Automatic Sampling Systems


Diagram of typical automatic sampling system

An in-line automatic sampling system is very important in many applications for crude oil, condensate, and other liquids. A properly designed system contains many elements, all of which must satisfy the requirements of API MPMS Chapter 8.2/ASTM D4177 and ISO 3171., the industry standards for automatic sampling practices.

Static mixers and power mixers homogenize pipeline flow content. Samplers directed by sampler controllers extract representative samples from the flow into sample receivers. Flow meters, meterizers, or weight scales further communicate with the sampler and sampler controller for precise automatic sampling.

Static and Power Mixers

To create homogenous flow, selecting the appropriate pipeline mixer per flow conditions is crucial. KAM is the only company to manufacture all mixers specified in API 8.2, allowing KAM to offer mixing solutions for every flow scenario. These include two static mixers, the KAM SMP Static Mixing Plate and the KAM SMS Static Mixing Spool; and a power mixer, the KAM ML Measurement Loop.

The SMP offers the simplest design available, installing between two flanges in the line, and is ideal for LACT units and other systems with relatively high flows. The KAM SMS is a more robust static solution for applications with lower flows and more difficult mixing requirements such as high viscosity crude oils. The KAM ML offers accurate mixing at any flow rate and creates the ideal measurement environment for both watercut and automatic sampling.

Samplers and Key Components

KAM IAS™ Isokinetic Automatic Sampler

Samplers can be pneumatically or electrically actuated, and KAM offers, respectively, the IAS (Isokinetic Automatic Sampler) and E-IAS Electric Model to cover those needs. Both use one of the simplest probe designs in the industry. This gives them the same high performance and reliability with multiple installation options.

Sampler controllers direct when samples are taken. Controllers determine a rate of sampling based on the size of the receiver, the size of the sample grab, and the target size of the sample batch.

Flow meters allow the controller to count barrels and order samples proportionally to the flow.

Meterizers or weight scales confirm receiver volume and automate the process of switching flow to an empty receiver after a receiver reaches capacity, making them essential to preventing overflow.

 Maintaining Sample Integrity

Once each batch is complete, composite samples are tested on site for water content or sent to laboratory for analysis. It is important to maintain the integrity of the samples prior to lab measurement and to mix samples immediately before measurement. API MPMS 8.3 specifies the use of power mixing incorporated into a sample receiver or pot which can be provided by the KAM CSM Circulating Sample Mixer. Water content in samples can be determined with the KAM KF Karl Fischer Moisture Analyzer, by centrifuge, or by distillation.

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