Fiber Length Calculator

Need help estimating the maximum recommended distance between your analyzer and insertion probe or flow cell? Let Guided Wave’s Process Grade Fiber Length Calculator do the math for you. Simply pick a wavelength.

How to Choose Pathlength: for APHA Color

APHA Color Scale

The APHA/Platinum-Cobalt color scale is described in ASTM D1209. The ASTM method is an off-line manual laboratory method. The original test design required an observer to compare the color of a product to a known standard, and then judge the “color”. This color scale ranges from 0 to 500. The lowest value of 0 is referred to as water white. A value of 500 is distinctly yellow. (Above illustrates the contrast from 0- 100 range.)

Two Different Pathlengths are Recommended for APHA Applications

If the user needs to measure the whole range, then we recommend a 30 mm pathlength for either an SST Insertion Probe or MultiPurpose Flow Cell. This allows for long enough pathlength to measure the lightly colored samples and but short enough to still collect light for the dark samples. Conversely if the customer is interested in measuring the lightly color samples with scores less than 300 units, we recommend the 50 mm pathlength. The longer pathlength allows better precision for distinguishing between lightly colored samples.

Still Need Help Selecting a Pathlength?

Guided Wave selects a pathlength for the sample interface that provides the best solution from a technical and economic standpoint. Finding the balance between the signal-to-noise of the measurement and cost to manufacture, as well as accessibility for cleaning/maintenance by the user is always Guided Wave’s priority.  For more information contact us.

New Intern Joins from US Department of Defense

Guided Wave is proud to announce that Keaton Wakefield has joined our team as a software development intern. Keaton is part of the United States Department of Defense Skills Bridge program which links service members nearing the end of their enlistment with internships in industry. Keaton is currently working with Dr. Ryan Lerud and Dr. Steve Elam on improving the functionality of the OmniView software used with the NIR-O Full Spectrum Near Infrared Analyzer. According to Dr. Elam, “Keaton is a quick learner and is helping to bring new ideas to our development process. In just a few short weeks he has already contributed code improvements that will be included in our next software release.”

Keaton is currently attending Community College at American River College in Sacramento California. He is working for a degree in Software Engineering. Upon completion of the degree, Keaton plans on getting a job with a process automation company.

Thanks for your service Keaton and welcome to Guided Wave!

Corporate Fellow Dr. Terry Todd Retires

Guided Wave recently announced the retirement of Corporate Fellow Dr. Terry Todd. Terry was celebrated with a farewell party at the end of 2019 where the entire staff thanked him for his over 27 years of dedication to the company. Susan Foulk, Guided Wave President, stated: “Terry’s vision, knowledge and leadership have been instrumental in our success and we sincerely thank him for all he has done and taught us throughout the years.”

With more than 40 years’ experience in infrared molecular spectroscopy and radiation physics, Terry specialized in optical and spectroscopic instrument design for industrial applications. At Guided Wave since 1992, he was responsible for developing new NIR and UV-VIS analyzer technology and applications. While at Guided Wave Terry was at the forefront of all new product development and introduction, from the introduction of the Hydrogen Peroxide Monitor in 1997 to the release of the NIR-O spectrometer in 2018.  During this time (1998) Terry also re-engineered the Single-Sided Transmission (SST) process insertion probe to improve the optical efficiency and further enhance its ruggedness and reliability. Elements of these improvements were awarded US Patent #6,043,895 (March 2000). This pursuit of continuous improvement demonstrates a fundamental aspect of Dr. Todd business practices. To this day, the SST remains one of the most copied, reliable, rugged, and efficient process insertion probes available and is still producing robust sales after more than 28 years in the marketplace. Author of several technical publications and conference presentations, Terry also taught NIR spectroscopy to Guided Wave customers and sales representatives.

Terry received a BS in Mathematics from Northern Illinois University in 1969. He followed that with an MS in Physics from Penn State University in 1972 with his thesis on the emission spectrum of CO2. In 1976 he was awarded his Ph.D. in physics also at Penn State. His emphasis was on molecular physics, infrared high-resolution spectroscopy and optics. His thesis was titled, “Spectrometer Design, Emission Spectrum of CO2 and Secondary Wavelength Standards”.

