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B 61190

Plants and
Safety and
Environment May 2003
Market and Volume 6
Vogel Life Science
Management Media


New technology detects

impulse line plugging 46
Apparatus Engineering

Vacuum drying oven with insulator 24


Dust removal technology 30


Powerful sensitive actuators 64


An eye on plugged lines

New technology detects impulse line plugging
Impulse line plugging of flow and
level measurement instruments has
long been an issue in many process
applications, particularly where
dense materials such as crude oil are
being processed. Impulse line plug-
ging can also be a problem in cold
climates due to freezing. Identifying
instruments that are suffering re-
stricted or plugged impulse lines is
very important since plugging can
cause major process upsets or sig-
nificant safety problems in various
applications. The following article ex-
plains how these problems can be
Plugged or frozen sensing lines can be EVREN ERYUREK, PH.D.
difficult to detect.

P rocess engineers like to have as much

data as possible about the operation
of their plant so that they can control
it accurately and profitably, however, if a
process instrument has impulse lines that
sis is performed in different places
depending on the transmitter ca-
pability. In a Rosemount Founda-
tion fieldbus transmitter, the mea-
surement data passes from the
become plugged or frozen the measured sensors via patented ASIC technolo-
data can no longer be relied upon for ac- gies designed for use with Foundation
curate control. Although an experienced fieldbus protocol. The transmitter
engineer will know about this problem the processes the information to detect the
detection of plugged lines can be very dif- plugged impulse lines. Measurement data
ficult. As the lines plug, or freeze, pressure may also be carried in the transmitter’s
is trapped, this pressure is usually within An architectural view of this trans- digital data via the Hart protocol. In this
the normal operating range of the process mitter’s ADB block with an ad- case plugged line detection is implement-
so the problem can remain undetected un- vanced diagnostics block ed in an AMS predictive maintenance
til a process upset occurs, compromising snap-on software application that works
quality or safety. Now a technology devel- with intelligent field devices. Transmitter
oped by Emerson Process Management de- with an AMS snap-on software application sensor design has an effect on plugged im-
tects impulse line plugging in steady state Detection of plugged impulse lines is pulse line detection.
processes where intelligent transmitters based on a patented advanced pattern The faster the response time, the more
are employed. recognition technology built into individ- information about the process noise can
ual transmitters and AMS predictive be captured. This leads to faster and more
Types of impulse line maintenance software to monitor the mea- reliable plugging detection. This becomes
plugging detection surement noise conditions at an instru- important especially for differential pres-
How this technology is implemented de- ment. The pattern recognition technology sure (DP) applications to separate a single-
pends on the type of instrumentation: can detect both lines plugged, and a single leg plugged condition from both legs
j Rosemount transmitters with Founda- line plugged. In order to implement such a plugged. In general, the measurement sig-
tion fieldbus technology detect plugged technology in the transmitter, increased nal contains fluctuations superimposed
impulse legs with embedded diagnostics intelligence and signal processing capa- on the average value of the pressure or dif-
j Rosemount transmitters with Hart bilities are needed in the smart transmit- ferential pressure of the process, called
technology detect plugged impulse legs ter. Plugged impulse line detection statis- process noise or signature. These fluctua-
The author is Director of Technology Emerson Process Man-
tically analyzes the measurement noise to tions are induced by the flow and are a
agement detect line plugging. The statistical analy- function of the geometric and physical

Once a plugging condition

is detected, the AMS
screen blinks and a red
background color is set to
attract attention. The infor-
mation can also be extracted
and sent to the plant’s Com-
puterized Maintenance Man-
agement System to generate a
work order calling for mainte-
nance on the affected impulse

