Separation seals expand the options available from John Crane

John Crane has launched two new separation seals. The seasls offer a proven solution to the problems of oil penetrating from a compressor bearing into an outboard gas seal, and the ingress of process gas from the outboard stage of the gas seal into the bearing cavity.

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The Type 83 and Type 93FR seals are designed primarily for turbomachinery applications, and between them they offer a choice of contacting or non-contacting operation.

Both products build on proven John Crane technology and this allows them to offer a number of significant benefits to the end user. John Crane’s state-of the-art testing facilities in the UK – which include a unique vertical shaft movement assessment capability – have been used to complete rigorous testing of the technology that lies behind these seals. They are already finding increasing acceptance from a wide range of international customers.

The Type 83 uses a contacting carbon bushing to isolate the bearing oil from the dry gas seal cartridge. The seal combines advanced materials and design principles which minimize wear and promote improved reliability over a long operational life. The Type 83 is also designed to operate when ultra-dry nitrogen, irrespective of dew-point, is used as the separation gas and injected between the two segmented bushings to create a pressure barrier between the bearing and the dry gas seal cavity.

The Type 83’s universal design accommodates either direction of shaft rotation. It also incorporates a unique carbon bushing segment design with self-adjusting hydropads.

The Type 93FR provides an equally effective and reliable solution to bearing oil ingress into dry gas seals, but based on a non-contacting operation. It has a floating ring design that incorporates a robust, non-contacting carbon bushing which prevents oil migration, while its advanced design features help minimize wear and heat generation under normal running conditions. This promotes long service life and enhanced reliability.

The Type 93FR runs at a low-pressure differential, which helps reduce gas consumption, while its self-centering mechanism minimizes wear, even during upset conditions. A universal design allows it to accommodate either direction of shaft rotation and the seal can be retrofitted to many traditional separation seal applications.

John Crane is also able to provide fully compatible pressure-regulated control systems for the Type 83 and Type 93FR seals.

Emerson digitally automates China’s Huaneng Dandong unit

Emerson Process Management has updated the controls at Unit 1 of the Huaneng Dandong power plant with its PlantWeb digital plant architecture. Notably, the project also includes the deployment of Emerson’s Smart Wireless technologies.

The 700 MW power plant, consisting of two 350 MW coal fired units, is owned by Huaneng International Electric Power Group and is located near the city of Dandong in Liaoning Province.

As part of the Unit 1 upgrade project, Emerson migrated its previous generation WDPF control system to the Ovation expert control system. From its inception, Emerson’s Ovation system was designed to allow a straightforward migration path for users of its WDPF systems.

Emerson’s migration path allows WDPF customers the option to retain much of their investment, including existing I/O cards, field cabling, terminations and cabinets; as well as their system engineering investment in control logic, graphics and the database. This enables customers to take advantage of the latest control system technologies in a cost-effective manner.

The migration took place during a 50-day scheduled outage that began in September 2008. Since its return to commercial operation in early November, Huaneng Dandong Unit 1 has been utilizing a fully integrated Ovation control solution that unifies boiler and turbine operations. Such co-ordinated control of the boiler and turbine not only enhances unit-wide compatibility, but also contributes to improved unit stability, responsiveness and thermal efficiencies; tighter overall control of plant operations; and a more streamlined view of key plant and turbine parameters.

At Unit 1, Ovation technology monitors and controls all major plant processes and equipment. More specifically, the Ovation system performs data acquisition; monitors and controls the boiler, sequence control system, electrical control system, modulating control system and furnace safeguard supervisory system, as well as the turbine and feedwater turbine control system. Ovation, which also monitors and controls a system common to both units, manages a total of approximately 6000 I/O points.

“This modernization project was vital to our ability to continue to efficiently and reliably supply electricity to the Liaoning Provincial Power Grid,” said Zhiyong Wang, I&C specialist, Huaneng Dandong power plant. “Emerson’s automation and control technologies are already utilized by several plants owned by Huaneng Group, so we had great trust and confidence in selecting them for this project.”

Other components of Emerson’s digital automation solution include AMS Suite predictive maintenance software and a Smart Wireless package featuring Rosemount wireless pressure and temperature transmitters. Huaneng Dandong’s deployment of wireless technologies reinforces how the power generation industry is beginning to adopt wireless technology as a means to improve the operation and economics of power generation facilities. Here, the Smart Wireless technology is used to measure the cycle water temperature.

