Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Plugged Chute Detection for Granular Materials

Intellipoint RF Admittance Plugged Chute Detector
Detecting plugs in granular material conveying chutes is difficult due to the heavy, abrasive materials and dusty, coating nature of the environment. Many technologies used to detect material movement in chutes have considerable downside. For instance, regulatory requirements and source disposal problems make nuclear gauges an unappealing choice, insertion type sensors are quickly damaged by falling material, microwave sensors require two mounting windows to operate, and vibrating chute walls can damage electrical components.

A better alternative is the Drexelbrook Intellipoint RF Admittance Plugged Chute Detector. Its design allows for the reliable detection of a plugged chute, reducing costly downtime and material spill over.

The Drexelbrook plugged chute detector, also known as a blocked chute switch, reliably detects the presence or absence of bulk solids material flowing through chutes in an economical way without sacrificing flow speed. If process material stops flowing due to a plugged condition, the flush mounted capacitance sensing element will alarm, allowing further action to occur (alerting an operator, shutting down a conveyor belt, etc.). The Cote shield circuitry ignores even heavy coatings, and the flush mounted sensing element does not interfere with material flow. There are no moving parts to wear or jam, and thus, it requires virtually no maintenance. In fact, the Intellipoint Mean Time To Failure (MTTF) is calculated to more than 110 years!

There are no regulatory requirements with the adoption of the Intellipoint, and system electronics can be mounted remotely to eliminate vibration concerns. Due to the rugged sensor design this point level switch is ideal for coal, wood chips, ores and powders. This point level switch automatically recognizes and ignores coatings to prevent false alarms and, as it is flush mounted through a chute wall, nothing protrudes into the chute to interfere with or obstruct material flow.

Choosing the Intellipoint provides reliable detection of plugged chutes that will keep your plant running smoothly and virtually eliminates spills occurring due to plugged conditions.

Key Features
  • Curved and flat sensors are available
  • DPDT relay dry contacts at 5A, 120VAC
  • Less maintenance than other technologies; no moving parts to hang up or wear out
  • Uses Drexelbrook PML series electronics
  • Supply voltage: 19-250 VAC, 18-200 VDC, Auto-detecting without jumpers
For more information, contact Piping Specialties, Inc. by calling 800-223-1468 or by visiting https://psi-team.com.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

US Power Grids, Oil and Gas Industries, and Risk of Hacking


A report released in June, from the security firm Dragos, describes a worrisome development by a hacker group named, “Xenotime” and at least two dangerous oil and gas intrusions and ongoing reconnaissance on United States power grids.

Multiple ICS (Industrial Control Sectors) sectors now face the XENOTIME threat; this means individual verticals – such as oil and gas, manufacturing, or electric – cannot ignore threats to other ICS entities because they are not specifically targeted.

The Dragos researchers have termed this threat proliferation as the world’s most dangerous cyberthreat since an event in 2017 where Xenotime had caused a serious operational outage at a crucial site in the Middle East. 

The fact that concerns cybersecurity experts the most is that this hacking attack was a malware that chose to target the facility safety processes (SIS – safety instrumentation system).

For example, when temperatures in a reactor increase to an unsafe level, an SIS will automatically start a cooling process or immediately close a valve to prevent a safety accident. The SIS safety stems are both hardware and software that combine to protect facilities from life threatening accidents.

At this point, no one is sure who is behind Xenotime. Russia has been connected to one of the critical infrastructure attacks in the Ukraine.  That attack was viewed to be the first hacker related power grid outage.

This is a “Cause for Concern” post that was published by Dragos on June 14, 2019

“While none of the electric utility targeting events has resulted in a known, successful intrusion into victim organizations to date, the persistent attempts, and expansion in scope is cause for definite concern. XENOTIME has successfully compromised several oil and gas environments which demonstrates its ability to do so in other verticals. Specifically, XENOTIME remains one of only four threats (along with ELECTRUM, Sandworm, and the entities responsible for Stuxnet) to execute a deliberate disruptive or destructive attack.

