How Flow Meter Calibration Impacts Responsible Water Management

How Flow Meter Calibration Impacts Responsible Water Management | Flowmetrics

Flow meters are common equipment with any system designed to transport fluids or gas from a point of origin to multiple delivery points. Like any type of equipment, normal wear and tear, malfunctioning components, or even things like leaks in the lines can affect the efficiency of the meter. When the goal is to make the best use of limited resources, like in the case of the current water crisis in California, calibration provides several key benefits. Here are a few examples to keep in mind.

Identifying Disparity Between The Standard Flow and the UUT

Calibration makes it possible to identify when a system is performing at reasonable levels. This is accomplished by comparing the rate of flow during normal operation with the results of the flow during what is known as the Unit Under Test or UTT. If the system is functioning properly, there will be little variance between the two figures. When the disparity is outside an acceptable range, that could mean the meter is in need of replacement components. At the same time, it could also mean there is a flaw in the delivery system that is preventing the meter from providing the most accurate readings.

Fluctuation in the Rate of Flow

In order for the calibration to be successful, the rate of flow during the testing must be constant. If something is happening to cause the flow to change in terms of volume or pressure, there could be a problem with the meter. Those fluctuations could also indicate a breakdown elsewhere in the system. Checking the meter to ensure all components are working properly will make it easier to isolate the issue and take action to restore control of the flow.

Detecting the Presence of Dirt or Corrosion in the Meter

The disparity could also indicate that some type of residue has collected in the system and is interfering with the function of the meter. This is most likely to take place when the filtration methods used do not adequately remove contaminants as the water flows through the system. The presence of the residue will create a false reading that may seem to indicate the flow meter is malfunctioning. If the meter is in perfect working order, then checking the system for dirt or corrosion is the next step. 

Identifying the Presence of Leaks

Leakage is another issue that can cause the calibration to fail. That’s because the variance between the actual flow and the UUT are increased significantly. Checking the meter and finding no signs of deterioration will prompt a check of the lines used to convey the water. There’s a good chance that one or more leaks will be located and subsequently sealed. Once that’s done, the calibration test will return positive results. 

The waste of resources, especially when any type of shortage is occurring, is something that must be avoided at all costs. Choosing to set up a schedule for calibration and having a professional manage the task is one of the best ways to determine if the meter is doing the job and if there is a problem beyond the meter that needs to be addressed. Rest assured that the testing and equipment checking will result in efficient water management that makes it easier for businesses to function and consumers to have access to enough water to get by until the drought is over.

 

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Water Corrosion Protection

Water Corrosion Protection | Flowmetrics

In steam producing boilers high temperatures and pressures increase the likelihood for corrosion and failure from said damage. The main culprit in this situation comes during the shutdown process, as pressure drops air enters the boiler and oxygen within the air reacts with the metal boiler causing weaknesses and pits in the metal. These small weaknesses can turn into leaks quickly requiring immediate shutdown.

To solve the problem of oxygen entering the system a nitrogen blanket can be installed. This is a system which fills the boiler system with nitrogen before dumping the pressure to eliminate air ingress, nitrogen is non-reactive in the system avoiding further pitting or corrosion. Supplying nitrogen for a blanket can come from bottled sources, liquid supplies, or through pressure swing adsorbtion.

 

Click here for the full article by Brad Buecker.

The Art of Calibrating

The Art of Calibrating | Flowmetrics

Basic calibrations of sensors combine a known environment tied to an output of that sensor. If a pressure sensor outputs a value of 2 psi when in a vacuum and 102 psi when placed inside a space with known pressure of 100 psi, the operator can calibrate the sensor to output 2 psi less than it currently does. Usually a sensors output is a linear affair between the stimuli and the reading it provides, and in these cases calibration is simple. By calibrating in this way the operator is introducing errors if they are off in any way.

If the testing situations are not accurately known any readings after calibration will have the same discrepancies. The use of a “golden unit” or a standardized unit of measurement to calibrate all sensors against can vastly reduce this type of error.

