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Measuring Success

  • Herman Coello 15/02/2018

    How has the grain industry progressed throughout the years?

    The grain industry has been around since the days of old. With the emergence of the Industrial Revolution, new inventions entered the grain industry and transformed operations. Mechanized equipment, like the grain elevator, began to automate processes, increase productivity and reduce severe safety hazards for workers. 

    Working with grain has the potential to be deadly, especially when grain is in motion. The most common safety hazards include but are not limited to falls from heights, fires and explosions from grain dust accumulation, amputations and serious injuries from handling grain equipment, and suffocation from engulfment in grain bins. With the development of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) in the 1970s and 1980s, the U.S. began to promote a culture of safety within hazardous industries. 

    To prevent deadly occurrences from happening, the grain industry has increasingly been taking steps to reduce grain handling and storage hazards. Improving efficiency in grain facilities through automation is becoming a growing industry trend, and one driver behind the trend is automating processes. By automating operations, grain facilities are able to reduce the number of human interactions with grain, increase production, track inventory more easily, and reduce expenses.

    Over a century and a half later, mechanized equipment and process instrumentation is now an essential part of the grain industry, from planting and growing to harvesting, handling and milling grain. While the industry’s challenges are still the same as those of nineteenth century grain operations, process instrumentation has truly transformed the industry. 

    To learn more about the grain industry, new inventions and procedures please join us at the 2018 GEAPS Expo in Denver, Colorado, March 24-27th. Siemens will showcase their experience in process automation, energy management and control products in booth #319. 

  • John Dronette 08/02/2018

    Product Spotlight – Gain more efficient plant operation with the SIWAREX WT231 and WT241 Weighing Modules

    Siemens is pleased to announce an upgrade to its weighing technology portfolio to include two complete packages for standalone applications: The new weighing terminals SIWAREX WT231 for non-automatic scales and SIWAREX WT241 for belt scales and solids flow meters combine weighing electronics and touch panel in a single unit. The two new weighing terminals can be set up as a standalone solution with the utmost speed and simplicity, and using an RS485 Modbus RTU interface they also allow integration into any commonly used control environment.

    Due to its extensive diagnostic capability and limit value control, the SIWAREX WT231 weighing terminal with integrated WP231 weighing module can be used in industries demanding a high degree of accuracy, like food and beverage production, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries. Its primary applications include bin weighing and platform scales. 

    The SIWAREX WT241 weighing terminal with integrated weighing module WP241 for belt scales offers not only a high level of measurement accuracy but also an array of supplementary functions. Six totalizers determine the required material quantity. In addition, a simulation mode for belt speeds and belt loads enables a fully-fledged application test – even without the scale or speed sensor connected.

    The two new weighing terminals are equipped with a 4-inch touch panel and a high-resolution TFT widescreen color display. They provide valuable support to users in the form of intuitive operation as well as rapid parameterization and commissioning. 

    To learn more about the SIWAREX weighing terminals, please click here

  • Kiku O’Shea 01/02/2018

    How can you adapt to digitalization?

    Digitilization is not only changing the way we manufacture products but also the form and function of the product itself. No place is this more evident than in the fiber industry where the increased use of digital media is quickly replacing newspapers, magazines and office paper. Yet while the market for many paper products may be decreasing, the increase in online shoppers has created a growing demand for cardboard – boxes upon boxes. That Amazon package at your front door could very well have linerboard from the state-of-the-art Greenpac Mill. 

    Greenpac Mill is a brand new, light-weight recycled linerboard mill that is fully integrated with Siemens technology from Digital Factory, Energy Management and Process Industries and Drives Divisions. This sustainable, state-of-the-art mill has the largest linerboard machine in North America, and not a single processing step in producing linerboard is done manually; everything is completely automated and digitalized. The mill produces 500,000 tons of cardboard annually, exclusively from waste paper. It currently processes 45 to 50 truckloads and two rail cargo loads of recyclable material per day to produce a thin, very stable cardboard that is ideally suited for packaging purposes. The company and the community surrounding the mill are proud of their positive impact on the environment and economy.

