Kodiak Controls Acquires Kelburn Engineering Company

Kodiak Controls Acquires Kelburn Engineering Company

It is with great pleasure and excitement to announce that Kodiak Controls has acquired Kelburn Engineering Company.  This acquisition allows Kodiak to expand our products and services on a larger level as well as provide Kelburn Engineering Company’s customers with a more extensive product offering. Together our companies share over 100+ years experience in manufacturing, engineering, and measurement & control solutions so we are very pleased to offer our shared expertise to new and existing industries!

Starting June 1st, 2018, our joint companies will conduct business solely as Kodiak Controls, Inc. located at 734 Oakridge Drive, Romeoville, IL 60446. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Honest. Loyal. Fun.

A Guide to Pressure Gauge Calibration for Your Brewery’s CO2 Regulator

A pressure gauge out of calibration can be extremely frustrating for any industry. For microbrewing, a gauge out of calibration can literally offset the entire regulator system which controls the CO2 levels for the brew.  Depending on the severity of the offset, the gauge could be pointing off of zero when there’s no pressure in the line or the gauge could potentially read 1-5% above or below the range it should really be reading. This can become quite an issue for beer brewers because the consistency of the beer depends on an accurate PSI reading.  Without a precise reading, the beer could be foamy or flat and let’s be honest, nobody wants that.

To avoid dealing with an inaccurate pressure reading on the line, we suggest getting your gauges NIST certified yearly to keep up with calibration standards.  If you don’t want to go through process of sending out your gauges for this certification, we suggest calibrating them yourself in house with an already NIST certified digital gauge. Both of these processes will leave you with a certified, accurate, well working pressure gauge that keeps your CO2 regulators reading accurately.

For those of you who don’t know what a NIST traceable certificate of calibration is, let’s take a moment to fill you in. A NIST certificate is a document stating the pressure instrument falls within the accuracy stated by the manufacturer. It is approved by The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) because the pressure instrument is tested against another, more accurate, NIST traceable pressure instrument. The NIST certificate is essentially a way to get 100% certainty by NIST standards that the pressure instruments you’re using falls within specification.

Now let’s take a deeper dive into the two ways we suggest getting your pressure gauge certified:

Sending Out Your Pressure Gauges for NIST Certification:

One way to be sure the pressure gauges on your CO2 regulators are accurate is to send out your current gauges for calibration. Kodiak performs NIST Certificates of Calibration daily for many of our customers and we offer expedited 1 day turnaround if you’re in a hurry. We test your pressure instrument against our NIST traceable digital gauge at 5 points (or more if requested) spanning the entire scale of the pressure instrument in question. So, for instance, on a 0-1000 psi digital gauge, the gauge would be tested at 200psi, 400psi, 600psi, 800psi, and 1000psi. The reading of the pressure instrument must fall within the accuracy range stated by its manufacturer when tested against our NIST traceable pressure gauge.

Calibrating Your Pressure Gauges In House:

If you are looking for a more inexpensive way to calibrate your pressure gauges, you can purchase an already calibrated digital pressure gauge and perform the calibration process in house using a DIY process specialized for brewers.  Depending on your desired accuracy, Kodiak offers the MG-9V, MGA-9V, and MG1-9V series digital pressure gauges manufactured by SSI Technologies. All three models are battery operated and can be NIST Certified by Kodiak prior to being shipped to you. If you are not sure which model is right for you, feel free to contact us.  We would be happy to walk you through the benefits of each model and help you select the best gauge for your brewery.

If you have any questions regarding calibration or want to know what kind of beer is our favorite, contact us! We’d love to hear from you.



A Simple Way to Keep Up with Temperature Calibration Standards for Thermometers

If your company deals in pharmaceutical or food/beverage manufacturing, then you are most likely aware that there are stringent standards to keep up with in regards to the temperature measuring instrumentation in your facility.

