Metrohm Process Analytics: Pioneers in Process Analysis

We installed our first online process analyzer 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 customized process analyzers 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

Metrohm Process Analytics provides customized solutions for online monitoring of critical parameters

> An explosion-proof analyzer?

Metrohm Process Analytics for online process monitoring for industrial analysis

> On-site support in the desert?

Metrohm Process Analytics for customized solutions in industrial analysis and process control

> Your analyzer ... on a boat?

Monitoring low-level moisture in propylene oxide in real-time

Customer

Our customer is considered one of the largest chemical manufacturers in the world and is a long-time user of Metrohm process analyzers. The existing relationship with this company for both Metrohm laboratory instrumentation as well as our line of process analyzers 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.

Challenge

One of the main issues in the 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 analyzers, which required much maintenance and 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.

Solution

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 analyzer is now monitoring several different sampling points from the distillation tower to the final product (finisher).

Conclusion

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 analyzer enables the end-user to reduce chemical treatment, improve product quality, and increase profits.

Crude oil refinery in the desert

Customer

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 optimized quickly, increasing profits while reducing operational costs.

Challenge

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 optimize 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 analyzer at this customer site was a Fourier Transform Near-Infrared Spectroscopy analyzer (FT-NIRS), which was not reliable, requiring a high degree of maintenance and troubleshooting. Also, due to a poorly designed sampling system, the analyzer was producing erroneous results that could not be trusted for normal operation.

Solution

Metrohm Process Analytics can provide a full solution for almost any application. For this customer, an analyzer in combination with a high performance preconditioning system was needed to ensure reproducible sample delivery to the process near-infrared (NIR) analyzer.

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 organizations 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 analyzer.

Conclusion

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 analyzer makes the working environment safer for everyone. A quick response to any process upsets minimizes downtime and optimizes production efficiency. From the customized process analyzer to application method development and together with on-site trainings by our experts, we are your partner for any challenge.

Fish delousing process on an active boat

Customer

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.

Challenge

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 analyzer 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.

Solution

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.  

Conclusion

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 analyzer.

Installed applications of Metrohm Process Analytics for online monitoring and industrial analysis

Download the Applications Book

Learn more about our scope of expertise: from ammonia in saturated brine and fertilizers to zinc mining and purification – we've done it all.

Our Applications Book gives a broad overview of applications sold in the past 40+ years to the process industry. With more than 10,000 process analyzers installed globally, you can be sure to find a solution to your challenge inside.

Click here to download the Applications Book

White Paper on online monitoring in propylene oxide production

White Paper: Our expertise in Propylene Oxide production

Download our White Paper on our analytical solutions for Propylene Oxide (PO) production and learn more about the several production methods that exist to produce PO, with and without co-products.

This White Paper also discusses the advantages and benefits of online chemical analysis, and several online and inline process application solutions.

Click here to download the White Paper

Downloads

Our customers' voices

"We found the Metrohm NIRS XDS to be extremely robust and reliable. Maintenance is no issue. Production has been improved significantly. The technical support from Metrohm was outstanding. Developing the necessary models was done quickly!"

Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Christoph Kleimeier, PAT, Dow Chemical, Stade, Germany

We're here for you, around the clock, around the globe

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.

> Metrohm Process Analytics Quality Service: We are here for you

Metrohm Process Analytics process analyzer installed at industrial plant

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, e.g.:
  • Petrochemistry
  • Chemicals
  • Semiconductors
  • Food and beverages
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Surface finishing
  • Power / energy
  • Mineral extraction
  • Wastewater treatment
Metrohm Process Analytics solutions for process control and process monitoring

And what is your challenge?

We'd love to help you solve your analytical challenges. Let us know and we'll get in touch.

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