Coriolis flow meters and Ultrasonic flow meters are reported to be the fastest growing flow measurement market sectors with most of the leading suppliers spending a lot of money on research and development to stay ahead of the game. This makes perfect sense as there are a lot of good reasons these meters are desirable.
Coriolis Flow Meters or Ultrasonic Flow Meters?
1. Both Coriolis flow meters and Ultrasonic flow meters have no moving parts. This makes them very reliable. There is, in fact, a very small vibration in both devices but at such low levels as to be considered irrelevant.
2. Both Coriolis flow meters and Ultrasonic flow meters typically employ a clean pipe bore design which results in a low pressure drop. Purist may argue that some of the Coriolis meters have curved tubes but even so there is nothing in the pipe. There are straight pipe versions available. Often the reduction in pipe size to accommodate the desired flow rate is the major pressure loss associated with the installation not the actual meter itself.
3. Both Coriolis flow meters and Ultrasonic flow meters are capable of excellent, long term accuracy. This makes them very reliable and hence reduces their in-service costs. Consequently both techniques can be expected to have a lengthy service life.
4. Both technologies are capable of measuring liquid and gases with Coriolis meters able to measure mass flow directly.
Where there is a difference in Coriolis flow meters and Ultrasonic flow meter technologies currently is in the range of pipe size they are applicable to. It is relatively easy to make a very large ultrasonic meter but difficult to make small ones and the converse is true for Coriolis. Small bore Coriolis flow meters are quite easy to make but larger bore meters very difficult. Coriolis flow meters and ultrasonic flow meters consequently compete most in the ½” to 6” (12mm to 150mm) diameter line sizes. Below this pipe diameter range, Coriolis flow meters currently win hands down, that is with the exception of the novel Titan Enterprises Atrato ultrasonic flowmeter developments. Above the stated pipe size range ultrasonic essentially has a free run although at least one company is developing a 400mm Coriolis flow meter. Interestingly Titan Enterprises Atrato ultrasonic technology has difficulty being scaled up and our current maximum pipe size is currently 12mm – exactly where other ultrasonic meters tend to start having problems and Coriolis meters are strong.
The current massive R&D spend on Coriolis and Ultrasonic flow meter technologies would indicate that the cross over between the technologies is likely to intensify as other manufacturers expand their product ranges into unfamiliar territory. It is going to be very interesting in the next few years to see how each technology finds its market niche with the ultrasonic likely to remain less expensive and the Coriolis the more desirable due to its inherent mass flow capability.
To learn more about Atrato ultrasonic flow meter technology please click here.