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SECTION 4

Instrumentation
Instrumentation in a gas processing plant is usually com- The basic purposes of this section are to provide:
prised of a system of pneumatic, hydraulic, and electronic de- • A ready reference of definitions and symbols associated
vices for measurement and control of all the process variables with gas plant instrumentation.
(pressure, flow, temperature, etc.) which are pertinent to the
• Guidelines and design information for good process
operation of the plant. In addition, computers are normally measurement, signal transmission, signal indication,
included in the instrumentation system to handle functions and control response.
such as data gathering and transmission, bulk data storage,
display, alarms, logging, computations, and control. Since the • A reference of terminology which pertains to the instru-
mentation of gas plants and related facilities.
advent of integrated circuit electronics, specifically the micro-
processor, many types of instruments are becoming more in-
telligent or “computerized.”
FIG. 4-1
Nomenclature

Controller Symbol Description Output Expression


P Proportional CO = Kp (PV – SP) + MO
I Integral (Reset) CO = Ki ∫ (PV − SP) dt
D Derivative (Rate) CO = Kd[d(PV – SP)/dt]

Cv = valve flow coefficient N1, N2...Nx = numerical constants for units of measurement
CO = controller output used
d = valve inlet diameter Pc = absolute thermodynamic critical pressure
D = internal diameter of the pipe Pu = ultimate time period
Fd = valve style modifier Pv = vapor pressure of liquid at valve inlet tempera-
FF = liquid critical pressure ratio factor, ture, psia
dimensionless P1 = upstream absolute static pressure, measured
Fk = ratio of specific heats factor, dimensionless two nominal pipe diameters upstream of valve-
FL = liquid pressure recovery factor of a valve without fitting assembly, psia
attached fittings, dimensionless P2 = downstream absolute static pressure, measured
Fp = piping geometry factor, dimensionless six nominal pipe diameters downstream of valve-
FR = Reynolds number factor, dimensionless fitting assembly, psia
Gf = liquid specific gravity at upstream conditions, ∆P = pressure differential, P1 − P2
ratio of density of liquid at flowing temperature PB = proportional band setting
to density of water at 60° F, dimensionless PBu = ultimate proportional band setting
Gg = gas specific gravity (ratio of density of flowing PV = process variable measurement
gas to density of air with both at standard condi- (PV − SP) = error signal
tions, which is equal to the ratio of the molecular q = volumetric flow rate
weight of gas to the molecular weight of air), di- Qg = gas or vapor flow rate, lb/hr or cu ft/hr
mensionless QL = liquid flow rate, gpm
k = ratio of specific heats, dimensionless SP = setpoint
K = gain T = absolute temperature of gas at inlet, °R
Kc = cavitation index, dimensionless Tc = time constant
Kd = derivative gain constant Td = derivative mode time constant
Ki = integral mode gain constant Ti = integral mode time constant
Kn = normalization constant Tt = absolute upstream temperature (in degrees R)
Kp = proportional mode gain constant w = weight or mass flow rate
Ku = ultimate sensitivity X = ratio of pressure drop to absolute inlet pressure
M = molecular weight, atomic mass units (∆P/P1), dimensionless
MO = manual-mode controller output Xc = pressure drop ratio for the subject valve at critical
flow, with Fk = 1.0, dimensionless

