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Posted by Process Control Team on 12 Dec 2017
Traditional coal ash sampling and analysis using a laboratory facility can take a few hours if there is an on site lab or days if the samples are sent away for analysis. Using the Parker Bretby Gammatech portable Ash Probe, the results are available in a few minutes by probing the coal pile with no special training required by the operator. All the data is collected during the shift and can be downloaded onto a memory stick or direct USB cable to a PC in CSV format for analysis and reporting. The unit comes with the Parker Bretby Gammatech utility software for ease of download. This white paper describes the journey the Parker team made in producing the new AshGraffix controller for the Ash Probe.
Download white paper as pdf.
During the latter part of 2012, we were advised by our supplier that the micro processor used in the Ash Probe system was being made obsolete; this gave us two choices:
1. Incorporate the new processor and modify the software for the existing display unit.
2. Develop a new design display unit based on our customers feedback using the latest processor.
Fig 1. Old QWERTY keyboard display unit with LCD display in English only.
To support sales of the Ash Probe while we developed the completely new unit, we chose to write the new software code for the existing display unit as the old processors were getting harder to obtain; this was essential so we did not leave customers waiting for the upgraded version of the display unit and gave us the opportunity to upgrade older units coming back for repair.
Our customers gave us some important clues as to what features they would find useful in a new unit:
During 2014 we set out to design the new product and software called AshGraffix with the customer needs in mind. The project time frame was 12 months from concept so we would be able to demonstrate the first unit at mining shows in 2015. The design for hardware, electronics and software was all done in house by the Parker team. Support from our local suppliers was critical as we went through several iterations of the printed circuit board design as this was the first time we had used surface mount components and touch screens. Finding low power components was key to the end result as the unit needed to work a full shift in some very harsh conditions from the heat and humidity of India and Vietnam to the low temperatures and dry conditions in Mongolia and Siberia.
Neil Jenkinson, our mechanical Engineer, selected an aluminium extrusion for the outer case that was rugged and could hold the printed circuit board and touchscreen. He found a superb membrane protector product that would sit on top of the touchscreen preventing scratching and potential failure if sharp items hit the screen by accident or in duality use, e.g a pen tip to tap the screen. The industrial cable connectors were retained as they had given good service over 20 years and readily available for after market sales. Different types of of battery packs were tested for durability and full function duration with industry standard Metal Halide rechargeable cells coupled with an intelligent charger selected as the best all round option for the AshGraffix.
As Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) have become more prevalent in the industrial world and availability for colour touchscreens has increased, we had a good choice of suppliers knocking on our door to show us their ranges. In the end a choice was made and the quality has remained high during the last two years of sales.
The multi-layered printed circuit board was the most difficult item to develop as we wanted all the electronic components and connections to the outside world on a single board only slightly larger than the touchscreen. This task did not phase Chris Knight, our electronics engineer, who put in many hours working on the pcb design software to get the SMT components and tracks right on the multi layered design before it went out to prototype manufacture. The end result was a triumph for the design team.
Fig 2. New AshGraffix multi-layered single printed circuit board with new processor and using many surface mount components (SMT).
The next task that faced Kevin Corcoran, our intrepid software engineer, was to incorporate all our ideas into code. After many discussions and updates during 2014 (usually accompanied with tea and some form of cake - this was before the Great British Bake Off was aired to the nation, as we found this was the best way to inspire creativity), we designed the home screen, menus and navigation through the system with the question to the operator:
What do you want to do today?
The concept was to give the operator access to commence ash sampling with two taps from power up screen and standard icons used for configuration and saving files to the unit itself or to USB output.
Fig 3. Ash Probe and AshGraffix complete system.
During the first half of 2015 we were happy with the final design; software bugs had been eliminated and some test users had put the unit through its paces; only then did we go to the mining shows and offer the unit to the market.
