Showing posts with label flow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flow. Show all posts

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Campus Metering: Why Meter?

Instrumentation Energy Management
Schools, universities, medical centers and federal building
use instrumentation for energy management.

Energy and water managers have long known the value of metered data. With recent advances in energy and water metering and information systems resulting in increased functionality at lower costs, obtaining these data in a cost-effective manner is now a standard practice. Whether energy and water resource managers are trying to comply with legislated and mandated metering requirements, or looking to apply accepted building management best practices, such as utility bill verification or benchmarking, today’s metering technologies can provide the information needed to meet energy and water goals, save money, and improve building operations.

Metering of energy and water utilities has seen an increase in interest, application, and technology
Clamp-on flow meter
Clamp-on flow meter (Flexim)
advancement in both the private and the public sectors. One significant driver of this heightened interest is the ongoing modernization of the nation’s electric infrastructure with the move toward the smart grid and smart meters. Another significant driver, specific to the Federal sector, includes the legislative mandates for metering of Federal buildings.

The Business Case for Metering

The application of meters to individual buildings and energy-intensive equipment provides facility managers and operators with real-time information on how much energy has been or is being used. This type of information can be used to assist in optimizing building and equipment operations, in utility procurements, and in building energy budget planning and tracking.

It is important to keep in mind that meters are not an energy efficiency/energy conservation technology per se; instead, meters and their supporting systems are resources that provide building owners and operators with data that can be used to: 
Flow computer
Flow computer (KEP)
  • Reduce energy and water use
  • Reduce energy and water costs
  • Improve overall building operations 
  • Improve equipment operations
How the metered data are used is critical to a successful metering program.

Depending on the type of data collected, these data can enable the following practices and functions:
  • Verification of utility bills
  • Comparison of utility rates
  • Proper allocation of costs or billing of reimbursable tenants 
  • Demand response or load shedding when purchasing electricity under time-based rates 
  • Measurement and verification of energy project performance 
  • Benchmarking building energy use 
  • Identifying operational efficiency improvement opportunities and retrofit project opportunities 
  • Usage reporting and tracking in support of establishing and monitoring utility budgets and costs, and in developing annual energy reports. 
Most of the metered data uses listed above will result in a reduction in energy and water costs. The degree of cost reduction realized will depend on the unit cost of the energy and water being saved and on the effectiveness with which the site analyzes the data and acts upon its findings and recommendations. Examples of additional metering benefits can include:
Inline flowmeter
Thermal dispersion flow meter (FCI)
  • Supporting efforts to attain ENERGY STAR and/or green building certifications 
  • Promoting tenant satisfaction by providing information that tenants find useful in managing their operations 
  • Prolonging equipment life (and reducing capital investment requirements) and improving its reliability by verifying the efficient operation of equipment 
  • Assessing the impact of utility price fluctuations prior to or as they happen, allowing sites/agencies to address budget shortfalls on a proactive basis. 
Metering options will change in response to new material, electronic, and sensor development, as well as new and additional requirements for real-time data information. Future expansion of a metering system should be considered, as well as introduction of new metering and sensor technologies, based on the best available information, but be careful not to over design a system, thus unnecessarily increasing its cost.

Contact Flow-Tech with questions about improving your facilities energy management systems.  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Solving Critical Process Applications for the Water and Wastewater Industry

Thermal Dispersion and Coriolis technology
From the early 1960s, Fluid Components International recognized the need for flow and level instrumentation which met specific customer requirements and demands for the Water and Wastewater Industry. By utilizing Thermal Dispersion and Coriolis technology exclusively in all FCI flow, level, interface, temperature switches and mass flow meters, our products solve typical Water and Wastewater Industry application challenges with standard product features such as:
  • No moving parts
  • All welded materials of construction 
  • Direct mass flow measurement
  • No pressure drop
  • Explosion-proof design
  • Wide flow range
  • Low flow capability
The document below outlines where and how Thermal Dispersion and Coriolis technology are used throughout water treatment facilities around the USA.

For more information on any water treatment process application, contact Flow-Tech at 410-666-3200 in Maryland, or 804-752-3450 in Virginia, or visit

Monday, January 30, 2017

Operating Principles and Application of Vortex Flowmeters

vortex flowmeter
Vortex flowmeter
(courtesy of Yokogawa)
To an untrained ear, the term "vortex flowmeter" may conjure futuristic, potentially Star Wars inspired images of a hugely advanced machine meant for opening channels in warp-space. In reality, vortex flowmeters are application specific, industrial grade instruments designed to measure what may be the most important element of a fluid process control operation: flow rate.

