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Know your stuff when choosing flow measurement technology Flow measurement is one of the most important aspects of process control. Despite being one of the most frequently measured process variables throughout the industry, flow can be a very challenging measurement. Jerry Boisvert, regional product manager for America at ABB, discusses flowmeter technologies, where to use them and why.
Finding the right flow meter for your process and plant can be easier said than done. Not only are there numerous types of instruments for measuring the flow of liquids, gases and streamflow, there is also no single flowmeter technology that can cover all flow measurement applications.
provide measurements on gasses, liquids and steam, there is no single flow meter technology that can do all types of flowing media. Yes, some will overlap and there are times where technology can be used multiple times, but ultimately you need to answer some questions first before you choose what to use."
How one goes about determining which flow technology to use to meet a specific application and situation, therefore, requires a firm understanding of flow measurement and the technology available.
Flow technology perspective
"Flow is defined as measuring a volume or a quantity flowing through a closed pipe," explains Boisvert. "It can also be an open channel flow going through a primary element like a flume or wear with a measuring device on top. Flow is measured in a variety of sectors from oil and gas to chemical, pulp and paper, wastewater and electricity generation. It is probably one of the most frequently measured process variables throughout the industry, yet flow can be a very challenging measurement for the best of us." Especially, he says, when working in environments with higher pressures and temperatures, solids suspended within the fluid and entrained air to mention a few. "All of these adversities can cause problems and while there are many types of flow measurement devices to 38
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According to Boisvert ABB have developed an extensive white paper on what they have dubbed the "Big 6" technologies. This paper is available from the company and gives an in-depth insight into the various technologies. He says before one can decide, however, on any one of the Big 6 technologies available, there are a couple of questions that need to be answered.
Price and budget This takes a look at the installed cost versus the cost of ownership. Boisvert explains that there are several costs to consider when purchasing flow technology of which first and foremost is the installation cost followed by the measurement cost. One must also consider the reliability, maintenance and energy usage of the technology and measure that up against the budget available.
What is the purpose of the measurement? Various technologies offer different purposes making it