Top 5 instrumentation problems – and how to avoid them


Denca’s Technical Services Team spends its time working with our many clients installing, servicing maintaining and calibrating a comprehensive range of instrumentation and controls.

Across all of this experience, it is intriguing how the same few issues arise time and again.
Let’s have a look at our ‘Top 5’ and suggest some ways of addressing – or pre-empting them….

  1. Instrument failure and the lack of spares

    Instruments fail. Some are more reliable than others but none are immune. On occasions, unexpected failure can shut down production causing severe knock-on consequences.
    Undertaking a technical system audit means that mission critical elements can be identified and steps taken to minimise the risk of failure and ensure rapid repair should the worst happen. This can mean holding stock of vital spares or knowing where spares and support can be obtained quickly.
    The cost of maintaining an audited system can pay real dividends when compared to the cost of a process system failure.

  2. Incorrect use of equipment

    Instrumentation and equipment requires a good technical understanding from users. Sometimes, an operative simply doesn’t understand the readings an instrument is giving, or the implications for their production processes of readings out of specification. Avoidable breakdown and even catastrophic failure can result from a lack of simple training.
    It is important that those reading instrumentation and operating equipment are trained in interpreting outputs and required parameters. They need to know what they are doing! The cost of operational problems with instruments and equipment can be avoided if the person using them understand their role. It is always worth spending money and effort on training your staff to save on any potential breakdown/downtime costs going forward.

  3. Incorrect diagnosis of system failures

    Misdiagnosis of a system failure can not only delay a repair, it can make the problem worse.
    Accurately diagnosing exactly what has gone wrong with a system is a valuable skill. Determining the problem quickly and correctly will help with a move towards fixing the issue.
    Having a process in which a system failure can be identified and swiftly repaired and/or replaced is key. If this process is in place, downtime and consequent loss can be minimised.

  4. Incorrectly specified instrumentation

    Sometimes, when fitting new equipment, incorrect or less efficient instrumentation can be specified. This means, from the outset, systems will either not work completely, or not work as designed to.
    Naturally, this is not ideal!
    A complete check of the system specification by competent technicians, prior to purchase and installation, can review the plans and ensure the most efficient and relevant instrumentation is defined. Where there are equivalent or optional alternatives, the merits of the different solutions can be considered to select the best practical approach.

    Seeking advice and a second opinion is perhaps best practice.

  5. Incorrectly installed instrumentation

    Even correctly specified instrumentation will not perform to its best if it is incorrectly installed. Denca technicians are regularly called to repair systems where the initial failure is a direct result of poor or inappropriate installation.
    Just as reviewing a planned installation specification is valuable, so consideration of the most effective approach to installation will ensure proper instrumentation performance and reading


Put simply, prevention is better than cure.

The problems in our Top 5 are all preventable.

Denca Controls don’t just offer service and calibration, our team can also provide technical advice and expertise before new instruments are even specified. We can help make sure you get the best solution for your requirements.

Drawing on our experience we can advise on the correct specification and installation of most types of instrumentation and associated equipment, avoiding many the more common problems that might arise further down the line.

Get in touch with us