Vortex flowmeters operate based on a scientific principle called the von Karman effect, which generally states that a fluid flow will alternately shed vortices when passing by a solid body. "Vortices" is the plural form of vortex, which is best described as a whirling mass, notably one in which suction forces operate, such as a whirlpool. Detecting the presence of the vortices and determining the frequency of their occurrence is used to provide an indication of fluid velocity. The velocity value can be combined with temperature, pressure, or density information to develop a mass flow calculation. Vortex flowmeters are reliable, with no moving parts, serving as a useful tool in the measurement of liquid, gas, and steam flow.

While different fluids present unique challenges when applying flowmeters, stream is considered one of the more difficult to measure due to its pressure, temperature, and potential mixture of liquid and vapor in the same line. Multiple types of steam, including wet steam, saturated steam, and superheated steam, are utilized in process plants and commercial installations, and are often related to power or heat transfer. Several of the currently available flow measurement technologies are not well suited for steam flow applications, leaving vortex flowmeters as something of a keystone in steam flow measurement.

Vortex flowmeter
Vortex flowmeter
(courtesy of Yokogawa)
Rangeability, defined as a ratio of maximum to minimum flow, is an important consideration for any measurement instrument, indicating its ability to measure over a range of conditions. Vortex flowmeter instruments generally exhibit wide rangeability, one of the positive aspects of the technology and vortex based instruments.

The advantages of the vortex flowmeter, in addition to the aforementioned rangeability and steam-specific implementation, include available accuracy of 1%, a linear output, and a lack of moving parts. It is necessary for the pipe containing the measured fluid to be completely filled in order to obtain useful measurements.

Applications where the technology may face hurdles include flows of slurries or high viscosity liquids. These can prove unsuitable for measurement by the vortex flowmeter because they may not exhibit a suitable degree of the von Karman effect to facilitate accurate measurement. Flow measurements can be adversely impacted by pulsating flow, where differences in pressure from the relationship between two or more compressors or pumps in a system results in irregular fluid flow.

When properly applied, the vortex flowmeter is a reliable and low maintenance tool for measuring fluid flow. Frequently, vortex flow velocity measurement will be incorporated with the measurement of temperature and pressure in an instrument referred to as a multivariable flowmeter, used to develop a complete measurement set for calculating mass flow.

Whatever your flow measurement challenges, share them with a flow instrument specialist, combining your process knowledge with their product and technology expertise to develop effective solutions.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Versatile Thermal Dispersion Switches For Level, Temperature, Liquid Interface, and Flow Applications

flow level interface temperature switch for fluid process control
Sanitary version of  FLT93 FlexSwitch
Courtesy Fluid Components International
Thermal dispersion, as a method of process measurement, relies upon precise temperature measurement and, in some cases, the ability to measure heat input. The principal is fairly simple, based upon the relationship between two temperature measurement points in the subject fluid. One is heated by the control system in a known manner, the other is not. Whether measuring fluid flow, or functioning as a liquid level or interface switch, the relationship between the two temperature measurements can provide the needed information reliably, accurately, and without any moving parts in the measurement system.

Fluid Components International utilizes these physical principals in the operation of their FlexSwitch line of thermal dispersion measuring instruments. By combining modular components in various ways, the company offers switches suitable for applications across a wide range of industries.

  • Flow
  • Level
  • Flow and temperature
  • Level and temperature

Features throughout the product line include:

  • Dual trip points and relays
  • SIL 2 rated, ultra reliable
  • 3 year warranty
  • Broad agency approvals
  • Suitable for full range of pipe sizes
  • Apply in fluids to 850 °F (454 °C)
  • No moving parts to foul, clog or maintain
  • All welded elements
  • Easy to install and set-up
  • Highly sensitive and accurate
  • Threaded, flanged, packing gland installation
  • Integral or remote mounted electronics
  • Choice of enclosures
  • Field selectable AC or DC power
More information about the FlexSwitch line of thermal dispersion based switches is provided in the document below. For best results, share your project requirements and challenges with a product application specialist. Combine your process knowledge with their product application experience and develop effective solutions.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Accurate Measurement of Low Flow In Compressed Air Systems

Plant operators are well aware of the cost associated with continuous delivery of compressed air, a useful medium utilized as an energy source. Large or multiple compressors consume considerable amounts of electric power maintaining system pressure and flow requirements. With extensive piping and countless fittings, there are many potential points of leakage. Scheduling of various production operations can vary the demand for compressed air significantly. Getting control of your compressed air system and reducing operating cost is a noble goal. One of the primary tools needed to manage energy costs will be accurate and reliable flow measurement equipment. Here are some characteristics of flow measurement instrumentation that should prove advantageous:
Portable ultrasonic flow meter with clamp on transducer
Portable Ultrasonic Flow Measurement Instrument

