Posts Tagged ‘temperature’

Profibus health check delivers faster communications for Imperial College London’s carbon capture plant

June 1, 2015

A Profibus health check carried out by ABB has enabled Imperial College London to improve the performance of its instrumentation and control system used as part of its carbon capture pilot plant teaching facility. Carried out by ABB’s Measurement and Analytics Service team, the health check highlighted various potential improvements that could be made to the plant’s Profibus network, which have resulted in the data transfer rate being trebled.

Opened in 2012, the carbon capture pilot plant is part of Imperial College’s £8.9 million ChemEngSpace Project and is used for undergraduate teaching, with over 300 chemical engineering students having access each year.

The plant uses an extensive selection of the same ABB proven products and systems that are used in a broad range of industrial applications worldwide. It’s designed so that students acquire hands-on experience of ABB’s integrated systems and products in an operational cutting-edge industrial application. ABB equipment used on the plant includes flow, pressure, temperature and level instruments, pH analysers, positioners, a gas analyser, low voltage drives and motors, low voltage products and a System 800xA distributed control system.

All of the data from the plant is relayed to the control system through several different communication protocols including Foundation Fieldbus, Profibus and Wireless.

Together, this equipment enables students to gain valuable practical experience of plant operation that will help prepare them for a career in chemical or process engineering.

As part of its 10 year support agreement with Imperial College London, ABB was keen to carry out a health check on the Profibus communications system to help assess its performance. A Profibus analyser was connected to the network to capture a variety of performance-related information, including the data transfer rate, signal strength and any interference or noise. The analyser scans for approximately 30 minutes to an hour and records the communications data to give an indication of efficiency.

The results were revealing. Originally under the impression that the optimum speed for performance was 500kb/second, ABB Service Engineer Paul Bick actually found that in the case of the carbon capture plant, the best speed was 1500kb/second. Increasing the speed to this new limit immediately produced a significant improvement in response time from the instruments. Imperial College were using the slower speed out of caution, but the Profibus health check helped to establish that a higher data transfer rate was achievable.

Paul Bick also took the time to check the network installation, “On a Profibus network, a minimum of one metre of cable length should be used between each instrument. It was discovered that the drives had less than one metre. This didn’t conform to the Profibus guidelines. We therefore recommended that it was extended. Now it works better – without the length there can be issues with reflections, data corruptions and interferences.”

Overall, the Profibus communications network performed well before the health check. But through this procedure a few improvements were made which helped optimise performance, and enabled the students at Imperial to understand what kind of maintenance is required in a real world plant setting, and the significant difference it can make.

Dr Colin Hale, Senior Teaching Fellow at the college says, “A great thing about the plant is that it can be used not only to teach our students about carbon capture, but also about wider issues connected with plant control and instrumentation, including best practice. The improvements produced by the health check are a great example of the valuable contribution that maintenance can make to a system’s performance.”

The Profibus health check is part of a broader range of health check and life cycle services offered by ABB to help users to get the most from their installed instruments and analysers. For more information, email or call 03339 997 996, ref. ‘Health checks’.


Enviropower maintains constant power output with ABB gas analyzers

February 25, 2015


We are delighted to reveal that our highly reliable gas analyzers, which haven’t suffered a single time loss failure in five years, have enabled a waste to energy plant in West Sussex to achieve its target of 85% percent operating time.

The plant, owned and operated by Enviropower in Lancing, has a 5MWe capacity, burning around
60,000 tonnes a year of biomass fuel derived from construction and demolition waste.

Built in 2008, the plant uses an ABB ACF-NT multi-gas analyzer on each of its two combustion lines. Used to measure all the gas emissions from the plant, their data is sent to an emission reporting system, allowing Enviropower to prove that it is meeting the requirements of the Environment Agency.

Working with its construction company for the project, Enviropower turned to ABB as the analyzer vendor because of the high reliability of our products and our unrivalled ability to integrate complete solutions.

Because the plant’s operation is permit based, it has to meet certain criteria. One of these is the use of equipment that complies with the requirements of the Environment Agency’s MCERTS standards. Its permit specifies a minimum oxygen content of 11%, which will shortly reduce to six percent. As such, it was essential that the analyzers had the flexibility to adapt to changing regulations. What’s more, it was vital that the analyzers were highly reliable and that servicing was kept to a minimum.

The ABB ACF-NT emission and process monitoring analyser ticked all the boxes. Offering continuous, quantitative and selective measurement of numerous gasses, including HCl, HF, H2O, CO, CO2, SO2, NOX, NH3, N2O, O2, TOC and NMHC (non-methane hydrocarbons), the analyser achieves high stability, accuracy and reliability through proven FTIR technology. It also offers integration and display of signals from other instruments, including data on dust, mercury, flow, pressure and temperature.