Between finishing his Ph.D. and joining Guided Wave in 1992 Dr. Todd held and completed the following positions and accomplishments:

  • 1976-1978   NBS-NRC Post Doc National Bureau of Standards, Gaithersburg, MD
    • 1st IR Spectrum of CS
    • Constructed Diode Laser Spectrometer
  • 1978-1980   Laser Analytics (Spectra Physics), Lexington, MA
    • Diode Laser Spectroscopy/Instrument Development
  • 1980-1991   Exxon R&E Co., Florham Park, NJ
    • Instrument Development
    • Laser Pyrometer
    • NIR Octane Monitoring
  • 1991-1992  Todd Enterprises, Inc., Budd Lake, NJ

Terry plans to spend his retirement enjoying more time with family and pursuing his many hobbies, one of which will be working on the restoration of his Opel sedans and coupes. He also plans to continue with liquids processing (winemaking, maple syrup, and apple cider). Please join us in congratulating Dr. Terry Todd on his illustrious career and newfound retirement!

Curtis Mau was promoted from Sr. Product Development Engineer to the role of Manager of Engineering / R&D and will fulfill many of Dr. Todd’s previous responsibilities.

Time to start packing up 2019?

Looks like Dr. Terry Todd has some experience…

We caught Terry helping with the end of the year shipments.

Terry Todd, Ph.D., is Corporate Fellow for Guided Wave Inc. With more than 40 years’ experience in infrared molecular spectroscopy and radiation physics, he specializes in optical and spectroscopic instrument design for industrial applications. At Guided Wave for the last 27 years, he is responsible for developing new NIR and UV-VIS analyzer technology and applications.

What he does off-duty remains a mystery, but this time of year there is always a bit of speculation.

Wishing you a holiday season packed full of joy!

Thank you for your business, loyalty, and support this past year. May you and your family be of good cheer!
All of us at Guided Wave (and Santa too)

Holiday Hours

Please note our offices will be closed on December 25th for Christmas and January 1st, 2020 for the New Year!

Guided Wave Releases Petrochemical Market Outlook in Fall 2019 Customer Newsletter

Cover of the Guide Post Newsletter Fall 2019

Guided Wave’s fall issue of its customer newsletter, “The Guide Post” was recently released. This issue focuses on current trends in the petrochemical, chemical and polymer marketplace.

Guided Wave can assist users in measuring various polyurethane compounds such as: Di-isocyanates, polyols, % water, and certain toxic by-products. Some relevant examples for these components include: %NCO, MDI, TDI, DEG, MEG, ETO, and phosgene. This issue covers the ability and power of online process monitoring, along with Guided Wave’s NIR analyzer systems, to well-equip the marketplace in various applications to meet the challenges of these petrochemical, chemical and polymer market trends.

In this Issue of The Guide Post Newsletter:

  • Market Trends – Petrochemical,Chemical and Polymer Outlook
  • Application Focus: Fast Reliable Measurements of Polyurethanes
  • Feasibility Study – Monitoring of Styrene, Acrylonitrile and MEK for Online Control on a Styrene Tower 
  • Sample Interface – Custom, Compatible, Certified Probes and Flow Cells
  • People – New Technical Staff Added to European Office
  • Education – How to Select Fiber Optic Cable for Spectroscopy
  • Product Update – M412 Retrofit to NIR-O – Saves You Money

Join Our Newsletter Mail List

To receive future copies of The Guide Post join Guided Wave’s mail list. The latest editions will be sent to you via email.

See Back Newsletter Issues

Guide Post Guided Wave Summer 2019 Issue

Guided Wave’s summer issue of its customer newsletter, “The Guide Post”  focuses on current trends in the oil and gas marketplace.

The spring issue of Guided Wave’s customer newsletter, “The Guide Post”  focuses on technology and discusses ways that Guided Wave has been able to continually solve challenging problems and help customers maintain their competitive edge.

