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TRANSDUCERS, TRANSMITTERS & SENSORS FEATURE THINKING OUTSIDE THE PIPELINE


The time and cost associated with traditional temperature measurement means an alternative is needed. Steve Gorvett, product manager DP Flow and Temperature, ABB Measurement & Analytics, says non-invasive temperature technology is the answer


V


irtually no industrial process can do without temperature measurement, as


it helps guarantee system safety, secure product quality and increase process efficiency. So it should be measured as widely as possible across a plant. Traditionally, setting up a temperature


measurement point has entailed inserting a temperature sensor with or without a thermowell into a measuring medium typically contained in a vessel or piping. Additional flanges or fittings will also often be needed to help maintain pipeline integrity and satisfy safety requirements. A common challenge in many


temperature measurement applications stems from the characteristics of the medium being measured. Substances can be liquid, gaseous or in viscous or semi- viscous states, or, in some cases, a combination of these, flowing at different rates. In each case, the temperature device used needs to be able to withstand the rigours of the application to provide reliable and safe operation. This same requirement also


applies where thermowells are used to protect temperature sensors, they must also be designed for the characteristics of the medium being measured to help safeguard the temperature sensor against chemical and mechanical stress. In many cases, special thermowell materials will be needed, which can add substantially to the overall price tag. Furthermore, where they are used to


protect against the effects of abrasive and chemically aggressive media, thermowells must be regularly inspected and replaced if necessary, which may mean a partial shutdown, usually requiring a complete emptying of the system. This also applies if additional measuring points need to be installed. Using thermowells can also have safety


implications. A thermowell placed in flowing media, for instance, can begin to vibrate due to vortex formation. In extreme cases, vibration can cause thermowells to break, posing a potential risk to the operating environment. For this reason, the standards governing the stability of thermowells such as ASME PTC 19.3 TW-2016, have become more


All of these issues have been eliminated


by ABB’s new NiTemp TSP341-N non- invasive temperature sensor. Designed to be mounted on the surface of a pipe, the NiTemp overcomes the time, cost and disruption associated with fitting a conventional temperature sensor. Installation is made fast and simple by


two clamp collars that are used to fasten the sensor to the pipeline, avoiding the need to drill into pipelines or shut down processes. Fitted and ready for operation in under ten minutes, the NiTemp reduces the time and effort needed to set up a measuring point from scratch.


Key to the NiTemp’s design is its


combination of double sensor architecture and specially developed calculation algorithm. The sensor has two temperature sensors, one measuring the surface temperature at the measuring point and the other measuring the ambient temperature in its vicinity. The values from each are factored into


algorithms built into the transmitter


firmware that calculate and output the process temperature in real time. By factoring in ambient conditions, the transmitter increases the accuracy of the surface measurement. The fast response and high accuracy


achieved allows the NiTemp to match or even exceed the measurement performance of a thermowell. Suited for low viscosity, liquid media with medium to high flow rates, including turbulent flow, it can be used in a variety of industrial applications from −40 °C to 400 °C on pipe-lines up to DN2500 (2,500mm).





By addressing many of the traditional hurdles that have prevented temperature from being measured more widely across process plants, non-invasive temperature sensors offer new opportunities for operators to optimise plant efficiency (top)


The NiTemp uses an innovative double sensor architecture to measure both surface and ambient temperatures (above)


Surface-mounting allows the NiTemp to overcome the time, cost and disruption associated with fitting a conventional temperature sensor (left)


restrictive over time, increasing engineering costs and sometimes limiting the use conventional thermowells.


By eliminating the need to shut down


processes and interrupt pipelines, non- invasive temperature devices are suitable for applications handling hazardous, high pressure or high velocity media that could otherwise pose a risk to staff installing an invasive device in Chemical, Oil and Gas industries. These devices are also suited to applications in the food and beverage and pharmaceutical industries, where hygienic conditions need to be maintained. With no risk of damage or deteriorating


performance that can arise where an invasive sensor is in prolonged contact with abrasive or high particle flows, non- invasive temperature sensors can also reduce maintenance requirements, with no wear and tear due to stress, no need to remove and exchange damaged sensors, and no risk of potential contamination of the process medium caused by parts becoming detached or destroyed. Another benefit of the NiTemp’s


surface mount design is its flexibility. This enables it to be moved to any location where a measurement needs to be made, so is suitable for applications such as energy monitoring projects, where it can help identify potential areas for improved energy efficiency. One of the biggest benefits of the


NiTemp is its ability to reduce the cost of a temperature measurement installation, with potential CAPEX savings of at least 30 per cent compared to a conventional invasive temperature sensor. Much of this saving is achieved by the


reduced effort needed during the specification and planning stage, with the availability of a universal sensor option removing the need to select from multiple models for different pipe sizes and temperature ranges. Additional cost savings are also achieved


by taking the sensor out of direct contact with the measured medium, with no need to carry out wake frequency calculations, purchase and install pipe fittings made from special materials, or shut down the pipeline to install the sensor.


ABB E: enquiries.mp.uk@gb.abb.com


PROCESS & CONTROL | JUNE 2019 29


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