Metering Pumps Need Turndown for Efficiency

Metering Pumps Need Turndown for Efficiency | Flowmetrics

Water treatment plants, chemical processing facilities, and offshore platforms all seek to maximize efficiency, and in metering pumping processes leveraging the turndown capabilities vastly decreases the waste of chemicals.

Turndown is expressed as a ratio of the metering pump output. If a pump is capable of a maximum of 1,000 gallons per hour (gph) and it has a 100-to-1 turndown ratio, then it can be adjusted to a flow rate as low as 10 gph and still perform within its accuracy rating.

But a turndown ratio means little without an accuracy rating as well. For example, the example pump above with an accuracy rating of 1% max flow rate means that at a flow rate of 1 gph, the pump may be pumping +/- 10 gph, possibly 1,000% the intended amount of fluid. 

The entire purpose of a metering pump is to dispense a specified amount of fluid. Turndown is so important in that varying levels of chemicals or raw materials might be required in the moment. Being able to modulate the amount of processing chemicals will reduce the overuse during processing.


Click here for the full article from Pumps & Systems.

Refineries Refocus on Wastewater

Refineries Refocus on Wastewater | Flowmetrics

Oil and gas companies as an industry are placing higher priorities on waste water management for operational and economic challenges. This trend is in response to the current 2.5 billion barrels of waste water produced yearly by American O&G operations.

Current procedures for oil and gas refining call for a water to oil ratio of 8:1, showing the massive quantities of water required for daily operations. To reduce this vast usage certain engineering feats will have to succeed in improving efficiency or broadening the optimum ranges for processing. One refinery was faced with an exponentially growing cost if a conventional reverse osmosis filtering system was to be placed within the plant. To solve this problem without raising the budget, a 750-gpm unit was installed in a three-tiered skid arrangement and placed in a non-hazardous area of the plant. This resolution saved the refinery from erecting another building for its water management, and kept all extra processing equipment nearby. 

In certain locations and climates, severe droughts are raising doubts about heavy water using industrial plants. High water prices are causing increased costs for operations and drawing needed water away from residents in neighboring counties. New legislation in California has required O&G operators to submit monthly water usage statements to the government to be approved before operation occurs. Being able to reduce the necessary water for cooling, dilution, and transport of these products would improve the chance of continued operations.


Click here for the full article by Mike Jenkins.

Avoiding Common Risks in a Propane Transfer

Avoiding Common Risks in a Propane Transfer | Flowmetrics

In terms of energy usage, propane makes up less than 2 percent, but it is still a potential source of danger if you are not exceedingly careful when handling it. This hydrocarbon is used commonly for cooking and heating, but it is one of the most flammable chemicals. This makes it easy to use for such activities, but it also means that it should be handled cautiously. A propane transfer is something you might need to do for several reasons, but when you do, there are a number of risk factors you should be aware of before you begin. This guide can help you avoid some of the mistakes that most often lead to injury and accidents.

Understand the Risks Propane Can Pose

Propane has no odor nor no color, so you will not have a way of immediately identifying it. It does, however, pose risks that you need to be aware of. Propane acts as an asphyxiate. This means that it can deprive your body of oxygen and result in any of the following injuries:

  • Suffocation
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Seizures
  • Frostbite
  • Migraine
  • Damage to nerves

These are the symptoms that may occur after highly concentrated quantities of propane are released. Signs of lesser exposure include numbness, nausea, congestion, hallucinations and hyperventilation among other various symptoms. It is important to understand these risks so that you can seek immediate help if you begin to suspect you have poisoning from the propane.

Consider Whether It Is a DIY or Professional Job

Depending on what purpose you are attempting a propane transfer for, you may or may not need to call a professional to complete the task for you. It is never a bad idea, but many people do propane transfers in order to move the chemical from a large and unwieldy tank into a smaller and more compact one. Since propane can take the form of either a gas or a liquid, you can heat the larger tank so that the propane vaporizes and cool the smaller tank so that it liquefies, transferring the chemical through a hose connecting the two containers.

