Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year from BCE

Everyone at BCE (Belilove) would like to wish all of our customers, vendors, suppliers, families and friends a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2016!

We look forward to serving our customers and working alongside our partners and employees for our mutual success and growth.

The BCE Team

Electric Heating Elements in Life Science and Analytical Instruments

Life science and analytical instrumentation are designed to determine the identity and structure of inorganic and organic liquids and gases, and then detect, separate and analyze their individual compounds.

These processes require the application of heat to the sample. Very specialized heating elements are normally required to achieve the temperatures (300 deg. C to 500 deg. C) to achieve breakdown of the samples into base components. Since sample sizes are normally very small, the heating elements must also be small, react quickly, and be easy to control.

Typical applications for these heaters are mass spectrometers (MS), high performance liquid chromatographs (HPLC), other gas chromatography (GC), flow instrumentation, toxic gas analyzers, and laboratory culture instruments.

BCE is a leading designer and fabricator of high performance, highly accurate, fast responding heating elements for life science and analytical instruments.

PID Control Process Loop Control Explained

PID Loop
PID Loop
PID control stands for proportional, integral and derivative and is a very common control mode used in process control and manufacturing. PID is used in process loops such as pressure control, temperature control, flow and level control. It is also used in robotics, as shown here.

A better description, from Wikipedia, is the continuous calculation from "an error value as the difference between a measured process variable and a desired setpoint. The controller attempts to minimize the error over time by adjustment of a control variable, such as the position of a control valve, a damper, or the power supplied to a heating element, to a new value determined by a weighted sum".

The video below provides a detailed explanation into how PID control works.

Key Components for Industrial Tank Venting and Flame Arresting

Pilot-Operated Emergency Pressure Relief Valve
Pilot-Operated Emergency
Pressure Relief Valve
(Courtesy of Groth Corporation)

Pressure/Vacuum Relief Valves are protection devices typically mounted on a nozzle opening on the top of a fixed roof atmospheric storage tank. Their primary purpose is to protect a tank against rupture or implosion by allowing the tank to breathe, or vent, when pressure changes in the tank due to normal operations.

Pilot Operated Relief Valves serve the same primary purpose as pressure/vacuum relief valves, but with better performance characteristics than weight or spring loaded valves. Lower leakage and better flow performance make a pilot operated valve the solution when the focus is product conservation, expanded tank working band, and reduced fugitive emissions. A pilot operated relief valve provides the maximum available leakage control technology as specified in the Clean Air Act of 1990.

Emergency Relief Valves protect tanks against excessive pressure caused by external fire exposure or flashes within the tank. Emergency relief valves provide higher flow capacity than standard pressure/vacuum relief valves.

Deflagration Flame Arresters are fire safety devices used to protect stored or process media from deflagrations. A deflagration flame arrester can be used on the top of a tank or as an in-line safety device where combustible gases are transported through low pressure pipe lines.

Detonation Flame Arresters provide flame protection in cases where the ignition source pipe lengths are greater than what can be protected with a deflagration arrester.

Blanket Gas Regulators can provide both pressure and fire protection for storage tanks by supplying a blanketing gas which maintains a constant positive pressure in the vapor space of a storage tank. In addition to preventing outside air and moisture from entering the storage vessel, a blanket gas regulator reduces the evaporation of the stored product to a negligible amount, resulting in product conservation and greatly reduced emissions.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Applying Thin Film Coatings Used in Medical Devices: White Paper

Courtesy of Brooks Instrument
Society has benefited tremendously from the development and utilization of mechanical devices which are implanted inside the body and are used to replace bones and joints, increase blood flow, and even measure blood chemistry. To further enhance the performance of these devices, the application of thin films to the external surfaces is an ongoing research and development interest at many companies.
Engineers have a choice of a variety of technologies to apply these liquid coatings to these often complex surfaces ranging from vacuum technology to direct liquid application. The decision on what technology to use is a function of the liquid precursor used, the mechanism of coating formation and the geometry of the object to be coated. A critical quality and process control criterion is the consistency of the coating on the surface. Fluid delivery technology can play an important part in maintaining coating consistency. Pumps and liquid flow controllers are technologies being used today. For vapor coating processes, liquid vaporization technology is a critical link in the fluid delivery system. New flow and vaporization technology is available that can be applied to fluid delivery to improve the application of medical device coatings.

Why Coating

The human body has defense mechanisms that normally treat foreign objects as a threat. This is great when the foreign body is a bacteria or a virus, but in relation to medical devices, this response can affect their performance. Certain metals and plastics have surface properties that make them somewhat compatible in the body. In many applications, these materials don’t have the proper physical properties to make them useful for a specific function. Other materials might be better from a mechanical standpoint, but are more irritating to the body. Coatings are also used to extend the useful life of the device in the body. Here are just some of the uses of medical coatings.
  • To reduce friction of the medical device in the body to improve the placement of the device and also minimize irritation and inflammation 
  • To reduce the formation of scar tissue surrounding implanted devices 
  • To encourage the growth of tissues to help the healing process 
  • To reduce the chance of infection related to the implanted device 
  • To “hide” the device from the body’s self defense mechanism 
  • To measure body chemistry in real time
  • The coatings applied to the surface can be as simple as a thin metal coating or as complex as polymer coating interlaced with precise pores that time-release drugs. 
Coating Challenges and Solutions

Applying a coating to a device that is placed in the body is a very critical process. The potential detrimental affects of the coating must be thoroughly investigated prior to official approval for market introduction. Here are some of the many challenges facing an engineer when designing techniques for coating medical device structures.
  • Complex substrate geometry 
  • Even coating over the complete surface 
  • Consistent thickness and mass of coating across a production lot 
  • Eliminating bridging across web structures 
  • Coating adhesion and eliminating post implant particle generation 
  • Applying high molecular weight active drug molecules 
  • Creating porous films that allow time release of drugs
See the entire white paper here:

AMETEK THERMOX 5th Generation THERMOX Combustion Gas Analyzer

The reliable identification of low combustion oxygen in a fired heater or boiler has always been critical to the effectiveness of the Burner Management System for proper control and safety.

