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The Benefits of Utilizing Data Acquisition Systems in Distillation Processing with Yokogawa

The Benefits of Utilizing Data Acquisition Systems in Distillation Processing with Yokogawa

Data acquisition systems (DAQ) have been around for a long time; however many people aren’t familiar with this technology when inquiring about distillation equipment. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are used often in chemical processing for controlling key variables such as pressure, flow rates and temperature. While most PLCs will have some sort of data logging capabilities, it is typical that the software associated with the PLC is very cumbersome. Often a programmer will have to spend a good deal of time to incorporate the basic trend information that would come standard on a DAQ system. In addition, data logging on a PLC is often just a CSV file that is dumped to a location after one run. The CSV file must then be further manipulated to show the data on a graph or chart. An actual data recorder can do a much better job with the visualization of data without hours of additional programming. A DAQ system allows the user to look back at any timeframe of data from 60 seconds to possibly several days prior. This data can also be set to be shown as trend information, bar graphs or just plain figures straight out of the recorder. A DAQ system can exist as hardware within a control panel in which it is viewed from a web browser or as external hardware with its own housing touchscreen control. Having such ease of access to these heavily customizable reports can prove to be very useful to an operator, which is why Pope likes to include both in our control systems.

Having hardware and software record data for you, as opposed to someone in the lab handwriting these bits of information, provides many benefits. Ease of access to data can be a strong point for the recorders. If a DAQ system is uploading this information to a hard drive or server, there are many ways this information can be shared and analyzed throughout a group or company from remote locations. This data can be used to ensure reliability or to improve process efficiency. Having access to this data also allows the user to make predictions in maintenance. For example, if a certain heating or cooling element starts to take more time to reach its target temperature, it could imply that that element is starting to fail. Knowing this ahead of time allows a company time to order replacements before a failure actually occurs. This avoids any sort of downtime.

Yokogawa GX20 – image source

Most DAQ systems will have similar capabilities as those mentioned above – so why do we specifically like Yokogawa’s DAQ? The two main reasons are its easy-to-use interface as well as its ability to comply with GMP environments. Yokogawa has done an excellent job incorporating universal gestures into its touchscreen technology. The same swipe and pinch motions people use every day on their cell phones are incorporated into their recorders. The display is very intuitive in addition to being very bright and colorful. There is no shortage of customization options when it comes to viewing your data. Bar, trend, and digital graphs can be set up to view whatever variables are desired. As noted, the DAQ can be connected via ethernet to view data in real-time from anywhere, or more traditionally exported on a scheduled basis. This data can also be exported in different files types to be observed in other means. In regards to its GMP capabilities, Yokogawa DAQ systems can be compliant with CFR 21 part 11. This specific compliance is the FDA’s regulations for electronic documentation and electronic signatures. Yokogawa’s advanced security add-on allows the users DAQ system to contain an encrypted data file to prevent any manipulation to the data recovered. It’s a one-way road that only allows data to be exported out in an XLS file type. This add-on also contains an onboard audit trail that tracks what changes are made, who made them and when they were made allows for full traceability.

For all of these reasons, Yokogawa DAQ systems are a great asset to distillation equipment. Next time you’re inquiring about a Pope distillation system, be sure to ask how Data Acquisition Systems can be used with your process. Our experts are available to answer any questions and provide recommendations.