• Smart Wireless Instruments Monitor Tanks in Singapore

Fuel for Thought

Smart Wireless Instruments Monitor Tanks in Singapore

Oct 31 2008

Emerson Process Management`s (USA) Smart Wireless field network is automating inventory management by monitoring levels in fourteen tanks at Technochem Environmental Complex Pte Ltd (TEC) in Singapore. TEC provides treatment, incineration and distillation services for chemical wastes generated by pharmaceutical and petrochemical companies. In addition to delivering continuous level measurements from storage and process tanks, some of the fourteen Rosemount® wireless pressure transmitters are moved from place to place to aid in troubleshooting and new process development in TEC`s continuous improvement culture. Because the wireless instruments are not fixed in position by wiring, Incineration Manager Jan Huijben takes advantage of their mobility and the fact that they can be reinstalled in a matter of minutes.

“If I see a problem in some part of our process, it is fairly simple for me to take a pressure transmitter and move it elsewhere,” Huijben said. “I can often determine what`s going on in just five minutes, address the issue and quickly return the transmitter to its original application. The flexibility of Emerson`s self-organising wireless technology makes it much easier to troubleshoot problems as well as evaluate new applications.”

When Huijben arrived at Technochem just over a year ago, an accurate tank level measurement system was needed along with an automated method of moving that data into a computer database. In addition to tracking and managing inventories, documentation was necessary to schedule incoming customer delivery and give the status of their orders, including assurance that their chemical wastes had been treated and destroyed.

Wired devices were considered initially, but the high cost of wiring, even in this relatively small complex, was a drawback. When the new wireless technology was introduced to Technochem management, they were impressed by the ease of installation, the speed with which transmitters could be up and communicating from essentially any spot in the complex, the reliability of the self-organising network, and the inherent flexibility and mobility of the wireless sensors.

The benefits have been apparent since the installation in April 2008 of wireless pressure transmitters to report on tank levels, including elimination of “clipboard rounds”, more accurate real-time data for process efficiency, documentation to verify that specific chemical wastes have been destroyed, and access to the data via the company network. When management personnel are at another site, they can view the process data and order changes if necessary. Electronic connection of select data for customers is being developed.

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