custom Control Sensors (CCS) manufactures pressure and temperature switches for the most demanding applications in hazardous environments.

Products are designed to provide high cycle life through the use of a Belleville spring to reduce mechanical wear on the switch element. The switches have no moving parts, other than the actuating mechanism which has a limited movement of 0.01 inch.


CCS products for hazardous locations are routine deployed on

  • Oil Platforms
  • Pump Control
  • Refineries
  • Control and Annunciator Panels
  • Relay Alarm Systems
  • Pipelines
  • Gas/Steam Turbines
  • Oil Filtration

Included below is a short form catalog illustrating the CCS line of pressure and temperature switches for hazardous and non-hazardous locations. In addition to the suitability of the industrial switches for use in hazardous areas, CCS temperature and pressure switches exhibit these main features:

  • High Cycle Life
  • Wide Range of Set Points
  • Protection Against Environment
  • High Over-Pressure Capability
  • No calibration needed
  • Maintenance free
  • High vibration resistance
Consider your temperature and pressure related applications and share your challenges with a product application specialist for the best solutions.