How to Select a Flow Meter for Your Application
With various types of flow meters available for every kind of application, choosing the right flow meter can be a very overwhelming project. A typical flow meter works by altering the stream and measuring how it changes to find the flow value. Using the correct flow meter is crucial for data collection as a wrong one can lead to high budgets and immense production time lost. When making the decision of which flow meter to use, it is important to consider the following steps.
First and foremost, set the budget you’re willing to spend for these flow meters. However, although you might be attracted to cheaper models, these options may not provide the same length of service life, require more maintenance, or may require more downtime for things like calibration. The quality and popularity of the flow meter should be a priority over price for avoiding many troubleshooting issues down the road.
2. Volume vs. Mass Flow Measurement
There are two basic measurements of fluids – volume and mass flow measurement. This means the flow meter is either a volumetric flow meter or a mass flow meter. To determine whether a volumetric or mass flow meter is the best option, assess the application and its components to understand the purpose of the measurement.
3. Confirm the Flow Meter Category Can Handle the Application
- Here is a list of some of the main flow meter categories paired with the fluid type the meter can handle:
- Gas – Coriolis Mass, Thermal Mass, Ultrasonic, Variable Area, Variable Differential Pressure, Positive Displacement, Turbine
- Liquid – Coriolis Mass, Thermal Mass, Ultrasonic, Variable Differential Pressure, Positive Displacement, Turbine, Electromagnetic
- Slurry – Coriolis Mass, some subsets of Variable Differential Pressure, Electromagnetic, Ultrasonic
- Vapor – Vortex, Ultrasonic, Diaphragm, Floating Element
4. Understand the Fluid Properties
- Fluid types: Gas, Liquid, Vapor, etc.
- Density: Can be calculated from fluid name, temperature and pressure
- Viscosity: Required for liquids
- Electrical conductivity: Required for electromagnetic type flow meters
- Contaminants: Air bubbles, mixed-in foreign objects, slurry, etc.
- Flow range: Minimum and maximum flow
- Fluid temperature: Measured in response to the fluid
- Fluid pressure: For pressure-resistance confirmation
- Pressure loss: Measured as necessary
5. Confirm Product Specifications
After taking these five factors into consideration, the last step for choosing the right flow meter is to take the specifications into account. Accuracy, repeatability, and resolution are three areas you will want to keep in mind. It is important to understand how exact the measurement will need to be based on what your process requires.
Elite Controls, Inc. partners with Kobold to provide a variety of flow control options. Kobold has developed a series of flow meters & sensors, which can be used in a wide variety of working environments. Our team can help you find the right solution. Let us help make your flow meter decisions easy. Contact us to get started on your next project.