    Siemens is proud to partner with Greenpac to showcase how electrification, automation and digitalization (and services) drives productivity, efficiency, reliability and sustainability at the plant – and builds a trusted partnership with a great customer. 

    “Siemens technology is the brains behind our paper mill. It’s a single platform that enables seamless communication from one end to the other,” said Murray Hewitt, managing director of Greenpac Mill. This digital overlay allows the Greenpac team to remotely monitor the mill and its systems and track data that is produced by 700 motors and 3,000 instruments including valve positioners, flow meters, temperature and pressure sensors configured as function blocks within the SIPAPER PCS7 Automation System. Siemens account manager Robert Harroun, who has been involved in the project right from the start, added: “Greenpac Mill is a smart digital factory in the true sense of the word, and the only way this could be accomplished was with our comprehensive Simatic PCS 7 automation solution.”

    Check out this feature film to learn more about how this digital factory in upstate New York transforms tons of waste paper into high-quality packaging material using Siemens Process Automation.

  • Ulrich Gokeler 25/01/2018

    How can you monitor your flare gas with confidence? 

    Federal, state and local environment regulations may require you to monitor, speciate and quantify gas flow waste to flares. Whether you work in a refinery, petrochemical or chemical plant online measurement may be required to speciate constituents and determine the heat value or quantity of reactive volatile hydrocarbons, hydrogen sulfide, or total sulfur emissions. 

    How can you comply with state and federal regulations?

    In order to comply with regulations that target flare emissions and emission reductions, you want to ensure that your analytical devices can provide trusted, continuous real-time data, monitor plant-operational changes, and perform well in hazardous environments. 

    Since the EPA mandates accurate representation of the gas that’s being flared off, it’s imperative that your equipment is working correctly. Analyzer measurement is essential for collecting, evaluating and generating data while process instrumentation (pressure and temperature transmitters, ultrasonic flow meters, etc.) can measure the actual quantity of the waste gas. 

    For your process to remain compliant, it is essential to perform routine maintenance inspections and performance validation. Depending on your specific requirements, your on-line measurement devices should be able to measure:
    1. Heat value of waste, fuel and recovery gas
    2. Olefin content in waste gas to flare 
    3. H2S in fuel gas
    4. Total sulfur in waste gas to flare

    To learn more about flare gas monitoring strategies, please click here .

    If you have questions about compositional flare analysis, why not ask us?
  • Sean McNutt 18/01/2018

    Do you need to call a field technician to configure your pressure transmitter?

    Configuring your pressure transmitter using the pushbuttons instead of using the HART handheld remote may seem intimidating, but it’s really quite simple. In fact, the pushbuttons allow you to accomplish 85-90% of the tasks that you’re interested in. 

    Before getting started, you want to familiarize yourself with the pushbuttons. There are three buttons on the top of the device: “M” for mode (left button), an up arrow (center button), and a down arrow (right button). Next, you want to identify the mode that you would like to configure your device to. To read more on each mode, please click here . The most important modes are Mode 5, which allows you to identify what pressure you want to equal 4mA, Mode 6, which allows you to identify what pressure you want to equal 20 mA, and Mode 7. Mode 7 allows you to correct for position or impulse lines. 

    Since Modes 5, 6, and 7 are the most important modes, Siemens has developed a tutorial for you to get hands on knowledge of how to configure your device. 

    To watch a full tutorial on configuring your SITRANS P DSIII using the pushbuttons, please click here

    Having trouble setting the range on your pressure transmitter? 

    Click here to watch our senior application engineer, Lou DiNapoli, demonstrate in two different ways how you can set the range of your transmitter. 

    Running into problems? Leave us a note and we’ll gladly reach out to assist. 
  • Jack Roushey 11/01/2018

    How can you accurately monitor your water usage?

    Water consumption has become a growing concern worldwide, particularly when it comes to the agricultural, energy and industrial markets. Thus, as the demand for fresh water continues to grow in the U.S., many states have begun introducing legislation aimed at monitoring usage. 

    How do you stay ahead of the regulations?

