How Many More Months Will It Run?

Technology bolsters plants' quest to boost uptime.

By Seán Ottewell, Editor at Large

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Smart control valves also are improving. For instance, Flowserve, Dallas, has launched the third-generation of its Valtek StarPac. The company claims StarPac 3 is the only fully integrated smart control valve on the market that provides full PID [Proportional/Integral/Derivative] control. Upgraded features include an explosion-proof housing, USB and infrared interface, updated electronics, stainless steel options and enhanced positioner functions.

StarPac 3 gives users an integrated view of the process at a single point and reportedly can improve plant operation at a lower installed cost than conventional control systems. “The advancements in this third-generation product can potentially save facilities millions of dollars a year by providing a window into critical processes, allowing customers to reduce operating costs through integrated control and unparalleled diagnostic capabilities,” says Stephan Giesen, digital products marketing manager, Flowserve Flow Control Division.

Meanwhile, Artesis, Cambridge, U.K. has increased the functionality of its motor condition monitor (MCM) system. It now features: wireless technology for cost-effective easy installation of monitoring stations in difficult locations — intelligent modems maintain reliable and transparent access with centralized users via the Artesis communications server; fully automated condition-assessment reports for even faster diagnostics — available within days after first installation; and the ability for engineers to quickly and easily customize applications for wider enterprise use.

“The key benefit to our customers is that in-depth condition assessments containing detailed information about the nature and severity of all faults detected are automatically created and communicated to the team. More importantly, the reports also contain recommendations on the timescale of remedial actions,” says director Andy Bates. The reports, which are clearly presented on the display panel, can be emailed to appropriate people for immediate action.

Finally, Raytek, Santa Cruz, Calif., has launched an integrated infrared sensor for continuous temperature monitoring (Figure 3) that the company says outperforms more-expensive competitive units. The new CM sensor reportedly allows tighter tolerances on heating processes — reducing heating costs while improving process throughput and product quality.

This NEMA-4 sealed, single-piece integrated sensor is designed to measure target temperatures ranging from -4°F to 932°F. A built-in sensor health LED provides a convenient online indicator of the unit’s operating status and aids in troubleshooting initial sensor set-up. The sensor features remote configuration capability, reducing installation and troubleshooting time, and streamlining data acquisition. It also meets demands for sensors that can operate successfully in hostile or remote locations.

Seán Ottewell is Chemical Processing's Editor at Large. You can e-mail him at


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