Welcome to the Spring 2019 issue of fLowdown - a quarterly Newsletter from Titan Enterprises Ltd. written to keep you informed about the latest technological developments, applications advances and breaking news in the field of flow measurement.

If a particular feature interests you, do not hesitate to contact us or follow the link for further information. We welcome your feedback.

Trevor Forster (Managing Director)

 

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Trevor's Technical Tip

Trevor Forster is our Managing Director, his experience in fluid handling dates back to the mid 1960's when he started working on rotating seals and flowmeter design for third party clients. Trevor draws upon over 40 years of using innovative design and production techniques to produce elegant flow metering solutions for organisations around the globe.
In this issue - Trevor offers you useful
technical tips on:

Five considerations for flowmeter
re-calibration intervals

Flowmeter calibration and re-calibration is a regular topic of conversation between Titan and its customers. Calibration is crucial for assuring reliable performance over the longer term and the frequency of the calibration will depend on the duty cycle the flowmeter is being subject to. The graph below shows the change in performance over 3 years for an oval gear flowmeter used to meter water.

 

The characteristics of the changes are typical for this type of mechanical meter and the profile of the calibration shift will depend on the flowmeter type and the operating conditions.

Oval gears are the flowmeter of choice for oils and lubricating fluids, this oval gear meter was made for use with aqueous surface finish products. Without a lubricant, over time, the oval gear flowmeter bearing and rubbing surfaces “polish in” which results in a lower coefficient of friction. This results in better efficiency particularly at lower flows where the mechanical drag is a more significant factor especially without the lubricating properties of oil. This is highlighted in the red curve which shows change in performance. At maximum flow the calibration shift is only around 0.25% which will be insignificant in many applications. However, at minimum flow the change is nearly 2.5% which could result in a problem for the user. In this application the meter is only used for relative flows and not primary measurement so the overall shift in the curve is not too important hence the long recalibration period. This application highlights some of the main considerations of recalibration period, flowmeter type, usage and how critical the meters performance is.

Typically, over time, the error curve will reverse its shift from positive to negative as the flowmeter wears, clearances increase and the bearings are no longer optimum. The low end is likely to give a lower K factor and show a negative change from the original calibration. Eventually the flowmeter gears will start to wear or the walls of their cavity and the top end will start to show much lower efficiency. Consequently, in such a scenario the flowmeter would be ruined. Had the flowmeter been returned to the manufacturer for a “check-up” before this damage a replacement set of gears may have been possible but once the cavity is damaged this option is not a possibility.

Theoretically electronic flowmeters offer the advantage of no mechanical parts to wear. This often ensures longer performance stability but users must not be complacent as other factors can affect calibration. Electronic components can change characteristics over time and bores can change dimension due to corrosion or deposits. Obviously the smaller the flowmeter the more critical this last point is. Below is data from a 1mm bore flow device and the measurement method is fundamentally fluid velocity so a 0.05mm change in the tube diameter would change the area by over 9% with a corresponding change in flowmeter reading. Even on a 100mm tube it could still be a 0.1% shift depending on the meter type, Reynolds number etc.

The above curves are for a miniature ultrasonic flowmeter on its annual calibration check. The shift in the curve is +0.15% and -0.3% at the very low end. This calibration obviously includes the calibration rig uncertainty as well as the flowmeter repeatability. This ultrasonic flowmeter can be seen to be considerably better than the mechanical flowmeter above even considering the longer service interval for the oval gear meter.

Considerations for flowmeter calibration intervals:

  1. Flowmeter purpose: is this a process-critical measurement where a change of meter characteristics would compromise the process in some way or result in increased expenditure?
  2. Application: is the fluid and the process benign or aggressive? Is the flow meter working at its operational limits? Could deposits or corrosion affect calibration? Are there elements of the fluid that could compromise the measurement in some way e.g. particles in suspension?
  3. Flowmeter type: is the meter a type which is likely to change performance for some reason? Is it mechanical, electronic or just a visual aid?
  4. Historic data: how accurate have previous re-calibrations been? Could/should the recalibration interval be reduced or increased with little risk to the overall process?
  5. Have there been any noticeable changes in measurements? Some modern flowmeters will monitor themselves and advise when something is not quite right. Most traditional types of flowmeter do not offer this facility but an astute operator may well notice a change and have it monitored for cause and effect.
Manufacturers will often try to dictate re-calibration periods but as you can see from the tips above the re-calibration period should be determined by the user taking into account their unique conditions. Advice should still be sought from the manufacturer as they will know best what the longer-term limitations of their flowmeters are likely to be. However, the final decision is likely to be a moving target, at least initially until the whole system operation and reliability is understood.