New ABB data recorder puts your process at your fingertips

March 26, 2014

We are delighted to announce the launch of ABB’s new RVG200 paperless data recorder incorporates a number of advanced features giving operators slick, easy and secure access to process data.

A key feature is the RVG200’s use of touchscreen technology. By using the device’s intuitive icon-based menus or ‘swiping’ through the screens, operators can rapidly find the data they need. This data can be viewed in a variety of formats, including individual or grouped data in chart, bar graph or digital indicator displays.

Up to 24 universal analog inputs enable direct connection of mA, mV, TC, RTD, voltage and digital signals. Coupled with a 125mS sample rate and 500V galvanic channel to channel isolation, these inputs deliver reliable, highly accurate, data from connected process instruments.

The high specification of the process inputs ensure they are AMS2750E compliant, making the RVG200 suitable for temperature recording in aerospace and automotive heat treatment processes.

Another new feature is the inclusion of front and rear USB ports. Users can connect a variety of peripheral devices, such as a USB memory drive, enabling archived process data to be transferred from the RVG200 to ABB’s DataManager Pro software for analysis.

For batch applications, attaching a USB barcode scanner provides a quick way of adding information including batch numbers to batch records and eliminates the risk of typographical errors that can occur during manual entry.

Integrating the RVG200 into a plant network is made straightforward by the inclusion of a 100Mbit Ethernet connection, giving remote operators access to a range of features and functions. The RVG200’s integrated webserver enables remote access from a PC, tablet or smartphone, providing a true anytime, anyplace overview of both the current status of the RVG200 and the process it is monitoring.

Keeping up to date with the latest process alarms or critical process events is made possible by email notifications which can be automatically sent to an operator’s PC or smartphone. Alternatively, the RVG200 can be configured to routinely email summary reports of process conditions.

Real-time process data can be communicated to and from the RVG200 using MODBUS over Ethernet or RS485, providing an excellent way to integrate the RVG200 in to a control or PLC system so that it can perform secure data recording and visualisation duties. Capable of acting in master (client) mode, the RVG200 can be used to collect data from other devices, which can be displayed on screen and archived alongside process signals directly connected to the RVG200.

As with all devices in the ScreenMaster paperless recorder range, the RVG200 features extensive security measures to protect against unauthorised tampering with process data, compliant with FDA 21 CFR Part 11 requirements. Standard security features include the ability to configure and allocate multiple users with individual password and access rights. All recorded data is also securely stored by the RVG200’s 256Mb of internal flash memory, which can be expanded to 2Gb if required.

A further protection feature is the inclusion of a lock fitted to the media door, preventing unauthorised access to the memory card and front USB port. In addition, the RVG200’s configuration and field terminals can be sealed with a tamper-evident security seal, ideal for regulatory controlled processes.

Data integrity is protected by an internal audit trail, which logs any configuration changes made and records who made the changes and when, as well as the details of all datafiles created and many other events key to process data security, such as calibration changes.

On the level: A guide to level measurement

March 19, 2014

ABB offers an extensive range of level measurement instrumentation. Les Slocombe explains about the recent developments in technology and what the future holds for level measurement applications.

What are the key recent developments in level measurement?

Being able to transmit level data via 4-20 mA, HART, Foundation Fieldbus and the other commonly used communication methods is a key advance in level measurement. An example is our magnetostrictive level transmitters, which come ready to support communication protocols, allowing transport of level measurement information.

How has this changed the way level measurements are performed?

In the past, level measurement meant an operator going round to check the level at the vessels. Today’s level transmitters can relay this information to the control system so it appears on screen in an easily readable format.

What benefits have these developments brought?

As well as being far more convenient, it can also be much safer, keeping personnel away from potentially hazardous materials.

As well as the convenience of easy communication, many of today’s level measurement systems are also easier to install, configure and maintain. Previous generations of level technology often required a fair amount of technical knowledge to install and configure properly, today’s software rich level measurement systems allow just about anybody to commission the device.

There has also been a significant increase in the accuracy of interface measurement. The latest magnetostrictive technology is capable of accuracies 0.010 per cent to 0.25 per cent. This compares extremely well with older methods like hydrostatic tank gauging, which could only offer accuracies ranging from 1 per cent to 25 per cent.

How should level measurement solutions be chosen?

One of the most important considerations, particularly when specifying magnetic level gauge technology, in is in the manufacture of the float. A magnetic level gauge relies on a float to give a level measurement, which must be designed specifically to suit the process medium being measured. A magnetic level gauge can give 30 to 40 years of reliable service, but a poor choice of float construction could cause performance and reliability to suffer.

Avoid the temptation to go for level measurement systems that can do everything. Concentrate on the core goals of the application and keep in mind that the product itself is less important than the solution you’re trying to achieve.

