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SUBSECTION C5

INSTRUMENTATION, CONTROLS, AND


INTERLOCKS
C5.100

General. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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C5.200
C5.210
C5.220

Indicators and Recorders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Preparation for and Placing in Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Checking and Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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C5.300
C5.310
C5.320
C5.330
C5.340

Controls and Interlocks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Controls. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Interlocks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Preparation for and Placing in Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Checking and Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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67

SUBSECTION C5
INSTRUMENTATION, CONTROLS, AND
INTERLOCKS
C5.100

C5.200

GENERAL

INDICATORS AND RECORDERS

Operation of a boiler requires proper regulation of


feedwater flow, air flow, and fuel flow. Instrumentation
should be provided so that the operator may have an
awareness of the operating conditions within the boiler
that affect these functions. In order to ensure safe,
efficient, and reliable operation, a list of basic instrumentation is provided below.
(a) Indicating devices may include the following, if
applicable:
(1) water level indicator;
(2) steam drum pressure gage;
(3) superheater outlet pressure gage;
(4) feedwater pressure;
(5) furnace draft or pressure;
(6) boiler outlet draft or pressure;
(7) forced draft fan discharge and induced draft
fan inlet pressure or draft;
(8) windbox pressure or windbox furnace differential for pressurized systems;
(9) economizer inlet and outlet draft or pressure;
(10) air heater inlet and outlet draft or pressure,
both flue gas and air side;
(11) fuel supply and burner pressure for oil or gas
firing;
(12) atomizing supply and differential pressure and
oil temperature for heavy oil systems.
(b) Recording devices may include the following, if
applicable:
(1) steam flow;
(2) air flow;
(3) feedwater flow;
(4) drum level;
(5) steam temperatures leaving superheater and
attemperator;
(6) air and flue gas temperatures as follows:
(a) air to air heater;
(b) air to burners;

Indicating and recording devices and associated instruments are the operators basic tools for monitoring
and controlling boiler operation; they may include steam,
air, and feedwater flowmeters, thermometers, draft and
pressure gages, and analyzers. These devices are installed to monitor normal and abnormal conditions and
are important for equipment operation, safety, and
energy conservation. Therefore, these devices should
be maintained in calibration at all times.
Modern boilers that are in compliance with accepted
practice for safe operation include interlock systems.
The interlocks establish the safe sequence for startup
and provide for a safe shutdown. They should never
be bypassed or jumpered.
Older boilers which do not include interlock safety
systems require that the operator carefully follow the
manufacturers instructions when placing a boiler in
and taking it out of service. During startup and shutdown
all interlocks including the low water fuel cutoffs and
the flame failure devices, where installed, should be
checked for proper functioning. It is recommended that
each automatically fired boiler have two independent
low water cutoffs. Moreover, at each annual outage,
the low water cutoffs should be dismantled, inspected,
cleaned, and checked for proper calibration and performance.
On older units, the meter and control boards were
located on the operating floor so that the operator
could observe firsthand the critical operating functions:
namely, proper combustion and the water level. On
modern units designed with centralized control rooms
including complex instruments, controls, and data loggers, the firsthand observation feature is unrealistic
under normal operating conditions. In these cases redundancy must be provided in the instrumentation so that
the operator is ensured of accuracy and reliability.
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C5.200

1998 SECTION VII

(c) flue gas leaving boiler;


(d) flue gas leaving economizer;
(e) flue gas leaving air heater.
(7) smoke or opacity indicator for coal or oil
fired units;
(8) flue gas analyzer, such as an O2, CO, or CO2
meter.
(c) Pulverized Fuel Operation
(1) Pulverized fuel fired boilers require instruments
for operation of the pulverizers. The instrument requirements depend on pulverizer design. Instrument requirements common to all pulverizer designs include:
(a) recorder, with high alarm, for the coal /air
mixture temperature;
(b) pressure indicator for coal /air mixture to
the burners;
(c) flow device for primary air flow;
(d) pulverizer drive motor ammeter.

Preparation for and Placing in


Service

All essential instruments must be installed, calibrated,


and ready for operation before the boiler or any of
the major equipment is placed in service. This procedure
will not only aid the operators of the boiler and fuel
burning apparatus in getting the equipment properly
adjusted, but it will also provide for a record of
performance during the period when equipment is being
placed in service.
Records of instrument readings are often invaluable
in preventing failures and determining the causes of
failures or emergency conditions after their occurrence.
A checklist of all important items to be acknowledged
by the operator during the startup provides assurance
that essentials are not overlooked in preparation for
service.

