Tag Archives: Glass-Blowing

L-K Log June

 L-K Log: June 2018 

Oil Price Volatility: Driving Force Behind Flexible and Responsive Companies   

by L-K Industries 

It’s officially summer, and predictably, as the temps rise Americans tend to notice that so do prices at the pumps. They’re accustomed to digging deeper into their pockets as they flock to beaches, mountains, and other tourist destinations during the heavy driving summer season. But since the deep downturn of oil prices in late 2014, slightly steeper summer prices have still yielded savings for consumers.

That may be about to change. And – more importantly – it’s actually good news for some Americans, particularly for those who work in the petroleum industry.

Before the price collapse, oil traded for $90 to $100 a barrel; by early 2016, it had dropped to below $30, rallying to about $50 by the end of the same year. Lower prices have been the norm since then, and L-K responded to new market conditions by strengthening ties with customers, expanding product offerings, and putting time and energy into R&D. Customer Education and Orientation programs, the acquisition of Miller-Weber and the opening of the accredited ISO/IEC 17025 laboratory, and new products like the Benchmark Platinum and the SMART Transport I are in some ways a result of the oil market downturn.

But, as many have predicted and history has revealed, the industry fluctuates like a pendulum – bust becomes boom. Or at least a recovery. According to Markets Insider, the WTI (West Texas Intermediate) is “the reference oil traded most frequently and of major significance for the USA.”

Last week on Friday, June 22nd, WTI Crude closed at 68.58 (+4.64) and Brent Crude, the primary international benchmark, closed at 75.32 (+3.46). Though it’s far from $100 a barrel, price per gallon for regular octane gas in many parts of the country has crept up over $3.  

So why is paying more money to fill the tanks good news? Arguably, as the price of oil goes, so too does the U.S. economy; oil is probably the most important value on the international commodity markets. According to Energy & Environment, its rise in price means more business and income for states that produce oil as well as local companies that service the industry, like housing and trucking businesses. A rise in price equals greater incentives for increased oil field activity. The rise may even spell a benefit for the environment, since higher prices encourage consumers to buy smaller vehicles and limit driving (Energy & Environment).

Overall, increasing oil prices make for a stronger U.S. economy and allow businesses like L-K to put into practice what they’ve worked on during “bust” years. Cyclical price fluctuations have their place in a market economy, and perhaps should be embraced. And that’s good news, given that The New York Times on Friday reported officials from OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) have agreed to increase oil production– a move which could stifle rising prices.

The lesson? Companies need to adjust to feast and famine, boom and bust by meeting client needs, improving product offerings, and surpassing industry standards. If oil price volatility is the new norm, companies who intend to survive must be flexible and responsive to changing economic conditions.

L-K Log May

 L-K Log: May 2018 

 L-K Works Smarter with their New SMART Transport I

An old adage recommends, “Work smarter, not harder.” L-K’s SMART Transport I exemplifies that advice, and we’re proud to announce that the SMART Transport I will be ready for consumers this summer.  

Human error has traditionally plagued crude oil testing. Basic sediment and water content (BS&W) is currently determined manually in the field via a “shakeout test” and visual inspection. Test techniques vary from driver to driver, which can be problematic during custody transfer and result in significant economic consequences. Currently there is no way to ensure that testing is performed to ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and API (American Petroleum Institute) standards. Additionally, the only traceable data points are manually entered by drivers into data loggers. It’s time oil testing equipment joins the SMART generation.

The SMART Transport I is the first generation of centrifuges to make the shift from manual to automated BS&W testing. Portable centrifuges currently on the market have limited or no technology. Typically, they offer manual speed and temperature controls with basic digital displays, and field reporting of test results is delayed. The SMART Transport remedies inefficiencies in the field utilizing automation, and boasts:

  • Reduction in Human Error
  • Testing Traceability
  • Real-time Data Reporting
  • Improved Efficiency
  • Custody Transfer Coordination

The SMART Transport System

The SMART Transport I works by using a wireless connection between a smart device and embedded centrifuge microcomputer. A smart device app connects the two and controls the centrifuge. Data is then transmitted from the smart device to a cloud server, allowing the user to log in from any location to view immediate test results.  