Low emission burners and aggressive firing control points to achieve increased efficiency and emission reductions have driven the industry to tighter control measures. But tighter control measures also hold a greater potential for combustion events. Reducing the risk of a combustion event has become a priority and has led to the implementation of Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS). This additional layer of safety is added to the Basic Process Control System.

The WDG-V has been designed to provide an additional layer of safety with the measurement of excess O2, Combustibles and Methane and by using these measurements to ensure the safe operation of the Burner Management System.

WDG analyzers are based on a zirconium oxide cell that provides a reliable and cost-effective solution for measuring excess oxygen in flue gas as well as CO and methane levels. Information from the Gas Analyzer allows operators to obtain the highest fuel efficiency, while lowering emissions for NOx, CO and CO2. The zirconium oxide cell responds to the difference between the concentration of oxygen in the flue gas versus an air reference. To assure complete combustion, the flue gas should contain several percent oxygen. The optimum excess oxygen concentration is dependent on the fuel type (natural gas, hydrocarbon liquids and coal).

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Continental Disc and Groth Corporation Choose BCE

CDC rupture disc
Continental Disc Rupture Disc

A little shameless self promotion ... BCE is very pleased to announce that Continental Disc Corporation and Groth Corporation have appointed BCE (Belilove Company-Engineers) as their northern California representative.

Groth tank vent
Groth Pressure Relief Valve
Continental Disc Corporation is a leading manufacturer of rupture disc devices for a variety of process industries, including chemical, petrochemical, petroleum refining, pharmaceutical, beverage, food, dairy, aerospace, gases, electronics and other markets worldwide.

Groth Corporation is a global leader in manufacturing pressure/vacuum relief valves, deflagration and detonation flame arresters, blanket gas regulators, and other low pressure relief products. Groth pressure relief products have been protecting refineries, chemical processing plants, and facilities with atmospheric storage tanks for more than 50 years.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Intrinsic Safety for Hazardous Areas Explained

Intrinsic Safety Barriers are devices that limit power delivered from a safe area into a hazardous area. The possibility of an explosion is prevented, not merely contained (by a housing or a conduit). The total energy is maintained within safe limits, not electrical energy (voltage and current), eliminating an ignition from excessive heat. The use of an intrinsically safe design offer many cost and safety advantages.
  • Easy access to components - no time spent opening/closing explosion proof enclosures.
  • Safety assured due to low voltage system.
  • Use of standard wiring, cable runs, and light gauge cable.
  • Calibration and maintenance the same as if in a general purpose area.
  • No special hazardous area procedures for opening enclosures, area gas testing, or shut-down process.
  • Simple use of plug-in modules.
The document below provides an excellent explanation into Intrinsic Safety and goes far more in to the background, concepts, principles, and devices used in this approach to safety in hazardous areas.

For more information, contact:
P.O. Box 55936
21060 Corsair Blvd
Hayward, CA 94545
Phone: (510) 274-1990
Fax: (510) 274-1999

Monday, November 30, 2015

Immersion Heater Application Note - Cooling Tower Basin Freeze Protection

screw plug heaters
Screw plug heaters used as basin heaters on cooling towers.
Industrial electric immersion heaters, more specifically "screw plug" immersion heaters are used in many commercial and industrial applications for keeping gases and liquids flowing at required temperatures. Cooling towers use screw plug immersion heaters for freeze protection of the cooling tower basin.

Cooling towers are an important part of many HVAC systems, providing comfort or process cooling across a broad range of applications. They function to remove system heat by dissipating it to the atmosphere through an evaporative process. They are common in many industries such as chemical processing, power plants, oil refining, and steel mills, as well as many other manufacturing processes where process cooling is required. Another huge market for cooling towers are commercial buildings including airports, shopping malls, hotels, casinos, conference centers, and
cooling tower with basin heater
Cooling tower diagram with basin heater.
medical centers.

The purpose of a basin heater is to prevent water from freezing in the cooling tower basin during periods of shutdown or standby operation.

After the water passes from the top of the tower through the distribution system, it cascades down to the collection basin at the base of the tower structure. From the collection basin, the cool water can be pumped back into the system and begin the process all over again.

As a general rule, basin heaters are normally sized to maintain a 40°F basin water temperature at a 0°F ambient condition. When the system is running, the basin heaters should be powered off as the heater isn't required due to agitation and the heat load picked up during the cooling cycle. The heaters do need to be operational when the cooling tower enters standby or is shutdown for maintenance though. Thermostats, or other on/off controls, are used to tun the heaters on below 40°F  and when the cooling tower pumps are not running. The basin heaters are intended only to keep the basin water from freezing and not intended to act as freeze protection for other pumping or filling components.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reclaiming Wastewater More Accurately and Economically

Reagent-less chlorine analyzer
chlorine analyzer
The following document presents the use of a panel mounted, reagent-less chlorine analyzer with flow controller, amperometric chlorine analyzer, pH sensor, and controller to improve accuracy for decontamination, while lowering overall maintenance costs.

