Can new clamp-on temperature sensors be used in tower control?

posted Oct 4, 2017, 3:21 AM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Oct 4, 2017, 3:26 AM ]
Clamp-on temperature sensor
At Emerson Global Users Exchange BP reported on a test comparing the new wireless clamp-on pipe temperature sensor with a type K temperature sensor in a thermowell. The test showed the clamp-on sensor measured 5 Deg.F lower than the nearby thermowell thermocouple in the temperature range from 446 Deg.F to 485 Deg.F. A typical type K thermocouple has accuracy of +/- 4 Deg.F. So the observed lower readings from the clamp-on sensor could easily be due to incorrect parameters for either the clamp-on sensor or the thermowell thermocouple. 
The clamp-on sensor have three parameters: pipe diameter, pipe material and pipe wall thickness. The thermowell thermocouple have nine design inputs. 
Having worked quite a bit with tower control both in chemical plants and in academia, it is easy to ask if it would be possible to developed a "clamp-on" sensor for distillation towers to give control engineers a low cost option to monitor the tower temperature profile and use it for advanced process control? Would be nice if some enterprising academics could follow up on this idea.

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