Powerful combo: Magnetostrictive level sensors and wireless transmitters

Keeping close tabs on petroleum inventory minimizes potential product losses.

09/18/2008


Truman Arnold Companies (TAC) wanted to keep a close eye on its daily shipments involving more than 1 million gallons of petroleum at its Caddo Mills, TX, terminal. The approach would require very precise tank level measurements communicating via wireless over the tank farm.

The ultimate solution used a combination of MTS Systems Corp . MG Level Plus liquid-level transmitters combined with Siemens Energy & Automation's wireless control capabilities. "TAC needed a solution that would accurately measure the petroleum, and the MG transmitter provides required accuracy, field replacement, and compatibility with the Siemens wireless control system," says Lee Aiken, product marketing manager, MTS Sensors.

The TAC petroleum terminal in Caddo Mills, connects the company to the Explorer pipeline, which transports petroleum from the Gulf of Mexico to Indiana. For every 10-day cycle, the terminal receives an average of 200,000 barrels of petroleum that is stored in nine closed-roof storage tanks ranging from 20,000 to 110,000 barrels, with a total storage capacity of 650,000 barrels.

The challenge when moving such a large amount of petroleum products is maintaining accurate control of the process. TAC cannot afford to run out of any of the petroleum products they carry or have inaccuracies during custody transfer. Inaccuracy can result in TAC either paying for product that was not received or by not charging for product that was delivered. For every 0.5% in custody transfer error that TAC endures, the company loses 1,000 barrels of product per cycle at the Caddo Mills terminal. Given the number of terminals that TAC operates, such small inaccuracies can reach into the tens of millions of dollars over a year’s time.

MTS Sensors worked with Siemens to provide TAC with the ability to go wireless. Siemens transceivers and I/O modules work together to create a wireless network for any application.

Eliminating the need to install signal cables from the storage tank into a control room, TAC saved on costs for items such as conduit, wire, installation, and installation time. And because TAC engineers can now monitor all of the tanks without having to leave the central office, they can spend more time focusing on other more productive aspects of their jobs.

TAC engineers found the installation process easy since the MG transmitter and its stainless steel flexible hose allows a single person to carry the transmitter to the top of the tank and install it. The MG transmitter is suitable for vessels from .51 to 18.3 meter height (20 to 720 in.), and is ideal for process control, bulk storage, precision inventory control and product level, interface level, and temperature monitoring.

Modular construction allows the transmitter to be serviced or replaced without having to shut down the tank or process. MTS says the MG series provides 3-in-1 measurement of the product level, interface level, and temperature. Every transmitter is built custom to the application and can operate on either 12 or 24 Vdc via its 4-wire Modbus connection.

—Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor, PWelander@cfemedia.com ,
Control Engineering Process Instrumentation & Sensors Monthly
Register here and scroll down to select your choice of free eNewsletters .





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.