Showing posts with label sensor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sensor. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Reliable, Robust, and Affordable Process Heating Sensors and Controls

process heat sensors
The ability to effectively measure, monitor, and control process heating operations is essential to minimize product variability and maintain product quality. This level of control requires reliable and affordable sensors and control systems that can withstand harsh environments and not require recalibration for at least one year. Process heating could become far more effective with access to more reliable, robust, and affordable sensors and process controls. There is a need for reliable, cost effective sensors for harsh environments and for the real-time measurement of the chemical composition of the fuel, oxidant, and flue gas in combustion processes. Real-time combustion controls for multiple fuel applications could help maximize fuel flexibility, while improved sensors as part of smart control systems could increase efficiency, safety, and reliability. In electromagnetic processes, low cost, robust, and reliable sensors are needed to measure field strength, as well as sensors that can measure process parameters but are immune to direct excitation by the electromagnetic energy.

process heat sensors for industrial plantsTechnology opportunities for sensors and process controls to improve the overall control and
performance of process heating systems include the following:

Sensors for Harsh, High-Temperature Environments: Technologies and methods are needed to reliably monitor and control critical product parameters (temperature, chemistry, pressure, etc.), especially robust sensors to measure critical parameters in harsh combustion environments. This includes direct process measurement sensors, and more accurate and reliable thermocouples and other sensors. The development of sensors that can provide accurate readings in high-temperature environments could enable opportunities to optimize heat transfer and containment systems in those conditions.

Furnace Control: In fuel-fired equipment, reliable sensing and control technologies can provide better fuel utilization, energy savings, temperature control, and system performance over time. This includes sensors that can accurately measure compositional characteristics of fuels and oxidant; low-cost, highly reliable flame monitoring systems to control flame quality and stability; and continuous flue gas analysis. By regulating and stabilizing internal furnace pressure, pressure controllers can eliminate cold air infiltration, maintain uniform temperatures, and reduce wear that would require more frequent and costly maintenance.

Advanced Control Strategies to Optimize Process Heating: Cost-effective smart process controls that can be integrated with the overall manufacturing system are needed. Analysis of flue gases can be used to optimize the inlet fuel/air ratio. By using sensors to measure oxygen and carbon monoxide in the flue gas stream, conditions can be created for ideal combustion scenarios.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Temperature Sensor Basics: RTDs (Resistance Temperature Detectors)

RTD temperature sensor with
threaded connector (Duro-Sense)
Resistance Temperature Detectors (RTD’s) operate under the principle that the electrical resistance of certain metals increases or decreases in a repeatable and predictable manner with a temperature change. RTD’s may have a lower temperature range than some thermocouples and a slower response time, however, they are more stable and repeatable over long periods of time. RTD’s offer considerably higher accuracy and repeatability than thermocouples and can be used up to 600 Deg. Celsius. 

RTD diagram
Simple RTD diagram (courtesy of Wikipedia)
The RTD wire is usually a pure metal such as platinum, nickel or copper because these metals have a predictable change in resistance as the temperature changes. They are normally designed as a fine wire coiled around a bobbin (made of glass or ceramic), and inserted into a protective sheath. Because they are made of pure metals, they tend to more costly than thermocouples. RTD’s do need to be supplied an excitation voltage from the control circuitry as well. RTD’s higher signal output makes them easier to interface with computers and data loggers and reduces the effects of radio frequency interference.

RTD’s are used in many industries including the plastic processing industry, environmental test chambers, motor windings, pumps and bearings, ovens, kilns, waste treatment and the pulp and paper industry.  Because of their accuracy and repeatability, they are also commonly used in biomedical applications, aerospace, and semiconductor processing.