The importance of water reclamation is growing as drought continues to be a major concern in the southern and western USA. Wastewater reclamation is now a large part of the overall conservation strategy at large wastewater treatment plants.

Treatment includes sedimentation, aeration, clarification and disinfection (through chlorination). After further filtering, demineralization, and additional disinfection, the reclaimed water is then mixed with demineralized water and redistributed for irrigation, landscaping, and industrial use.

The system described below provides very accurate and reliable chlorine analysis and control, but also lowers cost by eliminating the reagent, and associated maintenance costs. A self-cleaning spray feature further reduces costs by lessening the need for inspections.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Control Valve and Control Valve Actuator Basics

control valve
Control Valve
Control valve actuators control fluid in a pipe by varying the orifice size through which the fluid flows. Control valves contain two major components, the valve body and the valve actuator. The valve body provides the fluid connections and immovable restrictor comprised a valve stem and plug that is in contact with the fluid that varies the flow.

The valve actuator is the component that physically moves the restrictor to vary the fluid flow. Three actuator types are used in control valves and they include spring and diaphragm, solenoid, and motor. As the name suggests the spring in diaphragm actuator uses a spring and a diaphragm to move the valve stem and plug.

A 15 PSI pneumatic signal enters the housing at the top of the actuator. As pressure is exerted on the diaphragm a downward force is applied against the spring which moves the restrictor. The diaphragm moves until it creates an equal but opposing force against the spring at which time the motion stops as the plug meets the valve seat. With no air pressure the restrictor is pushed upward by the spring to act as a normally open control valve. To vary the position of the restrictor and flow through the valve, a current to pressure transducer can be used to provide a three to 15 PSI signal to the diaphragm.  At 3 PSI the valve is maintained open, and 15 PSI the valve is maintained closed. Pressures between the three to 15 PSI range proportionally change the flow of the valve. For example a pressure of 9 PSI applied to the diaphragm moves the spring and valve stem to 50 percent operating range.
control valve
Control Valve

For on /off control of the valve, a solenoid is used to actuate the valve to a fully closed or fully open position. Applying current to the coil generates a magnetic field that moves the plunger downward against the return spring. With zero current applied to the coil the spring pulls the plunger upwards to the fully open position for a normally open state control valve.

Another method for variable valve positioning uses a motor and is referred to as proportional control mode. Using a gear motor attached to the valve stem a servo amplifier provides a DC control signal that moves the valve to the desired position. Feedback is achieved with the wiper arm attached to the valve stem that sends a signal back to the servo amplifier where the position is monitored the servo amplifier drives the motor until the control signal is equal to the feedback signal.

Watch the video below for an illustrated explanation.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

NEW BCE Clean Flow Electric Mini-Heater with Probe Assembly

Check out the new design mini heater designed to heat flowing gases and liquids. Designed and developed by BCE.


Baking, Drying, Laminating, Metal Working, Packaging, Plastic Welding, Preheating, Sealing, Soldering, Shrink Fitting, Synthetic Fabric Sewing.

Mini Clean Flow Electric Heater:
  • Designed for heating of clean gas. 
  • Gas flow passes over an enclosed heated body; 
  • not exposed to resistive elements (ni-chrome). 
  • All parts exposed to gas flow are constructed of 
  • 304 stainless (other material available). 
  • High temperatures and ranges are available ask a 
  • BCE engineer.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Laser Machining (LMP) Introduction

The laser machining process (LMP) is defined as the delivery of photon energy on to a target material (in the form of thermal or photochemical energy) in order to remove unwanted material by melting, blowing away, or vaporization. LMP is an alternative to traditional/mechanical machining processes that physically break bonds between materials. With this understanding, LMP provides unique advantages.

Laser machining is a local, non-contact process virtually free of any physical forces. Mechanical machining relies heavily on direct mechanical contact and strong physical force (clamping, blade cutting). Compared to the forces required in traditional mechanical machining, the forces exerted by laser machining are negligible. Aside from the lower overall impact on the work piece, another significant advantage is simplicity in designing and building holding fixtures.

laser machiningLaser machining has the ability to remove minute amounts of material, while mechanical machining does not offer the same level of precision. Resolutions of less than one micron can be accomplished. This near-infinite level of machining scale is very important when dealing with micro-structures or precious materials. Conversely, LMP is not typically a good choice when the removal of large amounts of material is required.

LMP is an extremely accurate and efficient way of removing unwanted material from small targets, making it very valuable in micro-electronics and micro-fabrication. Additionally, laser cutting of thin sheet material (typically less than less than 20mm) is fast and yields a high quality outcome.

The heat affected area produced by laser machining is very small and work hardening is practically non-existent, particularly when compared to the work hardening caused by the high heat produced from mechanical/traditional machining. The elimination of work hardening eliminates the need or consideration of any additional post machining heat treatment.

Machining hard, brittle or abrasive materials (such as ceramics) is very difficult using traditional methods. In these cases, laser machining is an excellent option.

Desired output quality can be achieved in a single process with laser machining, whereas traditional/mechanical machining may require several processes to reach desired results. Laser cutting provides clean and smooth edges with no additional prep required.

With LMP it is possible to drill holes with diameters otherwise impossible with traditional machining methods. The quality of the drilled hole can be very accurately controlled with no burrs or Dross adhesion (oxides formed from heat and agitation). Laser machining is also excellent for drilling very high quality small blind holes, machined grooves, or adding surface texture.

While traditional machining is most likely the right choice for large scale work, laser machining usually provides a greater advantage in terms of economy and efficiency for micro scale work.