The calibration procedure should produce consistent results. If the operator can use the same procedure and calibrate the same sensor multiple times to the same end value then a sensor is much more likely to be accurate. If the sensor has varying levels of offset at the end each time, something must be fluctuating between calibrations.

 

Click here for the full article by Jim McCarty.

Net Positive Suction Head and Cavitation

Net Positive Suction Head and Cavitation | Flowmetrics

Centrifugal pumps shine when a processing line may require a wide range of flow rates. Altering the flow rate by closing or opening a discharge valve will stress a pump by causing it to operate outside of its best operating point. When the situation requires significantly more or less flow than the pump is producing net positive suction head, NPSH, cavitation, or vibrations can cause irreparable damage.

As a centrifugal pump operates pressure changes from inlet to outlet; negative pressure “pulls” fluid into the pump, and positive pressure “pushes” the fluid out of the pump. Because fluids may change phase at lower pressures, cavitation commonly occurs near the inlet of the pump. This phase change will cause the pumps to run dry, producing vibrations that wear bearings prematurely. These vibrations are caused by small bubbles returning to liquid as the pressure increases.

To prevent dangerous cavitation, net positive suction head is a measurement of the pressure at the pump inlet above the vapor pressure of the pumped fluid. NPSH is usually 3 to 5 feet, more if possible, meaning that at least 3 feet of head pressure more than the is required by the system.

 

Click here for the full article by Lev Nelik.

Hydraulic Valves Preventative Maintenance

Hydraulic Valves Preventative Maintenance | Flowmetrics

Hydraulic systems are dependent on every part within the system, any small leak or failure from one piece will bring the system to a grinding halt. The fluids used in particular systems can even harm personnel nearby or the environment in the occurrence of failure. Valves are critical to hydraulic systems as they control the flow of hydraulic fluid through the system to perform work. A preventative maintenance program should focus on valves more thoroughly than any other component.

Reactive maintenance expects to run components to failure, often valves fail first, and then enact repairs while productivity is zero and then make up for lost production time later. This process is costly and usually fraught with high tensions. A preventative maintenance schedule uses time or specific conditions to “schedule” repairs and replacements. This scheduling process can be in terms of time; i.e. replacing seals and gaskets every 2 years, or it may be based on operations; i.e. after every 5,000 cycles, or both depending on which “schedule” comes first. 

Industry data shows that performing maintenance on a scheduled basis is three to five times less expensive than the same repair being made on a reactive basis.

 

Click here for the full article by Mickey Heestand.

Hot Bolting Dangers

Hot Bolting Dangers | Flowmetrics

Hot bolting, or tightening bolts on flanges and other pipeline connectors while in operation, brings dangerous liabilities into fluid control operations. One example of the dangers occurred in 1992 where a hot bolted heat exchanger exploding killing 17 when a gasket-retaining ring slipped upon tightening. One common flaw in operators during maintenance practices is to believe they are more experienced and knowledgeable than is true, the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Bolts are only capable of shifting so far under stress, and during thermal loads the bolt materials may have reduced limits. Hot bolting adds stress to the material and combined with the lower limits these stresses may exceed resulting in ruptures or explosions of hot fluids. To reduce the risks of failure from thermal expansion springs may be added to bolted connections allowing more travel yet providing the needed sealing forces.

 

Click here for the full article by Ron Frisard.

What is Good Control Design?

What is Good Control Design? | Flowmetrics

A good design to a control room will facilitate efficiency and minimize liability. The design will enhance an operator’s efforts to produce the desired results in production. Since 2000 the International Organization for Standardization has produced a set of standards, ISO 11064, for control room design. Most of these standards deal with ergonomics and layout for the room, and adherence to these standards can greatly protect a company from injury lawsuits.

ISO 11064 helps establish good design standards with measurable results to avoid control rooms like many of us have experienced. Designed control rooms, control buildings and operation camps that feature a user-driven approach, work with ISO 11064 requirements, and integrate architectural, interior design and human-factors elements optimize performance.

