Preventing Water Hammering in Food and Beverage Applications

Preventing Water Hammering in Food and Beverage Applications

Hydraulic shock, commonly known as water hammer, causes a slamming or banging noise through vibration in piping. These vibrations wreak havoc in many production systems, and are especially prevalent in the food and beverage industry, where Clean In Place (CIP) applications require quick valve closures for maximum accuracy.

Though the noise can be irritating, the true danger of water hammer is that process equipment, piping, and instrumentation are not designed to withstand repeated vibrational shock from piping. Instead of replacing expensive components, Matrix Technologies can mitigate water hammer through thorough investigation, intelligent design, and experienced equipment installation.

 Water Hammer Cause

Water Hammer is created when fluid velocity or direction changes rapidly in piping. The flowing fluid’s energy creates a transient acoustic pressure wave similar to a train wreck: if the engine stops suddenly, the other cars keep moving forward slamming into one another. This wave energy is transferred into the piping and equipment causing harmful vibrations and the hammering noise.

Stopping flow quickly in any manner will cause a pressure wave to a certain degree. However, severe water hammer occurs when the pressure exceeds the pressure specifications of the system. This wave pressure (Ps) is described by the relationship of fluid specific gravity (s), fluid velocity (v), and valve closure time (t) as demonstrated in the equation:

Pressure Specifications

For example, water flowing at 6 ft/sec with a valve closing time of 1 sec adds 360 lb/in2 of pressure to a system. If the steady state system pressure is 40 lb/in2, then the system must be designed for ten times the normal operating pressure! Thus, decreasing fluid velocity or increasing valve closure time is instrumental in reducing damage. However, in CIP applications fluid velocity is often unalterable, so only valve closure time remains. Increasing this time will help mitigate the problem, but increasing time isn’t always possible or practical.

Solution: Three Chamber Divert Valves

If investigating the process determines that the design parameters require high fluid velocities and quick valve closures, the next step is to mitigate the problem through technology using three chamber divert valves. Traditional divert valves with one inlet at the bottom of the valve fail to mitigate the pressure increase of the valve closing and can actually exacerbate the pressure increase. Instead, a three chamber divert valve helps absorb the pressure wave’s energy by always closing against the flow of the fluid. Though just as versatile as the traditional divert valve, these valves are higher priced. However, the cost is offset many times by safeguarding expensive equipment and piping.

Lastly, it is important that the valve is installed correctly. The valve can correctly divert fluids while actually being installed backwards. That is, the valve stem will close rapidly with the fluid flow creating additional vibration. It is often difficult to inspect a valve after installation, so it is essential that the craft installing the valve understands its mechanics and function.

How Matrix Helps

We at Matrix Technologies are your partners in specifying your next CIP system, ensuring that your high value process equipment is undamaged by water hammer. Our experts identify possible water hammer events and use adept industry knowledge and experience to make your next project a success.

Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To discuss a project, or learn more about our Process Engineering Services, contact Jeremy Runk, PE, Department Manager, Process & Electrical Design Department.

© Matrix Technologies, Inc.

Design Considerations for Equipment and Piping Layout: Straight Talk About Pipes

Design Considerations for Equipment and Piping Layout: Straight Talk About Pipes

This is the third in a four-part series on equipment and piping layout.  This article provides guidelines for piping and pipe rack layouts.

The first article provided guidelines for vessels, cooling towers, and compressors. The second article discussed equipment layout considerations for pumps. The series concludes with the special requirements for heat exchangers, valves, and instrumentation.

Is the shortest distance between two pieces of equipment a straight run of pipe?

Pipes connect the tanks, vessels, pumps, and other equipment shown in the equipment layout drawings—and must do it efficiently, taking into account all applicable codes and standards, client requirements, safety concerns, accessibility needs, piping stress factors, possible interferences, and the total installed cost.  In fact, piping can be a major cost factor for any industrial process installation due to material, fabrication, and labor expenses.

Smart piping layout combines the knowledge of experienced piping engineers and process engineers with a good dose of common sense.  For example, moving a pump or tank a few inches from the initial design location could eliminate an otherwise unnecessary elbow and related flanges.

Piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&ID) serve as the roadmap for routing piping between equipment, and identify the locations of related valves and instrumentation. Here are some piping design considerations that must be accounted for.

Thermal expansion and piping stress analysis

A recent series of articles by Matrix discussed piping stresses caused by thermal expansion (and contraction). Movement occurs, for example, when pipes expand as hot liquids pass through. Just as tanks and pumps are anchored to control the direction of thermal expansion, pipes may also need to be anchored to manage the effects of expansion.

Hot piping will typically have expansion loops, often located in the pipe rack, to accommodate pipe expansion. Or a series of elbows may be used to protect equipment from pipe growth.

Piping Layout Guidelines

  • Review the client’s specifications for piping and flange sizes, steam and high-pressure piping, insulation and tracing, fire systems, and clearance requirements for the operation and maintenance of equipment.
  • Arrange piping to allow full access to equipment for operation and maintenance. Ensure that equipment can be removed without also removing block valves and large sections of piping.
  • Piping for vertical vessels should be located radially around the vessel on the pipe rack side, or should align with adjacent equipment. Leave adequate space for access to platforms, ladders, manways, instruments and drop areas.
  • Horizontal vessels and heat exchangers typically have fixed and sliding ends. Design the piping accordingly.
  • Route piping to use existing structures as pipe supports.
  • Avoid long, straight runs of pipe between two anchor points, such as two pieces of equipment.

Maintaining adequate clearances between pipes and equipment is critical. The following guidelines are based on extreme conditions of heat or cold.

  • Provide a minimum vertical clearance of 7 inches between finished grade or platform decking and the bottom of piping, insulation, or support steel.
  • Provide at least 1 inch of clearance between a branch valve and handwheel, and the header insulation.
  • Leave at least 1 inch of clearance between the outside diameter of a vessel and all piping. Include flanges and the insulation thickness to determine the outside diameter.
  • Provide a minimum of 1 or 2 inches of clearance between pipes, based on the outside diameter of each adjacent flange, pipe, or insulation jacket. Provide 2 inches of clearance between a pipe and a structural member.
  • Provide at least 6 inches of clearance between the bottom of a drain valve, and grade or a platform deck, for plug removal and rodding out.

Steam Piping Guidelines

  • Provide drip legs with steam traps. These can present some serious clearance issues in a project, but are often neglected in the original piping layout.
  • Provide traps and/or drains on both sides of steam control valves, depending on the steam type.

Pipe Rack Design

  • Within a process unit, piping should be grouped in overhead pipe racks.
  • Offsite piping is commonly run on sleeper racks.
  • If pipe racks intersect, establish different elevations for lines running north-south versus east-west.
  • Pipes should change elevation when entering or leaving a pipe rack, and at each change of direction, to avoid interference with the routing of future piping and pipe rack expansion.
  • Long runs of rack piping should be guided typically 2 bents (rack support beams) from a change of direction, and every 3 bents after that. Stress-analyzed piping may have different requirements.
  • Use the appropriate type of pipe support to control expansion, such as anchors or guide supports. Insulated pipes should be designed with shoes to prevent the insulation from resting on the support steel.
  • Avoid dead legs, pockets, and gas traps wherever possible. When unavoidable, provide plugged drain valves.
  • Provide readily accessible isolation valves at process unit battery limits.

The fourth and final article in this series will review piping and equipment guidelines for heat exchangers, valves, and instrumentation.

Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, power systems engineering, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To learn more about our manufacturing operations management capabilities and manufacturing process control solutions, contact Jeremy Runk, Department Manager of the Process & Electrical Design Department.

© Matrix Technologies, Inc.

Five Reasons for Hiring an Independent Control System Integrator

Five Reasons for Hiring an Independent Control System Integrator

As an independent control system integrator, Matrix Technologies has the ability — and the duty — to keep current on the best-in-class solutions for our clients’ industrial automation needs. By partnering with our clients and as engineering consultants, we bring years of experience to use in reviewing overall strategic direction and goals, developing automation roadmaps, and implementing projects to achieve our clients’ vision.

