Benefits of wireless technology secure investment

Paul Boughton

The use of wireless technology continues to grow as its benefits in terms of energy saving, cost-effectiveness and reliability become more widely appreciated. Sean Ottewell investigates.
Emerson Process Management has launched a wireless acoustic transmitter designed to help oil and gas processing plants save energy and reduce environmental impact.
The Rosemount 708 wireless acoustic transmitter provides instant and constant visibility to critical steam traps and pressure relief valves through a wireless monitoring system. The new transmitter is part of Emerson’s ‘smart energy initiative’ which combines its industrial energy expertise with advanced technologies that enable customers to lower energy costs and reduce emissions.
The new transmitter helps processing plants to significantly reduce their energy expenses and environmental impact by combining temperature measurement with acoustic ‘listening’ that provides unparalleled visibility into the state of steam traps and pressure relief valves.
Steam production is a significant operating expense for processing plants, and about 20 per cent of the steam leaving a boiler is typically lost through failing steam traps. By providing accurate measurement and constant visibility to steam traps without the effort of a manual inspection, the transmitters enable dramatic decreases in steam trap failures and fuel cost reductions of 10-20 per cent each year (Fig. 1).[Page Break]
Pressure relief valves are another critical component of a plant. Manual monitoring for releases at pressure relief valves occurs periodically and does not indicate when or why a release occurred, increasing the chances of a safety, regulatory or environmental incident. The 708 provides visibility to pressure relief valves by alerting operators when a valve has opened in as little as a single second. The time-stamped alerts can be compared against process conditions or environmental reporting to help identify the root cause of a release, so that preventive actions can be taken to reduce future emissions.
Backed by Emerson’s proven experience in Smart Wireless field instrumentation, the new transmitter gives operators instant visibility to all of their critical steam traps and pressure relief valves through a non-intrusive, WirelessHART monitoring system. This system allows monitoring throughout the plant, even in remote and hard-to-reach locations, with greater than 99 per cent data reliability. Real-time alerts identify which areas need attention, so operators can make informed decisions on how to act.
Meanwhile, the state-owned Tüpraş refinery in Izmir, Turkey, has placed an order with Emerson Process Management for a tank gauging system that includes 85 wireless TankRadar Rex radar level gauges. The order follows Tüpraş Izmir’s extensive testing of 21 additional devices in the same application. The gauging system will provide accurate, reliable level measurements on some of the refinery’s most critical oil-movement tanks.[Page Break]
The Izmir facility has a refining capacity of 11m t/y and storage capacity of 1.9m m3 in 164 tanks – including 44 lube-oil storage tanks that were already being monitored using wired TankRadar Rex level gauges from Emerson. On other tanks, however, the existing non-Emerson gauging system sometimes had communication problems and gave incorrect readings because of damage to cables during excavations in the field. In addition, support personnel were not always available when needed.
Tüpraş first considered replacing the trouble-prone older system with additional wired TankRadar Rex level gauges, which had proven to be very reliable, accurate and almost maintenance-free since they were installed at the refinery in 2007. Because the tanks are spread over a large area and existing cabling and junction boxes were not up to standard, the high cabling and installation costs of this approach made wireless technology more appealing.
“Ground conditions make excavation for new cable runs difficult, but with Emerson’s Smart Wireless solution we can minimise costs for cabling, cable trenches, conduits, and cable trays,” said Ali Erener, project chief engineer at Tüpraş Izmir. “Going wireless also gives us the flexibility to add more devices in the future – not only for level and temperature measurements, but also for tank water control and nitrogen pressure control at our blanketing tanks, which are far from the control room, as well as other applications.”[Page Break]
The Yokogawa DTSX200 distributed temperature sensor (DTS) is used to monitor temperature, leaks, and flow in oil/gas downhole, pipeline, LNG/refinery tank/reactor vessel, fire detection, and other industrial thermal applications. Yokogawa says the DTSX200 is the first distributed temperature sensor with a STARDOM field controller option, which improves production efficiency by working together with production control systems.
The DTSX200 is being field tested for oil/gas in-well applications by some major oil companies. The DTSX200 is also being proposed for pipeline and tank leak detection systems. Yokogawa developed the DTSX200 using optical measurement technologies that it acquired over the years in the measurement field, and has combined it with the STARDOM field controller for additional measurement, control, and data communication capabilities. Yokogawa says it is the only company that provides an integrated automated solution comprised of the DTSX200, DCS, SCADA, and field instruments.