Traditional methods of calibrating temperature instruments to meet standards can be cumbersome and time consuming. These standards include requirements from organizations like NSF, USDA, 3A, NIST, and now FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act), which is a FDA reform and now mandatory to follow.

Ice Bath: An age old way of testing your thermometer’s accuracy is by placing the stem in an “ice bath.” Most people do this by filling a glass to the top with ice and slowly adding cold water, ensuring the water stays about 1 centimeter away from the top of the ice. Once the ice has been stirred and set for a couple of minutes, you place the stem of the thermometer in the center of the glass.

The preciseness behind preparing a properly made ice bath is critical to ensure your thermometer is being calibrated accurately. If your method fails to keep the bath at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, your bath can be off by several degrees deeming your calibration insufficient all together. Some other risks involved in the ice bath method are maintaining accurate ice to water ratio, ensuring your water has been rid of any dissolved minerals that could affect your freezing point, and holding your thermometer at a correct angle for accurate calibration.

Boiling Water: Another traditional method for testing your thermometer’s accuracy is by using boiling water. Once the water is at a rolling boil, the stem of the thermometer is placed into the water for one minute. While the thermometer is still immersed in water, the dial needs to be adjusted to the temperature listed in that manufacturer’s instructions.

As I’m sure you can guess, this method is a somewhat dangerous way of calibrating your thermometer as the potential for burn injuries are present. There are also many important steps you have to take to ensure your water is at a proper boiling point for your area. If you are not using distilled water or boiling at the appropriate temperature for your location, the atmospheric pressure in your area may skew your reading by as much as 5 degrees.

New & Reliable Method

If you are past using traditional methods and are looking for an easy-to-use tool for calibration, Tel-Tru Manufacturing makes a series of “Check-Set Calibrators” that are compliant with regulatory requirements and meet manufacturers’ recommendations.

Check-Set:  A Check-Set is a highly accurate, portable, NIST certified calibrator that will test a thermometer’s accuracy by +/- 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit. It comes in three separate series (I, II, IV) designed for your desired set point(s) needed for calibration. The labor behind using one is quite simple, too.   Depending on the temperature you’re trying to reach, the calibrator will need anywhere from 5-20 minutes to prepare for calibration. Users often keep the Check-Set units on all day though so they are ready for use on demand. Once the Check-Set is ready, you simply insert your thermometer stem into the calibrator and let it do the work.

What’s nice about the Check-Set Calibrators is they are not prone to error like traditional methods are. You do not need to worry if your water is at the right temperature for calibration or if you are at the right altitude for measuring. In addition, the result you will get from the Check-Set is far more accurate (+/- 0.2% degrees Fahrenheit) than any traditional method out there.

Features of a Check-Set Calibrator

  • Simple to use
  • Three separate series designed for your desired set points needed for calibration (I, II, IV)
  • Certificate of Calibration traceable to NIST
  • Built-in warning circuitry to alert user when unit exceeds set-point by 1 degree Fahrenheit
  • +/- 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit accuracy
  • Fit for plant quality assurance, process control, food safety, instrument calibration and service, and HACCP compliance

To learn more about Check-Set Calibrators, take a look at the spec sheet on our products page. Kodiak also offers all three series available for purchase on our website. If you have any further questions, please contact us and one of our technical specialists will be happy to assist.

Why Are Pressure Gauges Liquid Filled?

So you’ve figured out what size dial and connection you need on the gauge for your application. You even know your preference on wetted materials. But what about having the gauge dry vs. liquid filled? What are the benefits to a liquid filled gauge? Are there any negatives? Believe it or not, determining this feature can be puzzling for many customers.  Be confused no more – Kodiak will explain everything you need to know about why a gauge is liquid filled.

To put it simply, liquid filling a pressure gauge is strictly used as an inexpensive way to steady the needle and lubricate the internals of a gauge during applications with vibration. The most common fill fluids used are Glycerin and Silicone. Glycerin is used in around 95% of all liquid filling applications and is typically the “standard.” The reason these fluids are used is because they’re more viscous and their thickness helps keep the needle steady. Some gauges come dry but can be filled simply by filling the hermetically sealed gauge case through the fill port (usually at the top) and then reinserting the fill plug when finished.