Laser machining technology and laser machining processes are constantly changing and improving. New, higher powered lasers being developed in smaller and more cost-effective packages, allowing for broader adoption and greater use of LMP.  Laser machining provides manufacturers a non-contact, flexible and accurate machining process, applicable to a wide range of materials, as an excellent choice for use in micro-structures and electronics - typical of those used in analytical equipment, medical devices, and semiconductor development.

For more information on laser machining or drilling, contact:

21060 Corsair Blvd
Hayward, CA 94545
Phone: (510) 274-1990
Fax: (510) 274-1999

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ceramic Thick Film Electric Heating Elements

Need a high performance electric heater in a low mass, low profile package? Need to put high watt density a small space? Or maybe you need to distribute wattage disproportionately to an irregularly shaped part?  Thick film ceramic heater technology is the answer!
ceramic thick film heaters
Ceramic thick film heaters.

Ceramic thick film heaters are easily customized into a variety of shapes and sizes, and provide excellent heat transfer. Long life is assured by precise thermal matching between ceramics and resistor traces.

The heater ceramic substrates provide excellent hardness, wear resistance, and compression strength. The physical properties of the ceramic also provide optimal thermal conductivity and excellent uniformity. Thick film ceramic heaters are perfect for application in analytical equipment, life science equipment, mass spectroscopy, medical devices, semiconductor processing, packaging machines, and in applications ultra pure and chemically aggressive media.

Flexibility in Design:
ceramic thick film heaters
Custom shapes
and designs.
  • Virtually unlimited in shape or size.
  • Single or double sides, one or two layers per side.
  • High purity applications no problem.
  • Precise control and uniformity via custom watt densities and patterns.
  • Distributed wattage for ideal application of heat to part with minimal losses.
  • Multiple heating zone capabilities for more precise control.
  • Available in virtually any voltage, AC or DC.
  • Integrated sensors including thermistors, thermostats, thermal fuses, and printed RTD's.
  • Wide variety of lead configurations conforming to shock and vibration, vacuum and purity standards.
For more information contact:

21060 Corsair Blvd
Hayward, CA 94545
Phone: (510) 274-1990
Fax: (510) 274-1999

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Three Body Styles of Industrial Thermowells

Industrial thermowells
Industrial thermowell styles
(courtesy of REOTEMP)
There are three common shanks used on thermowells: the straight shank, the taper shank, and the step shank.

The straight shank has the same diameter throughout its entire immersion length. Because of its greater diameter and thicker tip, it usually has the slowest response time compared to other shank styles. However, the extra metal allows it to have a high corrosion and high abrasion resistance. Common installations for a straight well are tanks or pipes to have low pressure, low-velocity and/or a high abrasion process.  Although the straight shank has the best mechanical strength properties, it should not be used in high-velocity flow systems. Its larger surface area can be overly disruptive to flow, or it may fail due to vortex shedding.

The second design is the tapered shank, which has an outside diameter that gradually decreases from the point just under the process connection, down to the tip.  This taper allows for a very high mechanical strength, with a faster response time than a straight well. This design has very good vibration resistance and is commonly used and high-velocity flow applications. Common installations for a taper well are applications with a very high flow rate, high vibration, high-pressure and are high temperature.

The final type of shank is the stepped shank. Usually this type of well is a straight shank from the process connection down to about two and a half inches from the tip, with the final two and a half inches a smaller diameter straight shank. The reduction in diameter allows for a faster response - usually the fastest response out at three different shank designs. There is however a reduction in strength because of the diameter change, and less mechanically rugged as a straight or tapered shank style. Common installations for a step well are where rapid response is needed, but without high-velocity flow or where there is a possibility of being physically damaged from the process media.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Custom Heating Elements and Controls

custom heating element
Custom heating element.
Many types of industrial and manufacturing equipment, including analytical instrumentation, semiconductor, photovoltaic, medical, plastics processing, foodservice packaging, and aerospace equipment require some kind of custom electric heater, controller, and sensor.

For instance here, in semiconductor processing, you can find a need for electric heating in all these areas:  Bake platen heaters, bake/chill pedestal & platen heaters, hot chuck heaters, high temperature platen heaters, standard pedestal heaters, vacuum chamber heaters, and aluminum pedestal heaters.

A well engineered thermal system considers overall heat load, maintenance power requirements, control method, and sensor location. Working with a vendor who has the experience and background in this kind of product development is critical. Careful consideration of form, fit, and function requires the guidance an experienced applications engineer to avoid wasted time and money. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Custom Epoxy Vacuum Feedthroughs

Equipment manufacturers and scientific researchers are continually challenged with supplying power, fiber-optic, control, and monitoring cables through sealed vacuum vessels. Whether due to space restrictions, special geometries, or number and type of conductors, standard glass-to-metal or ceramic feedthroughs never quite fit the bill. Unfortunately, because of limited options, many designers are forced to compromise and go for an off-the-shelf solution.

During the past decade, new epoxy compounds have been developed that rival glass and ceramic in performance. With modern epoxy feedthroughs, any kind of standard or custom connector is sealed in a completely potted, high-performance, clear epoxy compound. Epoxy seals offer countless design options, and most amazingly, performance equal to or better than glass or ceramic. Better yet, pricing is very competitive and quick turn-around for prototypes and short production runs are not a problem.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Electric Heating Element Technical Reference Guide

Carnot engine diagram
Carnot engine diagram
(courtesy of Wikipedia)
Here’s a very handy reference document (courtesy of Hotwatt) for the application of electric heating elements in industrial and OEM applications such as extruding, vulcanizing, laminating, curing, bonding and thermoforming.

