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Configure Your SCADA Units to Monitor and Control Oxygen Trimming

By Ziad Alezabi

February 9, 2024


In applications such as boilers, furnaces, and other industrial combustion equipment, you will hear the term "combustion process". When speaking about a combustion process, you might hear the term "oxygen trimming".

Oxygen trimming is used to optimize fuel efficiency and reduce your emissions. This is done by using real-time measurements to then control the air and fuel ratio.

Getting the right air-fuel ratio is crucial for efficient and planet-friendly combustion. If you use too little air, you won't get a complete combustion and you will produce harmful byproducts (such as carbon monoxide). On the other hand, using too much air will increase carbon monoxide and make your fuel usage less efficient.

Sensors allow you to keep monitoring your oxygen in flue gas. When the sensor detects certain feedback, the airflow rates and fuel flow adjust to maintain the air-to-fuel ratio.

What An Initial Installation Takes

A good way to automate this process and make it easy to maintain is through SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) such as RTUs (Remote Telemetry Units) and Master Stations to receive and send data all from one convenient place.

Use the following configuration to achieve automated and monitored oxygen trimming:

  1. Use oxygen sensors: Adding oxygen sensors to your flue gas ducts will measure the oxygen content and give you analog data that represents oxygen levels. This will give you important data that is needed to balance the air-to-fuel ratio.
  2. Add an RTU: An RTU will interface with your oxygen sensors and decode the data before sending it to a master station. An RTU is necessary for protocol mediation and communicating data.
  3. Decide on the best communication protocol: Look for an RTU that has the right communication protocol for your installation. Make sure you look for secure protocols such as Modbus, DNP3, etc.
  4. Find manufacturers that understand and cater to your infrastructure: You need to make sure that you have a communication infrastructure for your protocols to execute. Do you transmit your data over mesh radio? over Ethernet? Let your manufacturer help you make this decision.
  5. Set up a master station: Your master station receives data and sends out communications and controls. Make sure the software is configured to receive and display oxygen data that your RTUs monitor through sensor input.
  6. Define your custom thresholds: You will need to set your bottom and top thresholds. For example, when does a "too much oxygen" alarm activate? On the other hand, when does a "Not enough oxygen" alarm activate?
  7. Collect and store your data: Noticing recurring events will help you identify patterns to avoid or repeat. When you log your data by keeping historical data, you can see a crisis before it comes.
  8. Find a user-friendly interface: Find a manufacturer that offers a Human Machine Interface (HMI) that is easy to understand.
oxygen trimming

Optimizing Your Oxygen Trimming for Peak Performance

Once you have set up the initial monitoring and control of oxygen trimming, it's time to focus on data analysis. Take a look at your logged data and highlight patterns that can be either cut out or taken advantage of.

Your master station and RTUs assist in establishing minimum and maximum thresholds for your oxygen-trimming process. This allows you to fine-tune your emissions and identify any issues that may arise.

Let's explore how you can optimize your performance using SCADA and HDMI:

Proactive Vigilance and Maintenance

Not all maintenance is about preventing issues. Sometimes, maintenance is necessary because something went terribly wrong, causing the facility to lose time, labor, and money. It's important to stay proactive by conducting regular equipment check-ups instead of waiting until it's too late and the damage is irreversible.

Find a manufacturer that can equip you with a SCADA system that lets you foresee patterns that lead to the following issues:

  1. Are your sensors working correctly? If not, will your RTUs make you aware that they're malfunctioning?
  2. Does your communication infrastructure have channel redundancy to avoid interference?
  3. If your RTU or worse, your master station goes offline -- will it self-report? Is there a redundant unit that automatically knows to take over when the primary unit fails?
  4. Are you able to deal with unforeseen problems such as power outages? Are your emergency generators being monitored along with their backup batteries?

Empowering Operators with Streamlined Tools

Support your in-house staff by providing them with tools that make their job easier, enabling them to work efficiently and effectively. A user-friendly HMI (Human-Machine Interface) will require less training time.

When your in-house crew is supported with an easy-to-read HMI, they will make the right decisions with enough speed because they are confident that they are receiving and interpreting the right information.

