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May 31, 2011
There are many people working in a typical chemical process industries (CPI) facility. The individuals who work hands-on with the equipment — especially the experienced personnel — have a wealth of information that can make a huge difference in the success or failure of many projects. The key to gaining wisdom from these valuable resources lies in how you approach them. You should cultivate...
May 19, 2011
Question: What standard, guideline or regulation should I use to create a cybersecurity program, or should I wait until a standard is finalized? Answer: Waiting until a cybersecurity standard is explicitly selected, accepted and enforced is a mistake for two very good reasons. First, a security program is much more social and cultural than technical. One thing we’ve learned from the...
April 25, 2011
Question: Besides rotary, fluidized-bed, and flash dryers, what other types of dryers can remove moisture and other volatile compounds from bulk solids? Answer: For many applications, an efficient and cost-effective alternative is to dry the bulk solid in a silo equipped with heat exchangers or modified to permit injection of a gas. Compared to other dryers, drying silos have several...
March 23, 2011
Water-supply issues are emerging as a national concern with certain sectors coming under increasing scrutiny. This is certainly the case with the ethanol industry. State discharge regulations dictate that plant designs incorporate technological solutions to minimize water use. These designs give operators increased flexibility in terms of enabling the reuse of water streams internally, with the goal to...
February 22, 2011
Question: How do rain, snow, ice and fog impact wireless performance? Answer: In the process of distributing wireless to a geographic area, it is often necessary to place transceivers outdoors. In doing so, a prudent designer understands that one cannot afford to overlook the effects of the environment on the life of the equipment and the performance of the wireless system. The major environmental effects...
November 1, 2010
Question: Should we convert from manual dumping of sacks to discharging from bulk bags? Answer: Dry, bulk chemicals have long been purchased in 50-lb (23-kg) paper and plastic sacks for several reasons. In volumes smaller than rail and truckloads, sacks were often the only packaging in which to purchase many such products. Sacks also enabled plant personnel to physically lift, slit and...
October 25, 2010
Question: Is wireless ready for control? Answer: The IEC 62591 (WirelessHART) standard was designed for both control and monitoring from the very beginning. However, users wanted four key pillars in place before putting theory into action. Proof of comprehensive wireless system security, redundant systems, faster device scan rates and proven field experience were required...
September 28, 2010
Question: How are hydrocarbons best removed from water? Answer: First, the type of hydrocarbons present must be identified. Typically, the hydrocarbons in question are in the form of oil or an oil-like substance. In that case, the miscibility of oil will have a major influence on the process used. If the oil is immiscible in water and the droplet size is large, the droplets will probably rise rapidly...
June 10, 2010
Question: What is driving the trend toward increased water reuse and how is membrane technology addressing this? Furthermore, what does the future hold for water reuse? Answer: Meeting water demands and ensuring a plentiful supply of water for future generations is a top-of-mind issue for the water industry today. Adequate, safe and accessible water supplies are essential to sustaining life and...
May 24, 2010
Question: What is the RF spectrum and what considerations regarding it do we need to take as we expand our implementation of wireless networks? Answer: There is an extremely important asset that you own and control. However, if you don’t manage this asset effectively, it could turn into your greatest liability. This asset is your airwaves — the radio-frequency spectrum that is available in...
April 26, 2010
Question: What can we do to prevent caking? When our powders are packaged into bags at our plant, they appear to be free of agglomerates. However, our customers report that when the bags are opened at their facilities, they observe an excessive amount of caked material. This results in rework and potential losses in sales. We suspect that moisture is the cause, but our bags include...
March 29, 2010
Biodiesel, the methyl ester of fatty acids, has been accepted as a renewable-sourced alternative to fossil-derived diesel fuel. Today in many parts of the world, biodiesel is already blended with diesel fuel up to about 5%. Presently the demand for biodiesel is only approximately 40–50% of the production capacity, but the global biodiesel market is expected to experience strong growth in the next few...
March 23, 2010
Question: Stricter wastewater regulatory environments and water availability continue to drive water reuse and recycle in the chemical and petrochemical industries globally. What should companies consider when evaluating water reuse as part of the manufacturing and wastewater process? Answer: While reusing wastewater can be an economical alternative to internal or external fresh water supplies, there...
February 17, 2010
Question: What are the top considerations I need to take into account when planning for control over wireless? Answer: The prospect for control over wireless is one of the manufacturing industry’s hottest topics, but it’s important to realize that it’s not an appropriate solution for every application. Plants should consider three key factors when evaluating whether control over wireless...
December 15, 2009
In professional life, the influences that teach us, inspire us and drive us to succeed tend to come more from individuals than corporations. If you would like to bring recognition to someone whose excellence in chemical engineering you admire, consider nominating him or her for Chemical Engineering’s 2010 Personal Achievement Award. The nomination period is now open. The aim of this award, which...
May 26, 2009
The Department of Homeland Security established the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) to impose mandatory security regulations on high-risk chemical facilities. Interpreting and fulfilling the regulations present challenges to security directors, but finding the right guidance and working with a security integrator who has experience in the chemical industry can help achieve compliance...
January 7, 2009
Reliable heat transfer fluids are vital to the ability of manufacturers to operate efficiently and productively. However, some heat transfer fluids can degrade over time, resulting in deteriorating performance, impacting operating costs and product quality. With these possible consequences, how can manufacturers ensure they are choosing the right heat transfer...
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