Here are five reasons why independence matters when choosing a partner for your industrial automation engineering needs:

1. Knowledge of New Industrial Automation Solutions

At Matrix Technologies Inc., we know about new products in significant detail, as well as new opportunities and threats. One of our clients says “we want to stay on the trailing edge of the leading edge.” This perfectly captures the thought of needing to be able to offer new technology once it has been shown to be reliable and effective.

One of the key roles of a consulting engineer is to become aware, understand and test new hardware and software in system configurations prior to using it in an actual application. In today’s consumer technology sector, it’s perfectly acceptable (and even understood) that if your device stops working, “just reboot it.” In the industrial automation setting, we don’t often have this luxury. In fact, a software or hardware component that malfunctions even once a week can present serious safety, production and economic consequences that are unacceptable.

2. Ability to Bridge the Gap between Hardware and Software

The role of delivering robust and reliable technologies to our clients clearly falls on the shoulders of the system integrator. Certainly the client is involved to the extent that they are willing and capable, and the software and hardware vendors must support their own products. But at the end of the day, the system integrator is charged with filling any gaps between the two. It is rare that one vendor can provide all necessary components.

For example, we may need to configure a 3rd party PLC card to exchange data with an existing analyzer via serial communications.  Or, to deliver a higher number of points for temperature signals, we could offer a ‘universal’ analog card in place of the standard offering by the PLC vendor.

3. Economic Justification for Control System Upgrades

Rarely does a client go to the cost and effort of installing new equipment because it is technically “edgy” or “cool.” No, it has to make business sense. Part of the integrator’s job is to help the client look for solid economic justification to support control system upgrades.

Often our clients choose technologies based on what is already installed in the plant or on corporate standards. However, there are many times that a client begins to look at new options, due to a number of factors:

  • Existing equipment models and vendors become unavailable
  • Purchasing pressures to lower overall system cost, including installed project cost and long-term cost of ownership
  • Additional needs for information, regulatory compliance or connectivity

An independent system integrator can evaluate the existing equipment and recommend new solutions that make economic sense.

4. Outside Perspective and Objectivity

It’s very difficult for any vendor to objectively evaluate the features, benefits and costs of their equipment compared with a competing brand. Add to that the fact that most vendors, while quite knowledgeable about their products, usually do not do the project work to apply their products.

Taking the plant view, I would readily admit that the integrator does not gain the intimate knowledge of equipment that a plant person gains living with something day in and day out. However, that point is balanced with the experience of seeing how equipment performs across many plants, along with factors like early failures or firmware problems.

An integrator gains in-depth knowledge of the various products they support, because that is the only way they’ll be successful in applying them. The knowledge gained from these projects then becomes the basis for helping clients choose what might work well for their specific challenges.

5. Certification and training with top suppliers

Wait a minute! We claim independence and then list the vendors we partner with? Point taken, but there is a balance here. One must have sufficient knowledge to apply highly technical products. Otherwise it’s not a fair comparison. The best way to do that is to invest in a solution partnership with those vendors who are leaders in their field. In fact, having equipment provided by those who are not properly trained and supported is one of the red flags you should consider when comparing integrators. Even the best products have issues that require technical support to solve correctly and quickly. That level of technical support is given to the vendors’ solution partners.

Matrix Technologies aligns with the top few suppliers in each automation market segment. We invest heavily in these top suppliers through partnerships, training and equipment. In return, we gain insight into their strategic direction, technology, and become part of their team to deliver the best solutions to our clients.

Technology Partner
Matrix Technologies aligns with market leaders as well as innovators. We support relationships with the technology partners listed above.


Maintaining vendor independence allows Matrix Technologies to act as a trusted partner to our clients when they take a step back from day-to-day projects and need to look at the bigger picture and direction for their company.  We become intimately familiar with the market leaders in the industrial automation field in order to serve you better.  We hope that you’ll give us a try when you are considering new projects, automation strategy and current installation upgrades.

Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To learn more about our manufacturing operations management capabilities and manufacturing process control solutions, contact Dave Blaida, PE, CEO & President.

© Matrix Technologies, Inc.

Integrated Control System Streamlines Wastewater Treatment Facility

Integrated Control System Streamlines Wastewater Treatment Facility

Consolidating control over the many elements of an industrial wastewater treatment system can achieve operational efficiency and enable in-depth reporting.

Here’s how Matrix Technologies helped a major food and beverage manufacturer upgrade the integrated control system for a new wastewater treatment and spray field facility.

The Goal: Streamlined Controls for Better Operations and Reporting

A prominent food and beverage manufacturing company was building a new wastewater treatment facility at its Paris, Texas manufacturing plant to replace a deteriorating building that was structurally failing.

The new facility would feature all-new wastewater processing equipment and a new control system, since the old system had been piecemealed together over the lifetime of the facility and parts of the system were failing beyond repair.

The facility processes wastewater from the production area before sending it to the spray fields. Solids in the wastewater, such as vegetables and meat trimmings, are removed through a series of rotating spray drums activated by the flow demand from the influent pumps. Excess water is removed from the solids before they are transferred to a dumpster for removal from the site.

Fats are removed from the water in a dissolved air flotation (DAF) system, stored in a heat traced tank and periodically removed from the site. The final treatment is an automatic chemical injection based on the feedback from an analysis probe in the effluent tank. As the effluent tank level rises, treated water is pumped out to the spray heads in zoned fields.

One of the manufacturer’s most important objectives was to have one master integrated control system to manage all steps of the process, rather than independent control systems that would need to interface with one another. The company also hoped to reduce the time and effort required to fulfill EPA reporting requirements about water discharge volumes through automated operations reporting.

The manufacturer asked Matrix to design, test, and install a single, integrated control system with state-of-the-art reporting capabilities.

Finding Solutions for Project Challenges

Matrix Technologies, Inc. is a long-time provider of industrial process design and engineering services to the manufacturer. Matrix has extensive knowledge of the customer’s systems, having created many of the company’s standards and completed projects in many of its plants. Matrix also has in-depth expertise in industrial wastewater treatment operations.

Matrix engineers and software specialists understood the customer’s vision for an integrated control system that could manage equipment from different vendors. There were many challenges that had to be addressed:

  • The wastewater treatment system had to be able to accommodate a constantly fluctuating inflow from the plant, since washdowns occur at different times throughout the day and night.
  • Wastewater never stops coming from the plant, so it was crucial to keep the old system operating while the new system was being commissioned. When the new system was ready, waste was to be diverted to the new facility without stopping production in the plant.
  • Since the same spray heads were to be used, those spray heads had to be phased into the new system by zone.

Matrix worked with each of the equipment manufacturers to understand the needs and demands of each individual control system before integrating the controls for each into one controller. A ControlLogix PLC was utilized to control all parts of the process in the new building and the fields.

This controller handled the staging of pumps on the influent lift station, staging of spray drums, and DAF based on demand, chlorine injection based on effluent analysis, staging of effluent pumps, and scheduling of spray heads. Spray heads had different discharge capacities, so the system would calculate how may spray heads to open up and in which areas. To balance the discharge, the system would cycle different spray field zones based on the amount of time each spray field zone was operating.

The customer also wanted to be able to send alarms via text message to operators who might be out in the spray fields. Matrix did this directly from the PLC by sending an email message to a mass text notification system that the client already had using SMTP from the 1756-EN2T module. The server would receive the alarm emails directly from the ControlLogix and distribute the notification to the appropriate employees via text message.

Matrix used Wonderware InTouch as the Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA), given the client’s preference for the product. From these screens, plant operators can control all parts of the wastewater plant including enabling and disabling specific spray heads that were down for maintenance and disabling spray field zones if a particular area needed to be down.