4-1
FIG. 4-1 (Cont’d)
Nomenclature
Y = expansion factor, ratio of flow coefficient for a gas Z = compressibility factor, dimensionless
to that for a liquid at the same Reynolds number, γ1 = specific weight, upstream conditions
dimensionless ξ = damping factor
A/D: Analog-to-digital. Data Highway: A high-speed serial or parallel data path
Actuator: A device which accepts the output from a control which connects several units of a distributed control or data
system and moves a final control element (usually a valve) collection system.
to change a process condition. See also "Final Control Ele- DDC: Direct Digital Control. A control technique in which
ment." a digital computer is used as the sole controller and its out-
Adaptive Control: Method of control whereby tuning (re- put is used to set the final control element. This is in contrast
sponse) of the control system is varied with the process con- to supervisory control.
ditions, unlike other control where tuning is manual and Dead Band: The range through which an input may vary
remains constant. without changing the output. In a mechanical instrument
Algorithm: Mathematical representation of the action per- such as a meter movement or strip-chart recorder, the dead
formed by a controller such as proportional, integral, deriva- band is caused by friction and slack or "play" in the readout
tive, or combinations of those modes. mechanism. In a controller, dead band is a zone around the
setpoint in which the measurement may vary without initi-
Alphanumeric: A character set that contains both letters and
ating a compensating controller response.
digits and perhaps other characters such as punctuation
Dead Time: The interval of time lag between the initiation of
marks.
a controller output or stimulus and the start of the resulting
Analog Computer: A computing device comprised of func- observable process response.
tional modules such as amplifiers, multipliers, dividers, etc., Dedicated Control: Using one controller to control one proc-
interconnected in such a way as to facilitate the solution of ess variable.
a set of mathematical expressions or to implement some Derivative Control: A mode of control using an algorithm
control strategy. The input to and the output from an analog which anticipates when a process variable will reach its de-
computer are continuous signals as contrasted with a digi- sired control point by sensing its rate of change. This allows
tal computer which updates an output every scan. a control change to take place before the process variable
Attenuation: An increase or decrease in signal magnitude overshoots the desired control point. See also "Control Ac-
between two points or between two frequencies. tion, Derivative (Rate)."
Baud Rate: The number of bits or discrete pieces of informa- Derivative Time: The time difference by which the output of
tion transmitted per second. a proportional-derivative (PD) controller leads the controller
Bit: Abbreviation for "binary digit." A single character in a input when the input changes linearly with time.
binary number, represented by zero (0) or one (1). Digital Computer: An electronic machine for performing cal-
Byte: The number of adjacent binary digits operated upon as culations on discrete quantities of data. Usually includes
a unit. bulk storage devices such as disks, tape units, etc., in addi-
Cascade Control: Controllers arranged such that the output tion to internal memory. Also includes devices for printing
of one controller manipulates the setpoint input of a second and/or displaying output data.
controller instead of manipulating a process variable di- Distributed Control System: Any control system in which
rectly. the degradation or failure of any single element will affect
only the control loop, or related loops, in which it operates.
Control Action, Derivative (Rate): Control action in which
EPROM (Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory):
the controller output is proportional to the rate of change of
A memory device with information placed into it during
the input.
manufacture that cannot be altered by the computer. It can
Control Action, Integral (Reset): Control action in which only be erased and reprogrammed with special equipment.
the controller output is proportional to the time integral of Error Signal: The signal resulting from the difference be-
the error signal. tween the setpoint reference signal and the process variable
Control Action, Proportional: Control action in which the feedback signal in a controller.
controller output has a linear relationship to the error signal. Feedback Control: A type of control whereby the controller
Controller: A device which receives a measurement of the receives a feedback signal representing the condition of the
process variable, compares that measurement with a set- controlled process variable, compares it to the setpoint, and
point representing the desired control point, and adjusts its adjusts the controller output accordingly.
output based on the selected control algorithm to minimize Feedforward Control: A type of control which takes correc-
the error between the measurement and the setpoint. If an tive action based on disturbances before the process variable
increase in the measured process variable above the setpoint is upset.
causes an increase in the magnitude of the controller output, Final Control Element: That component of a control system
the controller is said to be "direct acting." If a process vari- (such as a valve) which directly changes the manipulated
able increase above the setpoint causes a decrease in the variable.
magnitude of the controller output, the controller is "reverse Gain: The ratio of change in output divided by the change in
acting." input that caused it. Both input and output must be in the
Data Base: A collection of values for process variables, set- same units; hence gain is a dimensionless number.
points, scaling factors, control parameters, limits, constants, Hierarchy: The ranking or precedence of the elements in a
identifiers, etc. for access by the application programs in a supervisory system. For example, a lower ranking element
computer-based control system. such as a local controller affects only one variable while a

