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GWR Solves Refinery Level Measurement Challenges

 The AFPM Operations & Process Technology Summit is billed as a conference that “addresses real problems and challenges that you face at your facility and will help you sort through potential solutions as you discuss them with panelists and other attendees.” One of the ways Emerson participates at AFPM is providing articles for the Conference Daily, like this one by Lydia Miller in the Day 2 Conference Daily, GWR Solves Refinery Level Measurement Challenges. (Please scroll to page 10 to view.)

Sometimes choosing between various Emerson technologies is difficult, but there are situations where matching a specific product family with an industry and its applications seems to emerge naturally.

While no one-size-fits-all solution is appropriate for every level application in refineries, guided-wave radar (GWR) comes close. A GWR device uses a metal probe to extend into a tank or vessel to serve as a waveguide. The probe concentrates the energy pulse to get a very reliable reading that minimizes false echoes and interference from equipment inside the tank. GWR is well adapted to tricky refinery level measurement applications.

While there may be other situations where Rosemount’s differential pressure or non-contact radar are better, GWR shines in refineries in many applications.

Working in tight spaces: Common refinery equipment configurations include stilling wells or bypass chambers (bridles). Chambers are mounted on the outside of tanks and vessels of all shapes and sizes, and often include valves to allow instrumentation isolation for verification, maintenance or removal for service without interfering with production.

Those are certainly excellent applications for GWR in refineries, here are some others.

Handling turbulent or boiling hydrocarbons: GWR thrives in difficult environments where liquid turbulence may exist, changing pressure conditions or liquid density fluctuations. This can apply to reactors, receiver/economizers or chillers. In some natural gas liquid applications, a drop-in pressure allows the liquid to boil. Differential pressure level measurements have difficulty compensating for changing densities, which can make their readings unreliable.

Lydia makes good points and there are more in the article. It’s short but packed with information, so it’s well worth a read.

You can find more information like this, and meet with other people looking at the same kinds of situations in the Emerson Exchange365 community. It’s a place where you can communicate and exchange information with experts and peers in all sorts of industries around the world. Look for the Refining and Level Groups and other specialty areas for suggestions and answers. 

Posted by Deanna Johnson, Director Integrated Marketing Communications for Machine Automation Solutions

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