May 2010 Newsletter

CAS Newsletter May 2010

Volume #5, Newsletter #5May-2010
Chipkin Automation Systems Inc.


New Products – Data Clients

Make Field Data Available to your windows, SQL and enterprise applications

CAS has developed a number of Data Client products that provide field data to the enterprise applications for purposes of asset tracking, Preventative Maitenance scheduling, Trending, Logging … whatever you application. Now you do not need protocol knowledge / libraries etc to build you applications.

The CAS Data Clients are embedded on ruggedized embedded computers that do not use a fan for cooling. Multiple Ports (serial and Ethernet) are available. Device can also drive a monitor and can be used to local visualization of data.

CAS2500-03 – ModbusTCP/RTU Data Client

Connects to ModbusTCP or ModbusRTU slaves to read data. The data and transactions are logged. The log files are available and can be transferred to other computers. Current data can be monitored by remote systems running applications that can issue HTTP or SOAP/XMP GET requests – such applications can be easily developed by end users. Of course, this data is available using an Internet Browser such as Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. Connection parameters, device parameters and data parameters are configurable.

CAS2500-04 – BACnetIP Data Client 

Connects to BACnet IP devices to read data. The data and transactions are logged. The log files are available and can be transferred to other computers. Current data can be monitored by remote systems running applications that can issue HTTP or SOAP/XMP GET requests – such applications can be easily developed by end users. Of course, this data is available using an Internet Browser such as Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. Connection parameters, device parameters and data parameters are configurable.

CAS BACnet Field IO Module – Free Design, Free Sample Code, Free BACnet

CAS can provide the open source design, free sample code and a free to use no royalty library which makes the device talk BACnet. The device supports 2xBO 2xBI and 2xAV. Connect the chip pins to the signal conditioning circuit you add or use them as they are.

Using this platform CAS was able to develop a $75 device used to monitor the dry contact on the back of a fire alarm panel. Our customer needed to monitor 2400 panels in separate dwellings. Price and BACnet support were the two most important issues.

When Does It Take 9 Million Barrels To Fill A Pipe

The opening of a 3,456-kilometre-long TransCanada known as the Keystone Pipeline is set for the near future. In preparation for use the line must be filled with the heavy oil that it is going to supply. Filling the line will take 3 months and 9 million barrels of heavy oil. That enough to cause a short term spike in the heavy oil price. The 9 million barrels are lost to consumption since the pipeline must remain filled for pumping. When it reaches is max design capacity the line will transport approximately 1 million barrels a day which seems to indicate that it will take 9 days for oil entering the line to reach its destination.By the way, did you know Canada is the largest supplier of hydrocarbons to the USA and has the largest oil deposits in the world. (Unfortunately much of Canada’s reserves are in the form of oil sands which require large energy expenditures to extract. )Each pump station along the original line will typically be equipped with 5 electric pumps delivery 12,000hp of pumping power. The expanded line has 41 pump stations at approximately 50 mile (80km) intervals. Each station has 2-3 pumps driven by 6,500hp motors. At maximum capacity each station will consume 15-25 megawatts per day.

How To Stop Windows Update Restarting Your Computer

The effect of this lasts until you next reboot your system

Flow Measurement

Flow measurement of liquids is one of the serious needs of modern industrial plants since it is critical to verify the amount of material purchased and sold. Accurate measurement of flow is so much significant in a number of operations, that it can create a whole lot difference between profit making and loss taking. Imprecise flow measurements or inability to take correct measurements can lead to severe results. In addition, flows throughout the process should be maintained near their preferred values with little variability. In such applications, good reproducibility is generally sufficient. Flowing systems require energy, usually provided by pumps and compressors, to create a pressure difference as the driving force, and flow sensors should bring in a small flow resistance, escalating the process energy consumption as slight as possible. Extraordinary considerations are obligatory for concentrated slurries, flow in an open conduit, and other process situations as compared to clean fluids flowing in a pipe.

