Data Logger: The Need for Data Analysis
Steam quality is monitored by specialized equipment designed for that purpose. Please see below on understanding the need to monitor steam quality.
Even if the steam quality is within permissible limits or limits as defined by the user, it could still be non-ideal. The steam could still be slowly damaging your equipment. It is very important that you analyse the steam quality as it moves across your process chain.
Armstrong contracted Sosaley Technologies to develop a data logger that could talk to their steam quality monitoring device and log the data on a continuous basis. The objective was to gather the data from multiple points in the process chain and analyse the quality of steam as it moves from one point to another.
The Armstrong Steam Quality Monitoring Device
Armstrong has an advanced steam quality monitoring device (SQMD) that uses pressure, temperature and release to the atmosphere to measure the steam quality. If there is a problem, it raises an alarm for you to take action immediately. The various factors to measure the quality of steam are user definable. The Amstrong SQMD can be placed in one or more places across the process flow to monitor steam quality.
The Armstrong SQMD has an RS485 serial port. Using Modbus, you can monitor the quality of steam.
The Sosaley Data Logger
The Sosaley Data Logger connects to the RS-485 connection point of any steam quality monitoring device. It is a small device that has been designed to work in a harsh environment. It gathers all the data read by the SQMD and stores it in a local pen drive. At appropriate timings, the pen drive can be removed from the system to transfer the data to a PC.
The Sosaley Data Logger can be installed as a Master or a Slave in terms of communication. In the Master mode, the Sosaley Data Logger will ping the SQMD on a pre-defined time frequency and request for data transfer. As a slave, the Sosaley Data Logger will just listen all the time and log whatever data it receives from the SQMD.
The Sosaley Data Logger gets data in Hex format from the SQMD. Internally, it converts the data to textual format and stores the data as a delimited file.
Data Sampling Frequency
You can set the frequency at which data is to be captured anywhere between 5-1000 seconds.
- Logs RS485 serial Hex data
- Custom sampling rates from 5 seconds to 1000 seconds
- Accepts any USB pen drive from 24MB to 128GB which is FAT16 or FAT32 formatted
- Simple to use and low cost
- LEDs indicating data logging activity
- To keep costs low, the Sosaley Data Logger has a very minimal UI – just 2 LEDs indicating it’s functioning.
- Green LED indicates that the Data Logger is on, and is getting data.
- Red LED indicates some error such as no pen drive, or data is not being received.
- When USB pen drive is inserted, the Data Logger checks for ample space in the drive and automatically sets itself on to receive data.
Since the Data Logger is very minimalistic, we have developed a Java application for its management. Before connecting the Data Logger to the SQMD, you can connect it to a PC or laptop, and define various settings such as sampling rate, data transfer frequency, etc.
To view the data, simply remove the pen drive from the Data Logger and insert it into any PC or laptop. The data can be imported into any application that can read a delimited file.
(Click to Enlarge Image)
Steam Quality And The Need To Monitor
What is Steam Quality?
Steam is used as a heating medium in many industries including the food industry. The quality of steam is measured by the quantum of dryness in the steam.
Quality of steam? What is that, and why is that important, you may wonder. Let us understand this quickly.
The Need to Monitor Steam Quality
The presence of water in steam is generally called wet steam. In many industries, steam is purchased from other vendors, rather than investing in steam generators yourself. Given that situation, it is important to measure the quality of steam just before it is used in your own process. Let us look at some of the repercussions of not managing the quality of steam.
- Wet steam means lesser heat and reduced heat transfer. It becomes a costly process when you are paying for steam and actually getting water.
- In food industries, wet steam can leave moisture in the final products. This could potentially lead to quicker decay of the final product.
- The presence of water in steam results in something called water hammering. When used at high pressure, water could act as a hammer on the pipes, valves, and process equipment. This could lead to damage and the need for expensive maintenance and even replacement.
- The presence of water in steam introduces carbon dioxide which in turn leads to carbonic acid. This erodes pipes and other equipment used to transport or use the steam.
- Wet steam can damage turbines and also cause thermal stress as condensation cools down.
Steam is a dynamic component. It changes its state as it moves from one point to another. As it moves, it could condensate and carry the condensed water along. It is important to measure the steam quality at multiple places across your process chain to understand where you have to take corrective measures.