Yokogawa also says that the DTS sets a new standard for distributed temperature sensing in performance, price, and interface to production control systems. The DTSX200's modular design allows interchangeable configurations with up to 16 channels, the Yokogawa STARDOM field control option, and multiple power supplies. With an operating temperature of -40°C to 65°C, it can be used in all regions worldwide. [Page Break]
The DTSX200's low power consumption and wide operating temperature make it ideal for installation in remote locations and harsh environments, utilising a standalone outdoor housing, solar power, and wireless communication.
Yokogawa has also developed three new field wireless system devices and enhanced existing wireless pressure and temperature transmitters, all of which are compliant with the ISA100.11a1 wireless standard.
These new wireless products can be used to construct highly reliable large-scale plant networks, and may also be incorporated into small- and medium-sized networks that already utilise its existing products, substantially expanding their capability. This is in line with the company’s ‘grow’ concept of enabling customers to expand their plant wireless networks while making full use of existing assets.
In March, Apprion launched its ION emissions monitoring application, which reliably provides predictable, accurate monitoring of gas emissions and imminent hazard situations in industrial facilities.
Mounting environmental legislation places greater demands on managers of industrial facilities to maintain strict controls over a host of gas emissions. Yet managers are often left struggling with old emissions monitoring systems that require operators to laboriously transcribe data collected from sensors manually into spreadsheets; a methodology fraught with delays and error.[Page Break]
The new application automatically feeds data from cost-effective wireless sensors into the ION integrated dashboard and provides reporting capability that simplifies the challenge of monitoring, managing, and verifying a facility’s environmental emissions.
"ION emissions monitoring allows any manager, anywhere, to stay fully aware of potential and emerging emissions hazards," said Sarah Prinster, vp of marketing at Apprion. "It also allows smart decisions to be made quickly if an incident occurs, which eliminates or minimises potential damages."
ION emissions monitoring is part of the ION condition monitoring application family and fully integrated with Apprion’s ION System, a comprehensive industrial wireless application networking system. Combined with other safety critical applications such as ION Emergency Notification and ION Mustering, facilities will operate at the optimal safety level.
ION emissions monitoring also serves as a framework to unify disparate monitoring hardware technology into a single dashboard for a complete view of emissions conditions and status. It provides rapid updates and visualisations, based on actual weather and gas sensor data, showing gas concentrations at any point, dosage and/or building infiltration. The ION System dashboard allows operators to view real-time, colour-coded status of monitors, displayed in green, yellow or red. The system automatically triggers alarms if a gas sensor detects a chemical release, and the colour-coding shows the exact location and extent of the problem, allowing immediate, pinpoint response as well as accurate reporting and post-event analysis.[Page Break]
True Wireless gas detection
Text: In 1999 Gastronics pioneered the first all-in-one wireless gas monitor in which the radio is an integral part of the gas monitor. Now the True Wireless gas detection system offers the most economical solution for monitoring gases from remote locations. The company says its UHF/VHF monitors offer up to six watts of power and are capable of transmitting in and around steel structures and over long distances in worst case scenarios. True Wireless is also available for ISA100.11a MESH networks and M2M GPRS cellular radio.
Among its benefits are: flexible sensor placement -line of sight not required; communication with both Gastronics’ stationary and portable RTUs; offers additional analogue inputs and discretes; is a scalable system; is compatible with DCS systems using standard Modbus-RTU Protocol; and integrates easily with SAFER Systems software.
Gastronics’ SL-Series 4-20mA gas monitors are designed for toxic gases, using electrochemical-based sensors. The transmitters are approved for class 1, division 2 locations and do not require an intrinsically safe barrier. They are designed for one person calibration with a maintenance mode that will prevent alarms while calibrating.
The company’s radio telemetry consists of complete RTUs that use a Windows-based programming software with a complete library of controls, statistics, communications, ladder logic, I/O, maths, tables and more. Its RTUs can integrate with land-based, satellite, and cellular radio technology. Systems are compatible with Modbus-RTU for integration with distributed control systems and other SCADA packages.
Fig. 1. Wireless acoustic transmitters reduce steam trap failures and cut costs by up to 20 per cent.

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