Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Temposonic Transducer Range Extended By RDP

The MTS Temposonic range of magnetostrictive transducers from RDP Electronics now extends to versions for double or triple redundancy. The Temposonic series of transducers accurately measure the position of the ring magnet along the metal tube. They are frequently used inside hydraulic cylinders to measure the position of the cylinder.

The GT2 and GT3 series retain the same dimensions as the standard G series magnetostrictive MTS transducers making installation in hydraulic cylinders equally straightforward, or indeed for use in general measurement of displacement in automation and control applications. At the heart of the magnetostrictive contactless technology is the wave guide, which is duplicated in the GT2 version to provide two independent measuring systems within a single housing.

The GT3 takes this a stage further with three systems within the same 10mm-diameter rod, which is pressure rated to 350 bar (700 bar peak). Both the GT2 and GT3 series are available with analogue outputs that include standard 0-10V, +/- 10V, and 4-20mA and 0-20mA ranges.
Beko Introduces Measurement Technology Programme

Beko Technologies offers a comprehensive programme of systems designed to save energy and improve efficiency in the application of compressed air. From the company's perspective, one of the key areas requiring attention in most production facilities is the acquisition and analysis of data regarding compressed air use.

According to Beko, many plant managers are simply unaware of how much air is used or how much each cubic metre of air costs. With its new Metpoint range, Beko offers a product portfolio that is said to fill this gap, offering facility managers the opportunity to accrue valuable data on the performance of one of the most expensive energy sources - compressed air.

The range includes 24/7 online evaluation of oil vapour content; a dewpoint meter; accurate measurement of compressed air moisture content; portable dewpoint monitoring; and compressed air consumption logging.
SICK Encoders Position Wimbledon Roof

Critical to the operation of the roof over Wimbledon's Centre Court is the accurate positioning provided by linear encoders from SICK for each of the 10 77m long, 100-tonne roof trusses. Engineered, manufactured and assembled by specialist hoist and crane designers Street Crane Xpress for the All England Lawn Tennis Club and its main contractor Galliford Try, the roof trusses run on 80m tracks either side of the court roof. Each truss has a SICK KH53 encoder read head mounted at either end, which monitors the truss position and progress across the roof from the KH53's magnetic measurement scale alongside the running track.

They are moved by electric motors on either end of each truss, powered from a bus bar system running the length of the track. In addition, to the linear encoders, SICK supplied SRM50 Hiperface absolute rotary encoders to monitor the rotational positioning of each motor. The motors move the 10 trusses across the roof by combining wheel-driven motion along the track with ballscrew actuated opening of the roof panels via restraint and end arms. Dan Salthouse, project manager for Street Crane Xpress, who oversaw the trialling and installation of the mechanical and control systems, said: 'The high degree of position accuracy provided by the SICK encoders is essential as each truss has to be driven at the same speed and finish in the same position to avoid crabbing.

'Any misalignment and the trusses will slew sideways and jam up. 'For each truss, the linear and rotary encoders at each end provide signals via a Digitronic splitter to a Moog motor controller and two PLCs, a control system developed with Fairfield Control Systems. 'The PLCs coordinate the motor operation at each end of the truss to maintain perfectly synchronised operation of the truss and the roof opening. 'In this way, we avoid any undue stress on individual components and reduce the energy load on the motors,' he added. In their turn, the 20 PLCs are integrated from a roof control room where, when the referee gives the rain signal, the operative presses the button that starts the roof operation.

There are four positions for the roof trusses: parked, with all 10 locked at the north end of the stand; championships, with five locked at each end of the stand to reduce coverage delays; deployed, totally closed in a time of under 10 minutes; and sunshade, which is designed to shade the Royal Box with a two-minute deployment. The development of the roof, originally designed by Populous (formerly HOK), took five years, with two years spent on a trial site in Sheffield, building up its operation truss by truss and proving the bespoke control software to ensure the structure could operate without a hitch on Centre Court.