Gary Wain is Product Manager, Parker Hannifin Manufacturing Ltd, Bretby Gammatech, Instrumentation Products Division, Europe
Handling Data in Coal Quality Monitoring
Ash Probe and AshGraffix Installation Guide and Product Overview
The quick, accurate, and inexpensive measurement of Trihalomethanes (THMs) creates numerous opportunities to improve the water treatment process. THM levels can be lowered throughout the distribution system and chemical usage can be optimized to save money. What’s more, quick process adjustments can be made to control THM formation when surface water Total Organic Carbon (TOC) characteristics alter due to seasonal or unusual weather conditions. Where before you might have had limited THM data, you can now greatly expand the sampling frequency and monitoring locations to help you better understand the THM formation characteristics of your water source, treatment process, and distribution system.
Both human activities and seasonal changes can affect source water, altering the mineral characteristics of the water as well as the reactivity of its dissolved organic carbon. A water plant may observe no significant changes in the quantity of TOC due to seasonal events, but they may find their THM level has changed. Frequent measurements of THM can help operators better understand the reactivity changes of their source water.
A successful coagulation process depends on identifying the correct coagulant type and optimum dosage under suitable environmental conditions of pH and alkalinity such that the coagulant will remove the maximum TOC, UV254, and turbidity, and form easily settleable floc. However, without the ability to measure THM concentration of the finished water in real time, the plant operator will not know if the coagulation process has been optimized to also remove the maximum amount of THM precursors. With the ability to easily measure THM concentration in finished water, the plant operator can adjust the coagulation process to achieve minimal THM formation potential. Additionally, this allows the treatment plant to supply safe drinking water with the required level of disinfectant concentration while also maintaining lower DBP levels throughout the entire distribution system.
Trihalomethane formation in water distribution systems is a function of water travel time, temperature, and physiochemical and biological characteristics of pipe deposits within the distribution system. The real-time monitoring of THM at different sampling locations will help water distribution operators to identify problematic inorganic/organic pipe deposits that cause increased levels of THM formation.
Hydraulic modeling of a water distribution system is an important tool for water quality management. In addition to basic hydraulic characteristics, modeling identifies water aging and predicts disinfectant decay and DBP formation. Incorporating new data from frequent THM analysis in combination with disinfectant level data will help plant operators build an improved hydraulic model for water quality trend analysis, providing critical information for more targeted and efficient water plant operation.
Water quality levels throughout the distribution system are maintained by systematic flushing programs designed to reduce stationary water in dead end lines and increase flow volume to minimize water age. The distance of water from the water plant, dead ends in the pipe, and low water usage may cause water quality deterioration. Lower residual disinfectant levels indicate the need to flush, which can cause a significant water loss. By measuring THM concentration in addition to disinfectant levels, operators can better decide on the location and length of flushing to minimize treated water loss.
Water age is emerging as an important issue due to increased THM formation in water distribution systems. Excessive contact time caused by dampened peak-hour demands, distribution piping configurations, areas of reduced water requirements, and fire protection storage can result in elevated THM concentration. Identifying and then reducing dead spaces and stagnation in water storage tanks and looping pipe configurations in water distribution systems will reduce water age. These actions can be triggered appropriately by monitoring THM levels in storage tanks and key locations in the distribution system.
Parker’s On-Line THM Analyzer and benchtop THM Analyzer are easy to operate, integrated Purge-and-Trap Gas Chromatographs (GC) that measure THM concentration at ppb levels in less than 30 minutes right at your own facility without tedious sample preparation.
This integrated system is a powerful tool that can help operators optimize water treatment at the plant and evaluate water age in the distribution system for improved control over the formation of THMs.
Pic. 1. Parker's On-Line THM Analyzer.
Download Parker On-Line THM analyzer bulletin.
Pic. 2. Parker's benchtop THM Analyzer.
Download Parker benchtop THM analyzer product catalog.
Article contributed by Kazi Hassan - technology development manager (water) at Parker Hannifin, Instrumentation Products Division.
Related content on water quality:
How Parker's THM Analyzer Helps to Improve Safety of Drinking Water
Since the NACE (National Association of Corrosion Engineers) MR0175 standard was updated to ISO status in December 2003, there has been an air of confusion on what and how products conform to NACE. Some manufacturers simply buried their heads and try to ignore the standard, some simply decided that they would not pursue NACE product related business, some only certify to old, out of date versions of the standard, and others simply used the wording of certain clauses within the standard as a way of supplying product from materials that do not actually meet the requirements of NACE MR0175.
