Wireless network improves carbon reactiviation process at Calgon | Automation.com

Wireless network improves carbon reactiviation process at Calgon

December 15, 2009 – Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless network using the WirelessHART communications standard is contributing to process improvements at the Calgon Carbon Corporation plant in Blue Lake, California. The network provides continuous temperature measurements from a rotating catalyst kiln where spent carbon particles are reactivated. As the world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of granular activated carbon, Calgon Carbon operates several reactivation plants to prepare carbon for reuse by removing chemicals picked up in previous filtering of air, gases, water, and other liquids.

The reactivation process involves passing recycled carbon through the kiln where it is dried and chemicals it has absorbed are “cooked off” at temperatures ranging between 1400F and 1800F. Measuring the temperature at each zone in the kiln is important to ensure proper heat transfer for each step in the process. For this reason, six Rosemount wireless temperature transmitters were recently installed to monitor temperatures in the kiln and transmit a steady stream of data, giving operators more information for controlling heat levels in each zone.

The effects of process changes on heat transfer are now readily apparent, and trending can be used to improve process efficiency. This was not possible previously with the limited amount of information generated every two hours through manual viewing of readouts on devices connected to thermocouples in the kiln.

The new wireless transmitters mounted on raised platforms on the surface of the kiln were simply connected to the existing thermocouples, and the WirelessHART self-organizing mesh network was set up with a single Smart Wireless gateway. The six transmitters monitor temperatures in five zones of the kiln and at the outlet, communicating data reliably from the rotating kiln to the gateway, which then integrates the measurements in a host PLC.

According to site manager Jeremy Dolan, “We used WirelessHART because of the ease of installing the network, the reduced cost of installation, and the ability to communicate in spite of the constant rotation of the kiln. Non-wireless methods were too expensive, and other wireless line-of-sight systems could not handle the kiln’s movement.”

Dolan said that by contrast other carbon reactivation plants employ a conduit through the center of the kiln with thermocouple “spiders” going out into each zone. He called this method “very expensive to install and difficult to maintain.”

In addition to the Smart Wireless solutions already installed at Calgon Carbon, Emerson offers a wide range of wireless field instrumentation and plant operations equipment, including Fisher position monitors, Rosemount analytical and Machinery Health Management devices, and native wireless interfaces to AMS Suite predictive maintenance software, DeltaV digital automation systems, and SmartStart services.

About Calgon Carbon
Calgon Carbon Corporation is the world's largest manufacturer and supplier of granular activated carbon and innovative treatment systems used for optimizing production processes and safely purifying the environment. It operates 16 carbon manufacturing, reactivation, and fabrication facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia.

About Emerson Process Management
Emerson Process Management, an Emerson business, is a leader in helping businesses automate their production, processing and distribution in the chemical, oil and gas, refining, pulp and paper, power, water and wastewater treatment, mining and metals, food and beverage, life sciences and other industries. The company combines superior products and technology with industry-specific engineering, consulting, project management and maintenance services. Its brands include PlantWeb, Syncade, DeltaV, Fisher, Micro Motion, Rosemount, Daniel, Ovation, and AMS Suite.

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