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Measuring Success

  • Jack Roushey 01/12/2016

    What is the best way to reduce water usage? 

    Written by Jack Roushey, Product Marketing Manager, Electromagnetic Flow Meters, Ultrasonic Clamp-on Flow Meters

    Water is necessary to sustain life but in many parts of the world, water is becoming increasingly scarce and difficult to obtain. As governments around the world are enacting even stricter legislation than before, the question that faces the irrigation industry remains the same: “How do you manage water consumption and waste prevention while still remaining profitable?”

    While this challenge has been at the forefront of the irrigation industry’s discussion table for some time, it’s essential to look at alternative solutions that may apply to reducing the amount of water consumption over time. Measuring your water usage might be the first step to reducing overall water consumption.

    How do you know you are using only what you need, or if you are using too much because there is a leak in your system?  

    One solution that has been proven to assist in accurate flow measurement is electromagnetic flow meters . The beauty of electromagnetic flow meter sensors, particularly battery-powered, is that they can operate if the system loses power and they can be installed without any straight runs into the pipe.  

    Next week, the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) will be hosting the Irrigation Show 2016 December 5-9, 2016, in Las Vegas, NV. This year’s key points highlight:
    • The western hemisphere’s continuing drought
    • Irrigation management
    • Using sensor technology
    • Measuring landscape water use
    • Alternative water sources, and
    • Auditing soil moisture vs. catch cans

    Are you attending the Irrigation Show 2016 next week too? If so, stop by Siemens Industry’s booth, booth #1302! I’ll be there along with Scott Lee and Dave Haddon We would love to discuss this subject in more depth with you and answer any questions you may have that apply to your particular application. 

    Click here to learn more about Siemens irrigation solutions.

  • Rachael McGovern 17/11/2016

    Giving Thanks

    At this time of year, our thoughts turn to celebration and gratitude.

    Happy Thanksgiving! We would like to take this time to thank you for your readership, confidence and loyalty. We are grateful for the opportunity to share with you our explorations as we delve into new subjects and identify ways to help optimize manufacturing every day.

    We extend to you and your family our best wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving Day.

    Please let me know if there are any changes that you would like to make as well as who the author should be. Thanks!

  • Herman Coello 22/09/2016

    Discovering Sensible Solutions for Today’s Water Treatment Needs at WEFTEC

    With almost 30 workshops and over 100 technical sessions, the 2016 WEFTEC Expo is the place to be. Wait a minute, you are not going? Just visit the 2016 WEFTEC website and your mind will be changed. I mean, where else will you find experts talking about the latest trends and challenges, and companies sharing application stories where technologies and/or strategies worked – and where they didn’t WEFTEC allows you to take advantage of the opportunity to learn ways you can optimize your process while saving money at the same time.

    Trending topics these days are water conservation, water reuse and energy savings. Today, the task of finding innovative ways to manage water usage and improve sustainability goes beyond water and water treatment municipalities or water districts. The industrial sector such as refineries and the food and beverage industry for example are increasingly implementing technologies and practices for waste water treatment and water reuse in an effort to depend less on potable water supplies, and utilize this precious resource more wisely. Regardless of the sector you are in, environmental or industrial, it’s important to understand the resources and marketplace so that you can to be on your way to achieving your energy consumption goals.

    Process optimization can only go so far if energy saving strategies are not implemented. It is not news to any water treatment plant manager that the cost of operating pumps is often higher than the overall payroll. For many years, some power utilities have implemented fixed or variable energy tariffs to curtail energy usage during peak hours. In some states, the off peak hours can represent significant savings in terms of the cost per kilo-watt hours; I am talking about rates that can exceed 100%. This can translate into thousands of dollars in a matter of months, or even days depending on the size of your operation. If you want to achieve effective cost saving initiatives, you owe to yourself to come to WEFTEC and find out!