First and foremost in the design process focuses on safety; locating the control room outside of blast zones, pathways of heavy equipment, and insecure environments. Further efforts deal with employee access and localities.

 

Click here for the full article by Mary Ann Lane.

Choose a Quality Turbine Flowmeter for Your Needs

Choose a Quality Turbine Flowmeter for Your Needs | Flowmetrics

Turbine flowmeters are a common component for machines used in the aviation, chemical and energy industries. Crucial for measuring the flow rate of fluids or gases, quality turbine flowmeters are necessary for determining accurate metrics, and by extension creating a quality product or carrying out an important service. Engineering innovation and design has made it possible for many well-built turbine flowmeters to enter the marketplace. While shopping around for a flowmeter, keep in mind these important features:

 

  • Reliable digital reading – Current day products allow for easy measurement reading by possessing a digital output sensor that keeps track of the rate and amount of gas or fluid traveling through the flowmeter.
  • Versatility – Ideally, your flow meter should measure both pulsating and fluctuating flow with a quick response time.
  • Low rotor inertia – Lower inertia ensures better efficiency and accuracy during operation.

 

Plan Your Project With a Professional

 

Whether you need one flowmeter or several dozen, consulting with someone who is an expert in the industry can be beneficial both in terms of financial savings and product knowledge. A knowledgeable company representative can assist in determining which flowmeter product is the most economically viable and expertly designed for your needs. Simply looking at brochures with specific product specifications might not truly tell you what you need to know.

 

Take care to speak with someone who is open to collaboration. A representative willing to listen to the details of your project can offer input pulled from previous clients and an in-depth understanding of the flowmeter industry. In fact, major flowmeter companies often offer engineering services if there is no flowmeter on the market perfect for your project. Offering state-of-the-art design techniques and meticulous testing, these companies are able to create a product that can take your project to the next level.

 

Rely on a Product Warranty

 

Whether pre-made or custom designed, most turbine flowmeters come with a product guarantee ensuring that your part will be replaced free of charge if it breaks because of a design error. Usually valid for up to one year after your purchase, this warranty is an excellent way to ensure that your purchase is protected in case of a breakdown. Without a warranty, your company is at risk for profit loss for an event that could have been easily remedied with no loss of collateral.

 

Install Your Product Properly to Ensure Maximum Functionality

 

The best way to protect your machine from malfunctioning is ensuring that everything is installed correctly. While many have in-house employees able to complete this job, others chose to rely on professionals from the company delivering their product. In some cases an outside professional is able to install your product more precisely, especially if it is custom designed. Proper installation ensures that your flowmeter is taking accurate measurements and working correctly in conjunction with other parts of the machine

 

Whether you need a turbine flowmeter for an airplane or a manufacturing plant, taking the time to choose a quality product from a company just as passionate about engineering as you is the key to a successful project.

 

If you are reading this on any other blog than Flowmetrics it is stolen content. Follow us on Twitter@Flow_metrics. Come and visit our blog at http://flowmetrics.com/blog/.

Gas Engines for Processing

Gas Engines for Processing | Flowmetrics

For versatility and power, nothing beats the gas-fueled internal combustion engine. It can output enough power for those demanding tasks, be reliable for long hours and years of service, or mobile for sporadic fringe uses. Over the years gas engines have been improved through copious research and careful adaptations in compression ratings and fuel economics.

Many processing facilities utilize gas engines in medium- to large-scale mechanical drivers. These engines can power compressors, pumps, generators, and other equipment. As engine technology improves to provide more power with less fuel usage, processing plants utilize smaller engines and more processing room. Large engines are usually operated at under 1,000 rpm to preserve life while generating enough power to operate the machinery. Running at lower speeds requires significantly larger engines, reducing plant floor space, while faster speeds increase wear and tear damage to the engines.

 

Click here for the full article by Amin Almasi.

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.