As with any decision making, you should outweigh your pros and cons when deciding what’s right for you. Let’s break that down for you here:

Benefits of a Liquid Filled Gauge

  • It steadies the needle. Without liquid filling the gauge, the needle would bounce erratically making it difficult to pinpoint where the needle is exactly pointing on the gauge
  • It’s an inexpensive solution and in many cases comes standard on a gauge
  • It helps increase the life of the gauges by dampening as well as lubricating the mechanical parts of a pressure gauge

Negatives of a Liquid Filled Gauge

  • Discoloration (darkening or yellowing) of glycerin over time due to exposure of UV rays or extreme temperature changes
  • Standard Glycerin is really only good down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. It is not recommended for cold environments
  • Risk of leakage
  • Pressure can build up in the case due to expansion and contraction of fluid from temperature changes (usually small, 1 PSI or so) affecting the accuracy of the reading as well as bring the needle off of zero

While some of these negatives can seem like deal breakers, there are easy solutions to these issues. We’ll start with discoloration. If potential discoloration is a concern, instead of choosing Glycerin, go with Silicone. Silicone has a bigger temperature tolerance and is not as easily affected by UV rays.  Because of this, Silicone tends to keep its color longer than Glycerin.

If your application has very low temperatures of 0 degrees or below, Silicone or a mixture of Glycerin and distilled water can be used instead of pure Glycerin. Both of these fluids will allow for lower temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

As for leakage, this is always a risk with liquid filled gauges but the risk is very low.  The chance of leakage depends on the quality of the gauge you’re using as well as the application. If your main concern is leakage, to decrease risk, use a crimped bezel type instead of a bayonet due to the crimped bezel holding the gasket in place permanently and is less likely to come loose in the field or by human error. Again, the risk of leakage is low nowadays due to improvements in manufacturing technologies and standards.  All of Kodiak’s gauges follow ASME B40.1 standards to help ensure the gauges we provide meet the highest quality standards.

Last but not least, let’s talk about pressure build up. Pressure build up inside a gauge can happen and is very natural for a liquid filled gauge. The pressure build up (usually very minimal) can sometimes cause the needle to move off of zero and/or cause the gauge to read inaccurately + or – 2-4%.  To alleviate the pressure, burp the gauge by slightly lifting the fill plug. Once done, you’ll see the needle move back to zero.  If you’ve never done this before, see our video for a step by step guide on how to burp a pressure gauge.

If you have any further questions or would like help in finding what pressure gauge is right for you, contact us and our trusted staff will be happy assist.

Kodiak’s Custom Engineering: Differential Pressure Assembly

Let’s say you need to measure differential pressure for a high temperature gas but the gas is way too hot for a differential pressure gauge to handle on it’s own. What can you do? A customer of ours asked us that very question and our technical support team was able to come up with a unique and cost effective solution. Allow us to introduce our most recent innovation – a differential pressure gauge assembled to two cooling towers:

We know what you’re thinking. Why did we use cooling towers instead of a diaphragm seal on each side? Isn’t that usually how you get the high temperature process away from the gauge to safely read the pressure? Yes, it sure is. However, when going the diaphragm seal route, you would actually have to take the differential pressure gauge and mount a diaphragm seal with capillary to each connection. So in the case of our assembly above, you would need two diaphragm seals and capillary assemblies filled with high temperature silicone on each side of the gauge – which can become quite costly.

In a more moderate and cost effective way, Kodiak’s technical support team suggested cooling the process before it got to the gauge. With this cooling tower approach, you can install the two towers in between the gauge and the process. The way these cooling towers are designed is to dissipate the heat allowing for media to cool at an acceptable level for the gauge to handle. This installation takes 10 minutes top – and a whole heck of a lot less expensive. No fillings needed, no strings attached.

