Selecting the right flowmeter

Each flowmeter technology has its pros and cons; learn how to select the best flowmeter based on your specific flow criteria.


Congratulations! Your company has decided to purchase a flowmeter to measure flow through your pipes. Now the bewildering task of selecting the proper flowmeter begins.

Although it would be nice to have a single flowmeter technology which can be used to measure all your flowmeter applications, whether they are steam, liquid or gas, no such flowmeter exists. Each flowmeter technology has its particular strengths. The goal is to select the best flowmeter based on your specific flow criteria.

The following are questions to consider prior to selecting your new flowmeter:

What fluid is being measured?
Steam has different fluid properties than water, and meters are made to handle specific fluid properties. For example: A magnetic flowmeter meter is good at measuring conductive liquids such as water, but cannot measure good steam adequately.

What is the fluid temperature?
Flowmeters use different materials in their design, each design has temperature limits.

What is the fluid pressure?
Flowmeters are designed to measure up to a specific pressure, therefore knowing the fluid’s pressure helps narrow the options.

What is the required accuracy?
If the meter is being used for billing, higher accuracy is recommended.

What is the meter line size?
Meters come in different line sizes. Knowing the line size determines which meter can be used.

What is the flow range?
Knowing the range between the minimum and maximum flow rate is critical to meter selection. If the flow range is unknown and the process is not consistent sometimes the widest flow range, referred to as turndown, is the best solution.

Can the process be shutdown
If the process is critical, for instance at a hospital, and the flow cannot be shutdown then a meter which can be installed while there is flow in the pipe is the best solution.

How much straight run is available?
Flow meters need a consistent flow profile to measure accurately. This is achieved by adequate straight pipe runs before and after the meter and is referred to as straight runs. Meter technologies have different straight run requirements to meet their accuracy. If the straight run is limited, a flow technology which requires shorter straight runs will be recommended.

Content provided by Spirax Sarco, originally published in Steam News Magazine.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
2015 Mid-Year Report: Manufacturing's newest tool: In a digital age, digits will play a key role in the plant of the future; Ethernet certification; Mitigate harmonics; World class maintenance
2015 Lubrication Guide: Green and gold in lubrication: Environmentally friendly fluids and sealing systems offer a new perspective
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Cyber security attack: The threat is real; Hacking O&G control systems: Understanding the cyber risk; The active cyber defense cycle
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths
New industrial buildings: Greener, cleaner, leaner; New building designs for industry; Take a new look at absorption cooling; Offshored jobs start to come back

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.