Gas analyser offers Web interface

17 February 2010

Complex, sophisticated, and highly automated are the best words to describe the latest industrial gas analysers on the market. And yet, it’s getting harder to find the right people to take care of them. Technicians with gas analyser experience, says Daniel Benitez, VP of Rosemount Analytical in Houston, are becoming a rare species.

Alarm management page for X-STREAM XE
Alarm management page for X-STREAM XE

And so his company has done some rethinking about how it packages its main analytical product, the  X-STREAM XE analyser.

The new innovation is, the gas analyser now has its own Web server. This gives it two major advantages that it didn’t have before. First of all, it is easier for less experienced technicians to command and control it.

Secondly, since it connects with Ethernet, any expert technician anywhere on the planet could theoretically use a browser to login to a specific instrument to calibrate parameters and manage alarms.

Gas analysers are the most complex pieces of instrumentation a factory has, and so Mr. Benitez says the ability to remotely manage them simplifies diagnostics, speeds the troubleshooting process, and reduces the number of trips into the field by an estimated 50 per cent.

Onboard processing capabilities

It also has advanced processing capabilities, such as a built-in PLC that helps to automate the sample handling system — many analyser installations use a separate PLC to provide this function. Users can program the PLC through the web browser, or write programs on a separate PC and download them to the analyser.

This is important because many installations now use multiple analysers connected with multiple sample streams and points, so the sample handling becomes more complex. There are also filters in the system for dust and moisture and these need to be monitored and cleaned remotely. Most of this can be handled automatically with a PLC program.

The X-STREAM XE analysers, says Mr. Benitez have an enhanced data logger that offers improved data tracking, including a NAMUR status indicator, improved event logging, and a new calibration log file. It also provides redundancy, because users can log everything onto a USB memory stick.

Many large installations, such as steel mills and oil refineries, have 20 to 30 analysers installed and connected together on a separate Ethernet for maintenance purposes, says Mr. Benitez. The ability to access them with a web browser just makes it easier for the technician, and also provides the possibility of a remote expert technician — perhaps even in a different country — to browse the analysers just the same as if he were sitting at the factory technician’s desk.

The instrument is available in a number of different casing styles, including flameproof, field housing, general purpose, and general purpose compact to meet the requirements of each plant environment.

This follows the general philosophy of Rosemount Analytical, since it first launched the X-STREAM in 2006. The company endeavours to provide instruments in different configurations and different housings but use a common set of parts so as to minimise the need for a large inventory of spares or operator retraining.

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