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Industrial processes are, in their essence, physical, chemical, electrical, or mechanical steps that result in the manufacturing of a product. Highly-developed process industries have well-defined and documented processes. It is essential to continuously measure, and accurately control, the status of each production process to avoid unintended component changes and unstable production conditions. It is also important for the success of a process to maximize the performance of underlying equipment by monitoring the state of production equipment and utility facilities, and performing optimal maintenance management. That is why industrial sensors and instruments are designed for both process monitoring and asset monitoring.
Process monitoring sensors are used to monitor the status of products and processes in a plant. These sensors, which are placed in production processes, continuously detect the state of measurands and transmit them to control units as process data. Control units then compare the transmitted signal with a target value, convert the difference into a controlled variable, output it, and give the change to the measurand state. By repeating this loop, "feedback control" is performed to keep the monitored object in a stable, controlled state.
These sensors require a continuous, real time data feed, and high-speed response. These reliable sensors fine-tune processes in real time to eliminate blind spots, enabling high-quality production, and optimal plant operation.
Asset monitoring sensors play a vital role in monitoring the equipment in a plant. The data they retrieve and transmit forms the basis of analysis and alerts. By analyzing sensor output data, it is possible to diagnose the health of plant equipment. This diagnosis is then used for alarm management, the predictive maintenance of equipment, and more efficient maintenance patrols. Highly-responsive sensors can help prevent plant accidents, increase process uptime, and improve the lifetime value of equipment.
A wide variety of sensors and sensing systems are available for almost any process. The ability to collect reliable and accurate process data is critical to achieving any level of process control. Process plants could employ the latest control systems or cloud/edge-based data collection techniques, and still witness process failures if detection and reporting are flawed. Today’s sensing systems form a holistic suite ensuring that they function as a unit to achieve optimal process and asset management, and ultimately, process success.
These sensing units are employed in a variety of industries operating with different levels of process automation because data detection is a very important first step to success in any process industry.