“We commend Huaneng Group for their incorporation of wireless technologies in the Unit 1 upgrade,” said Bob Yeager, president of the Power & Water Solutions division of Emerson. “Wireless technology is being used extensively in the process industry to help solve common problems and provide access to information that was previously out of economic or technical reach. We’re seeing wireless gain momentum in the power generation industry as organizations seek out technologies that can help them best achieve their operational and financial objectives.“

Portable accurate temperature with Cropico 3000 series

A range of portable, high-accuracy digital temperature indicators – that offer improved standards of measurement flexibility – are now available from Cropico, the specialist supplier of precision measurement equipment.

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The 3000 series features three units, all with one milli-Kelvin resolution for RTDs (Real Time Displays). The products have been designed for precision temperature measurement in a wide range of electronics, industrial, scientific and environmental monitoring applications, and come with a choice of inputs for platinum resistance thermometers and all popular thermocouple types.

The 3000 has inputs for Pt25 and Pt100 platinum resistance thermometers and thermocouple. The 3001offers the same flexibility as the 3000 but does not include the PT25 input option, while the 3002 is designed for use with Pt100 platinum resistance thermometers only.

Dual channel input allows the comparison and cross calibration of probes and sensor types and a variety of linearization standards can be selected including user coefficients. Special features include the ability to eliminate thermal EMF and self-heating errors, along with the provision to store the calibration data of up to 20 PRT probes.

An internal data memory facility can store up to 4000 temperature readings for display or direct transmission to a PC or printer. Statistical analysis of stored data can also be undertaken to provide mean, max, min, peak and standard deviation information.

Fully portable with built-in rechargeable batteries, providing some 14 hours of operating time and enclosed in a rugged aluminium case, the 3000 temperature measurement instrument has an accuracy of 0.01°C and resolution of 0.001°C, with SPRT (ITS-90) conversion as standard.

The unit can also be supplied with an optional 19” (46cm) rack mounting kit to allow the unit to be fitted into any standard enclosure for full system integration. To help with this, the unit has options of RS232 or IEEE for communications.

An optional scanner can also expand the instrument to have up to ten input channels for multi-point temperature measurements. The user can have four PT inputs and four TC inputs, with the capability to incorporate all common thermocouples from B through to T.

Plug-in HART-capable I/O modules enable fast, easy migration to I/A series DCS technology

Invensys Process Systems (IPS) now offers plug-in I/O modules for migrating ABB Taylor Mod 300 distributed control system (DCS) technology to Foxboro DCS technology without replacing field wiring or terminations.

This significantly reduces the cost and downtime associated with migrating aging control systems to the latest generation of IPS’ I/A Series distributed control and InFusion enterprise control systems, while achieving benefits of the HART communications protocol.

“Many process manufacturers would like to upgrade to the performance and diagnostic benefits of digital control systems, but have been dissuaded by the expense and downtime related to replacing terminations and wiring,” said Mike Chmilewski, IPS vice president of controls.

“Some already have HART-capable instruments, but their older control systems prevent them from taking full advantage. We are pleased to offer ABB Taylor Mod 300 system users a very cost-effective method of delivering the benefits of predictive maintenance, advanced diagnostics, real-time asset management and other smart instruments.”

IPS’ unique Foxboro migration plug-in I/O modules are manufactured to be a one-for-one form-fit replacement for legacy I/O modules. The cards plug into existing cabinets, racks and termination assemblies without any I/O mapping issues. This eliminates the need for rewiring, requires no extra footprint and completely replaces obsolete technology. In addition, this modular approach eliminates risk, is completely reversible and reduces process impact to a few hours.

Users can add new workstations and controllers, enjoying the benefits of a new I/A Series distributed control system without having to rip and replace existing field wiring and terminations. Automatic database conversion tools and in-house experts ensure satisfactory and efficient migration of existing intellectual data.

After migration, the client’s control system – including the remaining legacy infrastructure – is under IPS’ full warranty and continuous current lifecycle policy, so it will never face end-of-life technology or abandonment again. The I/O replacement method also makes the process completely reversible, which means the client can return to their original control configuration at any time.

