Flowmeter 101: Measuring Low Liquid Rate of Flow With the Use of Ultrasonic Waves


In this innovative world, a lot of companies representing various industries try to transition to low flow solutions. This is especially true in the chemical, food, and pharma market, where the trend focuses on continuous production, more flexibility, lower downtime, and waste reduction.

There is a massive supply of ultrasonic flowmeters used in measuring liquids that are suitable for one-inch pipelines and larger. However, this is not the case in smaller pipelines. It is so much harder to find solutions in the latter. The most common ultrasonic flowmeters you see normally use either the Transit Time or Doppler Effect measurement. The problem is these techniques are essentially working for large bore sizes only.

You might be asking, “What about ultrasonic flowmeters used for lower flowrates? Those that are lower than 1500 ml per minute or worse, 200 ml per minute?” Because of the complexity of technology and physics, the number of measurement principles available in this certain flow rate is not too high. This is especially true when we’re talking about ultrasonic flow sensor meters. That is why there is a huge challenge to determine a solution that will use ultrasound in pipes with small diameters.

Bronkhorst was able to develop a state-of-the-art instrument that uses Ultrasonic Wave Technology with the help of a Netherlands organization that’s publishes applied scientific research called the TNO. This type of technology is administered in the all-new ES-FLOW series that measures the 4 to 1500 ml per minute flows of liquid volume. The flow should be independent of liquid temperature, viscosity, and density with an accuracy rate of 1% ± 1 ml/min.

What is Ultrasonic Wave Technology and how does it work?

Ultrasonic wave technology is the foundation of every ES-FLOW ultrasonic flowmeter. The measuring process is performed in a straight stainless metal pipe bearing a 1.3 mm inner diameter without dead spaces and obstructions. Multiple transducer discs are placed at the surface outside the sensor tube. Their primary task is to create ultrasonic waves through radial oscillation. Each transducer has the capability to send and receive that is why it is integral to record and process all the up and downstream combinations. To measure the speed of sound and flow velocity, there is a need to measure the time difference between the recordings (also known as the nanosecond range) accurately.

The ES-FLOW ultrasonic flowmeter can measure any liquid volume flow as long as the parameters and the precise tube crosssection are determined. One of the best features of this type of flowmeter is its ability to measure the actual speed of sound. Why does it matter? It’s important because it means that the technology is dependent on the fluid itself and there is no need to do a calibration per fluid. Aside from that, the sound of speed can also determine the type of fluid inside the flowmeter.

4 Reasons Why Every Business Should Use the ES-FLOW Ultrasonic Flowmeter

While this type of meter offers a long list of advantages, this article tackles four of them.

1. You’ll be using only one sensor for different types of fluids

A lot of companies implement changing process conditions and they use a wide variety of liquids such as solvents and additives. Since the technology that this type of flowmeter uses is fluid-dependent, there is no need to recalibrate every time the meter measures a new type of liquid. On top of that, demi water and other non-conductive liquids can be measured by the ES-FLOW Ultrasonic flowmeter.

2. Cleaning the flowmeter is hassle-free and it is not prone to clogging

It is no surprise that the cleaning process is time-consuming. However, with the straight sensor pipe design with no dead volume, the particles present inside it do not tend to clog the instrument. The actual cleaning process can be finished in less than an hour, which decreases the amount of downtime.

3. The flowmeter is not sensitive to vibration

This ultrasonic flowmeter is vibration insensitive. This is because the said type of flowmeter does not depend on rotations and frequencies. Whether the flow is turbulent or laminar, the type of flow is irrelevant to the overall measuring process.

4. The instrument features an integrated PID controller that offers a fast response time

The PID controller that is installed in the flowmeter itself can be utilized in driving a control pump or valve. This enables users to institute a complete, compact control loop and offers a fast response.

Rhys Gregory
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