The flow of oil and gas is crucial to businesses that rely on precise measurements of both substances, which is why a flowmeter is an essential piece of the equipment in many industries.
What is a Flowmeter?
A flowmeter lets you know the status of both the upstream and the downstream flow rates. It can determine the output of the oil or gas that you are using. Flowmeters are used in a number of industries, including the food industry, pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals.
Different Types of Flowmeter
There are a number of flowmeters on the market, each of which is tailored to suit specific industries.
Some flowmeters give more accurate readings than others, so you must ensure that you spend time thinking about what meters best suits your business and how it operates.
Current styles of flowmeters include:
- Velocity Flowmeters
- Positive Flowmeters
- Turbine Displacement Flowmeters
- Open Channel Flowmeters
- Mass Flowmeters
- Variable Flowmeters
What is Flowmeter Calibration?
Calibration is the process in which a measuring device is set to a standard so that an accurate reading is given. Depending on what you would like to measure, calibration can be reset to give you the output that you need, for example, you can rest your measuring tool to tell you how much fluid flows through a pipe through a certain time period, or you can ask for the average temperatures of a liquid to be read at intervals. Flowmeter calibration allows various industries to measure the amount of liquid or gas that flow through a pipe or other vessel.
The Importance of Flowmeter Calibration
As we have said, flow measure is integral to many aspects of modern life, from measuring household water use to ensuring the correct amount of chemicals are added to a mixture. With this in mind, accurate measurement is essential and flowmeters must be working at optimum levels at all times.
Flowmeters can be calibrated to measure specific requirements for a certain product or industry process, for example, to measure the amount of the rate of which gas is running through a pipeline in a heating system. The need for flowmeter calibration arises from the need for defensible accuracy, which, for some industries, means having built-in calibration systems. If required, some calibration systems need to be taken out of service in order to be fully calibrated and most manufacturing industries regular calibrations as part of quality control.
Flowmeter Calibration Devices
A flowmeter calibration device is one of the most common calibration devices used in industries and they are usually used when the calibration needs to be completed repeatedly.
A flowmeter calibration system is designed like a working bench and its features include:
- A shield of the tested meter
- Source holder (in a lead shield)
- Connecting unit of tested detector units, including LV sources and counters
- Ionizing radiation source manipulator
- Control unit
- Software to manage calibration devices and to store data
Once all of the parts of the calibration device have been assembled, the technician in charge should ensure that the selected methods are entered into the system and that the software instigates the calibration process. The software will select the relevant sources so that it can follow the instructions that have been entered and collate the required data. All data is then stored in the database and a certificate can be printed, if required.
Interpreting Calibration Results
Most flowmeters export linear data, although there are some exceptions. For non-linear data, you will need to linearize to see whether the machinery being used is working within their design limitations. Once the calibration has been completed and you have the required data, you can determine if there is any sign of performance error, which can be defined as the ‘difference between the calibration results and the standard values’. The rate of error is usually displayed in percentages unless another measurement is more appropriate. Those who are in the calibration industry and are comfortable in diagnosing errors will easily understand the range of permissible errors and will instantly know if a product is working, as it should be.
How Often is Calibration Needed?
The frequency for calibration varies from industry to industry and business to business, as there are no set rules. Some applications and processes will need to be measured more accurately than others. If precision is not too much of an issue then you can calibrate less often, maybe on a quarterly schedule. If you are working with highly toxic chemicals or materials that can be temperamental, it is wise to perform calibrations on a weekly or monthly basis. If you are unsure on how often your business needs to calibrate all operations, an industry specialist can give you advice.
Whenever you change parts on a flowmeter or you think that the flowmeter may have been compromised, you will need to perform a calibration before you put it to use. Once again, a professional will be able to determine the impact of the changes that have been made to the flowmeter.
Why Choose a Professional Calibration Service?
Professional calibration companies can give businesses a sense of confidence that the results which will be presented are accurate. Those unfamiliar with interpreting results may struggle to get to grips with the small discrepancies in the data. For your flowmeter to work at its optimum level, you will want an accurate analysis of data so that you can make the necessary changes to your machinery and equipment. For businesses that feel that they cannot afford frequent calibrations by professionals, you can always book a set number of calibrations and perform in-house calibrations in the interim.
Calibrations can be carried out as part of your regular maintenance and an outside company can be brought in if you find any issues that you cannot resolve alone. Of course, the best way to reassure that your business is getting accurate results is to invest wisely in your equipment, which means buying from a reputable flowmeter producer. They will be able to answer any queries that you may have.