4-2
FIG. 4-1 (Cont’d)
Nomenclature
higher ranking element such as a computer might affect PROM (Programmable Read-Only Memory): A device
many variables. with information placed into it during manufacture that can-
Hysteresis: Difference between upscale and downscale out- not be altered by the computer. It can, however, be repro-
put in instrument response when subjected to the same input grammed using special equipment.
approached from opposite directions. Proportional Band: The change in the controller error sig-
Integral (Reset) Control: A control algorithm which at- nal required to produce a full range change in output due to
tempts to eliminate the offset (caused by proportional con- proportional control action. It is the reciprocal of gain ex-
trol) between the measurement and setpoint of the pressed as a percentage: PB(%) = 100/k.
controlled process variable. See also "Control Action, Inte- Proportional Control: A mode of control using an algorithm
gral (Reset)." which causes the output of a controller to change in a linear
Integral (Reset) Time: The proportionality constant in the fashion as the error signal (process variable – setpoint dif-
equation relating the controller output to the error for inte- ference) changes. See also "Control Action, Proportional."
gral control CO = Ki∫(PV – SP) dt. RAM (Random Access Memory): Memory which contains
Where: Ki = Kp/Ti. Kp is the integral gain of the controller. Ti no pre-programmed information but is loaded and/or altered
is the time required to produce a change in controller output by the computer system. It is of a "volatile" nature in that all
equal to the change in error input. the contents are lost when electrical power is removed. RAM
Integral Windup/Windown: Also called "controller memories are usually provided with battery backup power
windup/windown" or "reset windup." Saturation of the con- systems, making it "non volatile."
troller output at its maximum positive or negative value due Ramp: An increase or decrease of a variable at a constant rate
to an error signal existing for an excessive period of time. of change with respect to time.
Can be caused by the controller being left on "automatic" Reset Rate: The inverse of integral time; usually expressed
when the measurement transmitter is out of service. as "repeats per minute."
Intrinsically Safe: Refers to equipment or wiring which is ROM (Read-Only Memory): Memory with information
incapable of releasing sufficient electrical or thermal energy placed into it during manufacture that cannot be altered.
under either abnormal or normal conditions to cause ignition Serial Communications: Sending bits of information in suc-
of a specific hazardous atmospheric mixture in its most eas- cession along a single circuit (pair of wires).
ily ignited concentration. Setpoint: The desired value at which a process variable is to
I/P Transducer: (Current-to-pneumatic). A device which con- be controlled.
verts an electrical current signal to a proportional pneumatic Software: A set of programs and associated data tables which
signal for the purpose of interfacing electronic and pneu- causes the hardware components of a computer system to
matic parts of a control system. A typical I/P transducer perform the desired tasks.
might convert a 4-20 mA signal from an electronic controller Split-Ranging: Action in which two or more final control ele-
to a 3-15 psig signal to actuate a pneumatic valve. ments are actuated by a single controller output. For exam-
I/O Devices: Input/output devices used to enter data into and ple, in a heating circuit, 0-50% of the controller output
receive data from a computer or control system. Examples operates a primary heat source and the 50-100% portion of
are analog and digital input and output devices for handling the controller output operates a secondary heat source.
process measurements and conditions as well as "business" Steady-State: The condition when all process properties are
type devices such as terminals, printers, plotters, etc. constant with time, transient responses having died out.
Noise: In process instrumentation, an unwanted component Supervisory Control: A method of computer control
of a signal or variable. Noise may be expressed in units of the whereby a computer or master station provides setpoints to
output or in percent of output span. individual controllers which independently perform the ac-
Offset: The steady-state deviation of the controlled variable tual control algorithms.
from the set-point, usually caused by a disturbance or a load System Control Diagram: A diagram used to define the proc-
change in a system employing a proportional-only controller ess functionality to achieve the overall operating and control
such as a level controller. Offset will eventually be reduced philosophy.
to zero by the integral action in a PI or PID controller. Telemetry: A technique which permits a measured quantity
P Controller: A controller which produces proportional con- to be transmitted and interpreted at a distance from the
trol action only. measuring location. Form, or types of telemetry include ana-
Parallel Data: Data transmission where all data bits of a data log, digital, frequency, and pulse.
word are processed at once. Transmitter: A device that converts a process measurement
PD Controller: A controller which produces proportional (pressure, flow, level, temperature, etc.) into an electrical or
plus derivative (rate) control action. pneumatic signal suitable for use by an indicating or control
PI Controller: A controller which produces proportional plus system.
integral (reset) control action. Word, Computer: A group of bits treated as a unit and capa-
PID Controller: A controller which produces proportional ble of being stored in one computer location. Some common
plus integral (reset) plus derivative (rate) control action. word lengths are 8 bits, 16 bits, and 32 bits.