Flow Sensor Selection

Selection of a good flowmeter is basically dependent upon the necessities of the specific application. Hence, a considerable amount of time must be spent in the nature analysis of the process fluid and its overall installation. Specifications stating the application requirements should be developed systematically and step-by-step.

Following are the steps which need to be followed in the process of the flow sensor selection:

  1. First of all, determine if the flowrate information should be continuous or totalized. Also decide, whether this information is required locally or remotely. In case, remotely needed then establish the type of transmission preferred. Transmission can be analog, digital and shared. If the transmission is shared type then ascertain the minimum needed data-update frequency.
  2. After finding answers to all the above questions, two main evaluations are done. First evaluation is related to properties and flow characteristics of the process fluid, and another one is of the piping which will accommodate the flowmeter.
  3. Now, the next step is to decide the essential meter range by identifying minimum and maximum flows (mass or volumetric) to be measured.
  4. Once this is done, the requisite accuracy of flow measurement is determined.

Types of Flowmeters

Mass FlowmeterMass flowmeters are the types of flowmeters which are mainly employed in mass-related processes such as chemical reactions, heat transfer, etc. In all these processes, accurate measurement of flow is the prerequisite. There are numerous types of mass flowmeters available in the industry. However, the most widely used type is the Coriolis meter. Another type available is thermal type mass flowmeters.

Open Channel Flowmeter

Any conduit or channel in which the fluid or liquid is flowing with a free surface open to the atmosphere is referred to as an “open channel”. For instance, tunnels, nonpressurized sewers, partially filled pipes, canals, streams, and rivers, all these are Open channels. There are various techniques which can be used to monitor an open-channel flow. However, depth-related techniques are the most widespread. These techniques are based on the conjecture that one can instantaneously determine the flow rate of liquid by measuring its depth (or head). Two most commonly used primary devices for measurement of open-channel flows are Weirs and Flumes.

Ultrasonic Flowmeter

An ultrasonic flowmeter is one of the types of velocity type flowmeters. It is also known as non-intrusive Doppler flow meter. It is a volumetric flow meter which needs particulates or bubbles in the flow. The working principle is based upon the Frequency shift or Doppler Effect of an ultrasonic signal when it is reflected by suspended particles or gas bubbles i.e. discontinuities in motion. The discontinuities reflect the ultrasonic wave with a somewhat different frequency which is directly proportional to the rate of flow of the fluid. At least 100 parts per million (PPM) of 100 micron or larger suspended particles or bubbles must be contained by the liquid as per current technology.

Variable Area Flowmeter

Variable area flowmeters are a type of differential pressure flowmeters. These are simple and versatile devices which are used to measure the flow of liquids, gases, and steam. They work at a fairly constant pressure drop. In these types of flowmeters, a direct visual indication of flow rate is given by the position of the float, piston or vane. The position of their float, piston or vane gets changed as the rising flow rate opens a larger flow area to pass the flowing fluid. When the flow decreases, either the force of gravity or a spring is employed to return the flow element to its quiescent position. Gravity-operated meters also Rotameters must be installed in a vertical position, whereas spring operated meters can be mounted in any position. Each and every variable area flowmeter is available with local indicators. Moreover, they can also be provided with position sensors and transmitters i.e. Pneumatic, electronic, digital, or Fiberoptic types for linking to remote displays or controls.

Velocity Type Flowmeter

Velocity type flowmeters generally tend to follow a linear relationship with respect to the volume flow rate. Unlike differential pressure type flowmeters, there is no square-root relationship in these instruments. Hence, their rangeability is much better as compared to other flowmeters. Furthermore, they prove to be less sensitive to changes in viscosity when used at Reynolds numbers(Re) more than 10,000. Nearly all velocity-type flowmeter housings are outfitted with flanges or fittings. This arrangement enables them to be joined directly into pipelines. Major types of Velocity flowmeters include turbine, vortex shedding, electromagnetic, and sonic designs.

