Wireless Pressure Monitoring Prevents Contamination Losses

Automated wireless pressure monitoring at a polyolefin facility producing high-density polyethylene and polypropylene prevents costly catalyst contamination and production losses.

Petrochemical facilityA major company in the petrochemical industry operates a polyolefin facility to manufacture high-density polyethylene and polypropylene. In the facility, the manufacturer maintains 100 portable vessels (Fig 1) in which catalyst is stored. The vessels are regularly transported to charge reactors throughout the facility with the catalyst. The manufacturer required a wireless monitoring system to ensure there was no loss in pressure in each vessel, as pressure loss would result in very costly ruined product.


In storage, the portable vessels are connected to a header that maintains a constant nitrogen (N2) pressure. The N2 prevents any moisture from entering and contaminating the catalyst. 

The manufacturer must be able to monitor the pressure at all times. Once a vessel moves to the charging area, it is no longer connected to the pressurized N2 header. The manufacturer wanted to ensure there is no loss to the N2 pressure due to leakage in tubing or valves and be notified if any pressure decrease is detected.

The manufacturer needed a compact, lightweight pressure sensor that would easily connect to the N2 fill line without requiring additional supporting hardware. The sensor also needed to be a relatively small footprint, enabling it to be installed in a manner that would prevent collision damage during transportation throughout the plant. Standard pressure transmitters and Wireless HART solutions turned out to be too large, heavy, and expensive for this type of installation.

The manufacturer also required reliable communications coverage across the entire facility. In order to provide that coverage, Wireless HART solutions needed a large array of additional infrastructure such as gateways and access points.


Fig 1 - Stainless Steel Chemical Catalyst VesselThe wireless pressure Sushi Sensor XS530 allows for continual pressure measurements on desired time intervals to determine if any pressure loss occurs. The manufacturer determined that monitoring on an hourly interval provided sufficient pressure monitoring. This would allow the process operator to take action prior to loading wet, contaminated catalyst into a critical reactor, thus eliminating a production loss and costly catalyst replacement.

Yokogawa’s Sushi Sensor turned out to be an ideal solution for this application as it requires far less infrastructure than others. A site survey confirmed that using only a single gateway, the Sushi Sensor solution’s long-range LoRaWAN® network provides complete coverage across the entire facility. 

Even though the gateway was installed in a concrete, explosion proof control room, the network was able to maintain excellent signal strength to all locations. In addition, the one-hour communication interval results in excellent battery life for each sensor.

Fig 2 – Sushi Sensor WorkflowThe Yokogawa team offered an on-premise solution and a Cloud solution. The manufacturer selected the latter. The Cloud solution allows operation personnel to monitor vessel status via dashboards both at the facility and remotely. In addition, the system sends live e-mail and notification alerts when low pressure is detected in any vessel.

The Sushi Sensor solution is compact and lightweight. It enabled a simplified installation via a “T” connection to the pressure line and a block valve. No additional brackets or mounting hardware were required.

The manufacturer determined that preventing a single incident in which wet catalyst were loaded into a reactor would justify the cost of the entire wireless monitoring system.

Key Benefits

XS530 Sushi Sensor - Wireless Pressure SensorThis product acts as a battery-powered wireless pressure sensor, and it is suitable for Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications. Wireless Pressure Sensor can measure the gauge pressure of gases and liquids in a piping.

  • Easy installation and expansion
    • Install in hazardous zone 1 areas, such as petrochemical plants, paint plants, steel plants, where flammable gas or vapor may exist.
    • New vessels with sensors can easily be added to the existing network at any time.
  • Long distance communication 
    • LoRaWAN® has excellent sensitivity reception, good radio interference resistance, and offers a communication distance of six miles (10 km) or more in ideal conditions. This sensor can be installed anywhere needed, even over vast areas.
  • Excellent environmental resistance​ and battery powered
    • The XS110A supplies power to the XS550 via a built-in replaceable battery that can last up to 10 years. This waterproof, dust-proof, and explosion-proof wireless pressure monitor can operate in harsh environments and can be installed anywhere in a plant (no power cables required).
  • Monitoring via on-premise server, cloud server​, or a smartphone
    • Peace of mind that all product is monitored continuously, reducing risk of high-cost waste.

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