One way to do this would be an advanced SCADA HMI that displays graphical representations of all your alarm statuses across your few or many facilities on one screen. A good manufacturer understands that you need to have an intuitive interface that lets you know where your problems are precisely, and what they are.

Look for the following things when looking for a SCADA manufacturer that can supply you with a good HMI:

  1. Flexible and programmable response to sensor inputs
  2. Constantly online text-2-cell/email notifications that report right to your staff's phone or computer
  3. Detailed information display that tells you what exactly is happening in full detail of what, when, and where.
  4. Nuisance alarm filters that deal with nonsense alarms so that your staff can focus on the important ones.
  5. Easily Integrable and scalable SCADA. Your SCADA units should last you about 15 years, you want to get the full life expectancy that you paid for without needing to rip your equipment out for expansions.
  6. Easy-to-read information on graphical interfaces

This will prevent back-and-forth car trips that take up your staff's time and your money in an attempt to just find out what tools you need to fix your problem.

Rigorous Compliance and Documentation

Find SCADA system manufacturers that keep you compliant with your area's codes. This can include the following codes:

  1. NFPA 86: This deals with safety requirements for industrial furnaces and ovens that use oxygen-trimming. This ensures that you meet the minimum requirement for fuel-fired operations.
  2. NFPA 70 (National Electrical Code): The NFPA 70, also known as the NEC, offers guidelines for electrical installations, including those for control systems like SCADA. Complying with NFPA 70 ensures that the electrical components of the SCADA system meet safety requirements.
  3. ISA 18.2: This standard manages alarms in process control systems, including SCADA. Complying with ISA 18.2 ensures effective handling of SCADA system alarms, such as oxygen trimming and other process variables.
  4. ISA 84 (IEC 61511): This standard emphasizes functional safety of safety instrumented systems (SIS), integrated with SCADA for critical safety functions. Compliance with ISA 84 ensures proper design and implementation of safety-related aspects, like emergency shutdowns based on oxygen levels, in the SCADA system.
  5. OSHA Regulations: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations may apply, especially for workplace safety, hazardous processes, and employee training, depending on the industry and location. Complying with OSHA regulations ensures a safe working environment for SCADA system personnel.
  6. Environmental Regulations: Depending on the industrial process and its environmental impact, compliance with regulations for emissions, air quality, and pollution control may be necessary.
  7. Manufacturer Specifications and Guidelines: Consider the specifications and guidelines from the SCADA system manufacturer. This includes installation, configuration, and maintenance recommendations for optimal performance and compliance with industry standards.

To ensure a compliant SCADA system installation for your industry and location, it's crucial to consult with the right experts. This includes engineers, safety professionals, and regulatory authorities who can guide you through the maze of codes and standards. Don't overlook this vital step!

DPS Telecom's SCADA Devices Will Take Care Of Your Oxygen Trimming Needs

DPS Telecom is a SCADA system manufacturer that allows you to grow and expand at your own rate while providing you with the same premium monitoring capabilities from day one. At DPS, we offer you the same capabilities but at different storage levels and price tags.

For example, we have multiple tiers of RTUs that will perfectly fit your budget, whatever it may be, without compromising your required monitoring power.

We also provide you with site visits, training seminars, and in-depth documentation that allows your in-house technicians and maintenance crew to get you back online in no time in the event of a malfunction.

We also provide you with 24/7 emergency tech support in the event of an RTU or master station failing. Our service and equipment are our reputation, and we want to do it justice.

DPS Telecom offers you everything you need to monitor your oxygen trimming, and we also set you up for success with our 30% off RTU trade-in program so that we can nurture a long-running relationship.

Although our RTUs end up being replaced due to newer technology being available instead of a device failure, we will trade your older RTU for a new one for a 30% discount no matter the condition.

If you would like to know more about how we can fully monitor and service your oxygen trimming with our SCADA systems, or if you have a similar but different application that you think we can monitor for you, give me a call now.

In the unlikely event that we can't find a solution working together, I will still do my best to point you in the correct direction

Call today at 1-800-693-0351 or E-mail me at sales@dpstele.com

Ziad Alezabi

Ziad Alezabi

Ziad Alezabi is a Application Documentarian at DPS Telecom. He reviews successful DPS client projects and reports on the best practices that you can use to successfully reach your own project goals.