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Met-Mex Penoles has improved its sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions data collection with Smart Wireless field instrumentation solutions from Emerson Process Management.

Installation of the Smart Wireless solution on a 50m stack at the company’s lead foundry in Torreon, Mexico, was said to cost EUR9,000 (GBP7,800) less than the cost of installing a traditional wired network.

Met-Mex management had committed that the plant would reduce SO2 atmospheric pollution caused by stack emissions.

The plant also needed to provide better-quality reporting to the environmental agency.

Prior to the installation, the plant estimated the amount of sulphur emissions coming from stack based on a number of sources.

Emissions were inferred using the opacity meter and an SO2 analyser on the stack, along with an annual flow measurement taken by a contractor who climbed to the top of the stack.

This person was exposed to extreme heat and emissions during the measurement.

All calculations were done manually and the data was not entered into the plant control system.

Plant management needed more accurate emissions measurement to improve the quality of reporting to the environmental agency.

The management team also wanted the data to be available to the control system.

To meet these requirements, Met-Mex installed a Smart Wireless network and field instruments including a Rosemount Annubar flowmeter onto the stack at 25m above ground with a Rosemount wireless differential-pressure flow transmitter to measure stack gas flow, as well as a Rosemount wireless pressure transmitter and two Rosemount wireless temperature transmitters.

The self-organising network sends data every five seconds to a Smart Wireless gateway, which is installed outdoors approximately 65m away.

The gateway is integrated with the plant’s DeltaV digital automation system.

Plant staff use Emerson’s AMS Suite predictive maintenance software to manage the new devices, including configuration, diagnostic checks and monitoring alarms and alerts.

Juan Manuel Perez, smelter plant instrumental department chief at Met-Mex Penoles, said: ‘The new data allows us to take preventative actions within our processes to reduce emissions instead of shutting down the plant to avoid fines.

‘A plant shutdown can cost up to EUR74,000 an hour,’ added Perez.

Met-Mex chose wireless for the stack flow project because of its convenience and avoidance of expense, time and the difficulty of installing wired monitors on the stack, which is subject to extreme heat as well as the elements.

Perez continued: ‘The equipment is working reliably and has reported on-time and precise information to the gateway and DeltaV system.

‘The information is also shared with the control systems over the Penoles plant broadband communications network and is being used to support reporting and reductions of SO2 emissions,’ he said.

Met-Mex intends to expand its wireless network by installing more devices to tap into additional data from nearby processes, making further operational improvements.

The company expects that this will bring total installed cost savings to EUR30,000 compared with installing wired instrumentation.

In addition to the Smart Wireless solutions already installed at Met-Mex, Emerson offers a range of wireless field instrumentation and plant operations equipment, including Fisher position monitors, Rosemount Analytical and Machinery Health Management devices and native wireless interfaces to DeltaV or Ovation digital automation systems and Smartstart wireless services.

Emerson Process Management

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