'The KH53 is highly suited to rugged external operation,' said Darren Pratt. 'It operates through the reading of the unique coded spacings of the permanent magnets in the measurement scale, which can be up to 1,700m long. 'It is unaffected by wet or dirt and is highly reliable; Street Crane Xpress has been using it for years on a number of prestigious projects. 'The alternative was laser position sensing, but there were potential line of sight, alignment and response time drawbacks,' he added. The roof panels are covered with Gore Tenara architectural fabric that, although waterproof, allows some light through to the stadium.

Supplementary direct and indirect lighting will allow prolonged play, although there is no intention of holding specific night-time matches. A very high power air handling and dehumidifying system maintains the atmospheric conditions suitable for play, and avoids condensation under the roof.
Honeywell To Help Boost Efficiency At Sugar Plant

Honeywell has announced it has been awarded a three-year maintenance and support contract with Turkey's largest private sugar producer, Konya Sugar. As part of the Solution Enhancement Support Program (SESP) contract, Honeywell will upgrade the Experion process knowledge system (PKS) at Konya Sugar's Cumra production site. SESP is Honeywell's core system support programme that helps customers keep automation investments up to date.

In addition, SESP provides several support mechanisms that can improve the performance and uptime of automation systems, such as training for engineers and operators, access to Honeywell's on-line knowledge base, and access to the experts in the technical assistance centre to assist with troubleshooting. 'We selected Honeywell after seeing significant improvements in product quality and production capacity as well as a reduction in production costs with the earlier implementation of Experion,' said a representative of Konya Sugar's Cumra site management.

Honeywell's SESP for Konya Sugar will help the company maintain peak operating performance and maximise the long-term value of the company's control systems and installed solutions. The SESP contract is designed to meet the needs of the Cumra site and includes software updates to the installed system to maintain optimum performance. Honeywell will also upgrade Konya Sugar's existing Experion to the latest release, Experion R310. This upgrade should allow the site to increase productivity and decrease maintenance costs, with up to 50 per cent better return on investment over the facility's lifecycle due to faster access to process information, a decrease in shutdowns, and quicker recovery from process upsets. The factory will also have access to 24/7 on-site technical assistance.
Prelube Pumps Extend Equipment Life

According to ESE, pre-lubing before every start is an inexpensive way to extend the life of engine-driven equipment. When an engine is running, the engine's oil pump supplies pressurised oil into the centre of the bearings to create a cushion that separates the bearing surface from the crankshaft. Once the engine is running, the surfaces never touch because they ride on this film of oil. As soon as the engine shuts down, however, the oil that comprises the cushion begins to drain away and the film thins.

After only a few seconds, the film thins to the point that 'metal-to-metal' contact can begin to occur. In other words, the cushion is gone and the crankshaft is resting directly on the bearing. Pre-lubing the engine before every start can extend engine life by eliminating metal-to-metal contact during the first several seconds of running. Those few seconds after cranking the engine can be suspenseful for the operator as the oil pressure rises. If the engine has been sitting for extended periods, it can take an uncomfortable amount of time for oil pressure to come up.

Without oil, the engine will not last long. The vast majority of total engine wear occurs during these few brief seconds. A pre-lube system can eliminate this engine start-up wear and extend mean time between critical failures (MTBCF) and the overhaul interval. By filling oil galleries with oil before the service oil pump starts, the 'dry time' is also reduced or eliminated for all lubricated engine parts. This includes the camshaft bearings, valve guides, lifters and rocker assemblies as well as the piston walls and rings. Operators have historically avoided shutting down large engines to reduce start-up engine wear (in addition to other operational advantages).

In colder climates, for instance, letting an engine completely cool could cause significant problems when trying to restart it. Extremely cold engines can still be nearly impossible to start. Until recently, the simplest and most widely used solution to these problems was to leave the engine running. As few as five years ago, for example, long haul trucks would only rarely be shut down. Aside from the few minutes it takes to fuel, they would only shut down for periodic maintenance or when the driver was 'home'.

