ITM Presents Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) Technology @ BLRBAC Spring 2019 Meeting

We would like to thank the Black Liquor Recovery Boiler Advisory Committee (BLRBAC) for allowing us to present our patented Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) technology at the Spring 2019 meeting in Atlanta, GA.  SFD is ITM’s patented technology for measuring fouling/slagging along the path of an active sootblower in recovery and utility boilers.

During this presentation, Tim Carlier described the original SFD concept, the system’s Key Performance Indicator (KPI) outputs for closed or open loop control, and the system’s potential sootblower steam savings of 1-4% MCR.  He also highlighted the safety and maintenance benefits that the system provides.

For more information about the SFD technology or to schedule an online presentation or site visit to audit your specific application, contact Tim Carlier or Ryan Welker.

Contact Info:

Tim Carlier, President, tim.carlier@itestsystem.com, 513.608.4811

Ryan Welker, Business Development Manager, ryan.welker@itestsystem.com,  513.405.0181

Developing Custom Applications for iTestSystem

As the global market moves steadily in the direction of increased productivity through integration of software into the world of testing services, Integrated Test & Measurement finds itself at the forefront of the field.  Our other LabVIEW developers and I have been hard at work creating custom applications to help customers meet their testing needs with more efficiency and cost-effectiveness than ever before.

Since many of my co-workers come from both test engineering and software development backgrounds, it’s easier for us to scope, build, and deploy these custom testing applications while working hand-in-hand with on-site operators and field engineers, or even sending our own engineers on-site to test the applications.  Past projects I’ve gotten to work on have ranged from a small data collection and viewing application that allows a customer to perform materials testing and quickly generate reports; to larger systems like a power quality application which utilizes our iTestSystem platform and allows the customer to collect and perform real time power-quality analysis on large genset engines, view and quickly confirm results, and create multiple types of reports for both internal and external customers.

Thanks to ITM’s iTestSystem platform, we have been able to leverage our pre-existing data acquisition, data viewing, and application distribution tools to create and distribute these applications both faster and at lower price points than many of our customers expected.  Having this base platform allows me to create and test solutions quickly and to make revisions with ease.  As a LabVIEW developer on Team ITM, I have enjoyed the unique challenges presented in these applications and look forward to seeing how ITM continues to lead the field in this market.

Contact Information: For more information about our LabVIEW application development service contact:

Mark Yeager – Integrated Test & Measurement (ITM), LLC.  Email: mark.yeager@itestsystem.com or Phone: 1.844.TestSys

ITM adds NI-9202 compatibility to iTestSystem

The NI-9202 Voltage Input Module can now be used with the latest version of iTestSystem (16.1). The NI-9202 has excellent flexibility to meet the needs of your applications.  

The module has 16 simultaneous sampled, +-10 V, 24-bit differential input channels for creating large, distributed systems in a rugged form factor. The NI-9202 has a maximum sample rate of 10kS/s and features configurable filters to eliminate noise in your system while maintaining low-latency in control systems. 

Click Here for more information about iTestSystem.

For advice about using the NI-9202 versus other voltage modules in iTestSystem monitoring applications or with custom cRIO RT and FPGA control applications contact Mark Yeager or Chase Petzinger. 

iTestSystem Update: Joint Time Frequency Analysis Tool

Over the past few weeks we have been updating our Joint Time Frequency Analysis (JTFA) tool for iTestSystem. In general, the JTFA tool is used to show how the frequency content of a signal changes over time. This tool is particularly useful for analyzing and visualizing vibration and strain data on rotating machinery.

After using the JTFA tool on an internal data analysis project with a colleague, we realized that with a few additions and changes, the tool’s capabilities and processing efficiency could be greatly improved. To achieve this, we added a configurable overall frequency band algorithm for trending frequency bands related to specific machine fault or vibration modes. We also added templates for quickly developing and switching between frequency band signatures and settings. Finally, we added the capability to export the results to a data file for later viewing in TestView Plus or Excel.

These changes are included in the latest version of the JTFA tool. For a free trial of iTestSystem and the JTFA tool, contact chase.petzinger@itestsystem.com.

Building a Modern User Interface in LabVIEW

When we develop LabVIEW™ applications for our customers, a common request is for a simple, resizable and intuitive user interface (UI) for data visualization.  In these cases, we use a tree control and a subpanel.  This type of UI functions like a tab control that automatically resizes.  The main benefit of using a subpanel is to make your code more modular.

Figure 1: Modern User Interface with a Tree and Sub Panel.

To illustrate the modularity that this type of UI creates, I made an example LabVIEW™ project.  The main VI shown above uses a tree control to switch between a VI containing a graph and a VI containing a table.  I used our multi-queue event architecture for VI information communication messaging.  The image below shows the main VI’s significant functions.

Figure 2: Main VI’s Block Diagram – Significant Functions

The main VI’s functions are listed below.

Functions

  1. Initialize queues and events and then generate initialize event.
  2. Initialize tree and add tree items.
  3. When a user selects an item in the tree, generate data and then send it to the subpanel VI.
  4. Receive SubPanel Ready event from a subpanel VI and then insert the VI into the subpanel.
  5. Destroy queues and unregister for events.