Turbine Flowmeter

Vortex Flowmeter

Venturi Flow Tube

A venturi tube is considered to be the most accurate flow-sensing element only if it is accurately calibrated. This tube basically consists of a converging conical inlet a cylindrical throat, and a diverging recovery cone.

Orifice Plate

Orifice plate is one of the most popular differential pressure type liquid flowmeter generally employed for detection (or measurement) of flow. It is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to restrict flow. Orifices are simply a flat piece of metal with a particular size of hole drilled in it. These flat plates are usually installed between a couple of flanges and in a straight run of smooth pipe. This is done to keep flow patterns turbulences away from fittings and valves. Orifice acts as a primary device. By means of an orifice, the liquid flow is obstructed in order to create a differential pressure across the plate. The fluid flow detection is done via measuring the pressure difference from the upstream side to the downstream side of a partially obstructed pipe.

Pitot Tubes

Pitot tubes are another type of differential pressure flowmeters. They are named after Henri Pitot who came with this invention in the year 1732. Pitot tubes are basically used to detect flow velocity of fluids. Pitot tubes have the potential to measure two pressures at the same time i.e. impact (dynamic) and static. In a Pitot-static tube, the kinetic energy of the flowing fluid is transformed into potential energy for measurement of fluid flow velocity.

Positive Displacement Meters

Positive displacement (PD) meters are the types of flowmeters which are suitable for measurement of viscous liquid flows. These are also considered ideal for applications which require use of a simple mechanical meter system. In general, a positive displacement flowmeter consists of a chamber or cavity which restricts the flow. A rotating or reciprocating mechanical device is located inside the chamber to generate fixed-volume discrete parcels from the flowing liquid. Via PD meter units, liquids get separated into exactly calculated increments which are then further counted by a connecting register. Since every measured increment represents a distinct volume, these types of meters are widely used for automatic batching and accounting purposes.

Reciprocating Piston Meters

These are also known as oscillating piston flowmeters. These are one of the oldest positive displacement type flowmeter designs. These types of meters are mainly of single or multiple-piston types. Other types available are double acting pistons and rotary pistons. Selection of a particular type of piston meter depends on the range of flow rates necessary for an application. Although piston meters are smaller in size and considered apt for handling only low flows of viscous liquids, yet they are proficient enough to deal with an extensive range of liquids. Major application areas of a reciprocating piston meter include viscous fluid services like oil metering on engine test stands, specifically where turndown ratio is not considered much crucial. Also these meters can be employed on residential water service where they tend to pass partial quantities of dirt and fine sand along with water.

Oval-gear Meters

These types of meters consist of two rotating, oval-shaped gears constructed with synchronized, close fitting teeth. In an oval gear meter, the rotation of gear shafts causes a fixed amount of liquid to pass through the meter. By monitoring the number of shaft rotations, one can calculate liquid flow rate. These types of meters prove to be very accurate when slippage between the housing and the gears is set very small. Turndown ratio of an oval gear meter gets influenced by the lubricating properties of the process fluid.

Nutating-disk Meters

These are the widely used positive displacement type flowmeters. They consist of a moveable disk which is positioned on a concentric sphere situated inside a spherical side-walled unit. Universally, they are employed as residential water meters. They exist in various sizes and capacities and can be constructed from a wide range of materials. Their typical size range varies from 5/8-in to 2-in sizes. They are ideal for pressure ranges around 150-psig with an upper limit of 300 psig.

Rotary-vane Meters

These types of meters exist in different designs. However, they all work on the same operating principle. These meters basically include uniformly divided rotating impellers with two or more compartments inside the chamber. The number of rotations of the impeller are counted and recorded in volumetric units. These types of meters are frequently employed in the petroleum industry. Based upon the construction material, maximum pressure and maximum temperature limits of rotary vane meters are 350°F and 1,000 psig respectively. Their Viscosity limit ranges between 1 and 25,000 centipoise.

Helix Meters

These types of meters are made up of two radically pitched helical rotors which results in an axial liquid displacement from one side of the chamber to the other side. Both the rotors are geared together and there is a very small clearance between the rotors and the casing.


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