Use the Right Tools

If you have decided to attempt a propane transfer, you will need the following supplies:

  • Two tanks of different sizes
  • POL fittings
  • Dual-sided hose
  • Warm and cold water to control temperature

These supplies will allow you to attempt the propane transfer at home, but as is noted above, you should proceed with caution. The process may take a long time.

Trust Professional Expertise When Necessary

Even if you use all of the right tools and precautions, you will likely not be able to perform a basic propane transfer the way a professional can. If the project surpasses your expertise, a professional with a flow meter can help you. What function does a flow meter serve in this context? It provides information regarding the flow and pressure of the propane, so any risks such as leaks can be detected early. This can be an invaluable resource for people who need to transfer a chemical but don’t want to take the risk of personally attempting it at home.



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Upgrade to Radio-Frequency Quadrupole Linac

Upgrade to Radio-Frequency Quadrupole Linac | Flowmetrics

After a successful test of the Radio-Frequency Quadrupole Linac, RFQ, engineers and physicists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will be upgrading this superconducting linear accelerator. On its first trial run the RFQ accepted nearly 100% of the source beam without failure, a remarkable feat with so many complex control systems.

This upgrade plans to adapt the front end of the accelerator producing high-intensity proton beams for experiments.

The lab’s current RFQ, which sits at the beginning of the laboratory’s accelerator chain, accelerates a negative hydrogen ion beam to 0.75 million electronvolts, or MeV. The new RFQ, which is longer, accelerates a beam to 2.1 MeV, nearly three times the energy. Transported beam current, and therefore power, is the key improvement with the new RFQ. The current RFQ delivers 54-watt beam power; the new RFQ delivers beam at 21 kilowatts – an increase by a factor of nearly 400.

Innovation on the new upgrade hinges on a waveform cut out of positioning vanes within the accelerator. The waveform is designed with longer distances between peaks and troughs as the beam travels along the accelerator. This lengthening accounts for increased speed as the beam accelerates, keep the time between peaks and troughs equal the entire journey through the RFQ.

Click here for the full article on

Fluid Pressure Sanitizes Food?

Fluid Pressure Sanitizes Food? | Flowmetrics

For years we have been preserving food through the application of extreme heat. Pasteurization has been the staple in protecting consumers by killing any harmful bacteria by heating a food item to a high enough temperature for a long enough duration. The exact temperature and duration are dependent on the pathogen the food is being treated against. A new method uses high pressure to achieve the same goal.

High Pressure Processing, HPP, sounds frightening in terms of food but in fact is less detrimental to nutritional characteristics than the common method. In common pasteurization temperatures used are so brutal that often vitamins and useful proteins breakdown, in the end the food is safe for consumption but at a degraded nutritional value. In HPP vitamins and proteins are not destroyed, but bacteria within the food item are ruptured.

Pressures used can reach 87,000 psi delivered via a pressurized water bath within a pressure chamber, and some even use moderate heat to further prevent spoilage in certain products.

HPP promises the same level of food safety that heat pasteurization does, but without damaging the nutrients in fruits and vegetables. According to Dr. Barrett, several studies have found that vitamin C is relatively unaffected by the process for instance.


Click here for the full article by Sorina Buzatu.

Bearing Life from Materials and Design

Bearing Life from Materials and Design | Flowmetrics

Rotating process machinery depends on bearings, either rolling element bearings or fluid film bearings. These parts counteract gravity to keep the shafts moving as freely as possible without wear or excessive maintenance. The characteristics of each type of bearing leads to the maintenance, life span, and type of load possible for the application.

Babbitt is a widespread material for bearings. It allows for smooth start-up and shut-down while offering conform-ability and embed-ability reducing damage to the spinning shaft. Babbitt bearings must be limited to a maximum temperature of 130°C or warping may lead to misalignment. Bronze can be a substitute for Babbitt bearings for higher temperature applications but can be damaged more easily by contaminants.

Fluid film bearings depend heavily upon their design, and application specific designs can be highly specific. An operating pressure must be developed in the fluid to counteract gravity. Bearing clearance, the difference between the bearing bore and shaft diameter, greatly affects dynamic performance from temperature changes and power loss. Even the manner in which lubrication is introduced into the bearing can drastically change the performance. A flooded bearing will have higher power losses and operating temperatures than a directed lubrication bearings.

