How to Choose a Flow Meter

Introduction of Flowmeter

The flowmeters used to measure flow from fluids (liquid with liquid flowmeter), sludge with a sludge flow meter, or gas with gas flow meter), both in high temperature or low temperature. In choosing a type of flow meter, the fluid condition and flowmeter function should be compatible.

Before choosing the type of flow meter, we need to know that the characteristic of there is a wide range of fluids that can be measured with a flow meter, such as corrosive fluids with high acid level characteristic is more compatible with flow meter made from material like PVC /nonmetal.

Flow Meter Limbah Cair
Flow Meter Limbah Cair

Based on the conducted analysis, the biggest mistake done by someone who wants to purchase flow meter and another instrument equipment is not fully understanding the product and even cannot describe the specification of the desired flow meter.

Another cause is the flow meter distributor which basically just wants to sell their stock of flow meter as fast as possible. Because of this, if the wrong decision is made when choosing, it can cost greatly and make flowmeter accuracy not reached, no additional benefits, high maintenance cost, and short service life.

There are many types of flow meter that are used in industry, such as electromagnetic flowmeter, ultrasonic flow meter,  Coriolis mass flow meter, etc. And based on its applications, flow meter divided into water meter, fuel meter, solar meter, flow meter air, mud, flange, seawater, etc. Based on its installation flow meter are divided into the clamp on, flow meter portable, flow meter inline, flow meter insertion dan open channel flow meter.

Choosing the type of flow meter

Before purchasing a flowmeter, its better to just understand its function to measure the flow of fluids, but also understand its service life, budget, installation cost, maintenance cost, and how optimal the flow meter you are going to purchase.

The many models and types of flow meter manufactured by various manufacturer must be a critical point for engineers to be able to get a rough picture based of the desired application, which compatible with its purpose and usefulness of flow meter installation, which suited with means and position of flow meter installation method, this can help choose flow meter with long service life and low maintenance costs.

For fluids with high temperatures, special material is used. The same principles applied to fluids with high-density levels, types of flow meter need to be adjusted. For fluids applied to food ingredients or drugs that demand pipe and flowmeter material with food-grade more or less similar to stainless steel SUS 316L, because it is better suited. For corrosive environments such as at sea, body and flange flow meter might be more suited if made using stainless steel material.

Determining types of flow meter

A thorough understanding of fluid characteristics and benefit, also how Flowmeter works and functions of flow meter itself, is needed. There are various variables need to be considered when CHOOSING FLOW METER when determining the type of flow meter and model of flowmeter suited our desired application. These variables for choosing flow meter are:

  • Type of Fluid that will be measured using flow meter: gas, water, chemical, oil, liquid gas, sludge, etc
  • Measurement is done by flow meter only for flow or the total amount of fluid flown or both
  • The viscosity of the fluid, cleanliness/dirtiness of the fluid (muddy, dusty, or clean) flown to flowmeters
  • Purpose of Flowmeter: as a measurement tool for flow, total volume, control, switch;  sending an electric signal as control or data to a computer or handphone via message.
  • Whether the display is needed or not flowmeter or electronic signal output or electrical output.
  • Amount (max dan min) from Flow rate, working Pressure, Temperature of the fluid measured using the flow meter
  • Whether a waterproof system is needed or not flow meter or if the area is flammable or explosive or normal
  • Chemical or food usage, the acid level of fluid, whether food grade is needed or not for flow meter material, which often used in the pharmaceutical, food, or drinks industry.
  • Size of the pipe where flow meter is going to be installed, including means of installment, using flange or fitting or screw connection system
  • flowmeter installation system: Vertical or horizontal
  • Another information that is needed to choose a type of flow meter because basically flow meter can be made/ordered tailored to the buyer (custom)

Types of Installation of Flowmeter

Based on its installation and its function, the flow meter can be grouped into:

Inline Flow Meter

Inline Flow Meter is a type of flowmeter with installation method by cutting the pipe then later connected using flange or screw and can be directly welded into the pipe that has been cut, and also there is a wafer type by clamping the flow meter to both sides that have been equipped with flange.

Insertion Flow Meter

Insertion Flowmeter is a type of flow meter installed by drilling a hole then placing a fitting through welding process or installing a saddle fitting. Then the flow sensor part of the flow meter is inserted and tied into the fitting, both with screw and flange.

Clamp-On Flow Meter

A clamp-on flow meter is a type of flow meter which installation does not require cutting or drilling a hole in the pipe, but by placing then clamping the flow meter on to the outside surface of the pipe.

Nowadays, this type of flow meter is commonly used because it does not require the pump or valve to be turned off, and this can help the production process. Clamp-on flow meter belongs to the ultrasonic flow meter type, and often referred to as clamp-on ultrasonic flow meter.

Flowma Flowmasonic WUF 620 CF Clamp On Ultrasonic Flow Meter
Flowma Flowmasonic WUF 620 CF Clamp On Ultrasonic Flow Meter

The ultrasonic flowmeter is a type of flow meter which measures fluids flow speed using ultrasound, which makes it possible to be read from an ultrasonic transmitter.

By using an ultrasonic flow meter transducer, or also usually called an ultrasonic sensor, can measure the average speed of fluids flow inside the pipe by measuring the average time difference between the time when the signal is sent and time when the signal received and also with the direction of flow.

Open Channel Flow Meter

An open channel flow meter is a flow meter which installed to measure flow in an open channel system, such as canal, river, trench.

Basically, an open channel flow meter measures the flow velocity by considering the surface height. For the measurement of flow velocity, it can be done by using transit time flow meter or Magnetic flow meter. Whereas the flow surface height can be done by using an ultrasonic level sensor.

Combining velocity and the cross-sectional area can produce flow capacity or flow rate of the flow in the channel.

Sewer Pipe Ultrasonic flow Meter
ultrasonic sewer pipe flow meter

Portable Flow Meter

Portable flow meter starts getting noticed when ultrasonic flow meter type is introduced, its installation and utilization are easy and fast, Also it can be carried around.

Flowmasonic WUF 620 J
Flowmasonic WUF 620 J Portable Flowmeter

This portable flow meter is often similar to a clamp-on flow meter where transducer ultrasonic, or simply called sensor, can be clamped onto the outside surface of the pipe. With easy installment, which does not require cutting or drilling hole into the pipe, the installation cost of the clamp on flow meter clamp is cheap and installation can be done quickly.

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Rudy Wiratama

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