IPS’ HART-enabled plug-in migration solutions have helped clients cost-effectively upgrade to new technology and gain competitive advantage through higher performance and better asset management.

Enersys rewards Abacus for fast growing battery sales

Enersys, a leading provider of stored DC power solutions, has named Abacus as its European Distributor of the Year, on the basis of outstanding growth achieved in exceptionally challenging market conditions.

According to Chris Pretty, European sales director, Enersys, Abacus gained the award through achieving the fastest growth in Enersys European Distribution Network. He said: “Even before the credit crunch took hold, the trend for manufacturing to move out of the UK and Western Europe was well established. The growth achieved by Abacus in this climate is truly extraordinary, and is a tribute to the energy and enthusiasm invested by Tim Parker and his team.”

Responding, Tim Parker, battery marketing manager for Abacus, said, “Abacus’ partnership with Enersys has always been extremely strong. A combination of their outstanding battery technologies and Abacus’ differentiated ‘product to customer’ design in approach is yielding dividends for both companies and customers.”

Enersys is the global leader in stored DC power products for industrial applications. It offers an extensive line of specialty, reserve power, aerospace/defence and motive power batteries, complemented with integrated services and systems.

Abacus focuses on the Enersys Valve Regulated Lead Acid range.

Megger offers students hand-on experience of wind turbine testing systems

Students at Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater, USA, will now be able to gain hands-on experience of testing wind turbine systems, thanks to test equipment supplied to the college by Megger.

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In line with the company’s strong commitment to promoting the education of engineers, and to advancing the adoption of renewable energy sources, Megger has provided the college with insulation, ground, circuit-breaker testers, and a special blade repair test lead kit for checking the condition of the lightning protection provisions in the blades of wind turbines, as well as supporting documentary material.

The instruments will be used to train some 135 students enrolled in a two-year program. The training will cover a wide range of testing techniques, with particular emphasis on the repair of wind turbine blades. For this purpose, they will be used in conjunction with a specimen blade that the college has on its site.

“The test equipment from Megger is a really valuable resource for us,” said Dan Templeton, program chair at Texas State College. “With it, our students will be able to gain valuable testing experience that will be extremely useful to them in their employment. We are very grateful to Megger for its support, helping to give our students the best possible training.”

“Training for the upcoming generation of engineers is very important to us,” said Megger’s Jeff Hyde, “in particular we like to ensure that students gain practical hands-on experience of testing. We are delighted to be able to provide Texas State Technical College with this selection of Megger test equipment.”

T-Solar’s volume production of world’s largest PV on Applied Materials’ SunFab thin film line

T-Solar Global S.A. has begun volume production of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) modules using a SunFab thin film line, supplied by Applied Materials, Inc.

The solar panels, sized at 5.7m2, are ideally suited for large scale solar farm applications where installation costs can be reduced by about 20 per cent over smaller scale panels. The SunFab line and modules produced by T-Solar have been awarded Intercert Certification, verifying achievement of all manufacturing, module efficiency and yield specifications.

“Our fully certified, higher-value solar panels will provide us with a significant opportunity to serve the expanding European market for large commercial buildings and solar farm applications,” said Juan Laso, general manager of T-Solar and president of the Photovoltaic Enterprise Association (AEF). “We’ve invested in what we believe is the best technology and equipment to manufacture solar panels that will allow us to continuously drive down the cost of solar energy generation.”

T-Solar is expected to annually produce 700 000m2 of PV panels, with the potential to generate up to 45 MW equivalent module production per year with the SunFab line. T-Solar plans to eventually expand the line by 40 per cent and expects to gain further production efficiencies and reduced material costs.

T-Solar and Applied Materials have also entered into a multiyear service agreement that guarantees fixed maintenance costs and is aimed at driving constant improvement in line output. The SunFab Performance Service programme is designed to foster a strong, long-term alliance between the companies, who are both committed to continuously improving factory uptime, product quality and yield.

“We are pleased to be able to work with T-Solar to enable their success,” said Dr. Randhir Thakur, senior vice president and general manager, SunFab Thin Film Solar and Display Business Group at Applied Materials. “Our collaborative work on this line is yet another step toward unleashing the power of thin film PV technology to dramatically reduce the cost of solar energy.”

