Process instrumentation is an integral part of the process industry because it enables real-time measurement and control of process variables such as levels, flow, pressure, temperature, pH and conductivity. With the right instrumentation, process installations can work effectively, efficiently, economically and safely.
What is process instrumentation?
In the process industry, instrumentation is used to monitor and control the operating conditions of the plant, contributing to safety, environmental regulation, quality and productivity, cost-effective operation and the objectives for stable operation of the plant.
The instrumentation consists of three main components:
- A sensor, also called a primary measuring element, to measure the required physical properties.
- A transducer that converts the sensor signal into a standard signal that suits the control system, such as a pneumatic signal, an electrical signal (4-20 mA), a digital signal such as the fieldbuses.
- A transmitter that converts the signal from the transducer to standard output signals. Smart transmitters also give information about the status of the measuring instrument as a whole.
Process instrumentation also includes the most common control element, the control valve, which consists of an actuator that converts the output signal of the control system into a signal that can be triggered by the valve, the positioner for adjusting the response and the valve. Smart positioners can currently send and receive useful data to and from the control system for predictive maintenance.