Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Water Quality Analysis - Constituent Survey (Part 2)

water drop symbolizing industrial pure water and wastewater
Water is a vital part of many industrial processes
It would be difficult to understate the role and importance of water in industrial processing, even our own biological existence. In the first installment of this series, the roles of dissolved oxygen and chlorides were covered.

Continuing the examination of water quality monitoring in municipal and industrial processes, another key variable which requires monitoring for industrial water use is sulfate. Sulfate is a combination of sulfur and oxygen, salts of sulfuric acid. Similarly to chlorides, they can impact water utilization processes due to their capability for corrosion. The power generation industry is particularly attuned to the role of sulfates in their steam cycle, as should be any boiler operator. Minerals can concentrate in steam drums and accelerate corrosion. Thanks to advancements in monitoring technology, instruments are available which monitor for both chlorides (covered in the previous installment in this series) and sulfates with minimal supervision needed by the operator, ensuring accurate detection of constituent levels outside of an acceptable range. Ionic separation technologies precisely appraise the amount of sulfate ions in the stream, allowing for continuous evaluation and for corrective action to be taken early-on, avoiding expensive repairs and downtime.

Another substance worthy of measurement and monitoring in process water is sodium. Pure water production equipment, specifically cation exchange units, can be performance monitored with an online sodium analyzer. Output from the cation bed containing sodium, an indication of deteriorating performance, can be diverted and the bed regenerated. Steam production and power generation operations also benefit from sodium monitoring in an effort to combat corrosion in turbines, steam tubes, and other components. Sodium analyzers are very sensitive, able to detect trace levels.

Ammonia is comprised of nitrogen and hydrogen and, while colorless, carries a distinct odor. Industries such as agriculture utilize ammonia for fertilizing purposes, and many other specializations, including food processing, chemical synthesis, and metal finishing, utilize ammonia for their procedural and product-oriented needs. An essential understanding of ammonia, however, includes the fact that the chemical is deadly to many forms of aquatic life. Removing ammonia from industrial wastewater is a processing burden of many industries due to the environmental toxicity.

Methods for removing ammonia from wastewater include a biological treatment method called ‘conventional activated sludge’, aeration, sequencing batch reactor, and ion exchange. Several methods exist for in-line or sample based measurement of ammonia concentration in water. Each has particular procedures, dependencies, and limitations which must be considered for each application in order to put the most useful measurement method into operation.

As water is an essential part of almost every facet of human endeavor and the environment in which we all dwell, the study and application of related analytics is an important component of many water based processes. The variety of compounds which can be considered contaminants or harmful elements when dissolved or contained in water presents multiple challenges for engineers and process operators.

Share your water quality analysis requirements and challenges with an analytical instrumentation specialist, combining your own process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Water Quality Analysis – Constituent Survey (Part 1)

wastewater treatment plant
Wastewater Treatment Plant
Of all the raw materials available for human consumption – aside from the air we breathe – the most vital component of life on earth is water. In addition to the global need for humans to drink water in order to survive, the use of water is essential in a myriad of industries relating to process control. Whether the goal is the production or monitoring of pure water for industrial use, or the processing of wastewater, the ability to measure the presence and level of certain chemical constituents of water is necessary for success.

In order to use water properly, industrial professionals combine state of the art analyzers with technical expertise to evaluate water quality for use or disposal. Two essential values of process control are ensuring elements of a control system are accurate and secure, and, furthermore, that they are accurate and secure for each product every time. By properly vetting water in industry, engineers and other personnel in fields such as pharmaceuticals, chemical, food & beverage, brewing, power, and microelectronics are able to maintain standards of production excellence and conform with regulatory requirements related to water quality.

The amount of dissolved oxygen present in water can correlate with the degree of movement at an air-water interface, also being impacted by pressure, temperature, and salinity. Excessive or deficient dissolved oxygen levels in industrial process waters may have an impact on process performance or end product quality. Likely, the most common application for dissolved oxygen measurement is in the evaluation of wastewater for biological oxygen demand. The primary function of dissolved oxygen in wastewater is to enable and enhance the oxidation of organic material by aerobic bacteria, a necessary step in treatment.