Guide Post Spring 2019 Newsletter

Canadian Registration Number (CRN) Certified Probes for Process Spectroscopy

A Canadian Registration Number (CRN) is a number issued to the design of a pressure vessel or fitting by each province or territory of Canada. The CRN identifies the design has been accepted and registered for safe installation and use. As of October 2019, Guided Wave has submitted more than 3,500 different design configurations for our probes and flow cells to be CRN certified.

CRN certified probes and flow cells are engineered by Guided Wave to meet the strict safety and application requirements for the Canadian petrochemical, refining, and polymer markets. By coupling these probes with certified (CSA, ATEX, IECEX) process analyzers, Guided Wave can offer complete process monitoring solutions to Canadian customers. We currently have CRN registered designs for Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec. However, complete process monitoring solutions for all provinces can be implemented – contact us for more information.

All CRN probe sales include hydrotest and x-ray test results.

Gold Braze Single-Sided Transmission Probe and Gear Driven Extractor

NIR-Infrared spectroscopy with both DG-NIR and FT-NIR is now possible with the family of CRN certified in situ transmission probe and extractor.

Drawing Single-Sided Transmission (SST) Process Probe
Figure 1. Anatomy of an SST Process Probe

CRN Probe Features

  • Corrosion resistant construction
  • Rugged and vibration resistant design
  • Sealed against ambient moisture infiltration
  • High optical throughput for low noise spectroscopy
  • Temperatures to 300 °C
  • Pressures to 2000 psi or 138 bar
  • Higher pressures are available on request

Optional CRN Certified Accessories

The Single-Sided Transmission probe is available with an Extractor Assembly under a single CRN. This extractor accessory allows for a CRN probe to be easily adapted to different kinds of process installations. Additionally, the Extractor Assembly allows for quick and easy removal and servicing of probes, and avoids costly shutdowns by allowing the process to continue while the probe is offline. The standard flange on the extractor enables it to be installed into common process pipe configurations.

Certified Probes for High Pressure and Temperature Applications

The family of Heavy Duty probes are a special class of SST probes designed to withstand up to 2400 psi. The Heavy Duty probes can be constructed in 304, 304L, 316, 316L, and Hastelloy, with up to a 50 mm path length. 

CRN Certified Flow Cells for NIR Spectroscopy

Guided Wave’s family of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 mm pathlength flow cells are hydro-tested to demonstrate operation at 8100 pounds of pressure. This high safety factor has enabled Guided Wave to seek CRN certification for the flow cells in Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec.

Simple, Serviceable Flow Cell Design

Key elements of the CRN Certified flow cell (MPFC) design are simple, serviceable o-ring seals, the clean-out port, high optical efficiency, slip jointed conduit-ready connections, sapphire windows, a clean flow pattern, and o-ring sealed optics to prevent ambient moisture infiltration. The flow cell probe can be field disassembled for o-ring service and reassembled without changing the optical pathlength, a crucial parameter for repeatable measurements. The multi-purpose flow cell now boasts a dual seal at the sapphire “window-to-process” interface. This doubles protection for the expensive internal optical lenses.

Operating Range of CRN Flow Cell

The certified Multi-Purpose Flow Cell operates over the following pressure and temperature ranges:

  • Temperatures to 300 °C (o-ring material dependent)
  • Pressures to 1000 psi (o-ring durometer dependent)
  • Available in five standard pathlengths 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 mm

CRN Certified Probes Compatible with Bruker and ABB Spectrometers

The CRN Certified probes and flow cells are manufactured by Guided Wave to facilitate full integration with any fiber-optic spectrometer manufacturer. The family of CRN certified devices are fully compatible with the Matrix-F FT-NIR analyzer, ABB’s full line of FT-NIR spectrometers, and AIT’s optical analyzers. The market-leading optical efficiency of our sample interfaces will improve the optical performance any spectrometer when connected with 400 to 600 micron fiber optical cables and SMA 905 or FC connectors.