T-Solar’s SunFab line will also receive ISO 9000, ISO 14000 and EMAS certification for quality management and environmental production management, and meets OSHA’s European safety and health standards. In addition, T-Solar is a member of PV Cycle, the European association committed to PV waste management and recycling.

Outram Research boosts market-leading power quality analyzer, with USB functionality

Outram Research introduces USB memory drive functionality to its market- leading Ranger PM7000 Power Quality Analyser, the industry’s only Cat IV 600V Phase A-powered analyzer, which can now be installed on-site indefinitely. Only the memory stick needs to be replaced, allowing offline analysis of data and providing users with virtually unlimited memory capacity.

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The analyzer detects when a memory stick is plugged in and downloads the data to it automatically when it ends a recording session. The download does not interfere with the ongoing recording and the timing of plugging and unplugging the stick is not critical. If the emptied stick is later returned, and the logger is in FIFO mode (a recycling first-in-first-out), the logger will ‘catch up’ and download all accumulated recording sessions not previously copied.

The PM7000 offers four voltage channels rated up to 1000V and four current channels that can measure up to 6000A, with an instrument measurement accuracy better than 0.25% ± 2 LSB. The kit includes Rogowski coil current sensors, with a typical coil performance better than 1 per cent. The analyzer measures power quality to the IEC61000-4-30 standard, harmonics to IEC61000-4-7, and flicker to IEC61000-4-15. These include measurement to the 50th harmonic, interharmonics and instantaneous flicker as well as short-term and long-term results; transients; high-speed waveform capture; symmetrical components; and sags and swells.

Three distinct, simultaneous recording mechanisms are available: waveform capture, which provides high speed sampling to 1.22M samples per second on all inputs; troubleshooting using Outram’s patented single-cycle Adaptive Store to capture detail of intermittent power quality problems on up to 32 selected parameters over long recording periods; and approximately 500 general parameters at (selectable) fixed intervals for applications, such as demonstrating compliance to standards.

Data stored on a memory stick can be imported into Pronto for Windows, Outram’s data analysis package. This allows users to graph and analyze data and create hard copy reports.

By using Adaptive Store, the PM7000 helps customers troubleshoot problems faster than any other competitive power quality analyzer, with pre-stored configurations set for three-phase, two-phase and single-phase measurements. Users can also configure their own set-up.

“Although Outram’s Power Quality Analysers have long been recognized for their ease of use and data capture, customers have asked for easier ways to download and transport gigabytes of recorded data from site,” commented John Outram, managing director of Outram Research Ltd. “The USB memory stick is a fast, convenient way to retrieve the data, and requires no skill or special training.”

Orion Fans offers a variety of special functions for DC fans

Orion Fans, a leading manufacturer of standard and custom AC and DC fans, offers a variety of special functions for its DC fans, including tachometer output, locked rotor alarm, pulse width modulation (PWM) input, and thermal and constant speed controls.

These special functions provide end users with intelligent control options and feedback that optimize fan performance and maximize energy conservation.

“We are receiving increased demand from customers for special functions that better monitor the airflow in their electronic enclosures or reduce the overall energy consumption of their systems. These functions ensure the fans are operating properly and at optimal conditions,” said David Luna, product marketing manager for Orion Fans.

“And, by maintaining a large unassigned inventory of these fans, we are able to provide our customers with short lead times for volume orders.”

Tachometer outputs and locked rotor alarms are available on most of Orion’s DC fans. Tachometer output provides design engineers with an accurate means of monitoring and reporting a fan’s rotational speed, as well as triggering of an alarm or indicator if the fan’s speed falls below a certain RPM.

The tachometer output option is available as either a standard 5V TTL signal, or as an “open collector” signal. Locked rotor alarms detect whether a fan is running or has stopped, by generating and transmitting a high or low output signal, minimizing fan downtime.

A number of Orion’s DC fans are also available with PWM input, thermal speed control, and constant speed functions.

Trust funds nuclear decommissioning scholarships

A team of Lancaster University engineers in the UK are exploring the use of robots in Cumbria’s nuclear decommissioning process, thanks to funding from a charitable trust.

