Tips for Buying High-Quality Flow Meters and Switches
Flow meter is an instrument that is used to gauge the flow of gasses or fluid through a pipe. Flow measurement applications differ extensively on the conditional benchmarks, situational limitations, and engineering requirements.
Flow meter has other names such as fluid meter, fluid sensor, flow sensor and flow gauge. They have a wide range of applications across different industries based on its basic function, which is to offer accurate monitoring and measurement for the flow of fluids or gasses.
A few examples of flow meter applications are; semi-conductor equipment cooling, thermal control, industrial laser coolant systems, fire sprinkler systems, air-conditioning systems, and batch processing.
It is crucial that you choose the right flow meter or a flow switch. Every application needs a different combination of the flow meter and switches depending on various factors listed below.
- The type of fluid or gas to be measured
- Inertness between the flow meter material and the fluid or gas passing through it
- The nature of the process – whether intermittent or perpetual
- Circumstances of the surroundings – whether working in hazardous situation
- Extent of precision required
- Maximum and minimum flow rates
- Viscosity of the fluid or gas
- Temperature of the fluid or gas
- Type of readings required
Do You Need a Flow Meter?
In most systems of simpler nature, flow meters are used to measure the rate of flow of a fluid or gas through a pipe. For such applications, you need the most basic flow meter that you can easily procure from your vendor at a very affordable price. These flow meters produce results that are fairly accurate, give or take 5%.
However, if you are working on a very sensitive system that calls for more precision, the sophisticated versions of flow meters are your best bet. Of course, they are somewhat complex in nature, but the results are thorough and more accurate.
Pressure vs. Resistance
Before you rush to buy a flow meter, it is very important that you first study the fundamentals of the fluid or gas that flows through the system. The properties of fluid or gas would determine the kind of flow meter that should be installed.
The equation between pressure and resistance is closely related to the viscosity and rate of flow of the fluid or gas. There are two kinds of fluids – Newtonian and Non-Newtonian. The Newtonian fluids are straightforward. There is a positive correlation between the pressure applied to these fluids and the resistance against the side of the pipes. They flow slower on the side but faster in the center of the pipe. Mineral oil, water, and milk are some examples of Newtonian fluids.
On the other hand, the Non-Newtonian fluids exhibit an indecisive behavior since there is no relation between the pressure applied and the resistance against the walls of the pipe. So, it ‘s hard to predict their viscosity and change in the rate of flow of such fluids at a given time. Curd, shampoo, paints, etc. are non-Newtonian fluids.
Go for a Broader Turndown
Turndown indicates the ratio of maximum flow rate and minimum flow rate for a fluid. The flow meter with a broader turndown is particularly beneficial when you cannot predict the extent to which the flow rate of the fluid can rise or drop. A flow meter having a comprehensive turndown would accommodate the unforeseen variations in the flow rate.
Selecting Flow Switches
When it comes to choosing a flow switch, you need a flow switch that is attuned to the conditions under which it would be employed. The manufacturers of flow switches design variants that are meant to be used for specific industrial applications. The systems that involve fluids and gasses flowing through them at high temperatures call for robust flow switches that can withstand extreme temperatures, ranging between -50 to 220 degrees Celsius. Similarly, you can find flow switches that are especially meant to be used in systems commissioning high-pressure fluids and gasses; for example, up to 40 bar system pressure.
Hazardous fluids like oils can cause severe damage to the environment and system interruption. Having a reliable, leak-proof, dirt-resistant flow switch decreases the odds of the system breaking down. Flow switches are usually made from stainless steel and brass. The fluid or gas should not react with the materials from which the flow switches are crafted; otherwise, the fluid or gas would run the risk of contamination simultaneously putting the physical integrity of the flow switches at stake.
Lastly, you should consider the cost factor. Flow meters and flow switches are critical components of industrial application. Cheap flow meters and switches would not necessarily be high quality. They often cause issues such as leakage, corrosion, or functional breakdown. It would be wise of you to spend on heavy-duty flow meters and flow switches. They will cost a bit more but will save you a lot of money over a long term.