Detection & Measurement System News

pH and Conductivity and the 'Elephant' in the Room


 There's an old story about a group of blind men attempting to describe an elephant by touching different parts of its body. "It's like a snake," said the one who touched its trunk. "No, it's like a fan," said the one who touched its ear.

The parable shows how we all tend to base "truth" on our sometimes limited or subjective experience, often dismissing others who have their own different truth.

While servicing a cooling tower's pH and conductivity application, we ran into a version of this parable. Before we went on site to test the equipment, we asked the plant to fill their tanks with the chemical that alerted the transmitters. Here's what happened, as told by Christina Gomez, one of our Regional Sales Managers.

"When we got there, the tanks hadn't been filled, so we couldn't test, and rescheduled a time to return. Maintenance was frustrated with us because they believed it was a DMS equipment failure.

The next time we returned, the tanks were filled, but there was a wiring issue in the pump. We could tell the pump wasn't installed properly. And despite it being a cold and rainy day, we were committed to getting the plant up and running.
We swapped out wires, and the pumps started running: The transmitters worked as designed.

Ultimately, our customer was very appreciative. Even the maintenance team agreed that the problem wasn't the transmitters. This was a good reminder that process analytics isn't fueled by guesses and opinions, but by testing and elimination. DMS is always available to you to run through our troubleshooting checklist to determine what's preventing optimal equipment performance.

Use the live chat on the bottom right of this page, or complete our Contact Us form anytime you want us to come on site to look at a current analytical issue or answer a troubleshooting question..

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