Mark it down: 2019 is going to be the year I keep my New Year’s resolution. And, all it took was a little technology. Could such simple swap work for you?

Like most, I’ve made annual resolutions that I’ve all but abandoned while the talk bubble is still drifting above my head. In 2019, I tried to keep it simple: I wanted to keep the public spaces in my life (my car, my office, my home) so tidy I would show them to anyone, from the president to Brett Favre to my grandmother, with five minutes notice. (I’ll admit, my grandmother is one most likely to pop over unexpectedly, but a girl can hope.) I’m not really a messy person, but I have a tendency to let clutter build up. A stack of mail here, a collection of brochures there, and before you know it, a mess.

The answer lay with long-established technology that I only recently added to my home: a robotic vacuum. Let me tell you: if you do not have one, it cured this clutter bug. Admittedly, sorting through the clutter that had built up was onerous at best. But, watching my little disk-shaped vacuum drawing up crumbs, dust and dander makes it easy to put away those clutter-producing items so I can run it each day.

The ease with which my behavior changed when this transformative technology came into my home got me thinking about process heating technologies. Are there any that could affect such a change on, say, a refinery-wide scale? Turns out, there are. In an article from Honeywell Thermal Solutions, we learn about EnLink, a seasoned player in the oil-and-gas field. EnLink’s problem wasn’t clutter: it was aging instrumentation on a hot oil heater that limited the capacity of its Bridgeport plant. Like many other processors, EnLink was able to keep the heater online and meet most — but not all — of its goals with the equipment it had. It wasn’t until the plant upgraded to a full burner safety management system that the plant personnel realized how much the idiosyncrasies of the heater performance were holding back operations.

Also, Chris Meyer of Emerson Automation Solutions explains how WirelessHART devices use self-organizing mesh techniques to create an effective instrumentation data transmission network. Using radio signals instead of WiFi means the data can pass easily through floors and walls. Individual device transmitters transfer signals between each other as necessary to reach the gateway. In plants that struggle to maintain connections to WiFi networks, WirelessHART could provide the same mindset change about instrumentation that my robotic vacuum did about cleaning.

Elsewhere in this issue, Rolf Kragseth of Despatch Industries notes that most people look at an oven and think of it primarily as a structural, insulated sheet metal assembly with a heater inside. Instead, he says, it is better to think of an oven as a high performance temperature control system with an insulated box around it. Would you manage drying and heating processes differently if you thought of your oven in that light? Kragseth offers advice on how you can.

Technologies for reducing NOX emissions are the focus of an article from Matthew Konkle and James Griffin of Dürr Systems Inc. Abatement and control technology ranges from low NOX burners to and burner tuning to catalytic candle filtration. Get familiar with these technologies to have a better understanding of your options.

Recovering flash steam rather than venting it to atmosphere allows process plants to avoid energy losses from process steam systems, says Kelly Paffel of Inveno Engineering LLC. Recovering flash heat allows plants to minimize heat and energy losses as well as reduce emissions. Paffel describes three techniques that can be used in the first part of a two-part series.