The SMART Transport app verifies ASTM and API conditions are met, including centrifugal force (RCF), test temperature, and test duration. Additionally, the app records the data and provides a timestamp and GPS coordinates confirming the location of the test. Finally, through the app the technician can start or interrupt a test, sample BS&W, API gravity, and temperature, and upload sample pictures. The app can also be integrated with existing ticketing software.

Sample App Screens

Comparable to traditional Transport 7100 models, each SMART Transport contains a two-place trunnion arm that holds two crude oil samples. Only SMART Transport accessories (tubes, shields, cushions, etc.) may be used with the unit. Be prepared for the SMART revolution; contact L-K today!

L-K Log April

 L-K Log: April 2018 

 Conferences Provide Critical Professional Development

In the busy world of petroleum testing equipment, it’s difficult to carve time into the schedule for professional development.  It’s also critical. Attending conferences to swap best practices, showcase emerging technology, and share changes in industry standards is part of the job – and not one to be neglected. Thus far in 2018, L-K has exhibited at three important industry conferences.

The most recent, held in Lafayette, LA, was hosted by the Acadiana Flow Measurement Society on April 10 and 11th. Industry experts gathered at the annual show to discuss measurement equipment, problems, and solutions. L-K exhibited at the show for the first time and featured new security sealing devices as well as glassware, including Miller-Weber of Texas (MWTX) centrifuge tubes, thermometers, and hydrometers.

Security sealing devices provide evidence of theft or tampering of valves, piping junctions and other devices, and limit access to at-risk points such as lock nuts and needle valve handles, solving age-old security problems.

L-K at the API’s Spring Committee on Petroleum Measurement Standards.

Having them in place facilitates compliance with OOC (Offshore Operators Committee) Best Practices and BSEE (Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement) requirements. Security sealing devices are manufactured on-site and are readily stocked. Custom devices are available upon request.

In our on-site accredited ISO/IEC 17025 laboratory, MWTX manufactures and calibrates a full range of liquid and glass thermometers and hydrometers that meet an array of temperature and gravity measurement needs. Centrifuge tubes are heavy duty and handcrafted with ceramic yellow paint that’s easy to read. All L-K and MWTX products are designed to make measurement safe, accurate, and simple. L-K will have exhibited at the G.C.C. (Gulf Coast Conference) twice in 2018 – once at the Hurricane Harvey postponed show in January. In October, we will be in Galveston for the fall G.C.C.

The American Petroleum Industry’s (API) Spring Committee on Petroleum Measurement Standards (COPM) met in Dallas from March 12th through the 16th. It’s a critical meeting that emphasizes API standards and best practices used throughout the industry to promote safe and environmentally sound operations. Technical committee meetings include topics such as current and future research and development on measurement techniques and equipment, updating and creating industry standards, and changing government and regulatory guidelines. Measurement training and education is integral to L-K’s core mission, and API’s Spring Committee on Petroleum Measurement Standards provides opportunities for growth that translate to improved products and services.

Professional development opportunities such as these allow for collaboration among industry stakeholders, ensuring L-K will continue to “Demand a Higher Standard.”

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to L-K! To celebrate three years of new ownership, we held a TX-LA style shrimp boil. Delicious!

L-K Log March

 L-K Log: March 2018 

 Centrifugation: Still Relevant, Always Superior


Water is an essential component in so many aspects of life, including in our bodies and on our planet. But water in crude oil and petroleum products is problematic – and can be costly if included erroneously in the “net dry oil” calculation. Assessing the amount of basic sediment and water content (BS&W) in crude samples is critical, yet accurate analysis is difficult.

Currently, the oil Industry uses three different static methods to determine water content in oil: Karl Fischer titration, a distillation method called the Dean and Stark Test, and the oldest and most widely used method, the centrifuge test.

