Instrumentation is often taken for granted. This is understandable, as gauges, thermometers, and other instrumentation are out of sight and out of mind as long as plant operators are receiving information from the instruments.
Unfortunately, not paying close attention to your instrumentation can also lead to big problems, including significant unplanned downtime, fugitive emissions and even potentially dangerous accidents. You can avoid these problems if you make sure you have the right gauge in the right place. Knowing what kind of instrumentation to install at a given location at a plant requires in-depth knowledge of plant operations and processes as well as a comprehensive knowledge of gauges and gauge safety.
That's where WIKA Instrument’s Full Audit Service Team (FAST) comes in. WIKA's experienced FAST engineers have conducted hundreds of instrument audits and know gauges and high pressure safety like the back of their hands. Take the time to learn more about how you can potentially save money and even lives with a FAST Instrument Audit.
Using the Correct Gauge for Every Application
The installation of the wrong type of gauge for an application is one of the most common problems found by FAST professionals during an Instrument Audit. For example, installing a gauge that has wetted parts that are not compatible with process media will dramatically reduce the lifetime of the gauge and can even lead to Bourdon tube failure. If a Bourdon tube in a pressure gauge fails, process media under pressure can escape, contaminating the plant environment and possibly causing a fire or explosion. Gauge safety is an important part of overall plant safety.
WIKA Gauge Safety Features
WIKA's extensive line of pressure, temperature and process gauges are specifically designed for particular applications and the development team considers every aspect of installation and use when developing a gauge.
For starters, virtually all of WIKA's pressure gauges are designed so that media escapes out from the back of the gauge rather than the front in case of failure. Plant personnel are almost always standing in front of gauges, so preventing process media from escaping from the front of gauges prevents injuries and saves lives. Many inexpensive gauges do not incorporate this important safety feature.
WIKA process gauges come equipped with a specially-designed Bourdon tube. WIKA spent years conducting research to come up with the optimal Bourdon tube design for gauges. They discovered that cold working and annealing of the walls of the Bourdon tube, combined with an innovative tube design and special tube end closing techniques, significantly increases the calibration stability, endurance, and high pressure safety of the Bourdon tube.
All-welded diaphragm seals can last up to 2.5 times longer than non-welded seals. Process gauges installed in corrosive environments typically have a diaphragm seal at the bottom of the gauge to protect the sensitive inner workings from the corrosive media. Traditional diaphragm seals are threaded in and bolted on, but WIKA offers a process gauge with an all-welded diaphragm that welds the upper housing so the thread contact is highly resistant to thermal cycling, vibration, and even incorrect installation. Furthermore, a back weld ensures that integrity between the instrument and the seal is maintained and eliminates the potential loss of process media through the threads.
Unlike many lower-quality gauges, all WIKA gauge cases are made of stainless steel, fiberglass thermoplastic, or other materials that meet industry burn resistance and self-extinguishing requirements. This important design element prevents major fires and helps keep plant damage and downtime to a minimum.