How Level Switches with Built–In Diagnostics Reduce Maintenance Costs
How to Increase Safety and Security
High-level overflow protection on reactors, tanks, storage vessels and overhead condensers involves shutting down the supply by either switching off a pump or closing a valve. Here, level measurement helps to prevent spills and the consequent danger to safety and the environment. Shutdowns when levels are low protect pumps in buffer tanks, reactors, column bottoms and storage tanks. In this type of application it is important to monitor levels to prevent pumps from running dry. This protects pump bearings and prevents mechanical damage. Less maintenance also means a reduction in the amount of time plant personnel are exposed to the process.
Cost Savings Drive the Automation Trend
Most plants have been designed with a minimum of instrumentation due to the high cost of wiring. Instead, many plants have relied on operators walking the plant floor with a clipboard to collect level data. However, an increased focus on quality, throughput, availability and reliability, shorter shutdown periods, energy efficiency, and new environmental regulations is driving change in the way that plants are maintained and operated. As a result, more level monitoring now has to be automated.
Vibrating Fork Switches with a Broader Application Range
This need has driven the manufacturers of vibrating-fork switches to expand the range of status and diagnostics information available from their devices.
Many level switches now provide basic diagnostics which allow the status of the device to be accessed locally. For example, a visible “heartbeat” LED flashing at different rates can be used to indicate various status conditions. These include output status, calibration, internal electronics failure and load fault.
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