    Visit our booth and learn how the energy algorithms built into Siemens ultrasonic controllers can yield practically immediate savings. Savings will become evident by setting up strategies to run your pumps during critical times that are more in line with favorable tariff periods. You will wonder why you have not implemented such measures sooner. You will also be able to manage the high demands periods at lower cost without compromising your operation during water demand spikes.

    Below is just a sample of the ultrasonic level controller’s functionality that can help you optimize your process and minimize energy consumption.

    • Data logging
    • Volume totalization
    • Best accuracy in the industry
    • Digital communications options
    • Wet well Wall cling (fat ring) reduction
    • Advanced pump controls and modifiers
    • Energy saving algorithms “Economy Pumping”

    Come see us in booth #7039, and you’ll be glad you did! The return-in-your investment is closer than you think. We will be happy to help you be part of progressive solutions that are a must in today’s resource and energy environment.

    Have you considered an approach to balancing energy savings in your water treatment process using ultrasonic level controllers?

  • Jack Roushey 11/08/2016

    How can you maintain pure drinking water?

    Lead in drinking water has become a very visible issue over the last few months. While municipalities across America have been scrutinizing the quality of their drinking water, it should at least be some consolation that manufacturers of measurement instrumentation have taken serious steps to assure that they are not contributing to the problems that have been encountered.

    What are some of the steps that have been put into action to counteract lead consumption?

    In January of 2014, the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act went into effect. This act is designed to further protect citizens from the harmful effects of lead by reducing the allowable lead content in water systems. Essentially, it revised the definition of “lead free” in section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) from “not more than 8% content to not more than 0.25% lead by weight.(1)” This basically tightens this specification up by a factor of 32!!

    How do you ensure your clean water process is lead free?

    One way to protect against harmful lead leaching into drinking water is to ensure that all wetted products are certified as “lead free.” Confirming certifications on piping, fittings and valves may be obvious, but have you considered other wetted products like the process measurement instruments used to control your clean water processes?

    Which standards certify lead-free water?

    When specifying or installing instruments like flow meters or pressure transmitters, you will want to ensure that they adhere to the lead free definition defined by SDWA. 

    What standards should you consider?

    There are two standards you will encounter that address the SDWA lead free definition:

    • NSF/ANSI Standard 372, which dictates that a product has been certified as meeting a weighted average lead content of ?0.25% when used with respect to the wetted surfaces.
    • NSF/ANSI Standard 61, Annex G, which dictates that a product has been certified as meeting leachate requirements for all contaminants (metals and non-metals), as well as the new lead free requirements of NSF-372 (2)

    By specifying products that are certified to meet these standards, you are ensuring that your process measurement instruments adhere to the lead free definition in the SDWA.

    How can you be certain your instruments meet these standards? 

    Simple - only use process measurement instruments that are certified. There are several third-party certification bodies that work directly with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to determine and maintain current standards. The EPA’s website has a list of ANSI accredited third-party certification bodies as well as websites where you can get more information. These accredited certification bodies will typically provide lists of certified products on their websites.

    Another way to determine if your instrument is lead-free is to look for the certification mark. There are multiple certification bodies in the United States and each of these certification bodies has its own registered trademark. A matrix of trademarks can be found here: UL, for example, is accredited by ANSI to certify products to NSF standards. Next to the familiar UL certification mark, you will find “identifier text,” which will indicate lead free certification.

    Last, ask your process instrumentation experts and sales representatives. At Siemens, we take our commitment to drinking water purity very seriously. In that regard, Siemens Process Instrumentation is pleased to announce that the SITRANS P pressure transmitters have received NSF/ANSI 61 and NSF/ANSI 372 certification. The SITRANS DSIII and P300 join Siemens SITRANS F M MAG 3100, MAG5100W and MAG 8000 magnetic flow meters, which also carries NSF/ANSI 61 certification.  

    Interested to learn more? Come visit us at the 2016 WEFTEC Expo in New Orleans, LA, September 24-28, 2016. We"ll be in booth #7039 and would be happy to discuss the SDWA and viable solutions with you!