Parker has taken NACE compliance very seriously and invested a lot of time to ensure that not only did we understand the consequences of the standard but what we actually put out to our customers in the market place was accurate and met the criteria of what the standard is advising the Oil and Gas Industry.
Engineers from Instrumentation Products Division Europe attended a conference organized by the authors of the NACE MR0175/ ISO 15156 document and arranged for one of the authors to visit our manufacturing facility at Barnstaple to discuss its implications and how we as a manufacturer of saleable goods should be certifying the materials we use for NACE compliant products.
Beyond Stainless Steel: Corrosion Resistant Alloys in the Oil and Gas Industry
Metallurgy Makes or Breaks Tube Fittings
Mixing Materials in Corrosive Environments
Article contributed by Clara Moyano, Innovation Engineer - Material Science at Instrumentation Products Division, Europe
Managing emissions is a major challenge for many companies. In Europe alone, a typical refinery can lose between 600 and 10,000 tonnes of fugitive emissions every year; and the majority of those losses are estimated to be caused by plant equipment, such as process to instrument valves and small bore fluid system technologies.
Valve leakage is believed to account for around 50 per cent of emissions within the chemical and petrochemical industries. That can place a major financial burden on companies - not just due to potential plant inefficiency, but also the potential costs of repairing leaks, wasting energy and environmental fines.
Reducing emissions can help businesses to protect the environment, reduce waste and save valuable time and money in the process. Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) and end users involved in commissioning may find it helpful to follow a series of checks - alongside any existing processes - to determine prospective supplier capability.
International standard ISO 15848 sets a requirement for zero emissions for processes involving hazardous fluids and volatile air pollutants. The standard is split into two parts:
ISO 15848 defines three leakage classifications that specify maximum leakage rates, with Class A being the most stringent.
Parker products have been compliant with ISO 15848 for some years now.
Pic.1. Lloyd’s Register verification for the Pro-Bloc® 15mm process to instrument valves dates back as far as July 2007.
Typical industry procurement practices require certificates of approval or third-party verifications as a condition of supply. Reputable valve manufacturers, including Parker, can provide signed and witnessed certificates - along with verification from industry-leading organisations and technical advisors such as Lloyds, TUV and DNV.
If verifications are provided by an unknown third party, engineers and procurement specialists may want to satisfy themselves with the quality and level of certification offered - ensuring that any named verifiers are trusted experts in their field. And it’s important that suppliers can provide access to any stated certification, as proof of capability and to ensure practices are up-to-date.
Experience supporting major companies and being on approved vendor lists can also be a useful indicator of supply quality. Manufacturers of process to instrument valves who are working with oil majors typically have to pass stringent pre-qualification checks and approval systems. For example, Shell’s robust enterprise framework agreement requires suppliers to:
Passing these tests is a strong indicator of supplier credentials. Parker is proud to have recently secured a five-year extension to its framework agreement with Shell following a recent factory audit and witness-tested Type Approval Test. The extension was secured due to Shell being satisfied with Parker products and service over the previous five years.
Pic.2. Parker’s MESC compliant Double Block and Bleed valve.
In offshore applications, the implications of insufficient expertise or training can carry significant risk. It’s therefore imperative that any suppliers demonstrate their understanding of the business environment and relevant operations.
Asking suppliers for details of their testing practices and procedures, familiarity with legislation and adherence to industry standards will help to build a clear picture of suppliers’ relative experience and credentials.
EPC contract engineers and procurers commissioning process to instrument valves may find it helpful to consider the following areas when considering potential suppliers:
To find out more about Parker’s fugitive emission credentials and high-quality process to instrument valves, please visit Parker Instrumentation Products Division website.
Article contributed by Jim Breeze - Flange Products Product Manager at Parker Hannifin, Instrumentation Products Division Europe.
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