Flow Meters: Understanding Their Differences and Best Applications
Regulators are essential tools in the factory environment. Among them, flow meters stand out as especially vital. A flow meter measures the flow rate of a gas or liquid in terms of volume or mass per unit of time. It is used in a variety of industries, including wastewater, oil and gas, and food and beverage.
While flow meters are functionally similar, certain kinds are designed to achieve different results. Here’s a look at the types of flow meters for manufacturing environments.
Positive displacement flow meters
Positive displacement (PD) flow meters divide liquids, gases, or slurries into discrete volumes and tally the number of volumes passing through the meter over time. Known for their exceptional accuracy, they find extensive use in custody transfer applications where precise measurement of fluid volume is critical.
Ultrasonic flow meters
Utilizing sound waves to gauge the velocity of a flowing fluid, ultrasonic flow meters transmit a sound wave upstream and measure the time required for the wave to return downstream. This noninvasive method prevents direct contact with the fluid. Ultrasonic flow meters can measure a broad range of fluids and flow rates and are renowned for their accuracy and versatility.
Mass flow meters
Designed to measure the mass of a flowing fluid per unit of time, mass flow meters find application in industries where accurately measuring fluid mass is imperative, such as the food and beverage and pharmaceutical sectors. These flow meters come in various styles, including Coriolis, thermal, and ultrasonic.
Liquid flow meters
Tailored for measuring the flow rate of liquids, these flow meters are employed across a wide spectrum of industries, including water and wastewater management, food and beverage, and chemical processing. Liquid flow meters are available in several types, including PD, ultrasonic, and turbine.
Turbine flow meters
Turbine flow meters operate by measuring the speed of a rotating turbine blade positioned in the path of the flowing fluid. The blade’s rotational speed is directly proportional to the fluid’s velocity. These flow meters are noninvasive, highly accurate, and cost-effective.
Gravimetric flow meters
Measuring the weight of a flowing fluid per unit of time, gravimetric flow meters are crucial in applications where assessing the mass of the transferred fluid is paramount. These flow meters come in various forms including loss-in-weight and Coriolis.
Inspect, test, and maintain flow meters
Flow meters are delicate instruments requiring precise calibration. To ensure their effectiveness, you must remain vigilant in inspecting, testing, and maintaining these components and be proactive in addressing any issues that may arise. A well-serviced flow meter can help guarantee success in critical applications — whether you’re measuring oil and gas extraction rates or determining the amount of volume transferred in a wastewater treatment facility.