By: Stefan Diepenbrock, Manager Public Relations, Baumer
Who would have thought it? While the wheel of innovation keeps turning faster and faster in the process industry, a more than 160-year-old technology is still used for pressure measurement today. When Eugène Bourdon filed a patent application for the “Bourdon tube” named after him in Paris in 1849, not even he expected that his technology would still be the most common method for mechanical pressure measurement, for example, in the oil and gas industry in the 21st century. Eugène Bourdon’s legacy is continued today by the Swiss sensor manufacturer Baumer, which currently is the owner of the only “Bourdon Original” label thanks to the takeover of the Bourdon-Haenni company in 2005 and its integration in the Baumer Group.
Today Baumer Bourdon Haenni is the competence center for mechanical measuring instruments within the Baumer Group, where Eugène Bourdon’s pioneering spirit is still ever-present. The Bourdon tube principle is combined with Baumer’s innovation know-how to create latest generation mechanical pressure gauges as part of an extensive product portfolio which Baumer has reliably provided for the petrochemical industry, power stations, water treatment plants, aviation and marine applications, and the food industry for many years.
Bourdon fits very well with the rest of the Baumer family
Reliability through innovation – both formed the basis of the Bourdon tube invented by Eugène Bourdon, and this principle is still valid today. It is not for nothing that many demanding customers rely on this pressure measurement method. Reliability through innovation is important in product development also to Baumer. “That’s why Bourdon fits so well with the rest of the Baumer family,” explains Sascha Engel, Marketing & Sales Manager for Process Instrumentation at Baumer.
Thanks to its many benefits, the Bourdon tube in Baumer products continues to be a popular solution even after more than 160 years. During the construction of a steam engine, Bourdon noticed that the spirally wound tube used for compressing steam was flattened during production. To correct this, the tube was sealed at one end and pressurized at the other end. As a result, the spiral started to bend up while the tube tended to regain its round cross section. Impressed by this observation, Bourdon immediately carried out several tests and ultimately invented a pressure gauge based on the path change of the end of a bent Bourdon tube with an elliptical cross section.
This simplicity makes these Bourdon-tube gauges easy to handle and maintain. In addition, they are suitable for a wide pressure range and offer a high level of accuracy (up to 0.1 % of the end value). “Because they do not require an external power source, they are not prone to voltage fluctuations or power outages,” Sascha Engel explains.
Proven Bourdon principle is updated by leading-edge quality methods
Baumer continues to rely on this proven Bourdon principle for its mechanical pressure gauges. at its production site in Vendome (France) however, this traditional principle is updated by implementing -the latest quality methods which offer decisive benefits in demanding oil and gas applications.
Bourdon tubes, which have different dimensions depending on the nominal sizes of the measuring device and the measuring range, are manufactured from long stainless steel tubes in a bending machine. The Bourdon tubes are given their typical C shape and a flattened cross section. The Bourdon tubes are welded to the connection piece of the measuring device at one end and to the tube end piece at the other end. The welded measuring systems are checked for leaks and undergo an overpressure cycle to eliminate tensions in the material. Then they are welded to the pressure gauge housing in an automated laser welding plant.
After assembly of the pointer mechanism, the pressure gauge is adjusted and checked upon compliance with measuring range and accuracy class. This is done in a patented, semi-automatic process which virtually eliminates adjustment errors. The pressure gauge is completely assembled, sealed, and packed for shipment. On request, every pressure gauge comes with a calibration certificate issued by a computer-based system with optical scanning of the pointer position. The certificates are archived and can be allocated to the measuring device at any time.
BTrace – Baumer Traceability System
At Baumer, this completely documented and traceable process is called BTrace, which stands for “Baumer Traceability System”. It describes a unique method in order fulfilment. Combined with lean philosophy, it provides the customer with measurable added value in cost efficiency, reliability, and traceability. BTrace comprises several elements:
B – as in Baumer Business System: Effective production and management processes are combined in the Baumer Business System to meet customer requirements. Strictly oriented towards lean philosophy, it creates substantial customer benefits: the right product at the right place at the right time.
T – as in traceability: Baumer offers complete transparency throughout the entire order process. The result is a fully traceable product compliant to the highest safety standards.
R – as in reliability: Baumer pursues a “zero-defects philosophy”. –In doing so, core components are continuously monitored and undergo regular stress tests. All test results are checked and -archived.
A – as in automation: BTrace offers a progressive and patented calibration and certification system. The automated and EDP-based system guarantees complete traceability starting from material acquisition to the finished product by using 3.1 certificates.
C – as in consistency: Based on lean philosophy, MUDA, KAIZEN, and optimized sourcing methods, Baumer continuously works on improvements to provide the highest quality and safety standards. BTrace ensures consistency by transparent material and product codes based on universal configurations for an easy and flexible order process.
E – as in excellence: Highest quality for the customer is the core of the BTrace philosophy – at all levels.
More information at: www.baumer.com/bourdon
The Baumer Group is an internationally leading manufacturer and developer of sensors, and encoders, measuring instruments, and components for automated image processing. Baumer combines innovative technology and customer oriented service into intelligent solutions for factory and process automation and offers a uniquely wide range of related products and technologies. The family company has around 2,300 employees with manufacturing facilities, sales offices, and agents in 37 offices and 19 countries, always close to the customer. With consistently high quality standards worldwide and a huge potential for innovation, Baumer brings its customers critical advantages and measurable added value across many industries. For further information, visit www.baumer.com on the Internet.