To guide your selection, keep some essential question in mind:

• What kind of accuracy does the application require?
• What is the temperature, pressure, media type?
• What is the temperature range of the application?
• What is the budget?

Overall, keep three key factors in mind when evaluating your level measurement systems:

• Safety
• Efficiency & reliability
• Environmental

What should I look for in a level measurement vendor?

Look for a supplier with a broad range of level measurement solutions, as they will be able to identify the appropriate solution for your application. They might also offer online tools to make commissioning, installing and troubleshooting the level measurement system easier and more convenient.

Also, keep in mind that a low cost product may not offer the performance and safety levels provided by current generation level measurement solutions.

Talk to the manufacturer and give them as much application information as possible. For example, if the application involves a dirty fluid with the possibility of build-up, then a float-based approach will require special considerations. Again, if the application is susceptible to a high vibration levels, a reed switch technology would probably not be ideal.

What does the future hold for level measurement?

There will be more support for protocols in level measurement systems, including 4-20 mA, HART and Foundation Fieldbus, together with more emphasis on functional safety with products certified to standards such as SIL2.

The future is sure to see level instruments incorporating more digital features, as well as using wireless in creative ways to provide application visibility and flexibility for level measurements.

ABB now offers an extensive range of level measurement products across a variety of applications in pulp and paper processing; mining and construction; food and beverage manufacturing; oil and gas production; and chemical processing. For more detailed information on ABB’s level measurement offering please phone 0870 600 6122 re: ‘level measurement’ or email

New accreditation for UK ABB Measurement Products factory provides added reassurance for oil and gas customers

October 18, 2013
ABB Measurement Products underlines safety credentials with new oil and gas accreditation

ABB Measurement Products underlines safety credentials with new oil and gas accreditation

We are thrilled to announce that our Measurement Products business has achieved ISO 29001 accreditation for its Workington factory, underlining its position as a world leader in the supply of Flow, Temperature and Level equipment to the Oil and Gas industry, and its commitment to safety and the environment.

Introduced in 2010, ISO 29001 provides a single quality document for the approval of the quality systems of organisations providing design, development, production, installation or service for use in petroleum, petrochemical and natural gas industry applications.

Our focus on the oil and gas industry, together with our determination to strive for the highest standards in the design and manufacture of instrumentation, were key factors in the decision to achieve ISO 29001 accreditation – becoming one of the first companies to do so. Already our Centre of Excellence for measurement in the oil and gas industry, the Workington site specialises in the design and manufacture of flow, temperature and level instrumentation for use in the oil and gas industry, as well as other industries.

Oil and gas is an extremely demanding market, with safety, accuracy and reliability at the top of its agenda for instrumentation. Workington’s unsurpassed capability not only enables ABB to meet all these needs, but demonstrates that our oil and gas customers can have absolute confidence in our products.

For more information, email or call 0870 600 6122 ref. ‘oil and gas instruments’.

New self-powered standalone temperature transmitter opens up new installation possibilities

September 18, 2013

We are pleased to announce that ABB has now launched a new, standalone, self-powered temperature transmitter with WirelessHART™, offering a cost effective and maintenance-free alternative to wired or battery-powered devices.

Wireless instruments offer the ideal solution wherever it may be costly or impractical to run cabling. Battery-powered WirelessHART technology allows for quick and simple instrument installation to allow operators to monitor new process information to improve plant visibility.

However, the battery will eventually need replacing, incurring time and cost. Battery life can be prolonged but only by slowing down the data transfer rate, affecting the instrument’s response time.

These challenges are overcome by the all new self-powered temperature transmitter. Featuring a built-in thermoelectric generator (TEG), the device uses the Seebeck Effect to harvest electrical energy from thermal energy. The temperature difference between the ambient and the pipe temperature produces a voltage difference, which is then used to power the device. This technology enables the transmitter to be fitted onto a steam or process pipe, with the latent heat being used to provide the power needed for operation.

To help protect against the risk of a power failure, for example if the process medium or steam flow is deactivated or the temperature gradient falls below the 30K needed to power the device, the device also includes a back-up battery. Under ordinary circumstances, this battery should hardly ever need to be used, giving it a potential operating life of up to 20 years.

The status of the device can be relayed via WirelessHART™ to a centralised control system, including ABB’s System 800xa, which offers the necessary functions and tools to integrate wireless devices into the control network.

To help operators find out whether their application could benefit from using the self-powered transmitter, ABB’s service experts can perform a site survey. Using the results of the survey, they will advise on the suitability of wireless technology for the application, together with any steps that need to be taken to optimise its effectiveness.

For more information about the new self-powered temperature transmitter, call 0870 600 6122 or email ref. ‘Energy harvesting’.