Need Help Purchasing a CRN Certified Spectroscopy Probe or Flow cell?

Contact a Guided Wave sales representative to determine the best CRN Certified configuration for a process sample interface.

Feasibility Study: Styrene, Acrylonitrile and Methyl-ethyl-ketone (MEK) for Online Control on a Styrene Tower

water cooler bottles

Styrene acrylonitrile resin, known as SAN, is a copolymer plastic consisting of styrene and acrylonitrile. Due to its superior thermal resistance, it is widely used in place of polystyrene. By weight the relative composition is usually 70-80% styrene and 20-30% acrylonitrile. Mechanical properties and chemical resistance of SAN can be improved with a larger acrylonitrile content, but the compromise is a yellow tint to the normally transparent plastic. Product from this plastics family includes food containers, water bottles, kitchenware, computer products, packaging material, battery cases and plastic optical fibers. Styrene gives the plastic a nice glossy finish. Styrene revenue is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 9% from 2019 to 2025, according to the Global Newswire network. They report an increased demand in the manufacture of various products, using acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), expanded polystyrene, and polystyrene as the contributing factors.

Getting the correct blend of copolymers to achieve the desired physical properties can be a challenging task for process engineers in the polymer industry. Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy is a convenient and cost-effective tool for monitoring reaction processes in situ to ensure that the correct chemical ratios, average molecular weight, and physical properties are within specifications.

When transparency is a concern, the process engineer has several options. If polystyrene’s mechanical properties are insufficient, the process engineer can tailor a specific formulation of styrene-acrylonitrile copolymers or SANs (Figures 1 and 2). These copolymers typically contain between 20–30% acrylonitrile. Due to the polar structure of acrylonitrile, SANs copolymers have better resistance to breakdown in hydrocarbon streams than polystyrene. SAN copolymers also have a higher softening point, rigidity, and impact strength, yet maintain their transparency.

Figure 1. Molecular Structure of SANs
 Figure 2 Molecular Structure of Styrene, Acrylonitrile, and MEK
Figure 2 Molecular Structure of Styrene, Acrylonitrile, and MEK

As the acrylonitrile content of the SAN copolymer is increased, there is an improvement in the toughness and chemical resistance. The trade-off is a greater difficulty in molding and potential yellowness of the resin. SANs copolymers are also used in polyols processing to strengthen other polymer types. Monitoring stream composition during processing allows manufacturers to maintain product quality.

By incorporating a near-infrared (NIR) spectrometer and in situ process probe, a process engineer can quickly identify when the mixture of component concentrations are out of specification. The NIR region of the electromagnetic spectrum measures the overtone and combination bands of the C-H, O-H, and N-H fundamentals absorption bands. These spectra are unique to the molecule thus permitting the process engineer to make real-time corrections and ensure that product quality is maintained. In the case of SANs, NIR spectroscopy can be used to monitor the concentration of Styrene, Acrylonitrile, and MEK molecules

Today the use of DG-NIR analyzers continues to improve the accuracy and speed of measurements for polymer feed concentrations that can be achieved with both Guided Wave analyzers; the NIR-O full spectrum NIR analyzer or the ClearView db photometer. By collecting these data, process engineers in the polymer plant can make informed decisions on process optimization to ensure product quality.  

The proof of concept study presented in this application note illustrates that Guided Wave process analyzers can detect changes in concentration as little as 0.1 %wt.

Petrochemical, Chemical and Polymer Market Trends

Petrochemical, Chemical and Polymer Market Trends 2019 to 2020

Shale gas has currently become more available in the global marketplace. As a result, petrochemical companies; especially the polyurethane and polymer manufacturers, are taking advantage of the more affordable shale gas feedstocks. These world-wide companies are investing to build or expand shale-gas projects in the USA due to the competitiveness of using shale gas. According to the American Chemistry Council in May 2019, over $204B of capital project investment are linked to shale gas and are ongoing in the USA.