    To ensure that your facility is compliant, it is essential that you have reliable and accurate measuring devices installed for monitoring consumption and optimizing usage. Remember, a metering device may be the only tool that operators have to see how their irrigation system is performing so it’s im\perative to accurately track your flow rates. Lower than normal flow rates, for instance, may be an indicator of a pipeline leak, faulty or damaged pump, partially closed or obstructed valve or clogged drip emitter. High flow rates, on the other hand, can indicate multiple zones operating simultaneously or damaged sprinkler nozzles.

    It’s important to have accurate and reliable meters. In systems that span across large areas, the absence of a measuring device increases the likelihood that these problems will go undetected for extended periods of time, which can lead to increased consumption, damaged equipment and, in some cases, financial penalties for non-compliance.

    While many facilities have diverted water from surface sources (rivers, lakes, creeks, streams or channels), regulation has become more common than ever become. 

    How can you remain compliant if you divert water from surface sources?

    Click here to read more on compliancy in surface sources. 

  • Rachael McGovern 05/01/2018

    Experience You Can Trust

    We’re living in a time where you can find information at the drop of a hat. A world where start-up companies pop up weekly, reviews are posted instantaneously and you can purchase almost anything online.

    How do you know which companies are reliable?  

    Whenever looking for process automation, you want to make sure you do your due diligence. 

    • Do they understand you and your business needs and process concerns?
    • Do they have the application expertise to develop innovative and effective solutions?
    • Will they be there to support you for the long term?

    Questions like this help you to determine whether this company is a good fit for your plant. 

    As a leader in automation since 1956, Siemens has taken the top spot as Forbes’ Top Regarded Companies in 2017. This list has been evaluated based on trustworthiness/honesty, social conduct, the company as an employer, and the performance of the company’s product or service. Click to read the full article.

    What makes Siemens a trusted employer, distributor and reliable source of process automation?

    When an employee celebrates his or her 40th anniversary, that's impressive. But if two colleagues in the same year have forty years of company affiliation, then that is an almost unbelievable coincidence - even if they have worked together over all these years. Siemens has a history of retaining their employees for 25, 40 and even 50 years, and recently, our own Process Analytical Products & Solutions Deborah Boatman (Communications) and Ulrich Gokeler (Business Development) have marked their 40th anniversaries. 

    While Debbie and Ulrich have changed locations and have held multiple positions over the years, they believe that Siemens had been able to give them a lot of great job opportunities that broadened their horizons and expanded their experience in Siemens, the markets they worked in, and tools they developed over the years.

    Siemens has made an impact in many employees’ lives and their brilliant teams have enabled products and technology to make a greater impact in processing plants, manufacturing facilities, municipalities, etc. 

    Click here to read gas analyzers and chromatography success stories.

    Are you already using Siemens’ products? What experiences have you had?

  • Noelle Weathersby 28/12/2017

    Goodbye 2017, welcome 2018

    To our readers:
    During this time of year, it’s natural to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year and look forward to the next. It has certainly been a busy year filled with product launches, tradeshows, updates to our Measuring Success Mobile Showcase, and developing instructional product videos and posting them on our website.

    As experts in digitalization, Siemens Process Instrumentation is moving forward with strength. We are pleased to have launched two digital products in 2017 that will provide greater functionality for your use.

    We have also begun to delve into video production in order to provide you with helpful, instructional videos on pressure and ultrasonic clamp-on flow.

    In addition, we were able to log 19,669 miles with our modernized Measuring Success Mobile Showcase, visiting manufacturing sites in person. For those manufacturers we were not able to meet face-to-face, we are happy post on our bi-weekly blog. You are our priority. We want to help you resolve challenges that you face day-to-day and we will continue to reach out to you, both online and in person, in the upcoming year. 

    On behalf of our entire team, I wish you a peaceful holiday season and a prosperous new year.

  • Herman Coello 30/11/2017

    How do you make sense of the frequency buzz?