Although Coulometric Karl Fischer is very accurate (at .5% water, it is four times more accurate than centrifugation and two times more accurate than distillation), it’s not practical for the field, affecting use in custody transfers and sample analysis. The Dean and Stark distillation test is used to settle disputes when parties can’t agree on centrifuge results, but is time consuming and can only be conducted in a laboratory setting. Additionally, neither of these methods can determine sediment content. The centrifuge, the tried and true method dating back to the separation of cream from milk in the 15th century, stands alone for determining BS&W in crude oil samples in the field and in the laboratory.

The Original Melton Centrifuge
Manufactured in 1957


In this method, L-K Industries set the bar. The Melton Centrifuge became the hallmark of the company and set the oil testing industry standard for centrifugation. In 1962, ASTM standards were released based on the Melton Centrifuge, and to this day it stands as the single invention that changed the course of the oil testing industry. William L. Melton, in his United States Patent application, described the device as an “invention [that] relates to a centrifugal machine for testing oil that must be heated to a predetermined temperature, and more particularly to a machine for testing crude oil in the oil fields…”

Today’s  L-K centrifuges exceed API/ASTM Standard Requirements and customer expectations. Equal volumes of oil and solvent are placed in a graduated tube. After centrifugation, the volume of the higher gravity water and the sediment layer at the bottom of the tube is recorded. In the upcoming Benchmark Platinum, ultra high-speed capabilities of 2700-3000 rpm will further improve separation of elements and yield more accurate results. Additionally, with its Class I, Division 2 status, refined features, and interactive display, centrifugation will be the field and laboratory method of choice in the petroleum industry. 

The Benchmark Platinum Centrifuge is the third edition of the Benchmark series. It will feature an all-in-one interactive screen, ultra-high speed for better oil separation, and a redesigned lid for easier bowl access. L-K is excited to bring the Platinum to customers in 2018!

L-K exhibited at the API’s Spring Committee on Petroleum Measurement Standards.


L-K Log February

 L-K Log: February 2018 


Temperature Matters: Precision Thermometers, Hydrometers

Petroleum measurement calls for precision, validity, and reliability. It requires dependable, exacting instruments like Miller-Weber thermometers and hydrometers.

In 2016, L-K Industries added another layer of industry-leading merchandise to our oil testing equipment when owner Eric Calderon purchased Miller-Weber of Texas (MWTX). The former New York thermometer manufacturing company was reopened in Houston, offering a full range of calibrated liquid and glass thermometers from the ISO/IEC 17025 accredited on-site laboratory.

The first batch of T-SPEC 9 and ASTM S 59F thermometers produced in the Houston lab! The glass-blowing and etching facility produces high quality thermometers and performs instrument calibrations.

Each calibration certificate issued by MWTX contains the measurement results, the measurement uncertainty, and/or a statement of compliance with an identified metrological specification. Says Calderon, “We can confidently offer those who purchase our merchandise a testing and calibration service that’s truly unique. For customers who demand a higher standard, we can deliver.”

Beyond the petrochemical industry, temperature matters. Those demanding higher temperature measurement standards include dairy processors, who follow the FDA’s Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) to ensure the safety and sanitation of “Grade A” milk products.

Food service employees across the country also follow strict temperature guidelines, as documented in Your Gateway to Federal Food Safety Information. Additionally, healthcare facilities depend on accurate and precise thermometers throughout daily operations.

MWTX manufactures and calibrates a full range of liquid and glass thermometers and hydrometers that meet a range of temperature and gravity measurement needs. Re-calibration services are available by completing the Calibration Laboratory Order Form. (See available calibration services in the chart at the bottom of the page.) For details about thermometers and hydrometers, visit the Miller-Weber Products Page. To find out more about the ISO/IEC 17025 lab, visit the Calibration Services Page.

Common Hydrometers (Above)
    Common Thermometers (Below)

Next month the L-K Log will begin featuring tips for how to use our equipment! We welcome   your suggestions; with which products could you use a guiding hand? Email suggestions to media@lk-ind.com.