Pioneers in process analysis
We installed our first online process analyser back in 1978 at Dow Chemical.
Since then we have come a long way and installed more than 10,000 units worldwide. And since day one, we never shied away from a challenge: We have installed customised process analysers in the desert, on boats, and in dangerous environments, always focusing on understanding the needs of the customers and being close to them. Read more about our story below.
We love customers who challenge us – Your challenges are our success stories
Our customer is considered one of the largest chemical manufacturers in the world and is a long-time user of Metrohm process analysers. The existing relationship with this company for both Metrohm laboratory instrumentation as well as our line of process analysers meant they knew exactly who to turn to with quite a challenging application request: Metrohm Process Analytics. Among the myriad products they produce globally is propylene oxide (C3H6O, PO), a highly hazardous, hygroscopic, and flammable substance used in the production of various important chemicals.
One of the main issues in PO production is to keep moisture content to a low level to avoid side reactions. Our customer came to us with an immense challenge which no other vendor could approach: reliable measurement of low moisture level in PO. Their previous system of measuring moisture relied upon a set of FT-IR analysers, which required much maintenance, subsequently leading to a lot of downtime. The hazardous and hygroscopic nature of PO necessitates online analysis for the most precise measurement of moisture content and short response times. Performing laboratory analysis is slow and requires difficult sample treatment for accurate results. The low moisture levels present in PO need "real-time" monitoring, due to the high production throughput which necessitates short response times in case of process variations.
Considering the hazardous, flammable properties of PO, a robust explosion-proof (ATEX) process instrument was offered by Metrohm Process Analytics to fulfill the customer requirements. The NIRS XDS has a build-in ATEX housing and it can measure up to 9 independent sampling points. The measurements were made online thanks to an industrial grade flow cell, which allows to precisely monitor low levels of moisture (a few tens of ppm at a precision of ±4 ppm). Results are communicated in real-time (every 30 seconds) through 4-20 mA to customer PLC.
After performing a feasibility study with our instrument at the customer’s laboratory, a direct comparison was made between the results from IR and NIR in the process environment. The signal to noise ratio (S/N) for our NIRS instrumentation is much better than their previous IR, which is an added benefit for such low-level moisture determination. Metrohm also provides Karl Fischer titration as a reference analysis to ensure the spectroscopic results are accurate. Customer laboratory practice was also improved with valuable input given by Metrohm titration experts. This industrial process analyser is now monitoring several different sampling points from the distillation tower to the final product (finisher).
Our customer had a really challenging problem and now they can safely monitor in real-time the low water content in PO. The combination of a single, explosion-proof online process analyser enables the end-user to reduce chemical treatment, improve product quality, and increase profits.
Our customer, located remotely in the desert, is a major crude refinery and chemical manufacturer which produces various products ranging from gasoline to fine chemicals. Gasoline production is a highly hazardous operation requiring strict adherence to safety standards (IECEx) and constant monitoring of key process parameters such as Octane Number (ON). Providing dependable process data in a timely manner means that downstream process units (catalytic reformer) can be optimised quickly, increasing profits while reducing operational costs.
In the refining process, reformate is considered to be a high value stream, as it has a high octane number. During catalytic reforming, the process has to be constantly controlled to perform chemical adjustments which optimise the quality of the reformate. Prior to shipping and selling this product, strict compliance to the “American Society for Testing Materials” (ASTM) standards is required to qualify the reformate end product for release on the market. Therefore, precision is highly important for “real-time” monitoring of the process. Additionally, this process is carried out in a hazardous zone which requires a robust, explosion-proof solution, with short analysis times (“real-time” analysis) to provide enough accurate data to monitor any process changes. The current process analyser at this customer site was a Fourier Transform Near-Infrared Spectroscopy analyser (FT-NIRS), which was not reliable, requiring a high degree of maintenance and troubleshooting. Also, due to a poorly designed sampling system, the analyser was producing erroneous results that could not be trusted for normal operation.