Click here for the full article from Processing Magazine.

New Compressors Breathe Life into Water Treatment Plants

New Compressors Breathe Life into Water Treatment Plants | Flowmetrics

Air supply is critical in many industries, sometimes surprisingly. Water treatment facilities are not the first buildings where one would expect air supply to vastly affect efficiency.

In water treatment plants for the Rubiera system, the process is built into four parallel pipelines, and compressors are used during the oxidization and nitrification portions of the process. The initial setup used compressors rated for much more capacity than was required by the facility, and as such the process was over-supplied for long periods of the day.

“The first step was to change the set-up, linking all the machines together. It was seen, in fact, that it would have been sufficient to use only one compressor for generating the process air during the period of less demand, but that compressor had to be very versatile and offer a wide range of capacity variations.”

Click here for the full article from Process Worldwide.

Precision Volume Pumps

Precision Volume Pumps | Flowmetrics

For when you need an exact amount of fluid moved from one spot to another, precision pumps will disburse exactly what you need when you need it. The two categories of precision dosage pumps are piston and diaphragm pumps.

Piston Pumps

These types of pumps are designed for continuous flows against a multitude of pressures, even upwards of 1000 Barg. A piston inside the pump recirculates up and down with seals to prevent leaks and create suction.

Diaphragm Pumps

Diaphragm pumps utilize a plastic membrane or multiples of membranes to create a vacuum and discharge the fluid. Because there is no direct contact with the pumping mechanics, these pumps are situated well for toxic, harmful, or abrasive fluids.


Click here for the full article by Amin Almasi.

Valve Flow Characteristics

Valve Flow Characteristics | Flowmetrics

In selecting a valve for use plenty of characteristics  must be suitable for your desired application. Readers recently asked Béla Lipták some questions regarding control valves and their characteristics. Some of the questions and answers are presented below. The complete list can be found at the link below.


  • What are the definitions of wide and small ranges in terms of flow turndown?

A control loop will be stable if its gain does not change with variations in the load. The loop gain is the product of four gains (process, controller, sensor, valve) and, ideally, it should stay constant at about 0.5. If the process gain varies with load and the sensor and controller gains are constant, the ideal valve characteristic is one that will compensate for the variation in process gain, so that if the process gain rises with load, the valve gain drops (equal percentage); if the process gain drops with load, the valve gain rises (quick opening) and if the process gain remains constant, the valve gain should also be constant (linear).


  • How would I go about measuring flow of hydrocarbons with 1% sand by mass included?

Either Coriolis or vortex can wear at a rate proportional to the percentage of sand in the flow, and both meters could have a short lives. Sharp-edge orifices are similarly vulnerable. The choice is affected by flow rate and pipe size.

I would worry about any Coriolis flowmeter with a relatively thin metal wall. Magnetic, ultrasonic and flow nozzles have been recommended. With a sufficiently high flow rate, an elbow meter will also work. Any DP meter might need a chemical seal or liquid purge to avoid plugging.


Click here for the full article on Control Global.

Coriolis Flow Meter Calibration

Coriolis Flow Meter Calibration | Flowmetrics iStock_000058054942_Medium

Calibrating a flow meter means first testing the meter for its unique deviation from reality, then altering the meter or program in some way to negate that unique offset. Each meter has its own flaws, quirks, and strengths well within the standards to adjust for in specific applications, and calibration tests are designed to identify these for adjustment later.

At first a two-by-two hypothesis matrix is used to determine if the meter reads a true positive, false alarm, covert failure, or true negative based on an assumption of how the meter will read. If it is assumed the meter is accurate and tests to read accurately the result is a true positive. A meter suspected to be inaccurate that reads inaccurately is a true negative. Other variations produce covert failures or false alarms. Balance between false alarms and covert failures is the key in flow meter calibration.

The perfect flow meter — zero calibrations, zero proving, no zeroing and zero worries with powerful diagnostics that can verify meter accuracy and give advance warning of changes — does not yet exist. Coriolis may arguably be the closest technology
because it is largely insensitive to fluid properties. It is predicted that within 10 years, on-board meter verification diagnostics will be a standard expectation in Coriolis technology.


Click here for the full article by Tom O’Banion.