Petrochemical Industry

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Petrochemical Industry Overview

The petrochemical industry is a bedrock of modern life. It not only supplies the various fuels that power the transportation sector, but also produces a myriad of other essential raw materials: plastics, medicines, lubricants, synthetic rubbers, and synthetic fibers – to name just a few.

The two most common petrochemical processes are:

  • Separation of hydrocarbon fractions by boiling and condensing a hydrocarbon feedstock in a distillation tower.
  • Production of olefins (ethylene, propylene, etc.) and aromatics (benzene, toluene, xylene, etc.) from heavy hydrocarbon fractions in a cracking reactor.

Both processes rely on heating a feedstock, usually in the presence of a catalyst to boost the chemical reaction.

Application Examples

Distillation and hydrocracking require very specific temperature, pressure, and flow conditions. In addition, closely monitoring these processes can prevent hot spots, thermal runaways, catalyst maldistributions, channeling in the catalyst bed, and other costly problems. Furnace condition monitoring is an especially important step during an economic downturn, when lower throughputs of heavier feedstock can accelerate coking and fouling.

For optimal performance, a petrochemical plant routinely measures temperature, pressure, flow, and level at different points in the following equipment:

Safety Standards and Certifications

The petrochemical industry’s various processes are, to say the least, challenging. For example, distillation and cracking require extremely high temperatures. Feedstocks, intermediate products, and end products are flammable and/or corrosive.

Therefore, measuring instruments must be equal to the challenge. WIKA’s solutions for pressure, temperature, level, and flow meet the rigorous standards of national and international authorizing bodies. Our products for the petrochemical industry fulfill NACE compliance and ATEX requirements, and come with a wide range of certifications, such as FM Approval.

Instrumentation for the Petrochemical Industry

Many factors go into choosing measuring instruments for your petrochemical facility.

  • The basics are the desired accuracy, measuring range, and working pressure and temperature.
  • The material is crucial, as aggressive media call for instruments to be made of stainless steel or other corrosion-resistant alloys.
  • To further protect instruments from harsh media or strong vibrations, pair a pressure gauge with a diaphragm seal or a temperature sensor with a thermowell.
  • For processes or working conditions prone to explosions, choose an intrinsically safe or explosion-proof pressure sensor.

WIKA USA offers a complete portfolio of temperature, pressure, flow, and level instruments for the petrochemical industry.

We have other specialized solutions for petrochemical applications, such as furnace tubeskin thermocouples, multipoint sensor flexible assemblies, and diaphragm monitoring systems.

WIKA USA: A one-stop shop for the petrochemical industry

WIKA is more than just an instrument manufacturer. We offer a range of field services, from installations and repairs to safety testing, regardless of the instrument brand. As an ISO 9001 registered company, WIKA also has a Calibration & Service Center accredited by A2LA (American Association for Laboratory Accreditation).

Quality products, a worldwide network, and superb customer service are what make WIKA a leading supplier of measuring instrumentation. See our Refinery Roadmap for an interactive look at where WIKA products are used in the petrochemical industry, and contact us for expert advice on how to help your facility operate more safely and efficiently.

WIKA has worked with licensing and EPC companies for more than 30 years on major projects all over the world. We partner with you from the planning stages through to completion, and we provide post-project support. In addition to supplying high-quality process measurement instruments for temperature, pressure, level and flow applications, we can also work with you to develop solutions that meet your exact requirements.

WIKA also offers on-site expertise and technical support services to help ensure the success of your project. For more information, contact us at 1-888-945-2872 or

The factors of capacity

Our high level of performance is essentially based on three factors: A wide and innovative product range, comprehensive and competent service and a reliable global presence. We are pleased to be committed to your success, too.

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Chemical and petrochemical industries

Segment brochure

Tubeskin measurements


Engineered instrumentation for Ethylene production


Instrumentation for high-pressure applications

Calibration services

Entrust the calibration and maintenance of your measuring instruments to a competent partner.