Wireless technology raises temperature

Paul Boughton

As ever greater emphasis is placed in plant asset management (PAM) and safety applications, the worldwide market for temperature transmitters is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.5percent over the next five years. The market was worth US$281million in 2007, forecast to rise to over US$386million in 2012, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study. 

Propelled by a booming automation market and robust capital expenditures, the temperature transmitter market has seen strong growth in recent years. Going forward, the market will continue to grow at higher than average rates, thanks to the continued emphasis on PAM and smart instrumentation, and an expected upswing in the adoption of wireless transmitters. 

“Sales of smart temperature transmitters will outpace those of conventional and low cost devices, as users seek to improve their visibility into plant operations to maximise productivity and the availability of production resources,” noted analyst Allen Avery, principal author of the “Temperature transmitter worldwide outlook” study. 

With a variety of suppliers from which to choose and advanced features such as PAM that give manufacturers a window into the health of their equipment and processes, users are applying smart temperature transmitters more extensively in their plants. Recent industrial accidents in the oil and gas sector have brought safety to the forefront for the process industries and have highlighted the need for better process measurements. This, says the study, is driving the increasing adoption of reliable SIL-rated transmitters for Safety Instrumented Systems. 

While still in its early stages, the adoption of wireless field devices will dramatically affect the dynamics of the market for temperature transmitters and other field devices. Wireless technology will allow users to economically connect field devices to take process measurements that would not have been feasible before, due to the cost of wiring. 

“The recent release of the WirelessHART standard is a watershed moment for the adoption of wireless field devices and will have a significant impact on the temperature transmitter market in the years to come,” notes the study.

Driven by wireless

Launched last year by the Texas-based HART Communication Foundation (HCF), the HART7 specification enables many new capabilities for communication with intelligent field devices including WirelessHART, the first open wireless communication standard specifically designed for process measurement and control applications. 

The HCF membership approved the HART7 Specification in June 2007, following an extensive review and approval process. 

“With official release of the HART7 specifications, the WirelessHART standard is now publicly available and manufacturers can begin implementing this new capability into their products and process solutions. I expect that products complying with this new standard will be available from multiple manufacturers in early 2008,” said HCF executive director Ron Helson. 

WirelessHART technology addresses the critical needs of the process industry for simple, reliable and secure wireless communication in the real world industrial plant environment. It is easy to use, easy to deploy, and fully backward compatible with existing instrumentation and host systems, preserving the investment in HART-enabled devices, tools, training, applications and work procedures used today.
“WirelessHART provides the same experience that users know and expect from HART-enabled products, protecting the global installed base of 24+million HART devices,” added Helson. 

Wireless HART communication builds on established and field-proven international standards including the HART protocol (IEC61158), EDDL (IEC61804-3), IEEE802.15.4 radio and frequency hopping, spread spectrum and mesh networking technologies. The new technology addresses the issues users face in the process plant environment and seamlessly integrates existing devices into HART-enabled systems. 

The technology was developed from user input through the combined, cooperative efforts of HCF member companies and leaders in wireless technology, including ABB, Adaptive Instruments, Crossbow Technology, Dust Networks, ELPRO Technologies, Emerson Process Management, Endress+Hauser, Flowserve, Honeywell, MACTek, MTL, Omnex Control Systems, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Siemens, Smar, Yamatake and Yokogawa.

New launches

Not surprisingly, the new year has seen a flurry of new temperature transmitter launched. ABB, for example, has launched a new generation of HART transmitters, the TTH300 and TTF300. They both feature SIL2 certification from TUV, which according to ABB makes them the safest temperature transmitters on the market. Ideal for use in a wide range of chemical processing and oil and gas applications, the TTH300 and TTF330 can be used in LNG storage, furnace control, surface measurement and offshore installations. 

For its part, Vaisala has launched its new humidity and temperature transmitter series HMT330 (Fig.1).These include a number of new features such as a data logging option and a USB connection cable for computers. The data logging option is a module that is slotted into the transmitter. The module has an enhanced memory that can store data of three measured parameters. When logging is fixed at 10-second intervals, data can be recorded for as long as four years and five months. A real-time clock with a battery backup ensures accurate date and time stamps, as well as the preservation of recorded data if power to the transmitter is interrupted. Six models are available, to cater for wall mounting, duct mounting in tight spaces, high temperatures and pressurised pipelines.

With the FlexTemp series, Baumer Process Instrumentation offers configurable temperature transmitters communicating either with a standard 4to20mA output or a HART interface. The devices are suitable for the food and beverage industry, pharmaceutical and biological technologies, chemical and petrochemical industry as well as for heating, ventilation and air condition applications The FlexTemp2301 is a temperature transmitter for Pt100 sensors measuring with an accuracy of only 0.25C tolerance range.

Meanwhile, the ARC study expects to see the largest growth in the Middle East, due to its high concentration of oil and gas activities, and in Asia, where heavy investment in new plant construction continues in core sectors such as chemical and petrochemical, oil and gas, power, and steel production, where temperature transmitters are used extensively. 

In the mature North American and Western European markets, suppliers will largely rely on replacement business, the study concludes.

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