Fuel was inexpensive and nobody worried about the environment. Truckers believed that the wear associated with start-up was not worth the cost of the tiny amount of fuel a diesel engine uses while idling. As the price of fuel becomes less predictable and truck stop idling is banned, drivers are shutting down engines more. The same type of thing is happening in other industries. Increasing awareness of environmental impact and volatile fuel costs are changing the way in which all engines are operated.

In almost every case, the result is many more lifetime starts. In the trucking industry, the calculated number of lifetime cold starts has jumped from as low as 300 up to 6,300, which is more than 20 times the start-up wear. Pre-lube can help mitigate the wear associated with more lifetime starts. Fully implementing a pre-lube system can cost between USD600 (GBP356) and USD3,000 per engine. The cost justification is the expectation of extending the useful life of an expensive engine. The financial break-even point with pre-lube is generally less than two per cent reduction in wear.

With wear reduction rates commonly as high as 40 per cent, pre-lube can be profitable when the life of the engine determines the useful life of the product. Pre-lube is common in power generation, oil and gas compressors, locomotive primary power and marine power. Industries such as over the road trucking and off highway are also seeing value in reducing start-up wear. A typical pre-lube system for a large engine consists of a pre-lube pump, associated plumbing and electric controls. The suction line is usually at least 0.75in diameter and can be as large as 1.5in.

It runs from the engine's oil sump to the suction port of the pre-lube pump. This line is ideally kept short; the pre-lube pump is usually located within 30in of the oil sump port to prevent pump cavitation when the sump oil is cold and thick. The pressure line runs from the pressure port on the pre-lube pump to a port on the engine where it 'tees' into the oil passages between the engine's own oil pump and the oil filters. The oil re-entering the engine flows toward the oil filter since the engine oil pump will not accept backflow. From there, oil follows the same path as oil from the engine oil pump during normal running.

A check valve is integrated into the pre-lube pump to prevent oil from back flowing through it when the engine is running. As long as the pre-lube pump provides sufficient flow for the engine, all parts that are lubed during normal running will be wetted with oil during the pre-lube cycle. In addition, when the engine oil pump does begin to turn during engine cranking, the oil passages are already full, so the time for the oil pressure to come up to operating level can be reduced to near instantaneous depending on the time gap between the end of pre-lube and the beginning of engine cranking.

The most common way to control the pre-lube cycle is with a button and an oil pressure indicator light at the operator's control panel. The button is held until the pressure light illuminates, at which point the operator can safely crank the engine. Newer engines have sophisticated engine management controls. An increasingly common way of implementing pre-lube is to let the control automate the pre-lube cycle. When the engine management control receives the start command from the operator, it sends the signal to start the pre-lube pump rather than crank the engine immediately. Once a pressure signal is received the control cranks the engine. The pre-lube pump can be left running during engine cranking to prevent oil pressure from falling.
Lamellas Increase Water Treatment Efficiency

A city in the north of England needed to increase its drinking water supply and decided to achieve this by upgrading an existing treatment plant. A more traditional/conventional method of sludge settlement was replaced by Nordic Water Lamellas, leading to increases in efficiencies of maintenance and operation. Carlisle is a city with a population of around 70,000 people on the north-west coast of England. A shortfall in drinking water supply for the Carlisle area was identified in 1998. There followed a six-year period of consultation, environmental studies, planning and design.

During this period of preparation, more than 100 interest groups were notified and meetings were held with more than 30 organisations, before construction started in 2004. The scheme involved a GBP16m upgrading of the existing water treatment plant at Cumwhinton both to increase capacity and to reduce the risk of crytospordium. The flow for the plant is taken predominately by pumped extraction from the nearby Eden River, supplemented by gravity flow from the Castle Carrock Storage Reservoir. The plant has a designed maximum flow of 27 MLD (mega litres per day), a minimum of 12 MLD and an average flow of 20 MLD.