Another key market trend is the growth of the global functional polymer industry. It is expected to expand significantly due to bio-based polymers. These polymers are derived from agricultural feedstock, such as potatoes and corn. This feedstock is lowering the dependency on petrochemical products like, polybutylene succinate (PBS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyethylene (PE), and polypropylene (PP).2

With the lower raw material costs, investments to create innovative and competitive products for the marketplace are increasing. This investment change in the marketplace has global companies increasing their budgets for building new plants, and expanding or improving their facilities to accommodate the increase in their production capacities.  

Petrochemical, Chemical and Polymer Industry Opportunities:

  • Energy Savings – The demand for lightweight materials are rising in automotive, medical, commercial and aerospace industries as well as 3D applications, due to the reduced costs of production and energy savings. The lighter weight the material, the less energy is used to make it, use it and ship it.
  • Sustainability/Carbon Capture- As the need for sustainability grows, so do emerging opportunities to create more sustainable products for further reduction of greenhouse emissions during production (i.e. solar panels, lightweight wind blades) as well as bio-degradable end products.
  • Innovative Technology –The push for smaller, faster and cheaper technology like circuit boards, nanotechnology, better touchscreens, longer battery-life and faster computing are driving the demand for higher performing plastics to accommodate all these industries.
  • IoT (Internet of Things) – In fact, BI Intelligence predicts that global manufacturers will invest $70 billion on IoT solutions in 2020, which is up from the $29 billion they spent in 2015. IoT solutions in the plant include having sensors placed on equipment in factories so that data can be collected about the performance of the machine and systems. This enables factory operators to see when a piece of machinery may need repair, and also provides insight on how to make the entire system work more efficiently. 

Using Online Spectroscopy Measurements in the Petrochemical, Chemical and Polymer Industries

With these marketplace growth areas, many customers in the petrochemical, chemical and polymer industries will benefit from using NIR spectroscopy in several keyways:

  • Better Reaction Times
  • Increased Product Quality/Yields
  • Improved Safety
  • Creation of New Products and New Formulas

Guided Wave can assist users in measuring various polyurethane compounds such as: Di-isocyanates, polyols, % water, and certain toxic by-products. Some relevant examples for these components include: %NCO, MDI, TDI, DEG, MEG, ETO, and phosgene.   

Have questions about a Petrochemical, Chemical or Polymer application? Contact the experts at Guided Wave, we’ve been providing solutions to this industry for over 35 years. 

Fast Reliable Measurements of Polyurethanes

polymer products raw materials

Polyurethane was first developed as a replacement for rubber at the beginning of World War II. Because it was a versatile substitute for scarce materials the applications for this new organic polymer increased rapidly. This trend remains evident today, as processing techniques continue to be developed, and new formulations and additives created, polyurethanes can be found in virtually everything we encounter. From apparel to appliances, marine to medical, polyurethanes are used to create cost-effective, comfortable, supportive and long-lasting industrial and consumer products.

polyurethanes adapt for challenging problems

The nature of the underlying chemistry allows polyurethanes to be adapted to solve many challenging problems. Consequently, production of all types of polyurethanes is greatly expanding worldwide with customers like INEOS, Evonik, BASF, Wanhua and Indorama. With this growth, measurement and control are more important than ever in meeting business production goals. Many aspects of polyurethane production can be measured using near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy including the measurement of OH number of polyols. When considering final product measurements, polyurethanes can really be considered to be an amide or an ester of carbonic acid (carbamate). The use of remote spectroscopic measurement methods provides analyses in real-time and minimizes the need for performing laboratory measurements. These methods can be applied in reactor systems for control of important properties during the reaction and to determine the endpoint of the reaction thus adding to the value and cost savings. The application note, “Measurements in Polyurethanes” describes the potential uses of Guided Wave hardware and software tools for key measurements in polyurethane production using fiber optic-based NIR spectroscopy.

Types of Polyurethane:

  • Flexible polyurethane foam
  • Rigid polyurethane foam
  • Coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers (CASE)
  • Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)
  • Reaction Injection Molding (RIM)
  • Binders
  • Waterborne polyurethane dispersion (PUDs)