Manifold simplifies pressure-based level measurement

Paul Boughton
A new highly-integrated manifold concept from Parker Instrumentation is claimed to offer users a radically simpler means of installing level measurement instrumentation on process tanks and vessels. Two single-piece manifolds integrate all of the valves and features required for connecting the upper and lower pressure sensing points to a differential pressure transmitter. The approach eliminates weight, size and potential leak paths compared with conventional 'hook-ups' fabricated using discrete valves and tubing connections.
Called CCIMS Level-Flange, the new product consists of two manifolds. One provides a single-piece location for the lower or 'wet leg' pressure connection at the bottom of a tank. This has a flange at one side for connection to the tank, double-block-and-bleed valves in a monoflange style, a mounting point for a differential process transmitter, and tube connections for the balance line connection to the second sensing point. The second manifold provides for the upper or 'dry leg' pressure sensing point, with a flange connection, block-and-bleed valves and balance line connections.
The intimate nature of the piping connection provided by the CCIMS Level-Flange aids the fundamental performance of the instrument system. Traditional hook-ups fabricated from discrete valve and tubing components typically involve longer flow paths, bends and sometimes changes in bore size. These can introduce pressure drops that can decrease measurement accuracy, commonly referred to as gauge-line error. However, the CIMS Level-Flange provides a short, straight and even flow connection, enabling users to benefit fully from the instrument's accuracy to monitor process levels.
In addition, the close-coupled design ensures that the differential pressure instrument is mounted directly adjacent to the process vessel, thereby helping to avoid the common problem of blockages that can be caused by factors such as viscous media, hydrate formation and freezing.
The weight and size of the integrated manifolds is also reduced compared with alternative arrangements. A complete assembly with instrument only extends around 26.3cm from the tank, which can be as little as a half that of some other hook-ups. This eliminates any need for supporting metalwork and reduces the likelihood of clashes with nearby pipework or other obstructions.
Parker says that the integrated nature of the manifolds also means that numerous joints are eliminated, every one of which is a potential leak path, which helps to avoid both the human and environmental safety issues caused by leakages or emissions.
Installation time is one further significant advantage: by replacing hand-crafted assemblies of discrete tubing, joint and valve components that can take many hours to assemble, the CCIMS Level-Flange is expected to reduce the installation time and cost of differential pressure transmitter level measurement systems by up to 85 per cent.
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