    Do you even know what frequency I am referring to? Exactly. Who really cares what the operating frequency of your level instrument is, or more specifically what the operating frequencies of your radar transmitters are? But, that seems to be the case today. One can hardly miss the clever marketing messages in print and electronic media focused on the operating frequencies of radar transmitters.

    When radar transmitters became reasonably priced and part of the process measurement portfolio, the main driver was that radar technology had definite advantages over other level technologies. The message was that radar technology was not affected by vapors, volatiles and extremely dusty environments and that these transmitters (model dependent, of course) can be placed in level applications that are very hot or under high pressure or vacuum. If frequency was mentioned, it was not the focal point discussed when speaking of radar transmitters. Doubling or tripling the operating frequency of radar transmitters is not all it takes to achieve a better level measurement. A crucial element with any transmitter is the intelligence used in processing the microwave signal to extract the right level. This plays a substantial role in obtaining a reliable level measurement with a high degree of consistency.

    Does frequency matter?

    Frequency does play a role from a design perspective. Lots of research and development went in developing a radar transmitter that operates over three times the operating frequency of mainstream radars transmitters, which is about 25 GHz. The release of the first radar transmitter operating at 78 GHz took place in 2011. It was truly a game changer in the solids level industry because of the vast irregularities of solids materials and extreme dust conditions that often presented serious limitations to main stream radars. But, a much higher operating frequency is not here to displace the lower ones. It is meant to address gaps or challenges in special circumstances typically associated with signal skipping (due to the properties of some solids materials) or the geometry of the silo or tank. With respect to liquid applications, very high frequency radar transmitters can be installed in less than ideal process connections, thereby reducing retrofitting costs. As a whole, thousands of tanks are fitted with instruments operating around 25 GHz in applications ranging from very simple to very tough. These environments can have lots of turbulence, vapors, agitators and other fixed obstructions. Yet now, for many, these conditions have been easily overcome with the intelligence and advanced algorithms vested on high performance radar transmitters.

    Mostly though, frequency means nothing to the operator in general. All you need to know is if the correct level is being reported consistently and reliably regardless of the operating frequency. But these days, the operating frequency of radar transmitters is being talked about as the panacea to all level application challenges. All this talk does is make you second guess your radar level transmitters when, in most cases, you don’t need to. If your existing radar transmitter has worked well for years, what then is the compelling reason to change?

    Are you considering changing transmitters because you can put in a taller standpipe or move it closer to the tank wall? Well, that is pretty much what you get with the “latest and greatest” radar transmitter at the nth frequency. 

    What if you are caught in a quagmire with too many frequencies to choose from?

    Instead of focusing on frequency alone, evaluate your level application and what kind of information provides value to you. In some cases, radar transmitters are being offered as the "one technology fits all.” While this may be true in some cases, radar isn’t always the right choice in others. For more insight on this debate, check out my white paper on “Ultrasonic vs Radar. Letting the application drive the Technology .”

    In order to choose the right technology, consider what has worked for you and if you experienced any issues. Then, re-evaluate your process to see if issues were caused by the technology, the installation or changes in the process. Tuning to another frequency may solve one problem while a new one shows up.  

    With radar transmitters, the higher the frequency, the narrower the beam angle of the transmitted signal. That is a good thing but is it always good? If an agitator blade or heating coil in the tank were to more directly interfere with the signal path, a narrow signal would most likely be blocked while the signal of an instrument operating at a lower frequency and with a wider beam would only partially be blocked and continue to reach the target (think laser to visualize this). If the marketing effort revolving around the operating frequency of radar transmitters is sending mix signals, consider your simple and challenging level applications and what instruments have delivered proven performance and desired results without you knowing the operating frequency. 

    What control and inventory management challenges have you thinking that it is time to try a different technology?
  • Jaye Johnson 20/11/2017

    Giving Thanks

    Each year, we are overwhelmed by our readers, your contributions and your dedication to joining us week in and week out as we delve into hot topics and industry challenges. We hope that you enjoy reading the Measuring Success blog as much as we enjoy writing it, and we hope that it has provided some resolution to your questions and challenges. 

    We wish you a warm and healthy Thanksgiving!