Retro-reflective dial faces, glow-in-the-dark dial faces, magnification and anti-glare windows ensure that field personnel can monitor operations when the conditions are less than ideal.
by Hardy Orzikowski, WIKA Instrument, LP
April 27, 2015

In industrial settings and processing environments, certain operating conditions or events can make it challenging to obtain pressure and temperature readings from local indictors. Dim interior lighting, a power outage, glaring sunlight, or even fog or steam can reduce visibility and limit access to the operating data required for reliable, safe and efficient operations. Fortunately, new technologies and developed dial face coatings improve the visibility and readability of pressure and temperature indicators. Some enhancements include retro-reflective dial faces, glow-in-the-dark dial faces, magnification and anti-glare windows. Each feature offers properties to ensure that field personnel are able to monitor all operations even if the conditions are less-than-ideal.

Retro-Reflective Dial Face Redirects Light

Often, gauges are located in the shadows behind machinery or in areas on equipment that are difficult to reach. With a standard dial face display, finding gauges that are tucked away in low-light conditions can be extremely difficult. In such areas, gauges with a retro-reflective dial improve visibility by redirecting available light. The retro-reflective dial intensifies the brightness of the gauge display. The dial’s fluorescent color absorbs daylight’s ultraviolet rays and reflects back in a visible spectrum of the light, making the dial even more visible during day. The material’s honeycomb pattern also aids visibility, helping these gauges stand out among other indicators. This makes a retro-reflective dial face ideal for critical plant applications. These retro-reflective dials are often available in different colors to help operators distinguish between pressure and temperature indictors for different processes or levels of criticality. Most gauges with the retro-reflective dial can also 
be liquid filled.

Glow-in-the-Dark Feature Illuminates the Display

In dark, foggy or smoky conditions, a gauge face with both photo-luminescent and retro-reflective properties ensures that vital operating parameters can be monitored effectively. Gauges equipped with the photo-luminescent dial face glow for an extended amount of time with just seconds of exposure to either a natural or artificial light source, such as a flashlight. They will also reflect available light to further support operators in locating and obtaining an accurate reading.

Gauge Window Enhances Readability

If plant or oilfield personnel have to squint or strain their eyes to see the gauge face, data retrieval will be complicated just as it is when complete darkness or any other condition hinders visibility. Using windows with anti-glare and magnification features can help spare personnel’s eyes from exertion while retrieving the required readings and measurements. Anti-glare gauge windows prevent interference from bright light; magnifying windows help employees obtain operating data when the indicator is located out of sight range.

Gauge Size Allows Reading from a Distance

The dial size also plays a key role in readability. Industry best practice is to use a minimum dial size of four inches in diameter for industrial and process gauges. This allows personnel to obtain readings from at least 3 to 6 feet away.