properties of the system. The time domain for the transmitter as used in that process. can take proper ac-
signatures (i.e. variance and correlation) Various parameters that represent the be- tion. In order to inform main-
of these fluctuations do not change as long havior of the process are established and tenance and operations personnel of
as the overall system behavior stays the retained in memory to be used during the plugged impulse lines on currently in-
same. In addition, these signatures are not monitoring phase. The learning phase al- stalled Hart based pressure transmitters,
affected significantly by small changes in so has a verification segment, so that the the AMS software utilizes a plugged lines
the average value of the flow variables. The repeatability of the process behavior can diagnostics Snap-on application.
underlying pattern recognition technolo- be verified before monitoring starts.
gy developed to solve this problem uses During the second, or ‘monitoring Detecting with Hart
these signatures to identify and isolate im- phase’, the algorithm checks the process pressure transmitters
pulse line plugging. periodically, looking for changes in the This application is based on technology
When the impulse lines between the process noise signature. Once one of the similar to the ASIC fieldbus application
process and the sensor start to clog previously identified conditions is detect- but the Hart application is implemented at
through fouling or build-up on the inner ed in the process, the process verifies that a higher level and certain signal dynamics
surfaces of the tubing, or when loose par- condition before an alert condition is set. are lost. As a result, the AMS Snap-on ap-
ticles from the main flow are trapped in the When a plugged line is verified, the pres- plication cannot detect single line plug-
lines, the time and frequency domain sig- sure transmitter sets its alert bit to inform ging for DP applications. AMS does detect
natures change. Clogging creates or in- the operations and/or maintenance per- the presence of Hart pressure transmit-
creases the effect of damping on the pres- sonnel. The Figure on page 46 shows the ters connected to the distributed control
sure noise of the main flow signal. As clog- status screen of AMS predictive mainte- system, and the configuration application
ging increases, the noise levels change, nance software working with the Rose- walks the user through configuration
and this change can be used to signal a mount 3051 fieldbus pressure transmit- steps. Once configuration is complete, a
growing problem with a plugged line. ter. Configuration of the advanced diag- monitoring application starts to function.
nostic block gener- The AMS software
Fieldbus pressure ally takes only a recognizes the con-
transmitter diagnostics minute or two. En- figured transmitters
This plugged-line technology is imple- tering configura- and automatically
mented in a fieldbus pressure transmitter tion parameters in a • List with all the current devices initiates the learning
using an Advanced Diagnostics Block few fields does it. accessible with the new AMS 6.0 and monitoring
(ADB), which is patterned after the trans- Since plugged im- and DeltaV 6.3 software releases phases, as explained
ducer block as defined by the Fieldbus pulse lines can af- previously. Once a
Foundation. The first phase of the pattern fect plant perfor- Contact: plugging condition is
recognition technology is the learning mance or safety, detected, the AMS
phase. In this phase, the technology pro- both the control screen blinks and a
vides a way to recognize plugged line pat- strategy and the op- Hall 8.0, Stand P52 red background col-
terns so that plant personnel do not need erator must be in- or is set to attract at-
an advanced understanding of pattern formed if impulse lines plug. This is ac- tention. This condition is also written into
recognition and signal processing tech- complished with Foundation fieldbus by the Audit Trail application, so a record of
niques, or the theory of system dynamics. setting the process variable status. the event is captured. The information can
To accomplish this objective, fieldbus also be extracted and sent to the plant’s
pressure transmitters need a high level of Process variable change Computerized Maintenance Management
built-in intelligence in the form of an algo- control action System (CMMS) to generate a work order
rithm that first observes its environment, Normally a process variable carries a calling for maintenance on the affected im-
such as process noise levels and tempera- status of “good”. If the diagnostics show pulse lines.
ture conditions. These conditions can vary plugged impulse leg(s), the process vari- In conclusion one can say that detection
significantly dependent on application. able status can be changed to a user con- and alarming of plugged impulse legs can
For example noise and temperature envi- figurable status of “uncertain” or “bad”. reduce process upsets, improve quality,
ronment varies from an FCC unit in a re- This status can be read and used by a con- and improve plant safety. It can also im-
finery to a simple drum level measure- trol strategy to change control action. It prove plant uptime by reducing plant trips.
ment. At the end of the learning phase, the can also be displayed to the operator so the All of these factors contribute to better
algorithm establishes a basic signature operator is aware of plant conditions and plant operations. j

*Reprinted with permission from PROCESS WorldWide*