To measure dissolved oxygen, specialized sensors and companion instruments are employed that require careful maintenance and trained technical operators. The level of measurement precision varies depending on the industry employing the technology, with numerous applications also being found in the food & beverage and pharmaceutical industries. In-line continuous measurement is used in wastewater processing to determine if the dissolved oxygen remains in a range that supports the bacteria necessary for biodegradation.

Chloride concentration in wastewater is strictly regulated. Industrial and commercial operation effluent can be regulated with respect to allowable chloride content. While commonly found in both streams and wastewater, chlorides, in large amounts, can present challenges to water utilization or processing facilities. Chloride levels impact corrosion, conductivity, and taste (for industries in which such a variable is paramount). In a process system, having an essential component marred due to elevated quantities of a substance could reverberate into any end-product being manufactured. Chloride analyzers, some of which can also detect and monitor other water characteristics, serve as important tools for water consuming facilities to meet regulatory standards for effluent discharge or internal quality standards for recycling.

There are other constituents of what we refer to as “water” that are subject to measurement and monitoring for a range of institutional, industrial, and municipal applications. Those will be explored in the next part of this article series. Share your water analysis and treatment challenges with application experts, combining your own process expertise with their product knowledge to develop effective solutions.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Next Generation of Medium Voltage Drives From Siemens

air cooled medium voltage drive Siemens
One of several variants of the GH180
medium voltage drive
Courtesy Siemens
Siemens, global leader in drive technology, has released its latest generation of medium voltage drives. The Sinamics GH180 line incorporates a newly designed power cell with a reduced part count that increases unit reliability and reduces space requirements. The new drive delivers a number of advantages and improvements.

  • High reliability with fault tolerance through cell redundancy and Siemens Advanced Cell Bypass
  • Energy efficiency through improved unit control for better throughput and less energy waste
  • Delivers near unity power factor by eliminating harmonic current and voltage distortion
  • Reduced motor insulation stress and harmonic heating
  • Significant torque pulsations eliminated from load
  • Proactively alerts operator of potential issues before they become shutdown worthy problems
The drives are suitable for new and retrofit installations because of their compact size. A range of models cover applications from 300 kVA through 18,000 kVA.

A datasheet is included below that provides more detail. Share your motor drive challenges and applications with a product specialist and combine your process and facility knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

High Performance Butterfly Valves

double offset high performance butterfly valve with actuator
Valdisk High Performance Double Offset Butterfly Valve
Courtesy Flowserve - Valtek
Industrial process control applications can present stringent and challenging performance requirements for the physical equipment and components that comprise the process chain. The valves employed in fluid based operations need to be resistant to the impact of extreme fluid conditions, requiring careful design and selection consideration to assure proper performance and safety levels are maintained in a predictable way.

Industrial valves intended for extreme applications are generally referred to as severe service or high performance valves. While there are plenty of published and accepted standards for industrial valves, one does not exist to precisely define what constitutes a severe service valve.

So, how do you know when to focus valve selection activities on severe service or high performance valves, as opposed to those rated for general purpose? There are a number of basic criteria that might point you in that direction:
  • Extreme media or environmental temperature or pressure
  • High pressure drop operation that may cause cavitation
  • Rapid or extreme changes to inlet pressure
  • Certain types or amounts of solids contained in the fluid
  • Corrosive media
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 contemplated that can exceed 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 an extreme or challenging condition is identified, a careful analysis of the range of operating conditions will reveal the valve performance requirements.

There are numerous manufacturers of severe service or high performance valves, each with specialized product offerings focusing on a particular performance niche. Flowserve, under their Valtek brand, manufactures the Valdisk high performance butterfly valves ranging from NPS 2-52 and ASME class 150, 300, 600, 900, 1500 pressure ranges. The valve design is ideal for manual or automated actuation, installed with a manual hand gear, electric actuator, or a pneumatic actuator. Seats are available as soft or metal on this double offset butterfly valve that provides tight closure for bi-directional flow. Construction materials include carbon steel and stainless steel. A range of options and variants are available to customize the valve build to suit a replacement or new installation.

There is more information available about the Valtek high performance offering. You can always get more information and discuss your special requirements with a valve specialist. They have application experience and access to technical resources that can help with selecting the right valve components to meet your severe service and high performance applications.