In this example the subpanel VIs are very simple.  They populate an indicator (table or graph) and then generate a SubPanel Ready Event.  The two (2) subpanel VIs and block diagrams are shown below.

Figure 3: SubPanel VIs: Graph.vi and Table.vi

Contact Information: For more information on this example or our LabVIEW development service contact:

Mark Yeager – Integrated Test & Measurement (ITM), LLC.  Email: mark.yeager@itestsystem.com or Phone: 1.844.TestSys

ITM Presents Boiler Monitoring Technologies at BLRBAC Spring 2019 Meeting

Integrated Test & Measurement (ITM) is presenting its patented Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) technology at the Spring 2019 Black Liquor Recovery Boiler Advisory Committee (BLRBAC) meeting in Atlanta, GA on Wednesday, April 10, 2019.

ITM’s SFD system effectively offers the following benefits to boiler operations:

  • Optimizes sootblowing to reduce boiler fouling
  • Reduces sootblower steam consumption
  • Detects sootblower mechanical faults
  • Identifies dangerous conditions around packing leaks

Find out more about ITM’s Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) system and other Boiler Monitoring Solutions at http://itestsystem.com/industrial-monitoring/

Conference details can be found at http://blrbac.org/meeting-registration

Have questions? Contact Tim Carlier @ Tim.Carlier@iTestSystem.com

DAQ Equipment Rental Service

Our engineers and technicians use National Instruments (NI) CompactDAQ (cDAQ) hardware and our iTestSystem software to collect structural, vibration, and temperature data for lab and field tests.  Many of these tests are unique and require different variations of data acquisition hardware and sensors types.  As you can imagine, we have accumulated quite an inventory of cDAQ test equipment and sensors from these tests.  This inventory includes both cDAQ chassis and C-Series voltage, strain, vibration, and temperature modules. 

For our iTestSystem users, we offer a data acquisition equipment rental service for available cDAQ hardware from our inventory.  If you need additional equipment to complete a design validation test or to troubleshoot a structural problem, check with us to see what equipment is available. 

Click Here for more information about Equipment Rental. 

For more information about eligibility, equipment availability or to request a quote contact Josh.Fishback@iTestSystem.com. 

Silo Load Monitoring

Plant operators need to continuously measure bulk material levels/weight to make sure their processes are running safely, efficiently and without any bottlenecks. Measuring these levels allows operators to automate vessel filling/emptying logistics or verify that a process is using the right amount of material.

How do you measure bulk material levels/weights in silos and hoppers?

There are a variety of bulk material level/weight monitoring sensors in the market. These sensors include distance measuring devices like laser, ultrasonic, and radar; or weight measuring devices like load cells and strain gauges. Our engineers prefer to implement strain gauge based solutions because they are very accurate and do not require structural modification.

For these solutions, our engineers identify the silo/hopper load paths and our technicians install strain gauges at these locations. By calibrating the strain gauge sensors to load and summing the load data for all load paths, we can accurately measure the total weight of the bulk material.

A typical silo monitoring system consists of weatherproofed strain gauges for each silo leg and a National Instruments (NI) CompactRIO embedded controller for inputs, calibration, and outputs housed in a stainless steel enclosure.

For more information about silo monitoring, contact Ryan Welker @ 1.844.837.8797 x702.  To see how ITM’s structural load monitoring systems work watch this video.

video link: https://youtu.be/TwVtDYLkFKs.

Archiving CompactRIO Process Data to PI

The tool we most commonly use for real-time embedded process monitoring and control applications is the NI CompactRIO.  These controllers allow us to embed algorithms that acquire and analyze high speed process sensor data and then output derived key performance indicators (KPIs) to other control systems.  Most of the time, our customers also require us  to send the KPIs to a real-time data infrastructure like OSIsoft’s PI System so plant managers and engineers can use the data to find energy savings, monitor asset health, or optimize processes.

For our latest CompactRIO systems we have developed APIs that allow us to send or receive data directly to/from PI.  We utilize the PI Asset Framework and the UFL Connector to automatically generate PI tags from the device and update the process tag values either on value change or on a time basis.

These tools greatly simplify our CompactRIO to PI System communication process by eliminating intermediary data servers and automatically generating PI tags based on a CompactRIO system’s configuration.  If you are interested in using these APIs for PI or developing a CompactRIO system contact Mark Yeager or Chase Petzinger.

ITM Adds New Talent

I’m excited to announce that we’ve grown our engineering group with the addition of Zach Rucker.  Zach’s primary role at ITM is as a field engineering technician where he assists with the installation of our industrial monitoring solutions and fulfillment of our field testing applications. In addition to his work in the field, Zach stays busy in our instrumentation lab assembling and testing custom control panel assemblies, installing strain gauges on custom load cells, and building and testing customer specific monitoring and measurement systems.

We welcome Zach to our team.  You can read more about our entire team here.

— Test Engineering Lead –  Ryan Welker