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Torque meter monitors turbomachinery.

A British torque meter system called Torquetronic is being used by North American gas pipeline companies to measure and help improve the overall efficiency of their turbo-machinery and to meet environmental regulations. More than 50 units are now in service on gas pipeline boosters of 10,000 to 40,000 horsepower.

Torquetronic is an electromagnetic system with no rotating electronic components that is used to replace strain gages that measure shaft power on driving machines, such as turbines, and driven equipment, such as natural gas compressors. The system was developed by Torquemeters Ltd. in Northampton, UK.

The Torquetronic system measures the shaft twist, and thus the torque, between a pair of toothed flanges integral to the coupling shaft. The stator, supported clear of the shaft from each machine, features a pair of internally toothed rings with encapsulated circumferential coils. These coils are energized to provide a low-level magnetic flux. As the shaft rotates, two sinusoidal signals are generated and carried by cable to the Torquetronic Readout Unit, which measures their phase displacement and speed. The readout unit converts this information to torque, speed, and power in engineering units. Operators use this information to determine the individual efficiencies of coupled driving and driven machines.

Torque meters are used for a variety of troubleshooting tasks, including verifying acceptance tests of new machines, identifying and rectifying mismatches between in-service conditions and peak-efficiency flow rates to improve performance, and spotting performance deterioration so that overhauls can be conveniently scheduled. European and North American utilities, including Ruhrgas A.G. in Essen, Germany, and Northern Border Pipelines in Omaha, Neb., use Torquetronic units to manage and optimize the efficiency of the compressors that drive their gas pipeline networks. In the United States, Torquetronic is also helping pipeline operators prove that they are meeting EPA limits on emissions, according to Bert Van Ekeris, an engineer at Torquetronics Inc. in Allegany, N.Y, the sales and technology representative of Torquemeters Ltd.

"Pipeline companies must show that the nitrogen oxide ([NO.sub.x]) emissions produced by their compressor stations are within the limits set by the EPA and some state environmental agencies, and the instrumentation needed to measure [NO.sub.x]. at the compressor sites is expensive," Van Ekeris said. Compressors equipped with a Torquetronic meter tell their operators the horsepower per hour their compressors run, which correlates to the [NO.sub.x] produced, at about a quarter the cost of [NO.sub.x] monitors, he said.

COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Valenti, Michael
Publication:Mechanical Engineering-CIME
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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