Matt Allason, process controller at the Cumwhinton plant, said: 'Currently, the proportion of our inflow is five parts from the river to one from the reservoir. 'Of course, the reservoir water has the advantage that there's no cost to pump it. 'On the other hand, it tends to have higher colour from the peaty soils around the reservoir, so, from a quality point of view, I'd prefer river water only,' he added. At the raw water inlet, the flow is monitored for pH, colour, turbidity and conductivity. The first stage of treatment is dosing with an aluminium sulphate coagulant and a polyelectrolyte flocculant aid to the inflow, plus sulphuric acid to control its pH level.

Allason said: 'The pH level is probably the most critical variable for efficient treatment - it affects the optimality of the flocc formation. 'The pH of our raw water here varies seasonally from seven to nine. 'We dose the sulphuric acid to bring this down to a pH of 6.1 to 6.6; we aim for the higher figure in cooler weather,' he added. The three-stream flow moves on to a flocculator stage and then into Johnson Lamella separators, mounted in concrete tanks. These Lamellas were manufactured by Nordic Water Products and operate as follows: the main structure is a series of parallel plates, tilted backwards, at an angle of 55 per cent from the direction of flow.

This inclined configuration of the plates means that every square meter of tank area can provide 10m2 of settling area, thus requiring only 10 per cent of land necessary for a traditional settlement tank. The units have a flow control system that ensures that the flow is distributed upward and uniformly across the plate assembly. This works by creating a pressure drop in collection channels above the plates, which ensures that the full area of each plate is covered by the flow. As the water flows upward, the floccs and other solids in the water settle on the inclined plates and slide down into the bottom of the tank.

The sludge that accumulates at the bottom of the tanks is removed by Zickert bottom scrapers, also provided by Nordic Water. These work via the principle of the forward and return movement of wedge-shaped, concave sections: the concave side of the scraper bars acts like a bulldozer to push the sludge forward in the direction of a sludge pit, during a slow forward movement. The scraper bars are attached to flat steel, drawing bars, which rest on polyethylene slides. The scraper movement is generated by an electric motor, which in turn is connected to the drawing bars via a lever system.

On the return movement (which is twice as fast) the wedge-shaped section of the scraper slides under the sludge layer, without disturbing the sedimentation process. From the Lamellas, the clarified water moves onto rapid gravity, dual media sand filters and then to a contact tank where chlorine gas is dosed as a disinfection stage. Sodium hydroxide is added to raise the final water pH to 7.5.

After final measurements of pH levels, chlorine and other monitoring to ensure compliance with all legal requirements, the main flow is supplied by gravity to the city of Carlisle and surrounds, while a smaller flow is pumped to the community of Caldbeck. The sludge removed from the raw water Lamellas (plus the washwater from the rapid gravity filters) is directed to a second, sludge disposal treatment process at the plant. This is designed to dewater and thicken the sludge to the maximum extent. Water extracted from this process is fed back to the raw water inflow to the plant, while the thickened sludge accumulates in two holding tanks awaiting road transport from the plant to be further dewatered.

One of the main stages in this second, sludge-washwater treatment process, consists of two additional Nordic Water Lamella separators, though in this case housed in roughly conical steel containers, with sludge hoppers at the bottom, and thus having no need for the bottom scrapers required in the rectangular concrete tanks of the raw water Lamellas. 'The advantage of the Lamella units is that they are so much easier to operate and maintain than the settlement equipment we had here at Cumwhinton before the upgrade in 2004,' said Allason. 'The main problem was the regular drain-down, which we carry out approximately every three months. 'We take the units out of the process drain them out and wash away accumulated sludge and other debris.

'If we don't do this, the process performance will decline,' he added. Prior to the upgrade, raw water settlement employed a method known as 'upward-flow, flat-bottom, flocc-blanket clarification'. Here, following flocculation, the inflow entered a rectangular tank from a series of inlets at the bottom. This upward flow lead to the formation of a flocc blanket suspended below the surface of the water. The blanket moved gradually, over a separating wall, into a sludge pit at the far end of the tank.