The heater application guide provides all the important technical look-up tables required to properly apply electric heaters, such as wattage calculation formulas and examples, properties of metals properties of non-metallic solids, properties of liquids and gases, suggested watt densities, estimates of wattage required, guide for heat losses, suggested sheath materials, installation,  Ohms Law, and typical wiring diagrams. The reference document is also very helpful when designing custom electric heating elements and designing a thermal system.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Virtues of a Cone Meter for Your Next Challenging Flow Application

V cone meter
"V" shaped cone meter for controlling flow.
A cone meter, also referred to as a "V Cone" (trademark of McCrometer), is an advanced differential pressure instrument, ideal for liquids, steam or gas in rugged conditions where accuracy, low maintenance and cost are important.

Cone meters operate on the same physical principle as other differential pressure flowmeters, such as orifice plates, flow nozzles or venturi tubes, using the theorem of conservation of energy in fluid flow through a pipe.

The cone interacts with the fluid flow and reshapes the fluid’s velocity profile, which in-turn creates a region of lower pressure immediately downstream. The pressure difference between the upstream side and the downstream side of the cone can be measured via two pressure sensing ports. One port is placed slightly upstream of the cone, the other is located just downstream of the cone. The pressure difference can then be calculated to determine the fluid flow rate. Because the cone is positioned in the center of the flow, the velocity profile is automatically optimized at the point point of measurement, which assures highly accurate, reliable flow measurement irrespective of the upstream flow.

The theories behind differential pressure type measurement are based on Bernoulli’s theorem for the conservation of energy in a closed pipe. The theorem states that for a constant flow, the pressure in a pipe is inversely proportional to the square of the velocity in the pipe. Simply put, the pressure decreases as velocity increases.

In real life situations, pipe flow profile is never ideal. Flowmeters are rarely installed in well developed, planned situations. Changes to piping, like elbows, valves, reductions, expansions, pumps, and tees will corrupt well-developed flow. Measuring disturbed flow is difficult for other flowmeter technologies because of the errors introduced. The cone flow meter overcomes by using its contoured shape and localized position to reshape the velocity profile upstream of the cone. As the flow approaches the cone, the flow profile flattens and becomes much better developed, even under extreme conditions. This ensures there will always be a predictable flow profile at the cone which in-turn ensures accurate measurement.

Contrary to popular opinion, cone meters measure much more than just gas. They also measure steam and a wide variety of liquids in many industries including oil/gas, chemical, electric power, food/beverage, HVAC systems, metals and mining, pulp/paper, water and wastewater treatment, and more.

The following video illustrates more on how cone meters work, how their flow control is superior to other devices, and why their design is so beneficial in today's industrial applications.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Custom Epoxy Vacuum Feed Throughs Take It All Through The Wall

custom epoxy feedthrough
Take it all through the wall!
Equipment manufacturers and scientific researchers are continually challenged with supplying power, fiber-optic, control, and monitoring cables into (and out of) sealed vacuum vessels. Whether due to space restrictions, special geometries, or number and type of conductors, standard glass-to-metal or ceramic feedthroughs never quite fit the bill. Unfortunately, because of limited options, many designers are forced to compromise and go for an off-the-shelf solution.

Epoxy to the rescue. During the past decade, new epoxy compounds have been developed that rival glass and ceramic in performance. BCE is at the forefront of this development and leverages modern epoxy's unique properties to solve your feedthrough challenges.

Here's a presentation done in 2015 about the capabilities of custom epoxy vacuum feedthroughs.

For more information visit

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

New Design Ball Valve Delivers Accurate Control for ANSI Class 150 to 1500

Trunnion Mount Control Valve
ANSI 150 to 1500Control Valve
This video demonstrates a new valve design that provides excellent control characteristics while maintaining the critical features of trunnion mount valves, namely fire-safe and metal-to-metal tight shutoff. In this video you see a 16" OpTB forged, 3-piece, trunnion mounted ball valve cycling open and closed.
Full port and POB Ball
Full port and POB Ball

Using a new technology known as “Process Optimizer Ball”, these valves surpass the flow control performance of V ported ball valves, and exceed the V port's limitation to Class 600.

Designed to provide an exceptional process control, this valve is ideally suited for industrial services where there are challenging abrasives, corrosive fluids, and have to work under high temperatures and pressures.

For more information contact:
BEC (Belilove Company) 
21060 Corsair Blvd
Hayward, CA 94545
Phone: (510) 274-1990
Fax: (510) 274-1999

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Involved with Materials and Vacuum? Know the AVS? Check Out Their 2015 Symposium & Exhibition
In 1953, a group of professionals met in 1953 in New York City to discuss high vacuum applications and problems. In 1957 the group formally named itself the Advanced Vacuum Society ( and has since then grown into multiple technical divisions and technical groups that encompass a range of established as well as emerging science and technology areas.

Today, the AVS is self-described as " .. an interdisciplinary, professional Society, AVS supports networking among academic, industrial, government, and consulting professionals involved in a variety of disciplines - chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, all engineering disciplines, business, sales, etc. through common interests related to the basic science, technology development, and commercialization of materials, interfaces, and processing area."

Each year they hold their International Symposium & Exhibition that draws over 3000 people. This year the 62nd International Symposium & Exhibition is being held on October 18 through 23 at the San Jose Convention Center. You can learn more about it here.