XENOTIME is the only known entity to specifically target safety instrumented systems (SIS) for disruptive or destructive purposes. Electric utility environments are significantly different from oil and gas operations in several aspects, but electric operations still have safety and protection equipment that could be targeted with similar tradecraft. XENOTIME expressing consistent, direct interest in electric utility operations is a cause for deep concern given this adversary’s willingness to compromise process safety – and thus integrity – to fulfill its mission.

XENOTIME’s expansion to another industry vertical is emblematic of an increasingly hostile industrial threat landscape. Most observed XENOTIME activity focuses on initial information gathering and access operations necessary for follow-on ICS intrusion operations. As seen in long-running state-sponsored intrusions into US, UK, and other electric infrastructure, entities are increasingly interested in the fundamentals of ICS operations and displaying all the hallmarks associated with information and access acquisition necessary to conduct future attacks. While Dragos sees no evidence at this time indicating that XENOTIME (or any other activity group, such as ELECTRUM or ALLANITE) is capable of executing a prolonged disruptive or destructive event on electric utility operations, observed activity strongly signals adversary interest in meeting the prerequisites for doing so.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Mounting and Adjusting a Rack & Pinion Actuator


A-T Controls is a global leader in the design, manufacturing and sale of manual & automated process valves for all types of industries.

This video details the steps required to mount and adjust a TRIAC rack and pinion actuator to an AT Controls ball valve.

Piping Specialties sells, services, and automates A-T Controls valves and TRIAC actuators in New England.

For more information, contact Piping Specialties by calling 800-223-1468 or visiting https://psi-team.com.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Guide to Industrial Refractometer Applications

Industrial refractometer
Industrial refractometer
(K-Patents)
As a general rule, refractometers measure the concentration of any dissolved material in a liquid. A typical measured medium is a binary solution, but it can also be a mixture of more than two components. In multi-component solutions this is a checksum; if one of the components is wrong, the overall refractive index value changes.

The potential applications in different industries are countless. Although the manufacturing process, environment and processing medium vary from industry to industry, all basic unit operations and control strategies are roughly the same despite of the end product.




Applications discussed in the application guide include:
  • Crystallizers
  • Reactors
  • Evaporation
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Spray Dryers
  • Dissolving Tanks
  • Solid / Liquid Extraction
  • Cooking Processes
  • Ion Exchangers
  • Absorbers and Wet Scrubbers
  • Distillation
  • Interface Detection

For more information about the application of industrial refractometers in manufacturing processes, contact Piping Specialties / PSI Controls by calling 800-223-1468 or by visiting their web site at https://psi-team.com.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Basics of Industrial Globe Valves

Exploded view of globe valve
(courtesy of Conval)
Globe valves work differently when compared to gate valves, ball valves, butterfly valves and plug valves in process control applications. They are primarily used to control the flow inside pipes, and are popular in a wide variety of industries. Globe control valves are ideal in situations where precise control is required. They are used to regulate flow in pipelines with a high degree of accuracy by regulating a pressures drop created in the valve body that allows the fluid to pass through the passageway (port) in the valve body. The control valve stem provides linear motion to control flow, opening and closing the valve by changing the distance between valve disc and seat. The flow in the pipeline changes according to the position of the disc lifting from the seat. The movement is controlled through the use of manual operators, or through the use of electric or pneumatic actuators.

Applications of Globe Valves

Globe valves are used in many different industries, but particularly in the petrochemical and power generation industries on fuel oil pipes, chemical feed systems, steam pipes, as well as cooling water and feedwater systems.  Other industrial applications of globe valve include boiler, main steam vents, and turbine lube oil systems.

Pros

Globe valves have many advantages that make them preferable over other valve designs. Globe control valves have excellent shut-off and throttling capabilities. In addition, globe valves are easy to maintain and repair compared to other valves.

Cons

Internal view of globe valve
(Conval)
Globe valves have also certain shortcomings. For instance, globe valves have an S-shaped flow pattern (as opposed to a straight-through flow pattern) which creates a significant pressure drop making them unsuitable for applications constant pressure is required.  Another shortcoming of the globe valves is they generally require greater torque to open and close, requiring larger actuators to properly seat the valve.

For more information on industrial globe valves, or any type of industrial valve, contact Piping Specialties, Inc. by calling 800-223-1468 or by visiting https://psi-team.com.