Metrohm Process Analytics can provide a full solution for almost any application. For this customer, an analyser in combination with a high-performance preconditioning system was needed to ensure reproducible sample delivery to the process near-infrared (NIR) analyser. The preconditioning system consists of several inline filtration devices and temperature-controlled flow cells enabling consistent measurements continuously with high accuracies. The preconditioning system also guarantees the correct sample take-off point as well as providing a port for validation sample collection. This complete package makes it possible to fulfill all of the ASTM requirements. Other requirements for industrial analysis, such as robust online flow cells for long time operation as well as an explosion-proof (ATEX) housing, were also integrated into this challenging process monitoring solution. Expert local support and trainings from Metrohm sales organisations were given the top priority in this remote location to ensure proper operation in such a dangerous process environment, covering maintenance guidelines and interpretation of the data provided by the online process analyser.
Our customer can now safely control the production of reformate via online process monitoring using a turn-key solution developed specially by Metrohm Process Analytics for their challenging needs. Online measurements in a hazardous area using a remotely controlled explosion-proof analyser makes the working environment safer for everyone. A quick response to any process upsets minimises downtime and optimises production efficiency. From the customised process analyser to application method development and together with on-site trainings by our experts, we are your partner for any challenge.
Our customer, who is a major global player in the chemical industry, has a long-standing relationship with Metrohm Process Analytics and knows who to trust for their challenging non-traditional application requests. In this situation, they needed to find a robust solution to accurately measure a medication which treats fish for lice (delousing agent) in a seawater bath on an actively working boat. Simple.
Ensuring correct dosage of the medication as well as monitoring the water quality and waste is essential for compliance with government standards. Fish are introduced to seawater baths containing precise amounts of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) medication for short periods of time for delousing. This removes any attached parasites, which can then be filtered from the water. Underdosing the bath would leave parasites still attached to the fish, resulting in a low-quality product or even leading to death of the animal. However, overdosing can cause oxidative stress in the fish, the bleaching of skin/scales, and death as well. Therefore, a quick analysis and response time is needed for accurate treatment. The fact that this analysis must be carried out on an active boat in remote areas meant that our online process analyser must be rugged enough to withstand everyday usage with unstable footing and rocking, swaying motions. The limited space on board meant that a small footprint was absolutely necessary. Process control in this situation can mean the difference between life and death of the animals.
A rugged solution, custom-fitted for fast analysis on the ship was proposed to this customer by Metrohm Process Analytics – certainly not a typical industrial application nor location! Furthermore, our team of expert chemists were able to develop an online analysis method now reduced to merely 60 seconds between measurements.
Currently, our customer is able to save more money through several improvements: less medication used due to more accurate dosing, less product loss from inaccurate medication, and overall improved practices owing to the fast analysis times we provide. Our long-standing relationship with this customer allowed us to present a custom-built solution that any other vendor would say no to. From industrial analysis to remote process monitoring, we offer an integrated process solution, not just an analyser.
Get to know our products
Metrohm Process Analytics has over 40 years of experience with online process analysis.
Our family of Process Analysers brings laboratory analysis online for continuous monitoring and control. Our robust and time-tested analysers cover titration, ion chromatography, and near-infrared spectroscopy for different applications.
We're here for you, around the clock, around the globe
Metrohm Quality Service encompasses more than just analyser service.
From your first contact with a sales engineer to consultation sessions and emergency services, Metrohm Process Analytics is there for you. Metrohm is present in over 50 countries worldwide and is thus able to provide on-site service and training in the shortest time possible in your local language.
Experience you can trust
More than 10,000 units installed and commissioned worldwide are a testament to our expertise.
Our solutions for process control and process monitoring are trusted by leading companies from all industries, such as petrochemistry, chemicals, semiconductors, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, surface finishing, power/energy, mineral extraction, or wastewater treatment.