For anyone involved in material science, or vacuum technologies, its an excellent organization to join. BCE is proud to support the AVS, and will be exhibiting products unique to this group, namely: custom board mountable vacuum feedthroughs for quick turn prototypes, custom heater assemblies, controllers, sensors, ceramic metallization, and precision laser machining and drilling for difficult applications. If you visit the exhibition, please stop by and visit us at booth 914.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Use Electronic Pressure Controllers in Your Research Process Loop to Eliminates Droop, Boost, and Hysteresis

(re-blogged with permission from Brooks Instrument)

Gas pressure control is critical in many applications like life sciences and chemical/petrochemical research where flow is an integral part of the process. Brooks Instrument electronic pressure controllers can be used as they require flow to function. Compared to using a mechanical pressure regulator, electronic pressure controllers eliminate droop, boost and hysteresis, offering stable pressure control.

There are two configurations available for pressure control – upstream and downstream. This terminology is somewhat unique to Brooks Instrument electronic pressure controllers.

Downstream vs. Upstream Pressure Control

Downstream pressure controllers maintain the pressure downstream of the device itself, increasing flow to increase the pressure and decreasing flow to decrease the pressure. For this reason, this is called direct acting. This configuration is commonly called a standard pressure regulator. A downstream pressure controller acts very similar to a typical mass flow controller because they are both direct acting.

Upstream pressure controllers maintain the pressure upstream of the device itself, increasing flow to reduce the pressure and decreasing flow to increase the pressure. For this reason, this is called reverse acting. This configuration is commonly called a back pressure regulator in the industry.

Selecting and Sizing an Electronic Pressure Controller

The following information is required to select and size a Brooks Instrument electronic pressure controller:

  1. Process gas
  2. Maximum flow rate being used to maintain pressure -The “sweet spot” for pressure control is between 100 SCCM and 5 SLPM.
  3. Calibration pressure (maximum pressure to be controlled)
  4. Reference pressure (for upstream controllers the reference pressure is the downstream pressure and for downstream controllers the reference pressure is the upstream pressure)

As long as flow is present in a process you will typically find the need for some type of pressure control. Vessel sizes up to 30 liters commonly use flow rates up to 3 SLPM during their process steps. Brooks Instrument pressure controllers are a perfect fit for these services, offering stable pressure control with no droop, boost or hysteresis, which are commonly experienced when using a mechanical pressure regulator.

Typical Bioreactor Process Using an Upstream Pressure Controller

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fun Engineering Stuff from BCE - Static Fluid Dynamics

Many process control field devices measure pressure to determine other process variables, such as level and flow. Knowing basics principles of how process instruments work is important. Let's have a little fun with some basic fluid principles.

Question One

Suppose we were to steadily pour a liquid into the leftmost vertical tube until it reaches a mark four inches from the bottom. Given the diameters of the other tubes, how high will the liquid level settle in each when all columns are in a condition of equilibrium (no liquid flowing through any part of the system)?

Now consider the same set of vertical tubes (same diameters, same step heights) connected at the bottom by an inclined pipe. If we were to pour a liquid into the leftmost vertical tube until it reaches a mark two inches from its bottom, how high will the liquid level settle in each column when all columns are in a condition of equilibrium?

Question Two

Which of these tubes will generate the most hydrostatic pressure, assuming they all contain the same type of liquid at precisely the same (vertical) height?

(Attribution for questions to Tony R. Kuphaldt.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Basic Operation and Function of Control Valves

control valve basics
Control Valve (Cashco)

Control valves are an integral part of many process control loops. Understanding their basic operation is important for any process control professional. Here is an excellent document outlining the control valve operation, the major components, and terminology used.

This document covers:
  • Terminology
  • Control Valve Basic Designs
  • Characterization and Trim Design
  • Control Valve Technical Considerations
  • Force-Balance Principle
  • Actuator Basic Designs
  • Control Valve Unit Action
  • Actuator Benchset Range
  • Valve Positioner Basics
  • Control Loop Action
  • Control Valve Packing Designs
  • Seat Leakage

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Insertion and Inline Mass Flowmeters

inline - insertion mass flowmeter
Click image for larger view.
Need a flowmeter able to cover wide piping sizes from 1 1/2" piping and up, consider inline or insertion flowmeters. Constructed of 316 SS, with 2 RTD sensors, offering dual tip and single piece construction with no ports to clog. Thermal Instrument insertion probe mass flow meters provide reliable, accurate, and repeatable measurement of gas and liquids.

These mass flowmeters operate using a constant temperature system that employs two RTD sensors; one for sensing temperature, and one for sensing flow. The sensor is heated to a precise temperature above that of the fluid passing by. The fluid conducts heat off the sensor in direct proportion to the mass flow rate. The temperature is used to set the heat on the flow sensor and correct for changes in the fluid temperature.

The insertion meter is inserted directly into the flow stream to measure the flow rate of gases, liquids, or slurries in stacks, irregularly shaped lines, and process ducts. Unlike other probe flow meters, these devices have no apertures that can be clogged with particles or distorted by wear. Probes are manufactured using 316 SS as a standard, but corrosion resistant materials such as Hastelloy C, Monel, Inconel, Tantalum, and Carpenter 20 are also available. In addition, protective coatings are available including: Carbide, Fluorocarbon , Teflon, and Sulfinert.

Excellent for mass flow measurement for gas, mass flow measurement for water and other liquids, mass flow measurement of natural gas, landfill gas, oxygen, hydrogen, helium, and argon.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Mini Electric Heater for Clean Flowing Gases

Need a small, compact electric heater to heat flowing air or gas? Equipment manufacturers and laboratory engineers  can find themselves challenged to provide a stream of clean high temperature air or gas.

The solution? A mini “process air” heater.

These heaters are designed so that the stream of air is heated by passing over an enclosed heated metal surface rather, than directly over resistance elements. This prevents contaminants from entering the flow of gas.

