Industrial Internet of Things Improvements

Industrial Internet of Things Improvements | Flowmetrics

Sensors, actuators, and controls systems have been critical and individual to each industrial company. From the control of specific proprietary processes to monitoring the state of a piece of equipment, these systems have solved unique problems for each company. With the entrance of the industrial internet of things, or IIoT, these custom made systems will be developed to accommodate as many applications as possible into each piece. Some new insights to look forward to include;

  • Much more context to equipment states. What is the ambient temperature and humidity for each piece of equipment? What percent of maximum run speed is the equipment set at to adapt to these conditions?
  • A shift from reactive maintenance to proactive maintenance. With a schedule of repairs accurate to the number of cycles, equipment can be serviced to continue operations efficiently instead of bringing broken units back online.
  • Real-time mapping of raw materials, intermediates, and personnel. A more accurate count of what materials are on hand, how quickly the process is running, and monitoring employees for safety will vastly reduce the overhead and liability of processing facilities.

Energy efficiency and sustainability gains are possible with the integration of smart machines, smart monitoring, and smart environmental controls.


Click here for the complete list and full article by Shelia Kennedy.

Water Control for Agricultural Innovation

Water Control for Agricultural Innovation | Flowmetrics

California is no doubt dealing with an epic drought, and agricultural innovations are working to lessen the impact of farming on water availability. For vineyards in central California age-old business practices have been better at using just the right amount of water when needed, preventing overflow from sweeping sediments downstream. Rain catchment systems above buildings on Jackson Family Wines, and reservoirs on the properties have been able to save enough water to supply the vineyards for more than a year with no additional rain. Recycling winery processing water for irrigation conserves water further. New technologies are helping to more accurately measure exactly when and how much to irrigate a field of grape vines. 

New agricultural flow meters measure the flow rate of sap within the grape vines and report when irrigation is needed. This practices saves on excess water used during irrigation, and allows the plants to “tell” the farmer when they need water. Jackson Family Wines has found that quality has improved as grapevines which are over-watered produce diluted flavors. 


Click here for the full article by Christopher Skroupa.

New Membrane Separates More Chemicals

New Membrane Separates More Chemicals | Flowmetrics

Published in the journal Science researchers have created a new membrane that separates closely related molecules and is far sturdier than others. This newly designed material is bound to lead to lowered chemical processing costs and use in other applications of separation.

Separating chemicals has been estimated to consume around 10 percent of the world’s energy production. In creating fresh water up to 60 percent of the energy cost is used to separate substances from the pure water. This particular membrane is the culmination research starting in the 1990’s and is focused on separating xylenes, an organic compound family, from each other.

The main problem with separating these compounds is that each has very similar properties, in fact the mass and boiling points of each are exactly the same throughout the family. Even in physical size, “They differ in size by a tenth of a nanometer.” To further complicate the matter, researchers were looking for a process that is feasible at room temperature to further reduce the energy costs.

The final membrane begins with a commercial polymer that is spun into hollow fibers, linked together into mats, and then heated until only a carbon fiber membrane remains. From tests the researchers have found the membrane uses 10 – 20 times less energy than common methods of separating xylenes.


Click here for the full article by Umair Irfan.

GE Power Returns to Industry Roots

GE Power Returns to Industry Roots | Flowmetrics

General Electrics has been facing hardships with the oil decline and overall in general conglomerate management. Having shed GE Capital as well as its appliance business, it is refocusing on power production and energy distribution.

GE’s power division is expecting demand for higher peak generators that can produce up to 55 gigawatts of power and an upturn in the market share for H-class turbines. Overall the demand for power generators is expected to rise quite a bit, with heavy duty gas turbines the majority of those products. 


Click here for the full article by Shayan Shamim.

Pump System Optimization

Pump System Optimization | Flowmetrics

As facilities seek lower energy usages, pump systems optimization ultimately comes up. The big drain to efficiency is that companies focus on the purchase price of a system rather than the life-cycle cost. On average the initial purchase of a system accounts for only 17% of the total costs, with 55% attributed to operation of the system. The inefficiencies of a system can lead to shortened life-span of pumps due to shaft wear and seal leaks. A pump should only run 15% outside of its best efficiency point at most to avoid these issues.

Proper assessment is required to discern the weaknesses in a pumping system before optimization can begin. Some items to look for in this assessment are;

  • Throttled flow-control valves
  • Recirculation flow regulation
  • On/off pump cycling
  • Pumping system without gauges to measure flow rate or pressure


Click here for the full article by Mark Sullivan.