If you’re in a similar situation with a unique application and/or looking for some technical support, give Kodiak a call. We promise to provide our expertise with cost efficient solutions.

Kodiak’s Custom Engineering: Thinking Outside The Box

Oftentimes, Kodiak comes across a customer caught in a sticky situation – literally – where wastewater, sludge, or other solids can clog up the orifice of their pressure gauge.  To prevent this issue from happening, our technical specialists suggest the gauge to be mounted to a diaphragm seal.   A diaphragm seal will not only help keep sticky situations away, it will preserve the accuracy and operating life of the pressure gauge itself. Pretty neato.

Kodiak was recently challenged with a customer needing a little more than a pressure gauge mounted to a diaphragm seal. They were looking for a gauge that could handle hazardous media associated with a sewer station (not-so-clean water). The gauge they were requesting needed to be protected from harsh media, limited in pressure spikes, equipped with the ability for a flush out, and armed with a shut off valve (in the instance where they need to replace the gauge). Whew – did we lose you yet?

Our team of experts worked diligently with our customer to engineer the most efficient assembly for their application. Please allow us to introduce our newest custom engineered product containing a pressure gauge, snubber, diaphragm seal, gauge cock, and ball valve:

Interested in more? Here’s a detailed explanation for each product’s function in the assembly:

  • Kodiak KC Series Pressure Gauge: Kodiak’s KC Series liquid filled pressure gauge was chosen to help combat the vibration of our customer’s pump system.
  • Brass Snubber: A brass snubber was added in between the pressure gauge and the diaphragm seal in order to try and limit the amount of pressure spikes (which can decrease the life span of the pressure gauge).
  • Kodiak DSM Series Diaphragm Seal: Kodiak’s DSM Series diaphragm seal was mounted to the pressure gauge to prevent clogs in the tiny orifice of the pressure gauge (which in turn would cause the pressure gauge to become inaccurate or even damaged).
  • Brass Gauge Cock: A brass gauge cock was added in the middle of the assembly to allow for the end user to flush water into the assembly and clean the bottom of the diaphragm seal (in case any solids clog or harden on the inside), without having to disassemble the entire assembly.
  • Ball Valve: The ball valve on the bottom of the assembly was added for the shutoff function. If there is ever a situation where the diaphragm seal or pressure gauge is to stop working and would need a replacement, our customer can turn the valve to the off position. This function prevents the water from gushing out of the pipes while they repair the gauge-on-seal assembly – think of it like the handle on a sink – they can close the valve and keep the media in the pipe from leaking everywhere.

Have questions, comments or want to request your very own custom engineered product from Kodiak? Contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

How To Repair A Pressure Gauge Out Of Calibration

A pressure gauge out of calibration can be extremely frustrating.  The gauge may constantly point off of zero when there’s no pressure in the line or the gauge is consistently reading 5% above or below the range it really should be reading based on your other instrumentation.

One solution to this problem is to utilize the adjustable pointer on the pressure gauge assuming your gauge has one.  It would look something like this:

Most industrial pressure gauges will have an adjustable pointer because gauges will commonly fall out of calibration out in the field due to vibration, pulses, or just general use.  Gauges that don’t typically have them are smaller utility pressure gauges or liquid filled gauges.  Usually they’re lower in cost and its cheaper just to replace than try and worry about adjustments.

Below is a link to our Kodiak Classroom video explaining how to adjust the calibration of a pressure gauge using an adjustable pointer.  Keep in mind that an adjustable pointer can only help if the needle is off by 1-10% of the full range.  So, if you have a 100 psi gauge and the needle is always off by 3 psi, an adjustable pointer will work great.  But, if your 100 psi gauge is off by 30 psi, an adjustable pointer is not your solution.  There is a bigger issue at hand and you may need to purchase a new pressure gauge.  Enjoy the video!

How to Use an Adjustable Pointer