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Emerson Smart Wireless technology is monitoring the boiler feedwater pumps for the PPL Generation Montour power plant on Brunner Island, Pennsylvania, USA.

Emerson installed Rosemount wireless transmitters at the Montour plant to monitor suction pressure and DP across the suction screen to provide information on the condition of the feed water pumps.

A Smart Wireless network was installed at the Brunner Island plant to determine thermal efficiency of the feed water heater and the air preheating systems.

More than 25 wireless transmitters were installed around the feedwater and air heating systems.

Joe Murach, supervisor of equipment reliability, said: ‘The transmitters communicate with the gateway without a problem, even across several floors and through walls.

‘Installing wireless eliminated the need for drilling through concrete decks, installing conduit and cable trays and pulling wires.’ Each wireless device in the PPL self-organising network acts as a router for other nearby devices, passing messages along until they reach their destination.

If there is an obstruction, transmissions are simply re-routed along the mesh until a clear path to the Smart Wireless Gateway is found.

As conditions change or new obstacles are encountered, such as temporary scaffolding, new equipment or a parked construction trailer, the self-organising wireless network simply finds a way to deliver the messages.

All of this happens automatically, without any involvement by the user, providing redundant communication paths and better reliability than direct line-of-sight communications between individual devices and their gateway.

This technology optimises data reliability while minimising power consumption.

It also reduces the effort and infrastructure necessary.

Murach said: ‘We are now able to monitor more closely the condition of our valuable assets such as the feedwater pumps and determine the thermal efficiency of critical equipment.

‘The information allows us to optimise boiler efficiency and detect problems at their onset.

‘This enables our maintenance personnel to make repairs at the most opportune time rather than waiting until something fails unexpectedly.’

Emerson Process Management – Wireless

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