The Latest in Moisture Sensor Technology

As maintenance costs increase, production capacity maximized and with equipment efficiency becoming more and more important remote online sensor technology is increasingly being recognized as the way forward in the 21st Century.

This has been addressed this issue by merging the features of the current onsite and lab based equipment to develop the ANALEXrs range of online sensors designed to provide plant engineers and maintenance managers with real time, continuously monitored testing and analysis data for critical plant and equipment. Water contamination in critical fluids certainly produces problems; additive depletion, oxidization, bacterial growth, component wear and corrosion to name but a few, but the ultimate issue is critical failure of your plant!

The industry standard method of reporting water content as a percentage of the volume, or parts per million although extremely useful is not where the testing should stop. For example 100ppm in certain fluids may be acceptable, but in others be teetering on the edge of failure. For this reason an extremely useful method of measuring water content in fluid is as a percentage of the known saturation value. The moisture sensor is designed to detect the moisture content of water in oil up to the oil's saturation point. This is the amount of water the fluid will dissolve before the saturation point is reached and the fluid can no longer absorb water. The sensor expresses this moisture content as % relative humidity - 100% is the saturation point. Above this saturation point, and indeed close to the saturation point in some fluids additional water will sit in the fluid as either water droplets or form an emulsion.

This water can be very detrimental to systems:

* Free water can react with the oils additive package rendering the oil no longer suitable for the application.

* Emulsion can reduce the film thickness in bearings (and other moving parts) greatly accelerating wear.

* Free water can settle in machine sumps, pistons, and filter housings where it will cause corrosion.

Suitable for use with slow, medium and high speed diesel engines, gas turbines, gearboxes, compressors, generators, vehicles and other oil filled plant, the sensors help to increase productivity, reduce costs and improve profitability.

Moisture sensors can be used in Hydraulic Fluids, Lubricating Fluids, Dielectric Fluids and Fuel Oils, they need not be in the oil itself, and are of use in the headspace of a piece of machinery. For example, in a gearbox High moisture levels through a failed breather to the airspace above oil will dissolve into the oil - so this is a good place to monitor moisture - before it gets into the oil!

With self-diagnosing, digital and analogue outputs, the new sensors can be easily integrated into existing Condition Monitoring and operating control systems. Communicating with existing systems using industry standard 4-20ma, RS232, RS485, CAN and 802.11b WLAN outputs these sensors are very simple to include in your current maintenance system. Ideal for extreme conditions the units are protected to IP65 or IP67. The moisture sensor head will only allow water molecules to penetrate its special polymer coating. The sensor monitors the dielectric property of the polymer layer, this having been affected by the water absorbed into the polymer. It reports this water content as a percentage, and hence the humidity of the oil. Once all available oil molecules have water molecules dissolved within them (100%) the oil can no longer dissolve water so any additional water will stay as free water.

Calibrated to ISO/IEC 17025 and NIST & NPL traceable the Kittiwake moisture sensors are accurate, extremely competitively priced at and correlate very closely with the market leading sensors of the moment.

Not seen before in this type of sensor is the internal processing power of a smart sensor head which negates the requirement for separate units to analyze results. Moisture Sensors are designed to screw directly into the oil flow and are constructed from high grade stainless steel which makes them extremely robust and perfect for use in almost all conditions. The inherently stable nature of the materials and technology employed in the sensor negates the need for periodical recalibration, thus the sensor can be permanently installed, and is considered maintenance free.

Moisture sensors form part of a range of new online sensors for condition monitoring and maintenance experts. The range of online sensors includes, Moisture, Total Ferrous wear debris (PPM), Metallic Particle (Ferrous and Non Ferrous), Total Water in Oil, Viscosity and Oil Condition (Oil Quality units).

Further articles :
The future is On-line Sensor Technology
2. Remote Oil Analysis for the Marine Industry
3. Remote Oil Analysis for the Oil and Gas Industry

May 2010

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