Request Further Information: click here


Flow Technology Spotlight

Product Innovation – 'Taking on the big guns'

I read an interesting article by a long-standing contact, Jess Yoder from Flow Research Inc, which struck a chord with me. It deals with what smaller flow metering companies have to offer against the international big guns. While the larger companies have much greater resources and huge development budget’s they are not the only innovators. Small companies, with their inherent greater flexibility and speed to adapt are also innovators but advantageously are also able to undertake developments not of sufficient size to interest the giants. As a consequence, often the more nimble SME’s are able to capitalise on bringing new solutions to specialised market areas. Jess highlighted the four main areas where SMEs offer an advantage as being:

  1. Specific niche applications
  2. Competitive delivery times
  3. Informed customer service
  4. Customised solutions

If we consider each of these areas in turn:-

  1. An example of this would be an ultrasonic meter we produce which has a pressure rating of 20 Bar. One customer tried the meter and loved it but their production system operated at a higher pressure so they wanted the meter rated to 100Bar. This OEM application was only for 30 or 40 units a year, not worth the R&D time of our larger competitors but a relatively simple project for a nimble company like Titan.
  2. In this era of just-in-time manufacturing few companies keep flowmeter stock on their shelves, this is particularly the case with custom units. Although our bespoke OEM flowmeters are manufactured to order we do keep stock of some lines so that we can react quickly if our customer has a rush job. Meeting the need for competitive delivery times is part of our discussion with OEM clients at the outset and a service we are capable of offering without the corporate accountants breathing down our neck.
  3. Flowmeters is all we have done for the last 40+ years, as a consequence we have a vast accumulation of knowledge and experience. If you have questions, simply phone us or our local area agent and an informed engineer will talk through your enquiry. No filling out on-line forms and waiting for a reply. Similarly any advice will be impartial, if we think our flowmeters are not the best technological solution for your application we will direct you to other companies that can serve you better.
  4. A shorter connecting cable with your own electrical connector attached, no problem as long as you want perhaps 50 or 100 off. A special calibration at specific flow rates or flow rates less than we publicise, just ask. Supplying flowmeters with unusual end fittings to integrate with your production system would be quantity dependant but as few as 1000-off flowmeters over a couple of years would be enough to make it worthwhile for both companies.

At Titan Enterprises we take pride in our flexibility, customer satisfaction and innovative, often customised solutions. Ninety five percent of our business is repeat business with many of our customers having tailored specialised flow measurement products.

To see the original article that sparked this feature click here

To discuss a bespoke flowmeter requirement for your application: click here


How do I measure?

In this issue of fLowdown we discuss the challenges of metering the flow of liquids at different temperatures.

Measuring Liquid Flows at Elevated Temperature
(Key Considerations)

The challenges of accurately metering the flow of liquids at elevated temperatures are often based on the resultant changes in fluid properties rather than attributes of the measuring device used.

Aqueous solutions are one of the most common type of fluids that have to be metered and dosed in a wide range of industrial applications. Below is a graph showing the changes in the viscosity and density of water at different temperatures.

As can be seen the density of water changes by ~3% from 1 to 90°C. While this is a relatively modest change, it could still be critical if your application requires an accurate mass of aqueous solution to be metered / dosed. The change in viscosity over the same temperature range is however not modest, in fact viscosity of aqueous solutions change by a factor of 8 between 1 and 90°C.

For a Reynolds number (Rn) sensitive flowmeter this could be disastrous. There would be nearly an 8:1 change in Rn and should the meter only have a 10:1 flow range, and be operating close to its extremes, it is possible that meter could drop out of the linear range.

The effect of these aqueous viscosity and density changes at different temperatures is not the same for all meter types. While most flowmeters require turbulent flow i.e. a Rn above ~2200, some are designed to perform in the laminar region below this value and an increase in temperature could take the meter into the turbulent zone.

Therefore - if you are looking to measure liquid flow at high temperature we recommend you follow our simple key considerations checklist:

  1. Check your liquids changing density / viscosity or physical properties at different temperatures.
  2. Check that your flowmeters operating envelope and principle of operation bearing in mind '1' above.
  3. Consider if your flow line temperature has to be maintained for ease of fluid transport e.g. liquid chocolate or heavy oil. If YES, then does the flowmeter need to be insulated, heat traced or jacket heated.
  4. Does your process flowmeter need to be accurate at low temperatures?
  5. Is it acceptable for your flow measurement device to be ranged for the actual process running conditions and is flowmeter performance important during the "warm up period"?

To discuss an optimised flowmeter solution for your elevated temperature application – click here.

Problem Solved

In this case study we discuss how the fluid in your process can affect the performance of an ultrasonic flowmeter and how in the case of our Titan Process Atrato we can make allowances for this.

Sound Solutions to Flow Measurement Problems!

Titan Enterprises has been working in the flow measurement industry for over 30 years and prides itself in always offering technical solutions where a standard product may not be right for the customer application.

