How to Calibrate a Flow Meter

How to Calibrate a Flow Meter | Flowmetrics

Flow meters are used in many industries to measure and control the movement of gases or liquids. Accuracy is crucial in order to ensure that the manufacturing process is going smoothly. Precise measurements are key to many kinds of manufacturing, processing and transfer processes. For this reason, manufacturers look for the highest quality flow meters available on the market.

Why Regular Calibration Is a Must

However, even the most durable and sensitive meter can become imprecise and lose accuracy after prolonged use. Some common causes are regular wear and tear, exposure to moisture or corrosion due to chemicals. Flow meter function can also become disrupted due to accumulation of dirt, impact or faults in the installation process. Regular inspection and calibration of your flow meter is necessary in order to ensure consistently precise readings. To ensure that your calibration of your flow meter achieves the results you want, it is smart to follow the following best practices.

Use Accurate Testing Equipment

First of all, make sure that your testing equipment is up to standard. This means that before you can start using your standard to test your flow meter’s measurements, you must take care to test your standard against another recognized standard and document the results. This will help you maintain a high degree of accuracy when checking the precision of your flow meter’s measurements.

Test Your Testing Equipment

In addition to comparing your standard’s accuracy to that of an already known standard, make sure that its measurements are sufficiently accurate. When you are using a standard to calibrate your flow meter, your standard typically needs to be four times as accurate as the meter you are testing. In some cases, the accuracy requirement can be different based on the specific type of calibration.

Ensure Typical Environment

Now that you have checked your testing equipment, you need to make sure that the testing environment is conducive to precise results. If you want to know how your flow meter is operating on a daily basis, you should test it under conditions that are as similar as possible to its typical environment. The type of substance whose movement is measured by the meter can affect operation, so be sure to test using the same substance. Factors such as heat, density and rate of movement can also affect operation; thus, for optimal testing accuracy, these should also be similar to the regular operating environment.

Consistent Flow

When testing, it is important to keep the flow rate steady. In a typical testing scenario, you will be making a real-time comparison between the flow rate of your meter and your testing standard. Thus, variations in system flow can lead to imprecise results and suboptimal calibration.

Eliminate Variations in Heat and Volume

For best calibrating results, your testing unit will need to measure everything your flow meter regularly measures, simultaneously. This means that it is important that there not be any variations in temperature or volume during the testing process. Before beginning the calibration, check the system for leaks or other irregularities that could compromise test results.

If you find that you are unable to calibrate your flow meter successfully, it may be time for a repair or an upgrade. Flow meters can lose function when they are being used in applications where a particular type or model is not optimal. Improper installation can also lead to damage that may not be easily fixed by recalibrating.  Consult your manufacturer as to the best type of flow meter for your purposes.


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