Substantial glass gauge maintenance costs eliminated by Orion Magnetic Level Indicators
Industry: Power Generation
Products: Atlas and Aurora MLIs
Application: Heaters, Condensers
If you look at level control from an acquisition-cost perspective only, glass gauges, or "sight glasses,Ē can be extremely appealing. Their use in the power and process industries is widespread, but for many installations that comes at a cost. Itís no secret that sight glasses can be a maintenance nightmare.
A power plant in Southeast Asia agrees with this sentiment. Theyíve just awakened from a 30-year bad dream. Since the 500MW gas-fired peak load plant opened in 1981, glass gauges have provided level indication on high and low pressure heaters and condensers. For almost 30 years, the plantís maintenance staff has had to install new glass kits with seals and gaskets every six months, totaling more than $30,000 USD in spare parts per year. Thatís almost $1,000,000 USD in parts over 30 years! Add to this the personnel and process downtime costs and youíre left with a major maintenance migraine.
A glass gauge can also be unsafe, environmentally risky, and difficult to read. High pressures and temperatures, and toxic or corrosive materials, may result in fugitive emissions. High temperatures can also attack the glass or plastic tubes causing cracking and discoloration that impedes visibility. Liquid-liquid interfaces and clear liquids can also be very difficult to read with these gauges.
During an Orion Instruments® product presentation, MLIs drew the interest of plant engineers due to its safety, increased level visibility, and maintenance-free features. However, the adviser who had been working in the plant since Day One was skeptical about this unfamiliar technology. We assured them MLIs have been around for many years and have accrued countless success stories in power plants worldwide. Our references and installation pictures were supplied as proof of our MLIís credibility, which immediately boosted our customerís confidence in the product. A few months later they decided to purchase five ATLASô MLIs. The end user was so satisfied with their performance upon installation they purchased six AURORA® units by the end of the year with their remaining budget.
If you are currently relying on sight glasses for visual indication, take a moment to consider how a Magnetic Level Indicator can provide you with improved visibility, increased safety, and a drastically-reduced maintenance bill.