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Will You Get the Alarm When it Matters Most?

Posted by John Powalisz on 4/8/19 8:00 AM


When chemistry alarms go off in your steam power plant, how do you know if it’s just a nuisance alarm or a real chemical event?

The fact is, most of the time, you don’t. For many plant operators, too many alarms can be worse than none at all. And that confusion can cost you time and money during a real event.

Troubleshooting alarms with manual processes can take hours or even days to find the issue – costing up to $100,000 for every hour your operation is down, or millions if permanent damage occurs. Alarm-related problems cost U.S. industry more than $20 billion a year, driving many plants to reduce alarms and meet the International Society of Automation (ISA) standard of 1 alarm every 10 minutes.

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Topics: Power, Liquid & Slurry, Steam & Water

Cool it Down with Sample Coolers

Posted by Kevin Kirst on 3/25/19 8:00 AM

Plants and facilities of all kinds use sample coolers to cool a sample from a process stream. Cooling samples as part of your steam and water sampling system is essential to maintaining safety and the representativeness of the sample.

For example, if a sample in a power plant is too hot to handle, the operator might throttle the flow to unacceptably low levels, which means the sample is no longer representative or acceptable.

Another example comes from Hydrocarbon processing or Process Analytics. Cooling the process to handle the sample is necessary.   If you take a grab sample of a certain hydrocarbon whether it be of a liquid or a gas, the safest way is to handle the sample at below 140F.  This protects the operator when handling hot samples that need to be physically taken to the lab safely for analysis.   

In order to achieve accurate data, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), ASTM and ASME recommend cooling water samples to 77°F (25°C) to ensure consistent, accurate test results. 

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Topics: Power, Hydrocarbon Processing, Upstream & Midstream, Liquid & Slurry, Steam & Water

Representative Sampling from All-Purpose to Whole Wheat - Part 2

Posted by John Powalisz on 3/11/19 8:00 AM

Read Part I in this series to learn about the importance and impact of representative sampling.

Recent recalls of flour contaminated with salmonella and E. Coli have placed an increased focus on pathogen detection at milling operations.

Flour is considered a raw food product, since most flour products don’t undergo a heat treatment or kill process like ready-to-eat foods. Contaminated flour can make people sick if they eat under-cooked or uncooked flour-based foods, such as cookie dough or cake, muffin and bread mixes. 

It’s essential to implement a sampling process that provides a statistically significant sample for pathogen testing so you can quickly and accurately detect any contamination issues.

Whether you’re testing for pathogens or physical properties, samples should be statistically significant and represent the characteristics of the entire lot. The bottom line is that you want to divide an entire lot into small manageable units, then take a number of units regularly from the process. 

The samples should be taken from a place in the process where the material is well-mixed and won’t introduce bias (exclude different-sized particles or kill pathogens that might be present). The number of samples and sample mass collected should be related mathematically to the confidence level that is being targeted – for example, 95% confidence level requiring 60 samples of the lot.

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Topics: Food & Beverage

Representative Sampling from All-Purpose to Whole Wheat - Part 1

Posted by John Powalisz on 2/28/19 8:00 AM

The CDC estimates that each year in the United States, 48 million people get sick, 12,000 people are hospitalized, and 3,000 people die from food-borne diseases. And recent recalls of flour contaminated with Salmonella and Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) have placed an increase focus on pathogen detection at milling operations as flour is considered a raw food product. 

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls (HARPC) requires virtually every food manufacturer, processor, packer and storage facility – including millers – to identify hazards in their foods and processes, and implement controls to minimize these hazards.

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Topics: Food & Beverage

Asking Why: Understanding the Heart and Soul of Our Company

Posted by Sentry Equipment on 2/14/19 8:32 AM


If we’ve learned anything from almost 100 years in business, it’s that our most important values don’t come from what we do or how we do it. Our most important values come from a much deeper place within our organization and our people.

When explaining what Sentry Equipment does, it's tempting to just say "Sentry Equipment makes sampling equipment". But that’s not the fundamental reason we exist. Understanding the “why” behind what we do is critical to serving customers better, maintaining a strong ownership culture, and setting ourselves up for sustainable growth and success. 

Why do we exist?

Why do we do what we do?

Why do we get out of bed in the morning?

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Topics: Company News, Any Application

Watch this Webcast to Ensure Safe, Consistent Sampling in Your Hydrocarbon Processing Plant

Posted by Rod Lunceford on 11/28/18 10:30 AM

How do I sample gas or liquid streams where there is no standard sampling point available?

At high-temperature, high-viscosity fluid sampling points, does the fluid need to be cooled before sampling?

What are the best practices for sampling foamy hydrocarbon liquids?

If you’ve ever asked these questions – or any others about manual process sampling in a hydrocarbon processing plant – the “Five Things to Know When Sampling in a Hydrocarbon Processing Plant” webcast is for you.

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Topics: Hydrocarbon Processing

Why Small Things Like Sample Bottle Caps Are Big Things In A Hydrocarbon Processing Plant

Posted by Derek Lindsay on 10/9/18 9:27 AM


Sampling in a hydrocarbon processing plant has its hazards. Tapping into a process line to extract a representative sample requires careful planning, specialized equipment and a partnership with the right sampling application experts. Commonly, however, more focus is spent on the best and safest way to extract the sample, than the method to seal the sample collection bottle. That can be just as hazardous.

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Topics: Hydrocarbon Processing, Upstream & Midstream, Liquid & Slurry

Five Things to Know When Sampling in a Hydrocarbon Processing Plant

Posted by Sentry Equipment on 8/1/18 8:35 AM

Sampling within the hydrocarbon process is essential for gaining visibility into product quality, identifying corrosion and ensuring processes are operating as expected. It occurs at multiple points across virtually every stage of hydrocarbon processing. However, are you giving sampling the attention it needs?

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Topics: Hydrocarbon Processing, Upstream & Midstream

Milk and Dairy Sampling: Technologies to Reduce Risk and Increase Efficiency

Posted by Sentry Equipment on 1/25/18 10:30 AM

In 2016, food recalls surged 22% to 764, with many tied to the dairy industry. Contaminated dairy products can be linked to consumer illness, with the potential to permanently damage a dairy’s brand. How can milk and milk ingredient processors turn the tide, while complying with new and expanding regulations?

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Topics: Food & Beverage

Join the Conversation! Food Safety: How Representative Sampling Can Reduce Your Risk

Posted by Sentry Equipment on 10/11/17 9:19 AM

The challenges in food production are growing more intense every year. Expanding regulations, foodborne illness outbreaks, and product recalls are increasing demand for better food safety practices. How can you keep up?

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Topics: Food & Beverage