Control Engineering’s Process Instrumentation Enews — December 2001

By Dick Johnson May 30, 2002

In this issue:

  • Major shift in flow technology usage predicted
  • Safety first, last, and always
  • Back to the drawing board for enclosure manufacturers?
  • GE Industrial Systems acquires TGB
  • On-line quality control for ‘hot stuff’
  • What a mess! -preventing the need for soil remediation through leak detection

  • SCLE presentations archived for viewing
  • Archive

Major shift in flow technology usage predicted

Wakefield, Mass. – According to a new market study from Flow Research and Drucker Worldwide (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), users are moving away from traditional flow technologies towards what the survey calls New Technology flowmeters. New Technology flowmeters include Coriolis, magnetic, ultrasonic, vortex, and multivariable dp meters. Additionally, ‘The World Market for New Technology Flowmeters’ predicted strong growth for these devices over the next several years.

New Technology flowmeters share four features in common:

  • They have been introduced within the past 50 years;

  • They incorporate technical advances that avoid problems inherent in earlier technologies;

  • They have been the focus of new product development efforts by major flowmeter supplies; and,

  • Their overall performance, including accuracy, is better than traditional technologies such as single-variable dp, positive displacement, thermal, turbine, and variable area meters.

According to the survey, the reason for this shift to newer technologies can be traced to three basic reason including the need for high accuracy in the range from 0.1 to 1.0 %, reliability in the ‘set it and forget it’ mode, and increased feature sets including self-diagnostic capabilities. For more information, visit .

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Safety first, last, and always

North Hills, Calif . – Moore Industries is the first U.S. company awarded IEC 61508 safety certification to design and manufacture process instrumentation hardware for safety related applications in the high-risk chemical, petrochemical, and refinery industries.

IEC 61508 is titled ‘Functional safety of electrical/electronic/programmable electronic safety related systems.’ Developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (Geneva, Switzerland), the standard directs proper management of the like cycle and all components of Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS), from sensors and logic solvers, to the response function applications that will take a process from a safe state when predetermined variables are attained.

Additionally, IEC 61508 requires that companies assign a target safety integrity level for all SIS applications. This assignment is based on the amount of risk reduction necessary to mitigate the hazard associated with the process to an acceptable level. Unlike many industry certifications that focus on a specific product, IEC 61508 focuses on evaluating the development process used to design and manufacture the product. For more information, visit

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Back to the drawing board for enclosure manufacturers?

Rosslyn, Va., November 27, 2001 – NEMA, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association has released ICS 6-1993 (R2001), ‘Industrial Control and Systems: Enclosures.’ ICS 6-1993 (R2001) covers the enclosure requirements of all industrial control devices functioning on commercial voltages of up to 750 volts dc, or up to 7,200 volts ac. It includes information concerning ratings, construction, testing, performance, and manufacture. ICS 6-1993 (R2001) may be purchased for $28 by contacting Global Engineering Documents at (800) 854-7179 (within the U.S.), (303) 397-7956 (international), (303) 397-2740 (fax), or on the Internet at .

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GE Industrial Systems acquires TGB

Thermometrics Global Business (TGB), a worldwide provider of temperature measurement and sensing solutions headquartered in Edison, N.J. and St. Marys, Pa., has recently become part of GE Industrial Systems (Plainville, Conn.). Founded in an Edison garage in 1970, Thermometrics is a producer of thermistor and temperature sensors for a wide variety of applications including biomedical, automotive, electronic, and telecommunications industries. Along with TGB, GE Industrial Systems also acquired two sister companies, General Eastern Instruments (Bedford, Mass.) and Kaye Instruments (Woburn, Mass.). According to John Carter, TGB president, who will continue as president, GE Sensing Solutions-TGB, ‘It is an excellent fit for us; our products and those of our sister companies in the Sensing Solutions group complement many of the components already manufactured by GE Industrial Systems.’ See or .

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On-line quality control for ‘hot stuff’

Albany, N.Y. – X-Ray Optical Systems ( ) has developed a prototype measurement system using optical lenses with thousands of capillaries to monitor the quality of steel during the manufacturing process. The system is intended for use in the manufacturing of high quality steel for the automotive industry. The harsh environment-resistant compact x-ray system will weigh less than 50 lb and use only 100 W of power. It is intended to replace the current high-energy consumption laboratory method that uses prepared steel samples.

According to David Gibson, president of X-Ray Optical Systems, ‘The prototype we have developed uses an x-ray 100 times more intense than the current methods. This leads to a significantly increased accuracy and efficiency because monitoring will take place on-line in real time.’ According to Mr. Gibson, the technology is applicable to other industries including aluminum, cement, and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

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What a mess! preventing the need for soil remediation through leak detection

Sunnyvale, Calif. – Leaking storage tanks pose a major pollution threat to many areas. Even with U.S. EPA ( ) mandates for lead detection and secondary containment requirements at storage sites, contamination of soils, aquifers, and waterways are still discovered and require remediation. Although many of these sites are industrial, a growing number are located at municipal airports where underground storage of fuels and chemicals is a safety necessity.

Vista Research Inc. ( ) had developed non-invasive leak detection technology that is now being used to test for leaks in aircraft de-icing fluid storage systems. According to Mike Fierro, vice president at Vista, ‘The new technology is both more accurate and less expensive than other integrity testing methods.’ The technology package, which can use the same equipment to monitor more than one system, offers accuracy, low-risk operation, and a shortened timeline for detecting and locating leaks. The system works by calculating the expected change in fluid volume as the outside ground and air conditions cause temperature changes in the vessel contents. If the fluid volume does not change with expectations, it is an indication that there is a leak in the system.

Once leakage is confirmed, Vista’s leak location system rapidly locates the source of the leak. The technique uses sensors attached to accessible points of the piping system. Leaks can be pinpointed to with 1.5% of sensor separation. Accurate leak location eliminates the need for injecting additives into a system suspected of leakage, waiting for diffusion into the soil to occur, and then conducting test borings and excavations to confirm the leak location.

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SCLE presentations archived for viewing

Don’t miss the SupplyChainLinkExpo web presentations available for viewing until mid-January. Four Control Engineering technology webcasts are included. Access the information, originally presented during October’s SupplyChainLinkExpo, through Control Engineering Online’s webcast page or at .

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In a guest editorial in the December 1956 issue of Control Engineering , Dr. Robert J. Jeffries then assistant to the president at Daystrom Inc., discussed training people for the control field. Dr. Jeffries reported that several things could be done to meet the challenge. ‘Drawing on our knowledge and association, we might address ourselves to the following:

  • Bolster science education in secondary schools-this requires better teachers

  • Enhance the scope and effectiveness of collegiate programs-this requires industry and community support.

  • Attract people to careers in the control field-this requires broader public appreciation of its content and potential.

  • Cultivate better understanding of our technology at all levels of management and employment-this requires an effective and varied industry educational program.

  • Translate the sophisticated theories of academic and military programs into economically justified equipment and techniques for industry-this requires an effective two-way communication in needs, interests, practices, and experiences.

  • Develop a practical way to tap the reservoir of experience already in the literature-this requires an effective technique for storing and retrieving that makes information available to all.’

In his editorial, Dr. Jeffries lauds the newly formed Foundation for Instrumentation, Education & Reseach recently established by the then Instrumentation Society of America as a good start to this tall order. In closing, Jeffries notes that the success of the Foundation’s program ‘depends on how much support it gets from that group certain to benefit the most from it-the men in the field.’ ‘Twas always thus!

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