What came first—the application or the flowmeter?

To use a flowmeter to its full potential, always focus on knowing the flow application parameters and requirements long before deciding to use one type of flowmeter versus another.


Image of a flow meter in a facility. Courtesy: Spirax SarcoDo the terms Vortex, Magnetic, Differential Pressure, Thermal Mass, Variable Area, Orifice, Coriolis, Ultrasonic or Turbine keep you up at night? If you are in the business of Energy Monitoring and Management, these terms are certainly in your vocabulary when it comes to knowing more about the flow rates of your system or process. These terms also describe the majority of electronic and mechanical based flowmeter sensor types that are available today.

Each sensor type has its strengths and weaknesses, which can be debated. Regardless of the debate, market sector definition, or the sensor technology used, a flowmetering device produces the system data you need to support your fiscal, control, and energy management decisions. All of these sensor types have been developed to meet the needs of customer’s flow application characteristics. Whether that application is water, natural gas, heavy crude oil, steam, liquid nitrogen, air, or many more, it is the “Application” consideration that comes first. There is no perfect flowmeter type that fits all applications and if a company makes that statement, they are selling a product and not a solution.

Before any flowmeter type is recommended, the fluid type, pipe size, expected flow rates, temperature, and pressures associated with the application must be fully understood. Courtesy: Spirax Sarco.A solutions-oriented flowmeter company will first understand the flow application completely. Before any flowmeter type is recommended, the fluid type, pipe size, expected flow rates, temperature, and pressures associated with the application must be fully understood. Other application requirements which must be known include: mechanical installation concerns, straight run limitations, a history or familiarity with one type flow sensor over another, and how the flow sensor data will be communicated to the customer. Based upon this complete understanding of the customer’s application, a good flowmeter company will recommend the best sensor type for the job. But sometimes upon careful review of a particular application, it is decided that one of the wide array of flow sensors currently available will not provide the customer with consistent and accurate data from which they can make Energy Monitoring and Management decisions.

When a flowmeter is properly applied for a given application and installed correctly, it generally works as expected year after year. However, when a flowmeter is misapplied it can quickly become the “bad actor” in the plant. So to avoid flowmeter problems, always focus on knowing the flow application parameters and requirements long before deciding to use one type of flowmeter versus another.

Content provided by Spirax Sarco. Originally published in Steam News Volume 5 Issue 1. Edited by Anisa Samarxhiu, Digital Project Manager, CFE Media, asamarxhiu@cfemedia.com 

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
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 Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me