Generally, these heaters have the following specifications:
  • Designed for applications where streams of high temperature, clean air is needed. 
  • Air flow passes over an enclosed heated body; not exposed to ni-chrome  resistive elements.
  • Constructed of 304 Stainless Steel (other material is available). 
  • High temperatures, ranges and temperature sensors are available. 
Electric process air heaters provide quick heat up and cool down cycles with maximum heat transfer. They are compact and available in a variety of voltages.

There are many uses for these clean air process heaters. Some general applications are laminating, drying, baking, shrink fitting, plastic welding, soldering, preheating and metalworking, and packaging.

More specific industry uses are:

  • Combustion testing
  • Flow simulation
  • Component stressing
  • Curing adhesives
  • Fuel cell testing
  • Paperboard sealing
  • Heat shrink installations
  • Forming
  • Curing adhesives
  • Sterilizion
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Medical/surgical hardware
  • Packaging materials
  • Speed drying
  • Activation adhesives 
  • Ink drying

  • Air knife in wave solder machines
  • Soldering/desoldering PC boards
  • Multi-station desoldering
  • Wafer and PC board drying
  • Heat shrinking insulation
  • Preheating process gases
  • Heat welding plastic or vinyl
For more information about these heaters, contact:

21060 Corsair Blvd
Hayward, CA 94545
Phone: (510) 274-1990
Fax: (510) 274-1999

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Safety Instrumented Systems to Mitigate Risk of Combustion Process

combustion analyzer
Here is a paper by AMETEK Process Instruments presented at the ISA Analysis Division Symposium on mitigating risk (personnel injury and/or loss of production) of the combustion process through implementing Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS).

Safety Instrumented Systems identify hazardous operating conditions and correctly respond in such a way to bring the combustion process back to a safe operating condition or implement an automatically controlled shutdown to reduce the risk of operator error causing a catastrophic event.

For more information, contact:

21060 Corsair Blvd
Hayward, CA 94545
Phone: (510) 274-1990
Fax: (510) 274-1999

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) Slurry: Measuring Density

fluid gas desulfurization
Fluid Gas Desulfurization Using
Non-contact Gamma Density Gauge
courtesy of RONAN
(click to view larger)
Application Note courtesy of RONAN Measurements

Burning pulverized coal produces sulfur dioxide (S02) gas as a by-product. To reduce S02 emissions, wet scrubber flue gas desulfurization systems (FGD's) were installed in many power plants in response to the Clean Air Act of 1990.

Low cost, and highly available, limestone is used as a reagent in FGD's. The limestone slurry scrubs S02 from the flue gas, thus reducing its escape in to the atmosphere. The resulting by-product of this reaction is mixed with air and produces calcium sulfite, which is then filtered and de-watered and reused as ingredients for wall board, fertilizer or cement.


Accurately measuring and controlling the slurry density before and after the scrubbing process is difficult because limestone slurry is very abrasive and is very caustic. Because of this, density measurement with in-line gages becomes very difficult and expensive.


Using a non-contact gamma density gauge, mounted externally to the pipe, keeps the gauge separated from the slurry and protected from the abrasives and caustic chemicals present. Using a non-contact gamma density gauges also results in lower maintenance and lower costs as exotic wetted materials are not needed. Because in this approach, density is directly measured as a mass in a given volume, and not inferred as with other volumetric technologies (inferring density, the measurement is prone to errors because of varying process variables), the accuracy of non-contact gamma density gauges is very high. Finally, no sampling of the slurry is required, eliminating the need for bypass piping.


Radiometric Measurement provides accurate and reliable solution to measure slurry density, with low cost of ownership.

For more information, or if you have a challenging density measurement application, contact:

21060 Corsair Blvd
Hayward, CA 94545
Phone: (510) 274-1990
Fax: (510) 274-1999

Friday, July 31, 2015

Integrating a Low-Flow, Metal Tube Flowmeter with Alarm for Process Analyzer Applications

metal tube flowmeter
(Click for larger view)
Diagram for using metal tube flowmeter in
plant process analyzer application.
(Courtesy of Brooks Instrument)

Using a low flow, metal tube flowmeter, with corrosion-resistant wetted parts and magnetic coupled indicator provides a highly reliable method of indication and alarm for process analyzer supply line applications.

These compact flowmeters provide high temperature and high pressure ratings, explosion-proof and intrinsically-safe certification (ATEX, CSA, IECEx and NEPSI Approved), local readout, integral control (needle) valves, and optional transmitter or alarm output.  Operating ranges are typically up to 11 litre per hour, or 26 GPH. 

This approach provides a practical and economical approach to low flow rate indication for high pressure and difficult to handle fluids.

For more information, check out the cut-sheet below:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Application Guide for Liquid Analytical Instruments by Industry

process analyzer
Process Analyzer
(courtesy of ECD)

Variables to measure:  pH, ORP, Specific Ion, Dissolved Oxygen, Conductivity & Resistivity.

Features should include: application specific sensor, replaceable electrode cartridges, various process fittings with adjustable insertion lengths, industrial housing materials for compatibility with process fluid.

