Temperature Monitoring Critical in Fuel and Energy Industries

Within industrial settings such as petroleum plants, nuclear reactor facilities and industrial chemical processing plants, there is a key element in common: Strict and meticulous temperature monitoring within vital aspects of their operations. Vigilant temperature monitoring is paramount to the safe and successful functioning of these entities.

The job of monitoring and managing temperatures within an industrial setting can be of grave importance. This is especially true in a situation where faulty temperature readings or failure to properly control temperatures can lead to injuries, fatalities and in some cases, catastrophes. Unfortunately, we’ve been made aware of the disastrous results when errors or negligence occurs within situations where temperature monitoring is critical. And the aforementioned industries give us some examples.

Oil Refineries

The process of refining oil, for instance, requires that the many hydrocarbons within crude oil be separated and distilled. This demands that different temperatures be achieved for each hydrocarbon to be “boiled out” of the crude oil separately. In order to effectively perform this function, extremely accurate temperature measuring is essential. This, of course, depends upon precision temperature sensors that send readings to reliable temperature indicator equipment on a consistent basis.

When temperature monitoring mistakes occur within this industry, it can be deadly. Such was the case in California in 1997 where an explosion and fire occurred at an oil refinery there, killing one and injuring 46. One of the main failures cited during the investigation was, “poor design of the control room and temperature monitoring systems.”

Nuclear Power Plants temperature sensor

One of several critical temperature-sensitive aspects within a nuclear power facility is to keep the core stable. Temperatures must be continuously monitored, and cooling rods are used for temperature control. These rods are lowered or raised into the core to decrease its temperature if there is any threat at all that it might overheat. If a reactor should overheat, a meltdown would occur and this would be catastrophic. A thermocouple is a temperature measuring device, and specially-insulated thermocouples are used to measure reactor temperatures.

We have learned from the 1986 Chernobyl case in Russia and the 1979 Three Mile Island case near Harrisburg, Pa., how devastating the consequences can be when mishaps occur within nuclear plants. The importance of responsible temperature monitoring within these types of facilities is absolutely critical.

Chemical Processing Plants

Chemical plants rely on precise temperature gauging not only in the process of developing chemicals, but also during their storage. It’s common knowledge that chemicals – some by themselves and some when mixed with others – are very volatile and ignitable given the right circumstances. Most of these processing plants operate in a series of chambers or “units,” that are connected by pipes. In many cases, each different unit is assigned a specific temperature in order to successfully mix and produce chemical compounds.

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