Emerson, the American-dominated automation group, has enlarged its European presence by opening a new service center for flow measurement in Ede, Netherlands. Tailored to the group’s European customers, the newly built site includes the latest calibration equipment for the various flow meters alongside sales and support units and training facilities.
Most of representatives of the international press summoned to the event would have been happy to cut straight to the new calibration facility to take a good look for themselves. However, the launch of the new premises required all visitors to follow the route taken by the flow of goods through Emerson’s new distribution center. In fact, the precise route that the products take. Located between Arnheim and Utrecht, the new center supplies vast areas of the world — Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) — with a variety of flow meters from the USA, Mexico and Brazil and therefore needs to accommodate the very latest in commodity flow methods.
So once the trade visitors had obtained a virtual goods received stamp and appropriate process connection for themselves, it was straight to the calibration unit which assumes a fairly modest presence on the 9000 m² site. For this is — as it were — where the heart of the customer center beats. Subdivided into three booths (see text box), the plant calibrates mass flow meters of 0.0136 up to 18,500 kg/min to an accuracy of within 0.03%. The certification for the new measuring booths is currently being processed by the renowned NMi Institute in the Netherlands. This requires the calibration of weighing technology, pressure and temperature transmitters to be carried out to meet the standards of ISO 17025. The NMi, which is responsible for the entire body of Dutch industrial standards, has already issued the first certificates and presented them to Emerson, who are in the process of acquiring further certification from other institutions, including German laboratories. The investment in the calibration booths totals around € 1.3 million.
“All in all,” says Andy Dudiak, EMEA Vice President for Flow Measurement, “our European customers picked up on the new service options very soon after the announcement. Our investment in this plant shows that we want to give our customers even greater reliability in terms of support and service.” The services he refers to cover the entire bandwidth of Emerson flow meter products, such as the Coriolis, magnetic, inductive, vortex and other flow meters. There’s even a specially-equipped clean room for the packaging and testing of Brooks instruments used in sterile conditions.
In the context of these developments, it’s worth a look behind the scenes at the Mobrey acquisition and the background to it. The Mobrey products supplement Emerson’s range with flow, density and viscosity meters, among others. Supplementing the range with what at first sight are competitive products — the mass flow meters can also measure density — is considered at Emerson to be logical. This takeover is said to be of great advantage, as devices of significantly greater measuring accuracy are now part of the range. It’s a requirement that often comes from the process industry but which couldn’t always be met with mass flow meters — these are after all less accurate by a factor of 10.
As the trip continues through the new service center and the attached office units, one thing becomes clear from the large placards and photos of flow units: another rare achievement on the part of the Emerson staff based at the Ede site is in designing pre-fabricated measuring booths and customizing these for individual plant conditions. In doing so, the 15-strong team regard themselves as engineering service support staff, able to respond flexibly to specific user expectations — even with all that’s involved in the calibration of third-party products in the various test booths.
New magnetic inductive flow meter (MIF)
At the same time, Neil Jackson, EMEA Business Director, introduces a new version of the Rosemount E series of magnetic inductive flow meters. These devices are aimed at helping users to improve their installation and maintenance operations. “With a greater reference accuracy of ±0.25% ±1 mm/s standard, the E series is the most accurate flow meter available today. What’s more: the operational performance of E series units is unparalleled in terms of accuracy and reliability,” pledges Jackson. That users as a rule can well do without having to remove a meter for regular calibration purposes is obvious, and so the specialists at Emerson have responded to this frequent customer request with the patented 8714i Calibration Verification Diagnostics. This allows for inspection and verification of the calibration, without process shutdowns or the need for additional aids. Jackson is therefore confident of the success of this particular product: “This system reduces the time and cost associated with calibration verification, whilst at the same time providing the necessary documentation required for regulated procedures.”
The real innovation however is represented by the extended diagnosis functions of the meters. It’s expected that operational unit performance will be optimized as well as signal stability — even in applications with very high noise levels. In detail, it functions as follows: the diagnosis for noise signals or process-related signal noises which are too high (caused by impurities in the liquid flow, electro-magnetic charge and similar) leads in the event of a malfunction to an alert being issued to the staff responsible. In such cases, the drive frequency can be adjusted in such a way that the output signal can be used without additional damping.
“With this patented diagnosis functionality in process noise recognition and the adjustable coil frequency, users are able to optimize their processes and product quality, thereby reducing scrap,” outlines Jackson as the advantages. One further advantage is that the E series magnetic inductive flow meters also have a diagnostic for wiring and ground fault detection which shortens the time and reduces the costs traditionally associated with installing magnetic inductive flow meters. By constantly monitoring the noise voltages across the entire frequency spectrum, this type of diagnosis detects wiring and grounding faults and alerts the operator immediately.
Conclusion: With the opportunities for flow measurement provided by the new European Service Center in Ede and the product innovations on show, Emerson certainly continues to ratchet up the quality stakes.
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