    What safe guards are you taking to ensure that your community’s drinking water is safe?

    (1), (2) Source:

  • Lonnie Barker 21/07/2016

    How can you maximize the value of your oil flow?

    As the price of oil has been so tumultuous the past few years, it’s important to maximize the value of your oil flow and ensure that you’re only paying for oil and not entrained gas. The costs associated with entrained gas can range from a nuisance to seriously costly! Easier said than done though, right?

    It may be easier than you think! One easy way to maximize the value of your oil flow is to figure out a way to remove all the excess gas out of your flow stream. In the normal course of oil production, there will always be the possibility of entrained gas in the liquid flow streams. Entrained gas in a liquid adds volume to the flow stream and since the value of the liquid is determined on that volume, any content of gas can often cause significant issues in the volume flow measurement accuracy.

    While there are alternative solutions like flow meters, these do not remove the unwanted entrained gases from the process. One solution that has recently emerged is two-phase flow gas void fraction eliminators (GVFE).

    Although the GVFE does not measure flow, it does eliminate unwanted gas volume, ensuring that you are only measuring and billing for the liquid.

    The GVFE system can be integrated into an existing pipeline, and once set-up and activated will remove unwanted gas volume to ensure that you are only measuring, paying or billing for just liquid. The GVFE removes and diverts the gas under full-flow conditions. The GVFE is able to remove gas void fractions from 0-100% at full-flow without reducing product velocity or requiring large holding tanks. 

    For more information on Two-Phase Flow Gas Void Fraction Eliminators, please click here.

  • Jonas Norinder 28/06/2016

    How do you optimize your process with smart device and process control integration?

    As we’re gearing up for the first full day of sessions at the Siemens Automation Summit in Las Vegas, NV, there’s a ton of sessions opening the conference concerning smart manufacturing, cyber security and modernizing processes.
    So how do you modernize your process and make your system more efficient?

    There are several benefits of integrating smart instrumentation devices into your control solution. “Smart instrumentation” is process instrumentation that has more advanced device and process diagnostics and can compute more data than previous versions. Simply put, smart instrumentation enables your plant to run more efficiently.

    In order to access this data and maximize your benefits as quickly and easily as possible, Siemens has created the “SITRANS Library.” The SITRANS Library is a tool that comes with pre-engineered function blocks and faceplates designed specifically for Siemens instruments including flow, level, pressure and temperature. Using SIMATIC PCS7? Not a problem! The design is consistent with any existing libraries for PCS7, which makes it easy to feel right at home.

    Using the library basically allows you to create process diagrams in your PCS7 process control system a lot faster than with the “Advanced Process Library.” The SITRANS Library also provides several advanced product-specific features that are embedded right into the faceplate.

    For example, the SITRANS Library gives direct access to the dosing functions of the SITRANS F M MAG 6000 electromagnetic flow transmitter. This means that you have direct control of the valves or pumps through the integrated dosing function as well as access to (and control of) all the measurement data through one faceplate. In regards to a SIPART PS2 valve positioner, you’re able to get direct access to all of the relevant diagnostics data, such as set-point, feedback, alarm modules and more.

    One of the best kept secrets about the SITRANS Library, however, is that it is integrated directly into PCS7. What’s not to like about a library that makes an operator more efficient and covers all of the products typically used in a processing plant?

    If you would like to see a demonstration, please visit us at the Automation Summit. We are at table 14 in Tech Café!

    To learn more about the Siemens Automation Summit, please click here.

  • Justin DiNunzio 23/06/2016

    How do you reduce water hammer by utilizing your valve positioner?

    Water hammer is a very common term in the world of water. Not only can this phenomenon happen in water treatment plants but it can also happen in just about any pumping system and even in steam systems. The effects of water hammer vary from loud banging noise to pipe vibration, pipe breakage, equipment damage and, sometimes, total system failure.

    What is water hammer and what causes it?  

