Flow, pressure and temperature are the most important units of measurement when monitoring or controlling fluids in pipes. They are early indicators for problems that can have major implications for the overall business. Flow measurement allows users to know that the right fluid is in the right place at the right time.
Why is this important? Inaccurate flow measurement can have serious and possibly damaging ramifications for a facility. Users measure flow for four key reasons:
- Safety: Uncontrolled flow rates may cause temperature and pressure to reach dangerous levels with serious consequences.
- Product integrity: Flow can help ensure the right amount of blended materials are present at all times. This includes everything from processed food to gasoline.
- Efficiency indication: Companies can determine how efficient a process is by measuring the amount of each input that has gone into the product compared to the amount of product produced.
- Process variable control: Flow rate is measured and controlled during energy transfer applications.
Having a system in place to address these four key variables can mean the difference between making a profit or running at a loss for organizations.
Even if a company knows it needs to measure flow, that does not mean it knows the best way to do so. There are several options to choose from, from displacement flow meters, turbine meters and differential pressure flow meters to ultrasonic meters, vortex meters, Coriolis meters and more. Most flow meters are integrated into a pipe and inserted into the stream of flow, and each type of flow meter has its own advantages and disadvantages. The decision of which technology to use is based on several factors, including, for example, the location of the pipe, process conditions, stream composition and frequency of measurement.