Looking back; looking ahead

The December 2017 issue of AppliedAutomation highlights natural gas utility maintenance using data analysis, PID, and radar sensors for liquid level measurement.
By Jack Smith December 3, 2017

During 2017, including this issue, AppliedAutomation ran 18 articles; 10 of them were case studies—almost 56%. That’s not bad for our first year of running primarily case studies and application stories because they’re harder to come by. The April 2017 issue stood out because it had five articles, all of them either case studies or technical articles that included application stories. Moving forward, I encourage you to contribute more studies.

The case study in this issue focuses on a natural gas utility in the U.S. Midwest that was facing the challenge of dealing with aging infrastructure. The original system of pole-mounted mechanical paper chart recorders that monitored gas inlet and outlet pressures was antiquated and labor-intensive. In addition, the data analysis lag time did not allow adequate responses to emergency situations. The solution to the problem was to replace many of the original monitoring stations with a pole-mounted, solar-powered remote terminal unit, supported by a modem, charge controller, battery, and a pressure transmitter.

The cover story in this issue of AppliedAutomation revisits a topic that never gets old: proportional, integral, derivative (PID) control. However, this article examines different types of PID algorithms, their applicability, and the potential for confusion among them.

The third article in this issue looks at using 80 GHz radar sensors for liquid level measurement. According to the authors, "Using 80 GHz transmission frequency liquid-level measurement can improve signal focusing to allow accurate, reliable measurement in tanks with agitators, heating coils, and other internal obstructions. A narrower emitted beam makes radar a realistic option for use on ball valves, and increased transmission frequency correlates to a smaller antenna making it ideal for retrofitting and use on smaller tanks."

This article appears in the Applied Automation supplement for Control Engineering and Plant Engineering.

– See other articles from the supplement below.