The big problem with this system was restarting it after a drain-down: the sludge had to reform before the system was effective again and this could take a very long time - anything from two days to two months. With the Lamellas, restarting is reliably achieved in, at most, a matter of hours. In addition, the actual cleaning out process is a lot easier and less labour-intensive, especially in the washwater Lamellas, where thanks to the sludge hoppers at the bottom, it's very quick and easy to hose down the unit and drain all the waste out at the bottom. Using the Lamellas has provided a simpler process, there are fewer moving parts and they have also improved the settlement performance, said Allason.
Electronic Descaling Prevents Limescale Build Up

Environmental Treatment Concepts has partnered Hull University's Department for Chemistry in Industry to develop an effective, environmentally friendly method of testing physical water treatment. Water that is naturally hard, as in 70 per cent of the UK, contains dissolved calcium and other minerals. These help to build and maintain healthy bodies, but their effect on pipework and water systems can be disastrous. When water-borne minerals, such as calcium bicarbonate, revert to their solid carbonate state, limescale is formed in water systems, and this narrows pipes, blocks jets, slows the flow, reduces thermal efficiency and provides a breeding ground for bacteria.

Research has shown that just 6mm of limescale will reduce energy efficiency by 40 per cent and, in a moderately hard water area, 6mm of limescale can form in pipework, or on heat exchangers in just two years. This in turn results in higher running costs. Portsmouth University used the difference in thermal transfer properties of copper pipe and hard water scale to calculate how long the water needs of a family would take to heat in a conventional domestic hot water cylinder. With no scale on its heat exchanger, it takes 1.5 hours to heat up.

However, with just 5mm of scale the boiler now has to run for more than four hours. This is because the thermal conductivity of calcium carbonate (scale) is 4,000 times less than that of copper. The larger the water system, the greater the potential energy wastage. At King's School Canterbury a temperature data logger and an electronic descaler were placed on two parallel hot water calorifiers, heating a total of 9,000 litres of water. The data logger outputs show that on the installation date, the primary boiler was running continuously for 17 hours during the day, attempting to get the water to the required temperature.

Two months later, when the heat exchanger had began descaling, the boiler ran just 6.5 hours, a reduction of almost 62 per cent. Pre-installation, it took six hours and 20 minutes for water temperature to recover 10C and once the heat exchanger became more efficient, by removing scale, recovery time dropped to two hours 40 minutes. Energy is wasted due to scaling in many ways. About the most wasteful are air-conditioning and refrigeration chillers.

One major chiller manufacturer, York International, said that just 0.04in of scale on condenser tubes of a typical 500 ton chiller, wastes GBP25,000 in energy per year. These tubes are typically 3/4in diameter and are often found completely blocked with calcium in under a year, so 0.04in of scale can be formed very quickly.

A recent report carried out by Advantica, at the former British Gas research establishment in Loughborough, measured the relative energy consumption of a clean and scaled gas-fired water heater. This report concluded that in the steady-state fully fired condition, the 9g of scale deposited in the heat exchanger resulted in an average reduction of 5.6 per cent in gas boiler efficiency. In heat-up mode (as with an instantaneous water heater) the 9g of scale deposited in the heat exchanger resulted in an average reduction of 17 per cent in gas boiler efficiency.

Currently, no government agency (Carbon Trust, EST, BRE, and so on) recognises the potential energy (and water) savings to be made by encouraging the use of water treatment in hard water areas, (70 per cent of the UK). The Carbon Trust states that 1mm of limescale will increase energy cost by seven per cent and recommends regular cleaning as the solution, but with new and emerging technologies, it is no longer necessary to resort to chemical and mechanical cleaning methods alone. With electronic water descaling the build up of limescale can be prevented.
Bearing Programme Saves Lost Production Costs

The NSK bearing substitution programme has saved a major producer of frozen food products GBP5,984 a year in downtime and lost production costs. The savings are a result of solving a problem of repeated heat-related bearing failures in a heat shrink tunnel used for packaging beef burgers. The failures, on a hot-air circulation fan, were a major cause of concern to the food producer, as each time they resulted in costly downtime and lost production.