  • Non-invasive measurement from the outer pipe wall that does not add potential leak sources or pressure drop.
  • Availability in fixed or portable configuration.
  • Highly accurate, with paired temperature compensated traceable calibrated transducers
  • Installed without disturbance to piping.
  • Bidirectional measurement
  • Rugged instrument design suitable for any kind of industrial environment
Ultrasonic flow measurement technology can provide all of these characteristics, providing information that enables the operator to make fact based decisions about system design, management, and maintenance. Learn more about how ultrasonic flow meters specifically configured for compressed air system application can help you start reducing your operating cost and developing a higher level of control over your compressed air system. Share your process challenges with a product specialist and work together to build the best solution.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Flow Measurement of Activated Sludge

Flexim flowmeter
Better, non-invasive,
alternative for
activated sludge.
Reprinted with permission from Flexim

A wastewater treatment plant that serves 1,800 households includes several mechanical and biological wastewater treatment facilities.

The mechanical treatment consists of a screening system and an aerated circular grit trap. The biological treatment is carried out in a combi-tank (biological treatment stage outside, secondary clarifier-settler basin inside).

The plant also includes facilities for the removal of nitrogen which is carried out by intermittent nitrification/denitrification. In addition, the plant also has a static sludge thickener. The activated sludge, which has been formed in the biological treatment stage through the growth of microorganisms, slowly separates via gravity in the secondary clarifier basin.

A portion of the activated sludge is fed back into the biological treatment stage as return sludge and mixed with the newly added nutrient-rich wastewater. The amount of return sludge should always be in a defined ratio to the current feed quantity. For this reason, the flow rate of the recirculation pipeline has to be measured.

The installation of a wetted magnetic-inductive flowmeter, which is very common in the water and wastewater industry, would have required modifications to the piping and subsequent expensive civil engineering work. The only available manhole location on the buried recirculation pipeline has not been suitable for retrofitting a magnetic-inductive flowmeter. Moreover, the pipeline in the manhole is always submerged in water.

Retrofitting the measurement point with a FLEXIM non-invasive ultrasonic flow meter, including IP68 fully submersible transducers, proved to be a convincingly simple, accurate, reliable and cost effective solution.

There is no need to open the pipeline when mounting the transducers onto the outside of the pipe and therefore no interruption to operation. The cramped installation point in the flooded shaft does not pose a particular challenge to FLEXIM’s measuring system: the IP68 transducers can be operated while permanently submerged and, since they were installed, they have been providing highly reliable measurements for automatic control of the pumps that convey the return flow quantity of the activated sludge.

  • Reliable and accurate flow measurement of activated sludge for automatic pump control
  • Secure automatic control of the recirculation proportional to the demand
  • Easy to retrofit measuring point during ongoing operation, without any pipe work and without the need to modify the existing pipeline system
  • No expense for civil engineering and excavation work
  • Submersible IP68 transducers guarantee long-term stable measurements

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Liquid Vaporizer Systems

Direct liquid injection vaporizer
DLI courtesy of Brooks Instrument
Direct liquid injection vaporizer technology overcomes the many limitations of conventional vaporizing technologies. Bubblers, or vapor draw systems, are difficult to start and stop, require very close control of temperature and pressure, and are inefficient at generating well controlled vapor mass flow. Vaporizing valves, hot frit, heat tracing, and other "flash vaporizers" that apply heat to the liquid using a hot metal surface are also inefficient at generating vapor mass and frequently can cause thermal decomposition of the liquid precursor. None of these conventional technologies can eliminate the potential for liquid carry-over and its attendant problems.

For, in-depth more information check out the document below.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Welcome to Flow-Tech's Maryland & Virginia's Process Control Blog

Virginia and Maryland Process Control
Serving Maryland and Virginia
Flow-Tech, Inc. has been specifying and applying process instrumentation and control valves in the Maryland and Virginia markets for over 40 years. Flow-Tech's outstanding growth in sales and reputation is directly a result of our consultative sales approach, delivered by our team of knowledgeable and experienced Sales Engineers.

We see this blog as an extension of that process where today's customer can learn and discover at their own time and place, narrow the selection of products and vendors, and then  arrange for me focussed presentation with a salesperson.

This blog will be populated with post we think you will find interesting and education in the area of process instrumentation and control. It will be updated frequently, so please check back often.