    In valve applications, water hammer is the result of a valve suddenly closing in a system. The water (fluid or gas) is forced to stop and change direction suddenly. This creates a pressure surge and causes massive “wave like” forces to move back and forth through the pipeline. The quicker the valve closes, the more severe the effects will be to the pipe, valve, and system.

    There are more than a few ways that today’s marketplace deals with water hammer. Some of these include re-sizing the piping to decrease velocity, utilizing water towers and/or air vessels, installing water hammer arrestors, shortening pipe lengths, and rearranging larger piping with shorter small- run pipes to reduce velocity. Additionally, some plants will utilize a controller to ramp the valve in a slower manner. In these situations, a controller is an additional piece of equipment required to control the valve. This works in conjunction with a traditional pneumatic valve positioner since they cannot ramp on their own.

    How do you manage water hammer?

    A much more savvy way of dealing with water hammer is to address this phenomenon at its source with your valve positioner. A smart, digital valve positioner will typically give you configurability and some will be able to ramp your valve open and closed as slow or fast as you require. This means you can eliminate the controller and potentially many of the solutions that the industry uses today to deal with water hammer. You can also rely on your positioner to monitor the stroking speeds. If the positioner says the valve is stroking open in five seconds and you’re experiencing pressure surges, simply adjust the ramping parameter to the desired stroke time in seconds to slow it down. The same can be done on the down stroke when you are closing the valve. 

    In conclusion, water hammer is a common occurrence throughout many plants and the effects of it can be very expensive and time consuming. Invest your resources into a solution that will address the source of the issue. The configurability of today’s digital valve positioners is what makes them a great fit for water hammer applications. It allows plants to control the source of the issue with a device they may already be using.

    For more information, please click here.

  • Rich Chmielewski 16/06/2016

    What are the benefits of attending the Siemens Automation Summit?

    “I learned in 3 days what would have taken 3 months” – an attendee from the 2015 Automation Summit.

    Enhance your education about process automation by attending one of the largest user events in the industry. 
    This conference will be held June 27-30, 2016, at the Aria Resort, on the Las Vegas strip. Siemens automation professionals and users will learn side-by-side and explore the depth of the Siemens’ automation portfolio.

    With dozens of user presentations at the event, it’s the perfect opportunity learn best practices from your peers that you can use in your daily job. The sessions will cover multiple automation technologies including DCS, PLC, HMI, industrial networks, factory automation, motion controllers, process instrumentation, motors and drives, and even cyber security and safety.

    The Automation Summit kicks off Monday with a welcome reception and a casino-themed connect event, awarding prizes for the attendees with the most connections on the event’s mobile app. The following days will consist of the core conference events: breakout sessions, hands-on training, and the opportunity to meet with technical product experts in the Technology Café.

    You don’t want to miss the Technology Café – a one-stop-shop to see the entire scope of Siemens automation, controls, and drives portfolio and interact with Siemens experts in an open, informal setting. 

    Stop by the process automation booths in the Tech Café to learn more about the following topics:

    • Process Safety
    • Operations and engineering
    • Asset preservation and migration strategies
    • Simulation
    • Optimized process instrumentation

    We will have several process automation technical experts on-site to answer any questions you may have.

    Visit for more information on the Automation Summit. The event website has information about breakout sessions, hands-on training and a full schedule of all the summit events.

  • Steve Morales 09/06/2016

    Is your Operation Set-up to Handle the Industry’s Move to Digitalization?

    In today’s digital era, it’s becoming necessary to understand digitalization and what implications it has for the manufacturing industry, your operation and your day-to-day job. Siemens’ response to digitalization is referred to as the “Digital Enterprise.” The Digital Enterprise is a solutions portfolio that identifies manufacturing and processing industries’ methods to enable increased productivity, flexibility, shorter time to the marketplace and to prepare for what’s coming next.

    Where can I learn more about Digital Enterprise?

