Tech Updates

Guide to Choosing the Right Flow Meter

Industrial machinery is a complex combination of devices functioning to achieve a specific goal. No matter how minute, some of these devices are vital to proper function. For example, Flowmeters are responsible for measuring mass, linear, volume, non-linear, and linear gas or fluid flow. Some intangible factors affect the choice of flow meters in different industrial applications. Engineers need to consider the following: the experience and familiarity of plant workers, their knowledge of calibration and maintenance, and the availability of parts.

In most industrial applications, a common mistake made is justifying using a cheaper device that does not accurately fit the intended use. While the initial purchase may be cheap, it can result in costly repairs and installation issues. Avoiding errors and installation problems is why flow meter selection is a crucial step that requires careful consideration.

Guide to Choosing the Right Flow Meter 1


Choosing the right flow meter

The basic rule of flowmeter selection involves explicitly evaluating the requirements of the intended application. Categorizing each factor helps with a complete assessment, leaving no area unchecked. Here are the factors to consider in flowmeter selection:

  • Fluid characteristics and nature of the flow. The fluid has various attributes that impact the accuracy of flow meter measurement. These characteristics include viscosity, density, pressure drop allowable, and temperature. In addition, there should be detailed information on toxicity levels, light transmission qualities, solids, and the presence of bubbles.
  • Temperature range and pressure. In addition to the average temperature and pressure operating values required for flow meters, the maximum and minimum values are also considerations. Other factors related to these are a reversal of flow, the likelihood of pulsation and aeration, the sudden temperature change, and specialized maintenance and cleaning requirements.
  • Installation area. The installation area covers the piping where the flow meter is attached. The piping direction of pipes, its size, fabrication, the presence of valves and regulators, and whether there are upstream or downstream turns. Engineers should be aware of magnetic fields present in the area and possible sources of vibration. Other considerations for the installation area include safety, clean-up, and hazard regulations.
  • Flow rates and accuracy are required. After identifying all the external factors, the next step is to know the range of measurement needed. The measurement range includes identifying the minimum and maximum flow ranges in mass or volume. These parameters help determine the flow measurement accuracy range. Accuracy is a critical requirement for specific applications where meter reading is vital. On the other hand, there are other applications where it is more essential to establish repeatability rather than accuracy.
  • Measurement unit in mass or volume. Determining whether the unit of measurement is mass or volume is another consideration in choosing flow meters.

Choosing the right flow meter for industrial applications is not a simple matter. Engineers understand the gravity of finding the exact device fit for its intended use. Flow meters are invaluable tools that have become part and parcel of machine operation. They are essential to many of the processes involved in modern living.

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