Back to top

Improving Efficiency of Industrial Chemical Processes Through Level Control

The safety and efficiency of industrial chemical processes is dependent on accurate level control instrumentation. With accurate level measurement, applications such as catalysis vessels, the chlor-alkali process, chemical injection, and deionization tanks can more effectively perform. In this blog post, part of Magnetrol’s series on chemical processing applications, we will explore how industrial chemical processes benefit from level control instrumentation. 

Catalysis Vessel
Application: The catalytic method of converting compounds into other compounds uses a chemical catalyst to increase the rate of a reaction. The catalyst is chemically unchanged after the reaction has occurred and can be recovered from the reaction mixture. Thirty of the top fifty commodity chemicals are created directly by catalysis.

Challenges: In the fluidized bed reactor-regenerator (FBRR) a fluid is passed through the catalyst at high enough velocities to suspend the solid and cause it to behave as though it were a fluid. Measurement in the reactor vessel must contend with severe process conditions. Finished product and, in some configurations, spent catalyst, is on level control.

Level Technologies:
– Model A15 Displacer-Actuated Level Switch for point level
– E3 Modulevel® Displacer-Actuated Transmitter for continuous level

Chlor-Alkali Process
Application: Chlor-alkali (CA) refers to chlorine and caustic soda (NaOH) manufacturing. These are among the top ten chemicals produced worldwide and are main ingredients in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, detergents, disinfectants, herbicides, pesticides and PVC. Chlorine and caustic soda are made by the electrolysis of brine (NaCl).

Challenges: In the preferred membrane process of CA, level instruments control saturated brine and demineralized water feed, and caustic liquid level. Level control maintains a high enough level in the anode and cathode compartments to ensure membrane saturation, thus preventing any exchange of gases via the membrane in the upper part of the electrolysis cell.

Level Technologies:
– Echotel® Model 961 Ultrasonic Switch or Thermatel® Model TD1/TD2 Thermal Dispersion Switch for point level
– Pulsar® Model RX5 Pulse Burst Radar Transmitter or E3 MODULEVEL Displacer-Actuated Transmitter for continuous level
– Orion Instruments® Atlas™ or Aurora® Magnetic Level Indicators for visual indication

Chemical Injection
Application: From Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) to Vapor Phase Corrosion Inhibitors (VCIs), any one of a thousand additives and agents can be injected into the process stream of a given industry to alter or impart new product properties or enhance processing dynamics. Injection systems and chemical skid systems offer a wide range of dosing control options.

Challenges: A chemical injection system typically consists of one or more chemical supply tanks or drums, a metering tank, a vessel with a mixer (if required), a variable pump, and process controls. Chemical tanks and chemical skid packages require level monitoring to ensure that the tanks do not overfill or run out of feed chemicals.

Level Technologies:
– ECHOTEL Model 961 Ultrasonic Switch or THERMATEL Model TD1/TD2 Switch for point level
– Eclipse® Model 706 Guided Wave Radar or ORION INSTRUMENTS Enhanced Jupiter® Magnetostrictive Level Transmitter for continuous level
-ORION INSTRUMENTS ATLAS or AURORA Magnetic Level Indicators for visual indication

Deionization Tank
Application: Highly purified water is essential in processing premium grade and highly purified products in the chemical, pharmaceutical, beverage, cosmetics and electronics industries. Deionization (DI) is frequently used to remove minerals from water by passing water through two separate ion beds—cation and anion—followed by mixed bed saturation.

Challenges: Multiple bed DI units have pairs of tanks where an optional CO2 degasser may be placed in between. Single bed DI units incorporate both the cation and anion exchangers mixed in a single tank. In addition to monitoring feed water, a level control in the mixing tank will operate the transfer pump to route the purified water to storage.

Level Technologies:
– ECHOTEL Model 961 Ultrasonic Switch or Model T20 Float Level Switch for point level
– PULSAR Model RX5 Radar Transmitter or ECLIPSE Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Level Transmitter for continuous level
– ORION INSTRUMENTS ATLAS or AURORA Magnetic Level Indicators for visual indication

Be sure to follow the Magnetrol blog for a continued discussion on level control solutions for equipment used in industrial chemical processes, including waste sumps, neutralization and liquids and liquefied gas storage.