2015 Flow Control Innovation Award Winner: Foxboro S Series Pressure Transmitter — By Schneider Electric

Electric utility companies rely on pressure transmitters to help monitor and manage critical processes from combustion and steam generation to cooling and emissions control. And every one of those pressure transmitters depends, for its accuracy, on being calibrated to a range that corresponds to application needs.

Because these ranges vary so widely, utilities must maintain sizable and costly inventories—as many as six or seven transmitters in each pressure range—to ensure they have what they need. Even then, things don’t always work out. A senior instrument control specialist at a steam-generating station for a major regional utility says, “When a new project goes on-line, the operating pressures can be much higher or lower than expected.” Such pressures make accurate pressure measurement impossible until the out-of-range transmitter is replaced.

That’s why the instrument control specialist and his colleagues were so intrigued by news of the new Foxboro S Series pressure transmitters (IGP10S, IDP10S, IAP10S) from Schneider Electric. S Series transmitters offer a patented multiple calibration capability, FoxCal. FoxCal stores 11 preset calibration ranges, which cover the full pressure range of the transmitter and, for all but the most extreme turndown ratios, maintain a reference accuracy of 0.05 percent.

For the utility’s instrument team, “the capability to change the range and still maintain accuracy is invaluable,” says the instrument specialist. With the S Series, “we won’t have to worry about getting the right transmitter for each job. We can just get that one and know it’s going to work.” The installation is easy, he continues: “You just set it up, range it, and put it in line. Then, if needed, you can change the range, higher or lower, using a handheld device, or the distributed control system.”

In addition to saving time and effort throughout the station, using the S Series is expected to generate big inventory savings in the warehouse, since one S Series transmitter can do the same work, with greater accuracy, as multiple fixed-range transmitters. “You no longer have to have transmitters in all of those ranges, because this one transmitter can meet all of our range needs,” the specialist adds. By phasing out fixed-range transmitters, the utility steam-generating station and its satellite facilities can reduce transmitter inventories by two-thirds—a significant capital and tax savings.

The introduction of the S Series transmitter in spring of 2015 marked the completion of Foxboro’s four-year development effort to deliver the industry’s most versatile, accurate, and easy-to-use transmitter, explains S Series Product Manager, Patrick Cupo. The effort began when a Foxboro engineer observed that customers had to specify a calibration range for each transmitter they ordered and wondered, ‘Wouldn’t it be easier for the customer if we put all the calibration curves into one product?’

It was, and the eventual result was the patented FoxCal multiple-calibration technology used in the S Series transmitter. After the long development effort, Cupo notes, “It’s fantastic that end-users appreciate this value proposition and how it can save them money.”

Read more case studies from 2015 Flow Control Innovation Award winners here.