NSK engineers visited the frozen food plant to view the application and obtain samples of the failed bearings for inspection and analysis. The subsequent report, compiled by NSK, confirmed that the main cause of failure was the excessive temperature the bearings had been subjected to. In view of this, NSK suggested that its HLT Self-Lube inserts would be more suited for the application. HLT Self-Lube inserts can allow companies to reduce maintenance, downtime and replacement costs at temperatures as high as +180C and as low as -40C.

With a higher than standard internal clearance, the HLT inserts are especially suited to high-temperature applications; the increased clearance between the balls and raceways helps to prevent radial pre-load - even at +180C - thus maximising bearing life. The provision of pressed steel cages to ensure reliable performance at temperature extremes is another feature of the HLT design; as is silicone rubber seals. The seals have a wide operating temperature range and flexibility at high and low temperatures.

To ensure long-term operation in both high- and low-temperature applications, a pure, high-performance grease is used on the bearings. HLT inserts are available across the entire Self-Lube range, which includes pillow block housings, flange units, cartridge units and hanger units.

They offer a re-lubrication facility, as standard, and the facility for fitting the Self-Lube Protector on pillow block types. In the 18 months since the HLT bearing inserts were first installed at the frozen food manufacturer, there have been no unplanned bearing changes. More details of all NSK's bearings for food processing applications are contained in a 12-page publication. Free copies of the publication are available from NSK's marketing department.
IDC Introduces Wireless Call Button

IDC has added the wireless-based ZB112 call button to its Zigbee range of interactive paging and call systems products, for use in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and disabled facilities. The ZB112 is programmable and battery powered, removing the requirement for external power supplies or control cables. The device has extremely low power consumption, enabling it to operate for years without the need to replace batteries in most applications. The ZB112 is designed for use in hospital wards, toilets, bathrooms and rest facilities - anywhere where there is a requirement for patients to call for assistance quickly.

It can be sited at any convenient location, as it requires no external cabling. The device integrates a single large button - with the facility for customisation by the addition of further buttons, if required. The button has a tactile feel for ease of operation and offers back lighting when depressed. The ZB112 is programmable and connects to other Zigbee wireless devices such as the ZB110 nurse call button, for mobile alerts; or to a central server, using a ZB104/3 Gateway and IDC software, for complete, system-wide healthcare facility applications.

The ZB112 is one of a wide range of Zigbee wireless mesh products developed by IDC for medical applications. Providing true system-on-a-chip solutions, with the benefits of built-in positional engines, small size and extremely low power consumption, these Zigbee products provide a cableless network for interactive paging, tracking of patients and assets, bar coding of assets, nurse station call and alarm systems, security tagging, temperature monitoring of critical healthcare assets, and emergency roll calls.
Energair Cuts Compressed Air Energy Bill

Gelpack Industrial has made an annual saving of more than 45 per cent on energy used to generate compressed air using a retro-fit variable speed drive package from Energair. A compressed air audit conducted at Gelpack Industrial revealed that 40.189 per cent of the input energy used to power the compressors was not productive, and that the system pressure was kept above what was required. This was due to the inefficient operation of two fixed-speed, 75kW, Worthington Rollair compressors, which were used on a rotating system to provide compressed air to the factory.

The audit highlighted the potential savings that could be made by retro fitting a variable speed drive (VSD) package to reduce offload running and match air generation more closely to system demand. One area that can use a lot of non-productive energy is compressed air generation. Many companies are still unwittingly operating systems inefficiently through excessive compressors idling and unnecessarily over-pressurising systems. Careful management of a compressed air system can therefore lead to large savings on energy as well as reducing a company's overall carbon footprint. Suspecting that this was the case with its own system, Gelpack Industrial commissioned an audit to test its compressed air system's efficiency.

