Building a new plant or updating an existing facility is a complicated, long-term process that involves dozens of agencies and partners. Petrochemical companies are planning to invest over $80 billion in new manufacturing infrastructure, meaning facilities will become more familiar with this process over the next few years.
We’re already seeing a new trend within this building surge: Standardizing sampler designs to maintain consistency in manual sampling systems.
Ensuring design consistency between manual sample stations helps standardize how your plant manually collects samples by keeping the look and feel of the stations the same. Sample panel standardization across production – upstream, middle and downstream – can have long-lasting benefits for your entire plant.
Consistency – With one sampling process, operators can ensure that every sample is consistent in quality and safety.
Lower training costs – Because operators need to know just one way to collect each type of sample, it’s faster and less expensive to train them in that process.
Plant safety – When operators are more familiar with how the panels operate, they are less likely to make mistakes that can jeopardize plant safety.
Better sample – One sample method streamlines the process and ensures the quality of your sample every time.
Lower operating costs – Consistent sampling means fewer errors and resampling.
Efficiency – Operators can more efficiently sample, monitor and measure, driving efficiency throughout your plant.
Lower spare parts costs – One sample design means you can stock up on spare parts that can be shared by all your panels, which saves time and money.
Operator safety – Operators are less likely to be exposed to harmful gases, such as H2S, or hot samples.
Environmental safety – A more consistent sampling process reduces chemical exposure to the atmosphere and helps your plant adhere to EPA regulations.
Running a safe, efficient operation requires analysis of controlled, real-time data obtained through representative sampling within a process. Nowhere is obtaining that data more critical than within a refinery, chemical or petrochemical plant.
Sampling for these industrial applications must be repeatable and reliable, every time. Within these environments, samples are needed to:
- Verify and validate product constituents to ensure they meet quality specifications
- Monitor process efficiency
- Troubleshoot sources of product contamination
- Ensure operator and environmental safety
Why manual sample?
In many industries, sampling can be automated within a process so a composite sample can be obtained without operator involvement. However, in volatile and hazardous process environments, automatic sampling comes with added cost (equipment and special installation) to address safety risks. The usefulness of pneumatics – or samplers operating via air actuation – can be limited, as some type of electrical interface is needed to automate sample collection.
Manual sampling is often the best choice for volatile and hazardous process environments, such as a refinery or chemical plant.
Now more than ever, it’s important to consider sampler design as a critical component of your plant’s plan for efficiency and safety. Although it takes time and effort to standardize sampling, your plant will appreciate the safety and efficiency benefits for years to come.