4-3
GENERAL INSTRUMENTATION fold or “header.” Instrument air filter-regulators should
CONSIDERATIONS be provided at each air-consuming device to reduce the
line pressure to the supply pressure recommended by the
instrument manufacturer. This also provides one more
Type Selection stage of protection from contaminants. Instrument Soci-
Often the type selection of an instrument is pre-determined ety of America Standards ISA-S7.3 and ISA-S7.4 are ref-
by whatever is available, or what will be compatible with the erences for additional information.
rest of a system. There are cases, however, where the choice to 4. Non-Air Systems: Natural gas has been used instead of
install pneumatic or electronic instrumentation must be made instrument air in some remote installations where com-
by comparing the features of each type. Fig. 4-3 lists some of pressed air was not available. This practice should be
the attributes of each type to aid in this comparison. avoided if at all possible due to safety and pollution prob-
Identification lems and the additional filtering and clean-up of the gas
which must be done to protect the instruments. The user
An instrument may perform a single function such as a tem- must be cognizant of all applicable regulations when con-
perature indicator (TI), or a combination of functions such as sidering the use of any combustible gas in instrumenta-
a flow recording controller (FRC). Fig. 4-2 covers the common tion service. Some small-scale systems have used bottled
symbols on process and mechanical flow sheets, also called nitrogen for instrument gas. This is quite acceptable, but
Piping and Instrument Diagrams (P&IDs). Table 1 in Fig. 4-2 non-bleed type instruments should be used to keep the
shows the accepted Instrument Society of America (ISA) letter consumption to a minimum.
designations and their meanings when used in instrument
identifications. Special identification requirements may be en- 5. Hydraulic Powered Devices: Hydraulic actuators are
countered in certain applications, e.g., offshore requirements sometimes used on valves or rams where very high
of API-RP 14-C. Instrument Society of America publication thrusts (up to 50,000 pounds force) are required for op-
ISA-S5.1, “Instrumentation Symbols and Identification,” eration. Due to the problems of transmitting very high
should be referred to for more detailed information. pressure signals, a local pump powered by an electric mo-
tor is often used to form what is commonly known as an
“electro-hydraulic actuator.”
PNEUMATIC POWER SUPPLIES
The pneumatic power supply is more commonly known as ELECTRONIC POWER SUPPLIES
the instrument air system. The main considerations of an in-
strument air system are: Installation and interconnection wiring requirements are
1. Adequate Capacity: The minimum capacity of the sys- regulated by the National Electrical Code (NEC) Article 500
tem should be the sum of the individual requirements (Hazardous Locations) and Article 725 (Remote Control & Sig-
of each air-consuming instrument in the system, plus nal Circuits). Special attention should be given to Article 725.
a supplemental volume for purges, leaks, additions, The requirements pertaining to physical protection of wiring,
etc. If accurate consumption figures are not available, isolation and spacing of conductors depending upon class, and
an estimated consumption volume of 0.5 cubic foot per minimum wire sizes are often overlooked in an instrumenta-
minute for each air-consuming device is usually ade- tion installation.
quate. The air storage tank should have sufficient ca-
pacity to maintain this rate for about five minutes or Power Outages and Interruptions
such time as is considered adequate to perform an It is usually the responsibility of the consumer, not the elec-
emergency shut-down of the plant or to switch over to tric utility company, to provide protection for connected elec-
a backup air system. Also the air storage tank capacity tronic equipment against upsets such as voltage spikes caused
should be large enough to prevent excessive cycling of by lightning, high or low voltage surges, etc. The frequency of
the compressor. power outages and average time for service to be restored
2. Filtering and Regulation: Instrument air systems are should be determined to assist in the design of electronic
normally designed for pressures up to 125 psig and power supply protection and battery backup systems. The
should be protected by relief valves. Instrument air power company should be able to provide data about their re-
should be free from all contamination such as oil, closure gear (equipment which attempts to restore service af-
water, and any hazardous or corrosive gases. Non-lu- ter a current surge has tripped the substation or sectionalizing
bricated compressors should be used if possible. Where breakers). Also, a record of power outages in the local substa-
lubricated compressors are used, an oil removal sepa- tion area and storm frequency charts will be very useful. A
rator is required. The presence of oil may cause instru- typical reclosure operation description is shown in Fig. 4-4.
ment contamination and possibly create a combustible Example 4-1 — If a plant can tolerate loss of power to its elec-
mixture. After being compressed, instrument air must tronic equipment for six seconds, and an average of 50 power
be cooled to remove the major portion of the contained outages per year is expected, then, according to Fig. 4-4, 84%
water. A final drying system must be used to reduce of those outages will be restored on the first reclosure attempt,
the water dewpoint to at least 10°F below the ambient and the remaining 16% or approximately eight power outages
temperature at line pressure. An afterfilter may be re- per year can be expected to disrupt plant operations. Note:
quired to remove particulate carryover from the dehy- Storm frequency charts are often available from manufactur-
drators. ers of surge arresting devices. These charts may be used in
3. Proper Distribution: The air distribution system should case power outage records are not available from the power
be free of any “pockets” where liquid could accumulate. company. Climatic data for a particular area may be obtained
If this is not possible, drain valves should be installed. from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
All supply lines should connect to the top of the air mani- (NOAA) in Asheville, North Carolina.

4-4
FIG. 4-2
Instrumentation Symbols

4-5
FIG. 4-2 (Cont’d)
Instrumentation Symbols

4-6