The audit lasted a total of 187.9 continuous hours, during which data was logged every five seconds. The site consists of two 75kW compressors, both of which were fixed-speed compressors. The audit revealed that 40.18 per cent of the energy used to run the compressed air system was non-productive. The pressure in the system also fluctuated between 7.64 bar and 8.63 bar - the optimal system pressure for the site is 6.97 bar. Demand for compressed air on most sites will fluctuate. Fixed-speed compressors will produce the same amount of compressed air regardless and regulate between a loaded (low-pressure set point) and unloaded (high-pressure set point) state, consequently a large amount of energy is wasted on unloaded running.

A variable speed drive connected to a control pressure feedback loop is able to measure the demand precisely, regulate compressed air generation and replace low- and high-pressure set points with a single 'target pressure' set point, thereby keeping the system at optimal pressure without generating excess air. 'We were aware that compressed air systems often run inefficiently so decided to examine the possible savings that could be made,' said Paul Burns, speaking for Gelpack Industrial. 'Energair was able to show how a variable speed drive, sensor feedback and a basic communication box could almost halve the cost of running the system.

'Recommending a retro-fit VSD package rather than a whole new compressor also made the costs far more manageable,' he added. In order to improve the sites efficiency it was recommended that Gelpack retro fit a VSD to one of the existing compressors. Gelpack opted to install an Energair Solutions retro-fit variable speed drive and control package that ensured the system synchronised perfectly between the two compressors. Energair's drives and controls package is able to maintain the mechanical integrity of the compressor and enhance electrical protection, thereby ensuring the upgrade would not adversely affect the compressor.

Installing the VSD resulted in a substantially lower peak current draw and less non-productive energy usage. Using the VSD to generate compressed air that matches demand has meant that Gelpack has seen significant savings since installation. The system now runs with more than 92 per cent efficiency, at all times keeping within 0.21 bar of the optimal system pressure.

This increased efficiency has reduced annual energy costs by more than 45 per cent. With the savings that the Energair system has generated the equipment had paid for itself within a matter of months, meaning that savings were seen in the first year. The group company, Gelpack Excelsior, has also now completed a similar upgrade to its compressed air system. Energair has produced a free, online Compressed Air Energy Savings Estimator, which can be found on its website. This provides users with an estimate of potential savings, both in cost and kW.
Alfa Unveils Energy-Saving Compabloc 120

Alfa Laval has launched its largest ever Compabloc welded compact heat exchanger, the Compabloc 120, to help plant operators reduce energy costs and CO2 emissions while increasing uptime. The all-welded Compabloc 120 can withstand pressures of up to 42 barg, which makes it suitable for a wide range of duties in industries such as oil and gas, refinery, power, petrochemicals, chemicals and pulp and paper. In many applications, a single Compabloc 120 will be able to replace one or more large shell and tube exchangers because of its superior performance; providing the same or greater capacity for a lower capital investment.

As an example, this could mean reducing the physical size of an interchanger by as much as 80 per cent. A combination of high turbulence and true counter-current flow offers maximum heat recovery that, in turn, provides energy savings, because energy can be recovered and recycled, reducing overall consumption. Liquids or vapours flow through channels between corrugated plates in the Compabloc, creating a high degree of turbulence in the media. This results in better heat transfer between the media. A counter-current flow enables crossing temperature programmes, where the cold fluid can be heated to temperatures very close to those of the hot fluid. The closer the temperature approach between two fluids, the more heat is recovered.