Recently just such a situation occurred. A long-term customer was using a Process Atrato ultrasonic time-of-flight flowmeter to measure fluids within an industrial process. However the customer noticed issues with the reliability of flow measurements after their process had been operating for an extended period of time.

They voiced their concerns and sent performance data back to our technical team who set about to work to investigate what was occurring. A Process Atrato was modified to enable acoustic mapping of the ultrasonic meter by the customer in situ and on further investigation with this data and the process variables, the issue became apparent.

The Process Atrato can reliably measure fluids that transmit ultrasonic sound waves at ±30% of the speed of sound in water at 20oC. But if a fluid has more significantly differing acoustic characteristics, the acoustic operational window can be missed by the sensors. In the case being investigated the organic process fluid being measured was within the ±30% of our water speed of sound window at 20oC. But as the customer process continued, the fluid warmed depressing the speed of sound considerably until the signal could no longer be measured reliably.

Once this 'warming effect' was discovered the technical team resolved the issue by recalibrating the measurement window specifically for this application. In this application the recalibration could still be done utilising a water-based reference to produce repeatable flow results thereby ensuring the customer process could continue as normal.

If the fluid speed of sound in your process is expected to be significantly different to that of water, this type of performance window attunement can be done at the factory prior to shipping for the Process Atrato, which is a factory only configurable device.

Customers who wish for more functionality with their installed meters can utilise the Standard Atrato with its PC based user interface software. Within the software there is the option to manually move the measurement window to ensure you always measure at the optimal point of signal.

Learn more: click here


Product Focus

Flexible Replacement for 800 Series Displaying Turbine Flowmeter

A new combination package of 800 series turbine flowmeter and Pulsite Solo display unit has been developed as an upgraded replacement for our 800 Series Displaying Turbine Flowmeter (800D). This new combination provides users with more versatility, more information and the possibility of remote display reading when your flowmeter is situated in an inaccessible or environmentally unfriendly location.

Compared to the display used on the 800D flowmeter, the Pulsite Solo display unit offers better resolution as well as enunciators to confirm to the user the units and settings selected. Power consumption is less and the display can be located remotely from the flowmeter. Designed for ease of use, programming on the Pulsite Solo is simple using the 2 front panel keys and following the prompts on the LCD display. when used with the battery-power 800 series flowmeter the replaceable battery life is estimated to be well in excess of 5 years when the Pulsite Solo is used as a flow totaliser. With rate readings, the life of the Pulsite Solo will depend on the duty cycle but is still several years.


News Update:

New staff join the expanding Titan team

We welcome several new members of staff to bolster our development and production facilities as well as prepare Titan for Brexit.

Barney is an experienced software engineer who is already helping with our ultrasonic flow meter development and interface software. We also welcome Eugene and Raquel. Drawing upon his wide all round experience, Eugene will be involved a wide range of activities from assembly through calibration to final packing.

Drawing upon her experience in Sage accountancy systems as well as export documentation – Raquel will be helping with ‘the numbers’ as well as our preparations for Brexit.


Next-generation device for water management within properties

Titan Enterprises is working with leading players in the UK water industry to develop a next generation device 'Waterfall' for water management within properties. The aims of this innovative new device will be to monitor customer water usage at an individual appliance level, offer the ability to detect leaks and bursts and automatically isolate the supply if a catastrophic event occurs and provide data suitable for operation of smart water networks.

Further information: click here.


Humour

Deer Hunting
An engineer, a statistician, and a physicist are out hunting. They spot a deer, and each take turns to try and bag it.
The physicist goes first. He pulls out his lab book and quickly calculates the trajectory of the bullet, assuming it is a perfect sphere in a vacuum. The bullet falls 20m short of the deer.
The engineer goes second. He pulls out his engineer's pad and book of projectile assumptions. After a few minutes he’s ready, he takes aim, and he fires. The bullet lands 20m passed the deer.
The statistician leaps in the air shouting, "We got it!"


Young Engineer's Dream Job
Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Manager asked the young engineer fresh out of university, "And what starting salary were you looking for?"
The engineer said, "In the neighbourhood of £80,000 a year, depending on the benefit's package." The HR Manager said, "Well, what would you say to a package of £160,000 a year, 5 weeks paid holidays, full medical and dental cover, company matching retirement fund to 50% of salary, and a company car leased every 2 years - say, a red Mercedes?"
The engineer sat up straight and said, "Wow!!! Are you joking?"
And the HR Manager said, "Of course, ...but you started it."

Click here for a printable version of Flowdown.

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Titan Enterprises Ltd, Unit 2, 5A Cold Harbour Business Park, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 4JW. UK
Telephone: +44 (0)1935 812790   -   Email: sales@flowmeters.co.uk