The Sir John Fisher Foundation has provided £97 000 ($141 130) to support four postgraduate engineering students on the joint research project. Established in 1980 by Sir John and Lady Maria Fisher, The Sir John Fisher Foundation is a charitable trust, which supports causes throughout the UK but with special regard to Barrow-in-Furness.

Based in the Engineering Department at Lancaster University, the team-based postgraduate engineering research programme is believed to be the first of its kind – bringing together students from different academic backgrounds to tackle a real-world problem.

The students are working on improving the use of ‘remote handling’ or robotic devices in the nuclear decommissioning process. These instruments have a crucial role to play as they can enter places which are unsafe for humans – for example working in contaminated environments, in restricted spaces or at height.

Decommissioning is a complex process in which the needs of safety, efficiency and environmental impact have to be borne in mind. The Sir John Fisher Foundation Research Scholarships will enable graduates to learn and develop their ideas within this context.

The students will also act as ambassadors in schools and colleges in Cumbria – engaging with young people and encouraging them to consider engineering as a career.

The Engineering Research Scholarships build on Lancaster University’s track record in this area, which includes extensive research experience across control and instrumentation, computational modelling, autonomous robotics and characterization; MSc provision in Safety Engineering and Nuclear Decommissioning; and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Nuclear Graduates Scheme – for which Lancaster is the registered appointing body.

Professor Malcolm Joyce of Lancaster University’s Engineering Department said: “These awards have been designed to attract the very best graduates, attracting them to and keeping their talent and skills in the region. We are very grateful to the Sir John Fisher Foundation for making this possible.

“By working on real problems the students will contribute relevant research to the UK decommissioning process while gaining valuable experience, enabling them to join the world of industry when they graduate. The scholarships are the first team-based activity we are aware of, in which engineering students can qualify for a masters-by-research degree, with reference to the decommissioning needs of the UK.”

Perry Chuinkam, one of the Sir John Fisher Foundation Scholars, said he had been intrigued by the novel structure of the course. He said: “The opportunity to do a research degree in collaboration with industry, as well as being involved in academic outreach is a rarity. I hope this programme will give me the opportunity to develop industry-specific skills and knowledge, especially where it would be difficult to obtain this knowledge through a conventional taught course. I also hope to gain transferable skills through working directly with and for companies.”

A spokesperson for the Foundation said: “The Trustees of the Sir John Fisher Foundation are pleased to fund this innovative project designed by the Department of Engineering at Lancaster University, which is an exciting extension to the 25 years of support the Foundation has given the Department.

“The student-ships provide an excellent opportunity for the graduates in the team to contribute to nuclear decommissioning, an area which will be of increasing importance, both nationally and in Cumbria. They can bridge the link between academia and industry through their ambassadorial role, and encourage and inform pupils at schools in and around the Barrow-in-Furness area about career possibilities and paths in engineering.

“The Trustees have a programme of support for educational causes in the Barrow-in-Furness area and consider this project is an important link from school to university and industry.”

National Grid/Beacon Power sign flywheel technology agreement

Beacon Power Corporation, a company that designs and develops advanced products and services to support more stable, reliable and efficient electricity grid operation, has announced that it has executed an information sharing and performance evaluation agreement with the energy utility company National Grid.

Under the two-year agreement, the companies will share technical, performance and economic data associated with Beacon’s flywheel energy storage systems and their potential operational value to National Grid’s electricity transmission networks. Objectives of the agreement include National Grid’s evaluation of Beacon’s flywheel energy storage systems, not only for fast-response frequency regulation, but also for wind-related ramp mitigation – another potential large-scale grid stability application.

“National Grid is committed to assessing new energy technologies and their capacity to help create a more efficient, environmentally responsible and cost-effective modern grid,” said Stan Blazewicz, vice president, global head of technology for National Grid. “The positive attributes of flywheel energy storage – especially its high efficiency, zero carbon emissions, and extremely fast response – make it a technology of significant interest and one we are keen to investigate.”

Beacon Power and National Grid will focus on the sharing of technical information and performance results for Beacon’s Smart Energy Matrix, the energy storage-based regulation resource that Beacon is now operating under ISO New England’s Alternative Technologies Program. The two companies will also be sharing technical information and analysis of the potential economic and performance benefits of fast-response flywheel regulation and wind-related ramp mitigation, in both the US and the United Kingdom.