    Siemens offers a global network of experts that have extensive technical and industry knowledge, and their shared experience will be available this summer at the Automation Summit.

    The Automation Summit, which is running June 27-30, 2016, at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas, NV, is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the Digital Enterprise in the process industries including integrated engineering and integrated operation.

    What is integrated engineering and operation?

    Integrated engineering refers to information and processes that are available in one data model that have the interface/interplay of different engineering and automation systems. Integrated operations are the execution of operation and maintenance tasks without media breaks due to a seamless transition and the consistent data flow between engineering and plant operations. With integrated engineering and operations, you can optimize efficiency and improve reliability.

    Throughout the Automation Summit, you will have the opportunity to meet with the experts, ask questions and network with other industry professionals. There will also be more than 50 case studies presented so that you can learn from their peers’ best practices in an effort to improve their operations. These case studies will be able to give you a different perspective to the integrated automation portfolio throughout the entire plant lifecycle.

    Click here to learn more about the event.

  • Herman Coello 02/06/2016

    What can you do while the dust settles?

    Recently, OSHA ruled on new limits regarding worker exposure to crystalline silica dust. This has caused some concerns across the industry where silica reduction measures have been implemented to minimize its health risk effects. The argument is that these new limits will do little to further improvement in worker health and safety.  But, if you have been considering ways to mitigate silica dust in your process or if the new ruling simply forces you to prioritize this endeavor, it is hard to argue that keeping you or your employees away from the hazard in the first place is a good start. 

    The new ruling reaches across many industries where silica is used in everyday operations such as in:

    • Construction
    • Glass manufacturing
    • Pottery products
    • Refractory products
    • Ready-mix concrete
    • Cut stone and stone products
    • Hydraulic fracturing

    And since one the key provisions of the ruling is to limit worker access to high exposure areas, the implementation of level monitoring devices can dramatically reduce direct exposure and dust dispersion in the surrounding areas making it safer for everyone.

    Challenges from the past

    Your experience with level instruments in extremely dusty environments may remind you that the material level in such environment is not easily monitored. This may be the very reason why somebody has to go up the silo, open the hatch and take a manual measurement – allowing the dust to simply escape and coat everything and everyone.  A few years back, I would have agreed with this. Silica sand or similar granular materials create a lot of dust and their inherent steep angle of repose can cause unwanted signal skipping, thereby challenging most level instruments. However, now there is a viable measurement solution. A huge game changer was introduced to the industry: a radar level transmitter that operates at 78 GHz.

    So, what can a radar transmitter operating at 78GHz do and how did it improve the industry?

    The thing is frequency matters because as the frequency gets higher, the wavelength gets smaller. What this means is that the transmitted signal of a 78 GHz radar transmitter can penetrate dust more easily than traditional radar transmitters operating around 25 GHz. Great dust penetration and excellent signal reflection from sand like products has become a plug and work solution with 78 GHz radar transmitters. This is true even for silos exceeding 100 ft. in height. Furthermore, 78 GHz yields only a 4 degree beam signal and, more importantly, without the need of a large horn antenna. This offers a new level of flexibility since these radar transmitters can be mounted virtually on any process connection on top of a silo, thus saving on retrofitting costs.

    Other benefits

    Implementing a level monitoring solution not only increases the worker’s safety, but inventory management becomes a reality since you will soon trust that the indicated level is consistent and dependable.

    Ruling flexibility

    Although OSHA’S ruling spells out how to reduce silica dust exposure, the ruling offers flexibility to the industry as long as the industry’s own measures achieve the same end, which is a safer environment for the employees.

    While some in the affected industries are hoping Congress will  enact legislation to prevent the ruling from  taking effect, it is also speculated that the ruling will stand and compliance will begin as proposed - starting in June 2016 for some industries.

    I believe that even if the ruling is modified, the wheels are in motion and some kind silica dust reduction measures will take place. So, if you wait till the dust settles and then find yourself in a time crunch to come up with a solution, don’t reinvent the wheel, go with what works.