Electromagnetic Flowmeter
Pictured here is a KROHNE WATERFLUX Electromagnetic water meter. Electromagnetic meters are expected to generate revenue of $1.04 billion globally by the end of 2012. (Photo courtesy of KROHNE.)

Is your flowmeter frequently causing you headaches by not measuring up? Does it require more maintenance than it used to? If you are encountering persistent problems with your flowmeter, it may be time to think about an upgrade.

According to Joe Incontri, director of marketing at KROHNE Inc., a manufacturer of process measurement instruments including flowmeters, there are a few key questions to ask when evaluating the need for an upgrade.

Incontri says a decision tree might include the following questions:

1. Is the meter operating within its designated optimal performance envelope? Each meter type is different. For example, differential-pressure (DP) or variable-area-based meters operate best in the upper portion of the flow range since they are non-linear devices.

2. Does the meter exhibit frequent issues that make it unreliable in normal use? If this is the case, then it may be that the meter has exceeded its useful lifespan.

3. Has the process changed or has the understanding of the process changed, thereby rendering the meter useless because it no longer fits the application for which it was specified? This could be a material selection situation or simply a sizing question.

4. Is enhanced performance or additional information required? Several new-technology meters feature advanced diagnostics or additional process information that can add a qualitative aspect to the quantitative measurement usually provided by a standard flowmeter. “Most new technology meters far outperform their predecessors in terms of performance,” Incontri says. “For example, a magmeter typically has an accuracy specification that is .5 percent of flowrate whereas a DP flowmeter states performance as a percent of span. This can be a dramatic difference in performance if operating at the low end of the range.”

These are just a few examples of reasons why an upgrade might be beneficial.

Look for a feature article on flowmeter upgrades with more insights from Incontri and others in the special December issue of Flow Control magazine, the 2013 Flowmeter Technology Report.

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