Even After a Century, Rotameters Still Measure Up

Even After a Century, Rotameters Still Measure Up | Flowmetrics

Numerous modern industries touching every aspect of day-to-day life utilize sophisticated liquid flow systems at some point during the manufacturing process. Rotameters, or variable area flow meters, are important tools used to measure the volume of flow for liquids. Though simple in design compared to other advanced metric equipment, rotameters are economical and accurate in measuring flow rates ranging from low to very high volume, and they are staples for quantifying production methods in many industries. 


Simple Design That Delivers Precise Results


The first rotameter was invented in 1908, and though the original design has been improved, the basic operation is still the same after more than a century. A rotameter consists of a tapered tube, usually made of clear glass, with a float, which is actually a shaped weight, inside. When fluid flows through the tube, the weight is pushed up by the force of the liquid’s movement, thereby allowing quick and easy assessment of the overall flow volume.


There are distinct advantages to using these effective meters. Rotameters require no electricity or external fuel, and they can be produced in large quantities using relatively inexpensive materials. Their low manufacturing cost makes them available for widespread use, and the materials used to make them are resistant to shocks and chemical reactions.


They can be installed quickly and easily, and their accuracy is dependable. Furthermore, their measuring scale is approximately linear, making readings simple to understand and quantify.


Industries That Depend on Rotameters


Some vital industries that use rotameters include:


  • Energy
  • Aerospace and aviation
  • Food
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Chemical and petrochemical
  • Laboratory
  • General


Design Variations Improve Basic Operations


Modern design variations greatly expand the range of useful applications for rotameters. Their versatility, accuracy, dependability and cost-effectiveness make rotameters invaluable tools for measuring liquid flow rates in most facilities.


Some of the sophisticated modefications include:


  • Durable seals and shields
  • Heavy-gauge steel frames
  • Customizable measuring scales
  • Volume alarms


Why Rotameters Enjoy Enduring Popularity


The bottom line is that rotameters are simple yet accurate and dependable tools for measuring the liquid flow rate during many manufacturing and research processes. Today’s dynamic industries require efficient yet cost-effective ways to produce high-quality products according to strict schedules. Rotameters make it possible for them to do just that.


They are affordable and simple for any company to install, and they can withstand thermal shocks, temperature changes and chemical reactions alike and still deliver accurate readings. They are dependable and deliver repeatable results without drawing on any external power source.


Rotameters may seem simplistic in today’s fast-paced, increasingly complex technological world, but it is their elegant simplicity that makes these meters indispensable. From basic models that provide accurate measurements of flow volume to innovative designs that include alarms and custom scales, rotameters work well for most industries, as they have for more than 100 years.


While the design has been somewhat modified to meet modern production needs, rotameters still operate on the same basic principles that allow them to provide fast, accurate measurements. They help manufacturers ensure that daily processes are safe and efficient today and in the years to come.


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Aerodynamic Flow Control for Vehicles

Aerodynamic Flow Control for Vehicles | Flowmetrics

Pressure Systems International, PSI, has been developing a dynamic actuator system to improve the aerodynamics of semi-trucks for fuel conservation. A new investment with Plasma Stream Technologies will lead to widespread distribution of the fuel saving system.

The new innovation uses plasma actuator technology to reduce aerodynamic drag on semi-trucks and trailers, resulting in fuel savings. The active flow control system that manipulates airflow around the vehicle, offers aerodynamic benefits without the added weight and maintenance issues associated with bolt-on aero devices.

The new design will be more adaptable and compatible with more door mechanisms than current boat-tail designs making this technology a better fit for transportation and freight shipments.


Click here for the full article by Fleet Equipment.

Aviation Technology Innovations Predictions

Aviation Technology Innovations Predictions | Flowmetrics

Technology is always improving and here are some of the most likely improvements coming to the aviation industry soon;

  • Drones as commonplace workhorses
  • Ultra-high bypass from turbofans for fuel savings
  • Natural laminar flow and flow control also for fuel efficiency
  • Space exploration and travel for a lucky few passengers
  • Augmented reality will replace modern HUDs


Click here for the full article by Graham Warwick.

Eccentric Disc Pumps for Chemical Applications

Eccentric Disc Pumps for Chemical Applications | Flowmetrics

Eccentric disc pumps work to pump liquids by spinning an off-center disc inside of a pump housing. As the disc spins around inside the housing two low pressure and two high pressure zones are formed. These opposite high and low pressure zones move fluid through the pump. Because the volumes of these pressure zones is known, a constant, regular, measured flow rate can be achieved by varying the speed of the pumps spinning. This consistent flow is necessary for accurate chemical processing or distributors.

Because eccentric disc pumps are by design seal-less, fluids that would react with or corrode common seal materials are able to be pumped through a processing line. By protecting against unintended reactions valuable chemical materials are preserved saving the processing facility in materials costs.


Click here for the full article by Mike Solso.