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PPG praises ‘plug and play’ wireless solution

19 March 2008

PPG Industries has backed up its primary radar level measurement with eight wireless Rosemount transmitters. The instruments were purchased as part of a wider installation, of Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless solution, at the company’s Chemical Division facility in Louisiana, USA.

Smart Wireless at work in PPG’s chemical facility
Smart Wireless at work in PPG’s chemical facility

Before the installation, Tim Gerami, senior design engineer at PPG, said he was doubtful of Emerson’s ‘plug and play’ claims.

However, Gerami said the network came to life five minutes after installation and now he is ‘a believer’.

The plant’s Smart Wireless network uses ten wireless Rosemount transmitters, for pipeline and steam header temperature measurement, which enable operators to watch for cold spots and adjust steam throughput. PPG also plans to use the Smart Wireless solutions for temperature profiling of the entire plant, enabling load sharing and balancing to maintain superheated steam plant-wide.

The Rosemount transmitters for tank level measurement are part of the self-organising mesh and are designed to ensure level control.

PPG said the wireless transmitters allow it to install instrumentation, that would normally be cost-prohibitive, in the plant that covers approximately 765 acres and is dense with pipes, buildings and equipment. PPG estimates that installation costs for wired instruments are close to $60 (approximately £30) per metre, including wiring and conduit.

Emerson’s Smart Wireless solution, launched throughout the world in 2007 and 2008, is an extension of the PlantWeb digital plant architecture. It combines smart monitoring devices with wireless transmitters in a self-organising mesh network that automatically adapts as device points are added or removed, or obstructions encountered. The network, which uses Time Synchronised Mesh Protocol (TSMP) technology, is claimed to be highly reliable.

PPG is using wireless to make operational improvements by capturing and using new data and says it is very impressed so far.

Process control specialist at PPG, Reese Borel, said he had not had to conduct any maintenance on the network, concluding: ‘It just runs’.

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