Instrumentation is the branch of science that deals with measurement and control in order to increase efficiency and safety in the workplace.
An instrument is a device placed in the field, or in the control room, to measure or manipulate flow, temperature, pressure and other variables in a process. Instruments include but are not limited to valves, transmitters, transducers, flame detectors and analyzers. Instruments send either pneumatic or electronic signals to controllers which manipulate final control elements (a valve) in order to get the process to a set point, usually decided by an operator.
Control instrumentation includes devices such as solenoids, Electrically Operated Valves, breakers, relays, etc. These devices are able to change a field parameter, and provide remote control capabilities.
Transmitters are devices which produce an analog signal, usually in the form of a 4-20 mA electrical current signal, although many other options are possible using voltage, frequency, or pressure. This signal can be used to directly control other instruments, or sent to a PLC, DCS, SCADA system or other type of computerized controller, where it can be interpreted into readable values, or used to control other devices and processes in the system.
Instrumentation plays a significant role in both gathering information from the field and changing the field parameters, and as such are a key part of control loops.
Instrumentation can be used to measure certain field parameters (physical values):
These measured values include:
In addition to measuring field parameters, instrumentation is also responsible for providing the ability to modify some field parameters.
Some examples include:
|Solenoid||Physical Location, Level|
|Circuit breaker||Voltage, Current|