 Steps to Success for Wastewater Treatment System Integration

Matrix engineers took the following steps to develop a customized integrated control solution for the customer’s wastewater treatment facility:

  1. Study of Wastewater Equipment Functional Specifications: Matrix gathered the functional specifications for each piece of wastewater processing equipment from all the different vendors to understand how each piece was supposed to work.
  2. Control Panel Design & Process Simulation: Matrix engineers designed the control panels for an integrated system, then conducted simulation testing at their own facility using the same equipment the client was installing at its plant. The customer’s team reviewed the results of the simulation test.
  3. On-Site Installation: Matrix completed the installation of the new control system and conducted final testing with the customer’s actual equipment.

The Result: Greater System Visibility, Equipment Optimization, and Manufacturing Intelligence

Enhanced system data feeds have given the manufacturer greater visibility into its wastewater treatment process and enhanced its ability to optimize the performance of its equipment. Plant operators can avoid stressing individual pumps and sprays by monitoring activity levels and better planning for routine rests and/or maintenance.

Automated reporting can now detail the number of gallons of wastewater discharged the previous day in just seconds for EPA reporting, and provide the manufacturer with valuable insights into other system metrics. From the SCADA, operators can see the daily discharge amounts per spray head and as a total value. The total energy usage is also recorded from an energy monitor installed on the incoming power.

Total running time of the equipment is tracked for maintenance purposes. The system also uses the total running time of the pumps to decide which pump to start or stop in a lead-lag configuration at the influent and effluent.

Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America, with decades of experience serving food and beverage manufacturing companies. Matrix is a Rockwell Automation Solution Partner and Wonderware Endorsed System Integration Partner. To learn more about our systems integration expertise and services for food and beverage manufacturing, contact Dave Blaida, PE, CEO & President.

© Matrix Technologies, Inc.

Safety Instrumented Systems: Complying with the ISA 84 Standards

Safety Instrumented Systems: Complying with the ISA 84 Standards

The ISA 84 standard is a performance based standard that gives guidance on how to determine the degree of risk, and design an SIS for hazards in the process industries. Not only does the standard prescribe design approaches, it also requires testing and maintenance to ensure system performance. This process establishes an SIS safety lifecycle to manage the system from cradle to grave.

Each safety risk/safety instrument fuction (SIF) is assessed on its safety integrity level, or SIL. This hazard and risk analysis identifies the required safety functions and risk reduction required for each potentially hazardous event.  SIL verification involves multiple calculations to determine the probability of failure and, therefore, the appropriate SIL range for each identified hazard.

The SIS is designed to achieve the required risk reduction for each SIF. Typically, an SIF includes transmitters or sensors that send signals to a logic controller that activates solenoids or other control elements when pre-determined upset conditions are reached in order to bring the process into a safe state. For example, a pressure that exceeds the maximum allowed will cause the SIF to activate an actuator to open a valve.

While a process control system is actively used, the process safety system is passive and only monitors certain parameters.  It takes action only when the monitored parameters exceed their limits.  Since the SIS is a passive system, testing is vital, either with built-in diagnostics, and often by manual proof testing.

Safety instrumented systems have two types of failure modes to consider:

  • Safe failure (nuisance trip) when an incident triggers a shutdown, like a signal transmitter malfunctioning high and causing a trip. There was not a process upset, but production is interrupted.
  • Dangerous failure when the monitoring system calls for a response, and nothing happens, such as when a safety valve fails to open. These consequences can be serious.

Therefore, careful testing is needed to ensure the passive monitoring devices (SIS devices) work, and the system equipment will perform as expected. The process requires thorough procedures to properly conduct testing and perform visual inspections.  Maintenance schedules should reflect the level of attention needed to keep all safety instrumented systems functioning properly throughout the equipment life cycles.

Documentation is needed for every phase—from SIL calculations to proper installation techniques to appropriate testing methods to adequate maintenance schedules. Operating and maintenance personnel may need training to ensure the system performs properly in the months and years ahead.

Your safety instrumented systems has important standards that must be met.  Matrix Technologies has the expertise to help you through every step of the process to achieve compliance with the standards.

Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, power systems engineering, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To learn more about our solutions for your safety instrumented system needs, contact Michael Johnson, PE, Department Manager, Process & Electrical Design Department.

© Matrix Technologies, Inc.