Feeling the heat: Why it’s time to take a fresh perspective on temperature measurement

Solution | March 8, 2024

The optimization of key industrial processes is more important than ever, offering scope for significant savings in both fuel costs and energy consumption. This is where temperature measurement comes in. 

We live in challenging times. Recent world events have put significant pressure on manufacturing and the wider supply chain through shortage of key components and significant increases in material, fuel, and energy costs.

As one of the most widely measured parameters, temperature needs to be accurately and reliably measured at all times to ensure that a process is being maintained at the highest levels of efficiency and safety.  

Selection of the correct device is therefore key to ensure safe and reliable long-term operation, even under the most arduous conditions. ABB temperature transmitters have a default ambient temperature range of -40 to +85 °C, which is far outside the “safe” zone for your average person without protective clothing.

Keeping cool

Selecting the right temperature device can often involve navigating a vast array of options – is a resistance thermometer (RTD) or a thermocouple required? Which type? Should a duplex sensor be deployed for automatic redundancy or sensor drift monitoring? What accuracy class is required? What about the transmitter, is this needed, and if so, should it be an integrated or remote mount design?

All this is before the selection of a thermowell is considered which is the protective sheath that protects the temperature sensor.  Here there are important considerations such as the insertion length, type, and material of construction and whether a stress calculation such as wake frequency is needed. 

You’ll be relieved to know there is now a simple answer. 

Being disruptive

Whilst simple surface mounted temperature devices have been available for a long time, their performance has often been impacted by their mounting arrangement and the effect of ambient conditions on the consistency of the measurement. 

These problems have now been overcome by the arrival of true non-invasive technology, where the pipe itself acts as your thermowell and you can check and predict the performance of your sensor during the design stage.

ABB’s NINVA non-invasive temperature sensor mounts on the outside of the pipe or vessel and will measure both surface and ambient temperature simultaneously using dual RTD sensors. With no need for drilling into a pipeline or process shutdowns, they are very simple and highly economical to install whilst still achieving the “class A” accuracy of a conventional thermowell based temperature sensor. The low cost and ease of installation allows for multiple sensors to be used on a given application, providing better visibility of your process temperature. They can even be quickly retrofitted to provide a reference for existing thermowell sensors.

Why it pays to take a fresh perspective

Temperature sensors form a critical part of your process operation and the importance of selecting the correct device can be overlooked. It is common to routinely fit like-for-like devices, even after repeated failures, without looking at a way to address the root cause. Sometimes it pays to step back and consider a different approach – why not see how you could benefit from non-invasive temperature measurement?

For more information visit our webpage on Ninva

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