Classified-area control panels

Posted by Andy Crossman on December 17, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

4 basic design concepts that could help avoid costly errors or worse.

Designing a control panel rated for a classified area can be a daunting task for individuals with limited or no prior experience. These four basic steps should get you started in the right direction: 1. Determine applicable codes for your geographic region—Before embarking on the design and laying out components, determine which governing agencies and applicable codes will come into play. That includes being cognizant of where the system will be built in addition to where it will be installed. If installed in another country you may have additional regulations to consider. 2. Obtain official documentation that declares the area classification—Note the emphasis on official, getting verification of the declared rating with tangible documentation. This is not an area in which “back of napkin,” or ... Continue Reading

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Science, it just works

Posted by Bruce Brandt on December 17, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

Some operational myths seem to live on even in the face of evidence to the contrary. How many of them are changing the way you work?

The actual quote is a bit harsher but the sentiment is the same: Science works and mythology doesn’t. Yet in my experience there is still a lot of mythology and misunderstanding at work in the application of process control that could be dispelled with proper scientific and engineering analysis, though sometimes the people involved just don’t understand. A case in point: I once had a boiler operator ask me when I was going to fix the electronic indicator on his control panel to match the reading on the drum level gauge glass. I told him that the gage glass was installed too low and that the electronic indicator was right. He replied that a gage glass couldn’t be wrong and proceeded to repeat his request every day. Finally, one morning I walk... Continue Reading

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Distillation columns: Product composition control – process identification models

Posted by Jim Ford on November 13, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

This technique can help reconnect information and actions that are separated by time.

Distillation columns are among the most common unit operations for separation and purification in process industries. Control of the composition (purity) of one or more of the product streams is invariably critical for economic operation of the column. For precise composition control, on-stream process analyzers are often employed to measure composition of the critical product. For example, monitoring the amount of a key impurity that must be kept below a maximum specification limit in the product. For light hydrocarbon service, such as an olefins plant or natural gas liquids distillation, a gas chromatograph (GC) is often the instrument of choice for product composition analysis. One GC can be designed and programmed to analyze several streams, thereby minimizing overall installation and m... Continue Reading

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Maximizing the effectiveness of technical training

Posted by Paul Galeski on November 13, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

Use current technologies to reduce training costs and improve what your students retain.

Posted by Ric Gibson on November 05, 2013
How many times have all of us attended training for a week or two, maybe longer, only to come away with ten pounds of manuals, a hat emblazoned with the OEM’s logo, and a screwdriver? Training is expensive—in tuition, travel, and time away from your shop. But embarking on a project involving an unfamiliar platform without training will cost a lot more. How can we maximize the return on our training investment? Sure, we’ll come away with some hands-on experience with a scripted training scenario in a classroom environment where you probably had to share a workstation with another student. How much knowledge will we have retained when the time c... Continue Reading

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What is FactoryTalk?

Posted by John Boyd on November 13, 2013 @ 4:29 pm

This platform turns up in many places, and can do many things, but there aren't many that really understand it. Here is a quick guide to explain the basics.

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