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Technical Collaborators

Over the past few years, several companies have worked with FRI staff to develop and demonstrate new technologies or to improve the products delivered to FRI members. The information shown below highlights those organizations and their efforts in partnership with FRI and provides a means for you to learn more about what they are doing.


Tracerco personnel have provided invaluable services to FRI and FRI’s entire membership. Tracerco personnel were the premier contributors to the 52-page document entitled “Diagnostics Using Radioisotopes” that the Design Practices Committee released during 2009 as Section 3.01.3 of the DPC Handbook. During the Empty Column Test, of 2009, Mr. Lowell Pless and Mr. Ron Carlson used gamma scan technology to prove that the FRI reboilers could be run in parallel to achieve a total reboiler duty of 24 MMBtu/hr – without significant entrainment to the LP Column. Tracerco successfully used their commercial TRU-GRID™ AND ThruVision™ gamma scans on the 2015-2016 DSP-4 and DSP-8 FRI tests to detect liquid maldistribution.  For additional information regarding Tracerco’s full range of diagnostic services, go to

Yokogawa hardware and software have revolutionized the FRI control room, benefitting greatly FRI’s full membership. In 2010, Yokogawa’s ExaQuantum historian software made it possible for FRI to record and store all board signals every second. At the same time, Yokogawa’s ExaPilot (MPA) software brought semi-automatic electronic procedures to the control room, standardizing start-ups, transitions and shutdowns, and effecting safety and steam consumption benefits. In 2014, a new DCS was installed in the control room and provided new features and improved operator graphics. In 2015, FRI installed new Yokogawa ISA100 wireless temperature and pressure transmitters, and is currently exploring Yokogawa wireless sensors for gas detection, vibration sensing, level sensing, and corrosion under insulation (CUI). Yokogawa and FRI are also exploring new analyzer technologies, primarily Yokogawa’s patented RAMAN spectrometer for continuous online composition measurements. For information regarding Yokogawa products, go to

OSU has had many contributions to FRI.    Three OSU graduates are now full-time members of the FRI staff.  FRI’s valve tray efficiency model was developed with Professor Rob Whitley’s guidance. Professor Jan Wagner’s safety expertise has yielded relief system ratings, dispersion studies and Process Hazard Analysis for the FRI experimental unit.  OSU professor Dr. Ken Bell was very instrumental in FRI studies on Kettle Reboiler Hydraulics. Under professors Clint Aichele and Rob Whitley’s supervision, two OSU graduate students are currently working on two research projects: “Entrainment and Spray Diagnostics using Phase Doppler Interferometry” and “Distillation of Highly Viscous Systems” which are sponsored by FRI. Both projects will provide very useful and important information to FRI membership.  For information regarding the Oklahoma State chemical engineering department go to

Invensys programmers and FRI engineers worked together for about two years regarding the incorporation of FRI’s Device Rating Program (DRP) into PRO/II, a process simulation program.  After extensive testing, Version 9.1 of PRO/II was issued in June of 2011.  It is now possible for distillation engineers to process-simulate a distillation column and then immediately, and seamlessly, design a trayed or a packed column.  Invensys supplied FRI with a copy of the PRO/II software.  For more information regarding PRO/II, go to

AspenTech and FRI have been working together to integrate FRI's Device Rating Program (DRP) and AspenTech process simulation programs Aspen HYSYS® and Aspen Plus® for the benefit of FRI members who are also AspenTech users. Users of AspenTech simulator programs can now export their distillation simulations via an XML file that can be directly imported into the FRI DRP for detailed rating. The XML import feature is already available in DRP and is being continually improved. For more information, please visit

Zhejiang University of Technology (ZJUT) is located in Hangzhou, China.  Researchers at ZJUT have been performing experimental work on distillation contacting devices ever since the 1970’s. Test apparatus at ZJUT include a 4-foot diameter plexiglas column that is 20 feet tall and runs on air-water and air/Glycerol/water and a 400 mm diameter distillation column.  During tray tests, in addition to capacity and pressure drop measurements, entrainment and weep rates can be measured.  ZJUT personnel have collected tray data for FRI, most recently on valve trays, truncated downcomer trays, and orifice discharge coefficients.  Professors X.M. Yu and K.J. Yao lead the ZJUT efforts.  For more information regarding ZJUT go to