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What a Smart Idea: A Sampling System with a Brain

by Katie Reid, on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 @ 13:04 PM

Save on labour costs by letting the equipment report information straight to you

  Our Smart products will tell you what's going on with your sampling system, making you more proactive vs. reactive. Learn more by downloading the PDF on Swagelok's Smart products and systems. 

The chemical and petrochemical industry faces a lot of operational challenges these days. Seasoned analytical engineers and technicians are retiring. Changing economic conditions put pressure on companies to trim payroll and become more efficient. It's time to re-evaluate standard practices and find better ways to get the work done.

For instance, many facilities send technicians out to check conditions at every analyzer house in a plant. But a report from the Fieldbus Foundation showed that 63 percent of routine process maintenance checks find nothing wrong. There's no need for repair, or even maintenance work.

So why devote all that labour to a sampling handling system that’s not causing problems? Now, you can have the sampling system itself do the work. Give it a brain with Swagelok’s intrinsically safe Intelligent Control Module (ICM) product and intrinsically safe PTX series pressure and temperature transducers. Installed just upstream of your analyzers, they capture and report critical flow, temperature, and pressure of process fluids destined to your analyzers.

Extra advantages

With the ICM product and PTX transducers, you get more than labour efficiency. The ICM product tells you what’s going on with your sampling system 24/7. You'll capture data that couldn't collect before, and spot trouble before it happens. You can compile enough useful data to develop trend analyses for predictive maintenance versus reactive maintenance.

The ICM product’s embedded script processor and on-board library of scripts let you run standard routines and adjust them, even while your process is running. Or, you can program the ICM product yourself to tailor its operations to your needs. You can also direct the ESP to “loop” any of its routines for any interval your process requires and then transmit that information over your plant network. You can even monitor the script, reading information from the network and change its behavior while it’s running. That’s real power.

Each ICM product can manage and drive up to six fluid streams, along with provision for proximity sensors to indicate valve state.

The ICM product and PTX transducers let you set high and low alarm limits. A hardwire alarm connection lets you know the health of the sampling system even if the plant data is unavailable.

Swagelok’s intrinsically safe PTX series pressure and temperature transducer is a single component that can make multiple measurements. The transducer features a low-volume, zero dead-leg flow path. That means a dramatically faster response, reducing delay time in your system. It bonds the strain and temperature sensing function directly into the device’s metal diaphragm. Besides offering fast response, this sensor design needs no oil-filled cavities and requires no recalibration.

You also get lower installed costs because of the simplified wiring, reduced component footprint, and reduction or elimination of safety barriers.


“Sample handling systems are the last stop before a sample is directed to an analyzer," says Andy Creque, a senior electrical engineer with Swagelok. "Our thought was ‘What if we could push intelligence down into the sample handling system itself?’ Then the sample handling system could capture temperature, pressure, and flow of critical process and calibration fluids, manage sampling and purge cycles, and report all of this information in real time instantly, directly ahead of the analyzer.”

The Swagelok design not only dispenses with the need for a traditional PLC and bulky, explosion-proof enclosures, the ICM product’s ability to “talk” with the plant control systems over industry-established networks and protocols makes it easy to integrate into an existing digital architecture.

The ICM product is easy to add into a plant’s existing control system. And for new construction it works with the highly automated process control and data historian systems that are coming into use.

You can install the ICM product and a pair of intrinsically safe PTX series pressure and temperature transducers directly upstream of the analyzer inside the sample handling system.

“This is a real groundbreaker," Creque says. "Traditional transducers are never installed in an analyzer stream because of long purge times and the fact that they are not intrinsically safe. But, our intrinsically safe transducers solve that problem because their small internal volume purges quickly and cleanly."

Less labour, more information, and more control. What's not to like? Edmonton Valve & Fitting will be glad to discuss how to fit the ICM product and PTX transducers into your system. For more information download the PDF on Swagelok's Smart products and systems

Topics:Custom Solutions

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