C5.220

C5.300

CONTROLS AND INTERLOCKS

C5.310

Controls

Boiler controls are used to maintain steam pressure,


load, drum water level, and fuel /air ratios at selected
conditions. Some elements may be omitted from small
installations and still provide adequate protection. Basic
to the boiler control is the control of combustion and
feedwater.
(a) Combustion Control
(1) A simple combustion control system should
have as a minimun the following controls:
(a) a steam pressure control;
(b) a subsystem for proportioning air and fuel
flows in the proper ratio to maintain safe and efficient
combustion;
(c) a furnace pressure control for balanced
draft units.
(2) More extensive systems may have additional
control subloops and manual-automatic selector stations.
There are many different arrangements by which elements of a combustion control system may be assembled
and still give the required control, but the function of
each element should be carefully checked to ensure
that adequate protection of the installation is obtained.
(b) Feedwater Control. Automatic control of the
feedwater supply for maintaining the proper steam
drum water level must be provided on modern steam
generating units where water volume is comparatively
small, and it is recommended for all natural and controlled circulation boilers regardless of size. The type
of feedwater regulation selected should be governed
by the boiler design, operating pressure, type of fuel
used, method of firing, and load characteristics.
(c) Control of Superheat
(1) Steam temperature control is very important,
not only for protection of the superheater but also for
the equipment served by the boiler. Factors that affect
steam temperature are as follows:
(a) excess air
(b) type of fuel burned
(c) slagging conditions
(d) feedwater temperature
(e) load
(2) Steam temperature control can be either by
the use of attemperators, steam bypasses, or gas proportioning dampers as well as by gas recirculation, high
excess air, or burner selection. The method utilized
will depend on the design of the particular boiler and
superheater.
(a) Attemperators. Spray attemperation is a
method of steam temperature control of superheated
steam. This method regulates steam temperature by

Additional instruments may be required for special


equipment or fuels when recommended by the equipment manufacturer.

C5.210

C5.310

Checking and Testing

A complete conditional and operations check of all


instruments and interlocks should be made by a competent person at least once each year. Pertinent information
and dates of the operational checks should be entered
in the operating log.
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C5.310

SUBSECTION C5 INSTRUMENTATION, CONTROLS, AND INTERLOCKS

diluting high temperature steam with makeup water or


condensate. Utilization of the spray attemperators is
not recommended below 10% steam flow. A temperature
detector with a low temperature alarm should be installed at the attemperator outlet to safeguard against
water entering the downstream superheater sections.
(b) Steam Bypass. Spray attemperators at the
superheater inlet are not effective during startup or at
low loads. The steam bypass system performs three
functions during startup and low loads the following:
(1) drum pressure control by a superheater
bypass to the condenser;
(2) main steam temperature control with steam
attemperation.
The bypass system is used to control throttle pressure
and steam temperature to meet the turbine manufacturers conditions during startup, shutdown, and over the
load range. The unit can, however, be started and
operated without use of the bypass system.
(d) Control Device Features
(1) Automatic devices for both combustion and
feedwater control should be arranged to failsafe in case
of failure of the control signal, driving medium, or
mechanical failure. Locking systems that maintain feedwater control valves at the position which existed just
prior to the control failure are recommended.
(2) Remote manual control of feedwater and combustion control should be provided to supplement automatic regulation so that the operator may control drive
elements during startup and during periods of maintenance and emergencies. When combustion controls are
on manual, both the fuel and air flow should also be
on manual control.

C5.320

C5.340

(4) low water level


(5) loss of flame
(6) fuel supply out of normal range
(7) atomizing fluid pressure or temperature out of
normal range
(8) steam temperature out of normal range
(b) The permanent installation of cutout devices to
render the interlocks inoperative and to permit the
operation of individual pieces of equipment should not
be provided. Temporary arrangements can readily be
installed for the purpose of testing individual pieces
of equipment.
(c) Aspirating-air or other types of lockout are required on all observation doors, soot blower wall boxes,
and oil or gas burner withdrawal openings on pressurized
furnace boilers.
C5.330

Preparation for and Placing in


Service

All controls and interlocks should be carefully


checked for ability to perform as intended with equipment being controlled, such as dampers and valves, so
that any condition of the equipment which would make
the controller or interlock inoperable may be detected
and corrected before putting the boiler in operation.
The original control setting should be made by a
controls and instrument engineer and /or Manufacturers
serviceman.
Boilers should be operated on manual control during
startup and promptly shifted over to automatic after
steady-state conditions have been reached. Manual operation under these conditions assists in training operators
for this mode of operation and for transferring from
manual to automatic control and vice versa.
Some package boilers are equipped only with automatic controls, in which case the procedure in the
preceding paragraph will not apply.

Interlocks

(a) Interlocks or safety controls, as they are sometimes called, are provided to interrupt fuel flow to the
boiler and shut down equipment in the event that unsafe
conditions develop. These conditions could include the
following:
(1) loss of FD Fan
(2) loss of ID Fan
(3) furnace pressure

C5.340

Checking and Testing

A complete check and test of all controls and interlocks is recommended at least once a year. An actual
operating check on interlocks can best be done during
a scheduled startup and shutdown of a boiler.

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