Refractometry Applications in Industry

In-line refractometer for industrial processing
In-line refractometer for industrial processing
Courtesy Electron Machine
Refractometry, a combination of physics, materials, and chemistry, is the process which measures the composition of known substances by means of calculating their respective refractive indexes (RI). RIs are evaluated via a refractometer, a device which measures the curve, or refraction, resulting when the wavelength of light moves from the air into and through a tested substance. The unitless number given by the refractometer, usually between 1.3000 and 1.7000, is the RI. The composition of substances is then determined when the RI is compared to a standard curve specific to the material of the substance. There are also four separate types of refractometers: digital, analog, lab, and inline process. Although refractometry can measure a variety of substances, including gases and solids, the most common category of known substances to calculate are liquids; the inline process refractometer is used to quantify the makeup of liquids.

The ultimate focus of industrial refractometry is to describe what is in a final product or output of a process step. A field which relies directly on the results of refractometry is gemology. Gemological refractometry is crucial for accurately identifying the gemstones being classified, whether the gemstones are opaque, transparent, or translucent.

Other common examples of industrial refractometry uses are measuring the salinity of water to determine drinkability; figuring beverages’ ratios of sugar content versus other sweeteners or water; setting eye-glass prescriptions; understanding the hydrocarbon content of motor fuels; totaling plasma protein in blood samples; and quantifying the concentration of maple syrup. Regarding fuels, refractometry scrutinizes the possible output of energy and conductivity, and for drug-testing purposes, refractometry measures the specific gravity, or the density, of human urine. Regarding food, refractometry has the ability to measure the glucose in fruit during the fermentation process. Because of this, those in food services know when fruit is at peak ripeness and, in turn, also understand the most advantageous point in the fruit’s “lifetime” to put it on the market.

The determination of the substance composition of the product examples listed above all speak to the purpose of quality control and the upholding of standardized guidelines; consumers rely on manufacturers not only to produce these products but also to produce these products consistently and identically every single time. Therefore, the success of commercialism, etc. is dependent on maintaining the standards for the composition of substances, i.e. industrial refractometry.

Equipment manufacturers have developed numerous refractometer configurations tailored to specific use and application. Each has a set of features making it the advantageous choice for its intended application. Product specialists can be invaluable sources of information and assistance to potential refractometer users seeking to match the best equipment to their application or process.

Analynk manufactures wireless communications equipment to connect process measurement instruments with remotely located process monitors and controllers. Their products enable customers to make connections across the room, across the plant, across the highway, and around the globe.

Defending Industrial Control Systems From Cyber Threats

binary data stream industrial control system
Industrial control system data cannot be protected by
a fence around the plant site.
Industrial control system owners, operators, and other stakeholders should be aware of their exposure to malicious intrusion and attack by individuals or organizations intent on inflicting physical damage, stealing information, or generally wreaking havoc throughout an industrial operation. The risk of intrusion, regardless of the size or type of facility, is real and deserves the focused attention everyone involved in the design and operation of industrial control systems.

The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, part of the US Department of Homeland Security, ...
serves as a central location where a diverse set of partners involved in cybersecurity and communications protection coordinate and synchronize their efforts. NCCIC's partners include other government agencies, the private sector, and international entities. Working closely with its partners, NCCIC analyzes cybersecurity and communications information, shares timely and actionable information, and coordinates response, mitigation and recovery efforts. (from

The Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) is a division under NCCIC. It has published a set of seven basic steps toward establishing a more secure industrial control system. I have included the publication below, and it is interesting and useful reading for all involved in industrial process control.

Having a fence around an industrial site, with a guarded entry gate, no longer provides the level of security needed for any industrial operation. Read the seven steps. Take other actions to build your knowledge and understanding of the risks and vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity is now another layer of design tenets and procedures that must be added to every control system. It will be a part of your company's best practices and success, now and in the future.

There are uncountable legacy controllers and communications devices throughout industrial America. All need to be reassessed for their vulnerability in the current and upcoming security environment. When reviewing your processes and equipment, do not hesitate to contact Analynk Wireless for assistance in your evaluation of our products.

Solar Powered Wireless Communications for Industrial Process Measurement and Control

solar energy power unit for industrial instruments measurement control
Analynk Model A650 Solar Power Supply
Wireless connections of process measurement and control equipment sometimes are accomplished in remote locations without readily available electric power. Analynk, as part of its full line of industrial wireless connectivity products, provides their model A650 Solar Power Supply for locations that require a small amount of DC power to operate instrumentation and an Analynk transmitter.

The power supply unit comes complete with solar panel, battery, charge controller, and NEMA 4 enclosure. Options are available to accommodate specific installation requirements. Custom units can be designed for larger power requirements and other special applications.

The data sheet below provides more detail. Share your wireless process measurement and control connectivity challenges with Analynk for effective solutions.

Process Connections - Wireless is Simple Solution to Many Challenges

industrial wireless process control connection using transmitter, repeater, receiver
Wireless connections for industrial process signals
The operating personnel at almost every facility have something to which they would like to connect. Remotely located equipment, activities that require a human to be present to monitor operation, and other scenarios are all candidates for a wireless connection. Have you ever thought that it would be helpful to know more about the current status of a remotely located piece of gear, for example, the back-up generator located across the parking lot? Budgets, time constraints, cabling difficulties, and other factors seem to continually outweigh the benefits of making the connection and gathering the data. Those days are gone. In fact, they have been gone for some time.

Industrial wireless transmitters, receivers, and repeaters can be applied in place of wires, cables, conduit, trenches, overhead supports, and all the other hardware associated with a wired installation. Data is gathered using whatever process measurement hardware you prefer, just specify commonly used output signals like 4-20 mA, or a host of others. Connect the measuring device output to the transmitter input. Locate a receiver where you want the sensor information delivered. The transmitter converts the sensor analog signal to digital and the receiver converts back to analog. The connection can be accomplished in a very short amount of time without disturbance to the real estate between the two points.

How can I tell if the wireless connection can be accomplished without interference?
The transmission is accomplished in either the 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz band, delivering adequate range and power for most facility-wide applications. Obstructions can be overcome with the use of a strategically located repeater.
What about power needed to operate the sensors and wireless equipment?
Most process sensors have very small power requirements, as do the Analynk transmission units. Power, if line voltage is not available at the location, can be provided by batteries, or combination of battery and photovoltaic. Little power needs to be provided for operation.

There may be simple and effective wireless solutions to many of your remote monitoring challenges. Don't assume it is difficult, it is not. Don't assume it is expensive, it is not. Share your ideas and challenges with the experts at Analynk. Combining your facility and process knowledge with their technology and product expertise will lead to effective solutions.