New technologies & applications


1 October 2007

Tough, portable and intelligent

The modern industrial inspection environment places great demands on equipment, and the Olympus IPLEX FX inspection videoscope has been designed to meet these demands by providing what its makers call a tough, portable and intelligent remote imaging solution. It has also had some new features added to improve its imaging and versatility.

The system is housed in a compact magnesium chassis and weighs 6kg, including batteries. It incorporates a fully functional videoscope, suited to quick-check inspections and more detailed movie-image recording and advanced stereo measurement applications. A new mode has been incorporated, known as ‘multipoint measurement mode’ for fuel oil blending operations in turbines, and the ‘wide dynamic range’ feature enhances the resolution and quality of images.

The FX also has interchangeable insertion tubes with a simple, sealed interface to the base unit. They are available with maximum diameters of 4 mm and 6 mm, and Olympus has further increased their strength and resilience, to protect against the risk of damage. The new ‘TrueFeel’ joystick-controlled angulation mechanism also allows precise placement and control of the tip, enabling users to see exactly what they want to, and from the most advantageous position.

This is claimed to be the first industrial videoscope with interchangeable optical tip adaptors, incorporating integral LEDs, which provide very bright images but with low power consumption. Additionally, to aid set-up and operation, the FX’s ‘SmartTip’ technology enables the system to automatically recognise which tip adaptor is connected.

A removable and rechargeable internal lithium ion battery allows inspections to take place anywhere and the FX’s sealed-unit construction, with no cooling fan, is compliant with MIL Std 810F for resistance to rain, humidity, salt fog, sand, dust and electronic interference.

Explosion proof positioners

A new series of explosion-proof valve positioners is now available from Samson Controls. They are designated series 3731 and are said to feature outstanding accuracy and ease of operation, and can be configured on-site.

These positioners are housed in a very rugged enclosure which, even if an explosive atmosphere forms inside the enclosure, and ignites, will withstand the explosion and also prevent flames from spreading to the outside. They also benefit from low power consumption and can be conveniently configured on-site, or by using HART communication.

A single rotary pushbutton is all that is required for start-up, by turning to the selected parameter, and pushing to activate.

This convenient method of operation is still possible in hazardous areas because the shaft design of the rotary pushbutton through the housing is also explosion-proof. In addition the design of the enclosure, with its separate terminal compartment, allows direct cable entry or connection without spark barriers for cable conduit systems.

The large LCD display can be rotated by 180° to compensate for valve mounting angle, while the analogue control helps the positioner achieve outstanding positioning accuracy, leaving the microprocessor free to concentrate on other tasks. The additional option of fully integrating 'Expert' valve diagnostics into the positioner allows the provision of information needed for predictive maintenance.

Multipurpose ball valves

The new Swagelok SK series of multipurpose ball valves offers positive, quarter-turn shutoff for general process and control applications in fluid systems. Key features of the new valves are 316 stainless steel construction, spring-loaded seats, floating ball, low-torque operation, compact design, and a choice of manual or actuated operation.

The spring-loaded seats and floating ball are said to provide leak-tight integrity in both low- and high-pressure systems while reducing wear and extending cycle life.

Low-torque allows for easy manual operation and the use of smaller pneumatic and electric actuators. A compact envelope and standard panel mounting render the valves suitable for installation in panels.

In addition to manual actuation, SK series valves are available with standard Swagelok or ISO 5211-compliant rack and pinion pneumatic actuators. End connection choices include Swagelok gaugeable tube fitting, NPT and ISO pipe, and VCO O-ring face seal. Sizes are 1/4 inch, 3/8 in, 6 mm, and 8 mm. Service options include low-temperature and sour gas applications.

The new valves are rated for working pressures to 6000 psig (413 bar) and temperatures ranging from -40 to 302°F (-40 to 150°C).

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