The Compabloc 120 contributes to improving the energy efficiency of customer processes, which also benefits the environment, since less steam (most commonly generated by fossil fuels) is required in the process. This, in turn, allows a reduction in CO2 emissions from the plant. The Compabloc 120's low hold-up volume is claimed to provide more precise process control and efficiency compared to shell-and-tube technology. High channel turbulence also means less fouling, less maintenance and, as a result, more uptime, which in turn raises plant capacity. The removable frame of the Compabloc 120 and its accessible plate channels, which can be cleaned by hydroblasting, make it easy and fast to clean.

It can also be cleaned in-line, using cleaning-in-place (CIP) equipment and detergents. In some low-fouling duties, routine cleaning might not be necessary. The Compabloc 120's small footprint yet high capacity means that a single Compabloc 120 can replace one or several large shell-and-tube heat exchangers. Consequently, the overall cost of maintenance and installation is reduced. Where corrosion resistance is a priority and exotic materials are needed, the compact design reduces the capital cost because less material is required for its construction.
Gas Analyser Helps Reveal Nitrabar Success

A portable FTIR multi-parameter gas analyser from Quantitech is helping researchers at the University of Strathclyde prove the efficacy of a technique that helps remove nitrates from groundwater. The Nitrabar system uses permeable reactive barrier technology and consists of a trench containing a mixture of natural materials, which removes nitrate from shallow groundwater immediately before it enters rivers or lakes. A key feature of the Nitrabar system is its ability to convert dissolved nitrate in the groundwater to harmless nitrogen gas through the action of bacteria.

This process is known as denitrification and involves a transition from nitrate (NO3) to nitrite (NO2), to nitric oxide gas (NO), to nitrous oxide gas (N2O) and ultimately to nitrogen gas (N2). University researcher, Antoine Assal, of Strathclyde's Department of Civil Engineering, has employed the gas analyser (Gasmet DX 4030) to perform a complete analysis of gaseous emissions from a trial in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. 'The DX 4030 has been of great value to the project because of its ability to measure almost any gas, which means that we have been able to track the denitrification process and measure the presence of other important gases such as methane and carbon dioxide,' he said.

'Another useful feature of FTIR analysis is the collection of a complete spectrum for the measured gases. 'Consequently, while we are able to take both qualitative and quantitative measurements for the gases of interest, the stored spectra provide us with the opportunity to retrospectively measure gases that were not initially considered to be of interest,' he added. The Nitrabar project has been underway since December 2005 and has successfully demonstrated an ability to reduce nitrate concentrations by more than 90 per cent.
Yokogawa Marex Provides Plant Upgrades

Yokogawa Marex has won three major international projects in the first quarter of 2009; two in Saudi Arabia and one Russia. The three orders were won for systems at Ibn Zahr in Saudi Arabia, Ma'aden, also in Saudi Arabia, and the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant in Russia. Ibn Zahr in Saudi Arabia is a large chemical complex located in Al-Jubail in Saudi Arabia producing PP (polypropylene) and MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether).

PP is used in a wide range of applications such as packaging, textiles, stationery, plastic parts and reusable containers. Yokogawa Middle East will upgrade its plant-wide control and information systems with Yokogawa Marex providing specialist integration and upgrading of its Plant Information Management System. Yokogawa's Enterprise Historian, Exaquantum, has been selected to replace the existing Promace systems, bringing together existing information systems under a single solution platform. Ma'aden (Saudi Arabia Mining Company) is to mine a major phosphate deposit at the Al Jalamid site with processing facilities in Ras Az Zawr more than 1,000km away. In total, Yokogawa will provide six Exaquantum Plant Historians and an Exaquantum plant-wide information management system.

Systems at the two sites will be linked with Exaquantum/RDS (Exaquantum Data Synchronisation) software. Yokogawa was selected for this project based upon its ability to deliver a highly integrated solution combined with a suite of production management applications coupled with local support. Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant (LNPP) in Russia has four power plants each producing 1,000MWe of electric power. Its existing system for the monitoring of the power plant was developed and commissioned by Yokogawa Marex in 1995. Yokogawa Marex will provide an upgrade of the existing system.