Flowmeters are an integral part of many industries today as it measures the flow of various liquids, gases, and masses. In order for your flowmeter to function to the best of its ability, it is important to understand each component of the flowmeters and the additional pieces of equipment that will improve its function. One of the fundamental components of a flowmeter process is the signal conditioner, with the two being bought hand in hand with one and other.
What is a Signal Conditioner
A signal conditioner is a piece of equipment that converts an electrical signal into another type of signal. Typically enabling manufacturers to read signals they would otherwise be unable to interpret.
For a flowmeter to work effectively, it will need to receive a signal that tells it what to do – enter the signal controller. There are many different types of signal controllers, with analog still being the most popular variety. An analog controller works very effectively with flowmeters, as they can convert pulse rates into signals that retain proportion with the rate of pulsation.
A signal controller uses amplification to enable signals to be converted into analog form and it can be modulation depending on your desired outcomes. Converting one kind of electrical signal to another is the primary use of a signal conditioner, and they can interpret signals using AC voltage, current, frequency, and temperature, as well as many other functions. This means that signal conditioners are used in all types of industries, including the food and pharmaceutical industry.
Operating a Signal Conditioner
A signal conditioner is generally easy to install but once it is in place it is not a matter of simply turning it on. As the conversion takes place, the following activities may occur:
- In cold junction compensation, A thermocouple signal is modified to account for the frequent changes in temperature, which is common in cold junction compensation
- Thermocouples also use the linearization process
- If a surface is above the grind and there is a worry about voltage levels, isolation will need to be considered.
- Excitation is required for some sensors to operate effectively
- If a signal is too week, amplification will be required in order for the signal conditioner to do the job that is was designed to do
From time to time, the signal conditioner will need to be altered so that you get the desired result you need, when you tweak your processes. While the signal conditioner is generally easy to install and to use, an expert technician that is familiar with the intricate details may help you get exactly what you need, rather than relying on a certain level of trial and error.
The Benefits of Signal Using Conditioner
Signal conditioning is comprised of three main steps: amplification, filtering and isolation, all of which are equally as important as each other. If any of these steps are not carried out the way that they should be, then the data output will be flawed. When purchasing a signal conditioner, it is important to review the specific needs of your operation so that your chosen controller does what you need it to.
Below are just some of the benefits of using a signal controller that may influence the make and model that you buy.
Some businesses will only need a fairly accurate range of data from a signal conditioner and others will need it to be very precise. If you do want your signal conditioner to be very accurate you will need to ensure that you have a precise sensor also.
Most manufacturers of signal conditioners offer flexibility when it comes to the hardware and software that is used. Good flexibility allows for a large range of signals to be set and various components can be replaced without affecting other parts of your flowmeter system.
Isolation (when there is no electrical connection between two points) is used at various points when signal conditioners are used in processing, to ensure that there is not a surge in voltage that could affect the whole operation. When choosing your conditioner you should look at isolation ratings as the quality will begin to disappear due to general wear and tear, so you want the most durable piece of equipment.
Interference can be a real problem with signal conditioners, particularly when it comes to electromagnetic interference. Most modern models have built-in protection against interference, most commonly by using a Faraday shield. Some other models look at ways to decrease interference by reconfiguring the component combinations.
You may require your signal conditioner to have the ability to amplify, for example when producing electronic temperature sensors, or, on the other hand, you may have to reduce high-voltage signals through the use of an attenuator.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Signal Conditioner
The quality of the hardware is an important factor when it comes to buying a controller as it is not all about how advanced the software is.
Most industrial environments are likely to experience harsh temperatures and will contain chemicals and materials that can damage equipment. With this is mind, you should look for hardwearing materials for housing important equipment and purchase a controller that is built to last. When thinking about a place to house your signal controller, you should think about how it can be accessed for maintenance and repairs.
When buying a flowmeter or a signal conditioner, it is important to research different makes and models and consider the range of frequencies that you will be working with. Never be afraid of asking too many questions when it comes to investing in any sort of equipment, especially if it costs a lot of money. The more questions that you ask before you purchase the less chance there is of you buying insufficient equipment.
It is always worth looking at the qualities of each piece of equipment you buy rather than choosing the cheapest option. Buying from a reputable manufacturer will ensure long-term success, especially if you can negotiate ongoing customer support and possible maintenance packages.