Application by Industry for Analytical Instruments:

Waste Water Treatment
  • Incoming Sample
  • Primary Clarifier
  • Biological Treatment (Aeration Basin)
  • Secondary Clarifier
  • Sludge Thickening
  • Sludge Digester
  • De-nitrification
  • Chlorination and De-chlorination
  • Effluent
Petro-Chemical Processing
  • Sour water/gas
  • Overhead crude
  • Waste Water Treatment
  • Cooling Towers
Food and Beverage
  • Concentration Control
  • Waste Water Treatment
  • CIP Control
  • Food Processing Sanitation, Vegetable or Fruit Rinse Wash Water
Electronics and Semi Conductor
  • Concentration Control
  • Rinsing
  • Waste Treatment
  • De-ionized Water
  • Resin Regeneration
Metals and Mining
  • Chrome Reduction
  • Cyanide Destruction
  • Waste Water Treatment for Steel Manufacturing
  • Floatation Separations
  • Chemical Concentrations
  • Rinse Applications
Pulp & Paper
  • Liquor Recovery
  • Head Box (Paper)
  • Filtrate
  • Pulp Stock
Chemical Processing
  • Neutralization
  • Concentration Control
  • Waste Water Treatment
  • Gas Scrubbers
  • Cooling Towers
Biotech & Pharmaceutical
  • Product recovery
  • Waste Treatment
  • High Purity Water
  • Resin Regeneration
  • Fermentation and Cell Culture
Drinking Water
  • Intake Water
  • Filtration
  • Contact Tank
  • Seawater Desalination

The following guidebook details what needs to be measured and the devices to use on each application:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Electric Heaters for Heating Flowing Gases To 1000 F

Electric air heaters
Examples of air heaters
(click for larger view)
Do you need a small, compact electric heating system that can heat flowing gas or air up to 1000 degrees F.?

You may want to consider an inline "air process heater".

These fabricated (usually custom) electric heaters are self-contained, provide inlets and outlets, wiring,  sensors to measure internal temperatures, and are available in a variety of materials.

Air Process heater provide hot air and gas up to 1000oF (540oC) with infinite control by varying the voltage and air velocity supplied.

Units are fitted with a tubing “T” for convenient power lead outlet, while larger diameters can be supplied with post terminals on the sheath for direct electrical connections.

Designs can accommodate male or female NPT threaded fittings, hose adaptors, flanges, or custom fittings to your specifications.
Typical Air Heater Construction
  1. Optional stainless steel bushing. 
  2. Ceramic coil support.
  3. Resistance element.
  4. Stainless steel sheath. 
  5. Silver solder.
  6. Fiberglass insulated leads. 
  7. Epoxy seal.
  8. Copper tee.
  9. Heliarc weld.
  10. Optional brass bushing.
To properly size and select an air process heater:
  • Determine the volume of air or gas(SCFM) you will be heating. 
  • Determine temperature rise in degrees Fahrenheit(􏰁ToF).
  • Calculate wattage required as follows:
    • Watts = SCFM x delta-T oF / 3
Take into consideration the physical size requirements of your application and determine from the specifications chart for each size, the air heater best suited for your application.

Summary of Features:
  • Exit air temperatures to 11000oF (540oC).
  • Standard pressure rating is 80 psig at room temperature. 
  • May be used with recirculating air up to 250oF (121oC).
  • Designed for horizontal use.
  • For use with clean, dry air.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Epoxy Electrical Feedthroughs: A Better Choice

Epoxy Electrical Feedthrough
Epoxy Electrical Feedthrough
One thing is for sure. You don’t want to scrap a $125,000 semiconductor wafer because dust or a contaminant gas exploited your process through a faulty electrical feedthrough.  In vacuum or pressurized conditions, getting process control signals and power to and from the work environment is always a challenge. Continually evolving specifications of vacuum requirements, or pressurized manufacturing conditions, push the design limits of electrical feedthroughs.  Failure of the feedthrough is not an option.

In applications requiring ultra-clean environments, feedthroughs are always a concern.  Historically, the product-of-choice for semiconductor manufacturing applications was glass-to-metal or ceramic seals. While providing an excellent seal, they are quite limited by geometry, size, electrical shielding, and fragility. Compounding these limitations, manufacturing requirements continue to evolve making it necessary to deliver more data, provide greater signal shielding, and provide higher power. With glass-to-metal and ceramic seals, this becomes very difficult, expensive, and many times, near impossible.

Enter epoxy feedthroughs. The epoxy materials available today make it fairly easy to design feedthroughs with curves and angles well beyond the capability of glass and ceramic. Epoxy feedthroughs can be applied in many shapes and sizes, provides an excellent seal, and accommodates shielded cable quite nicely.

In terms of cost, versatility, and availability, epoxy feedthroughs have a huge advantage. With manufacturing requirements pushing for smaller and more compact equipment, design versatility of the feedthrough is very important, and something that glass-to-metal feedthroughs can not match. Equipment design conditions often require special geometries of the connector, and using epoxy as the filler makes perfect sense.

Another outstanding advantage to epoxy electrical feedthroughs are in availability. Small production runs are easily and quickly accommodated for testing and proof-of-concept.

Ancillary cost savings of epoxy feedthroughs can be evaluated on design accommodation / size reduction, and on the ability to provide cable harnesses right up to the seal, which dramatically lowers production cost. Time consuming manufacturing processes, such as soldering connectors, is eliminated.

For the most part, epoxy electrical feedthroughs can fit the bill as a better alternative to glass-to-metal or ceramic feedthroughs. Very few exceptions exist, and usually center around concern of the organics in epoxy, but again, these issues are very limited.

For more information contact BCE.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Belilove Company-Engineers (BCE) in Only 8 Seconds

Belilove Company-Engineers (BCE) is a Northern California Representative and Distributor of process instruments, analytical instruments, and industrial valves.

BCE's Applied Resistance Group provides electric heating elements and is a component designer of custom thermal systems.

Belilove Company Engineers
21060 Corsair Blvd
Hayward, CA 94545
Phone: (510) 274-1990
Fax: (510) 274-1999