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SENCOM™: The Next Generation Smart Liquid Analyzers

By Yokogawa

Our water future is our world’s future – this is what Yokogawa believes in today’s date. Presently, if on the one hand, many technologies have emerged for water treatment useful to both the industries and the environment, on the other hand, the water industry is looking for sensing technologies that can be more reliable, efficient and optimize the total cost of ownership. Considering the criticalities in measurements and uncertainties about the future of the installations and to ensure that the investments are justified, many users are going for additional liabilities from suppliers who have operational and maintenance responsibilities.

Here comes the role of analytical suppliers who can help customers with the latest technologies in sensing. Yokogawa with a rich experience of 100 plus years believes that co-innovating with customers is key to addressing such challenges for creating a better tomorrow. The next generation digital sensor solutions like SENCOM Smart Digital Sensors ensure customers that they can have not only reliable sensing but in fact, goes beyond sensing to sensemaking to customers by providing valuable customized information. There was a time when users used to tell pH was nothing but a permanent headache. The uncertainties on sensor healthiness, inventory planning, reading mismatches, repeat calibrations, etc. all made many customers to in fact go back to laboratory measurements from online monitoring. SENCOM 4.0 solutions from Yokogawa touch all these minute areas and have given answers to these uncertainties.

When a customer buys an analytical product for a particular measurement, the expectation will be how best these measurements can give him insights about the water quality and the effect of water quality on process areas including process headers, piping, boilers, turbine, etc depending on where these are used. If a control action is taken like dosing ammonia and morpholine etc, or leakage to be predicted well in advance, user expectation is very high when they spend huge money in buying those analytical products. But in conventional solutions having a simple 3½ digital display and operation dependency on key buttons, we cannot expect beyond metering the process value.

Here, digital solutions play a very important role, and Yokogawa leads in this technology by providing a fullscreen and touch screen display right from the early 21st century in the analytical measurement world. This helped users to get information beyond process value including simple English worded instructions, errors, remedies, and warnings in turn eliminating the need to use instruction manuals at every juncture. This also eliminated the need of having manual data logging, separate trend recording, or additional bar graph indications. Things become clearer and a step towards sensemaking was put forward. Yokogawa’s decades of experience with customers has helped to understand these pain points and challenges faced in day-to-day water industry life. Yokogawa’s customer-centric mindset of co-innovating with them opened the door for creating solutions for these challenges.

When the user found reading mismatch issues between lab readings and online, the root cause of the issue was identified. These were application-specific, process-specific and many a time plant-specific. A flow change in the process line affecting reading variation was addressed providing inbuilt pressure compensation with Bellomatic sensors. A noise entering measurement circuit through the water created errors in measurements in the process line and when the same sensor was dipped in 4,7,9 buffers, the measurement was perfect. This issue addressing the use of liquid earth which is having lesser resistance than the measurement and reference electrodes, helped the stray voltage to pass through the liquid earth. The issue of connecting 3 sensors to an operational amplifier having two arms was addressed with two-stage amplification eliminating the ground loop currents.

The use of additional electrodes, impedance monitoring between the electrodes helped to identify different developments in water including sensor poisoning, clogging, breakage of the sensor. Even when the sensor was not dipped in water, a message helped users to take quick action and save the sensor life. Service engineers need not depend on manuals since the smart display in HMIs helps to convey what is happening with the sensors to users. Further, the addition of digital sensors in the portfolio helped to take this information on digital communication and hooked up the sensor to options like DCS RTUs, PLCs, Recorders, HMIs, Converters, and Transmitters. Having a digital sensor, the same are connected in series to an HMI for up to 16 measurements resulted in eliminating the usage of multiple electronics or dry panels in water applications. Digitalization even helped optimization.

Yokogawa’s SENCOM SMART Sensor Platform is an innovative analyzer platform that optimizes maintenance, reduces configuration time, and simplifies in-field maintenance and calibration.

SENCOM SMART digital sensor platform combines:

  • SENCOM™ technology, which allows sensors to transmit and receive data when connected to a transmitter/ analyzer or any PC
  • Analyzer, which captures and stores calibration data
  • SMART digital sensors to maintain specific measurement and calibration data on an integrated chip along that is an integral part of the sensor
  • Data management software to optimize the performance of pH/ORP and Conductivity sensors for enhanced reliability and process safety

A consistent customer-focused approach enabled co-innovation with our esteemed customers and helped to understand what exactly customers needed. The digital sensing technology helped Yokogawa from sensing to sensemaking. Similarly, this trend continues in many solutions for smart water and wastewater applications for the industry, and Yokogawa is committed to working towards a better water future.

About the Contributor
Yokogawa is a leading provider of Industrial Automation and Test and Measurement solutions. Founded in Tokyo in 1915, it has 17,500 employees in a global network of 119 companies spanning 61 countries.

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