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Is that Regulator Working?

One concern refiners and chemical plant operators have when it comes to pressure regulator operation is how to identify when the regulator is operating incorrectly. Because a regulator is typically self-contained in a process pipeline, the feedback from the unit is minimal. In systems that operate at steady-state for extended periods of time operators can find peace of mind in receiving information such as regulator position similar to that of sliding stem control valves.

One application that comes to mind is a compressor seal oil regulator.  During normal operation the oil flows to seals at a constant rate and any step change in the amount of oil going to the seals should be quickly investigated.  Monitoring the amount of oil going to the seals can be done using a flowmeter but if a flowmeter is not installed then monitoring the seal oil regulator position can be another method of detecting an increase in seal oil flow.  For an even quicker response the regulator position can be tied into the DCS via wireless position transmitter.       

This is only one example of how a position indicator on a pressure regulator can be used.  Other applications include monitoring of tank blanketing regulators to detect stuck in position, alarming when back-up instrument air systems come online, or monitoring a set of series regulators on a plant fuel gas system.

Please share below any other applications that you use pressure regulator position monitoring or which you wish you could monitor.