Pressure Instruments Measure Performance

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It’s Not Pressure You’re Measuring… It’s Performance: Pressure Instruments and Their Role in Performance

Pressure instruments, including gauges, are prevalent throughout any plant. While they are often overlooked as critical pieces of equipment, they can actually be huge assets. When properly installed and monitored, pressure instruments provide invaluable data to help improve your operational and safety performance. In fact, your gauges are doing much more than providing a measurement, they are letting you know if there is a problem looming in your systems or processes.

The Right Gauges in the Right Location

Gauges – when the right one is installed in the right location – provide data about the system’s performance. In line with predictive maintenance practices (PdM), knowing the typical readings and performance of pressure instruments is defense against machine malfunctions, allowing operators to attend to the problem before a breakdown or safety emergency. Knowing how a gauge typically behaves – from average pressure or temperature readings to the time it normally takes for a gauge to wear out – makes it easy to spot an inconsistency when a gauge performs atypically.

Pressure Gauge Case Study

A large petroleum company was having trouble with gauges failing on the discharge side of a transfer pump. After the transfer pump was shut down for servicing, the company’s team noticed that the pointer on the pressure gauge was resting at 235 PSI with no pressure applied to the gauge. A subsequent WIKA Instrument Audit revealed that the gauge was installed at the incorrect section of the line. The problem was quickly corrected, saving the company millions of dollars in repairs to the pump and in reduced downtime.

How to Head off Pressure Gauge Problems and Improve System Performance

Instrument Audits are intended to help plant managers and engineers implement long-term strategies for gauge monitoring and maintenance.  These reviews are effective lines of defense, helping pinpoint pressure instruments that should be replaced immediately or those that should be replaced during the next plant turnaround. 
An Instrument Audit also determines whether the proper types of pressure instruments are being used for each application. For instance, if a pressure gauge is not compatible with the process media, corrosion can result and cause the gauge to fail. Ambient temperature and vibration are examples of other conditions that should be considered when selecting the proper gauge for an application. During an Instrument Audit, these conditions are evaluated to ensure the proper pressure instrument is recommended.
In potentially dangerous plant processes, employee, community and environmental safety play a key role in decision making. Reliable gauges and gauge readings are major components in preventing problems. When they’re installed and monitored properly, gauges can help you make smart decisions and keep your work environment safe.

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