Innovation Awards

The Flow Control Innovation Awards program is an annual contest designed to highlight compelling advances in fluid handling technology. In the May issue of Flow Control, we announced final nominees and presented them for reader voting through July 1. Winners were announced in the August issue of Flow Control, and here we’re providing short case studies on each of the winning technologies to show how each are being employed to the benefit of real-world applications.

RELATED: Recognizing the year's most compelling fluid handling technology innovations

OEM Meets the Needs of Critical Hydraulic Test Application with Custom Digital Pressure Gauge

Innovation AwardsAn OEM manufacturer of hydraulic testers for measuring the strength of materials recently adopted Ashcroft’s DG25 pressure gauge to measure units of force in a critical testing scenario. In this application, the DG25 displays the maximum force applied before failure of the material under test.

Ashcroft was able to completely customize its standard DG25 pressure gauge to suit this unique industry and application, leveraging its position as the sole owner of the hardware and firmware for this product, as well as its on-site production and design engineering services. The customization included multiple different engineering units and a “max-hold” feature, which saves and displays the maximum force applied at the point of material failure.

This particular OEM also required the removal of some programmable features from the menu, while other programmable parameters needed to be factory set and not field adjustable. One example of the removed functionality was the tare function, as it is not necessary for this particular application, and Ashcroft engineers disabled this option per the customer’s request.

In addition to creating custom application firmware, Ashcroft also created a custom overlay artwork, including the OEM’s logo and color scheme. This made the gauge truly unique in features, functions, and appearance.

During the specification process, Ashcroft worked closely with the OEM’s design engineers to collaborate on the product specifications and to obtain a clear understanding of the application and requirements. By sending a sample Ashcroft DG25 gauge at the onset of the project, Ashcroft and the OEM were able to work together to specify necessary changes and expected deviations from the standard product. Once both parties had agreed on the OEM specifications, Ashcroft’s software engineers went to work modifying existing firmware and writing new custom sections of the firmware to meet the requirements of the application.

In parallel to the updated firmware, Ashcroft’s graphic designer collaborated with the OEM’s graphics group to get artwork and color schemes to create a new custom gauge front panel overlay.

Once the firmware work was complete, prototype gauges were shipped to the OEM for test and evaluation. As commonly found in most design projects, the customer’s testing found a need for some minor changes, including user interface changes and additional display messages. Ashcroft worked with the customer through the test phase to ensure the solution met their specific requirements. After multiple rounds of testing, Ashcroft and the OEM were able to finalize the solution.

In this application the customer found that reading an analog gauge quickly and accurately had proven to be a challenge. By displaying the measurement in large LCD display characters and saving the maximum value (pressure at failure) until the gauge is reset, the DG25 provided a solution that was easy to read and left no doubt about the maximum pressure at failure. The DG25 also provided the OEM superior durability, water ingress protection (IP67), and extended battery life (2,000-plus hours).

The most important performance advantages the DG25 gauge offered in this application were ease-of-use and the ability to program the gauge at the OEM’s factory to work with different test ranges, which meant only one customizable DG25 model had to be stocked and inventoried.

The DG25 was also used on a new version of the OEM’s tester, and usage of the product has continued to increase. Ashcroft hopes that the OEM’s positive and productive experience in developing this gauge will provide more opportunities to work new product development projects going forward.


Composite Valves Eliminate Quality Concerns for Grocery Misting and RO Systems

Innovation Awards AscoA leading U.S. manufacturer of high-quality grocery equipment systems for produce misting, humidity, and water filtration was having disruptive supply chain problems with its composite-bodied solenoid valves. These non-corrosive valves were used to perform water inlet control on the company’s three major product lines, including a reverse-osmosis system.

“For years, we had unbelievable supply problems with this valve type,” recalls the company’s vice president of engineering. “Moldings would leak, plunger assemblies would fail, the wrong product would be shipped, or the maker would miss our deadline.”

The company turned to ASCO’s 212 Series of composite solenoid valves to solve its reliability and delivery problems. The valve’s ultra-high pressure ratings (up to 150 PSI) easily handled the company’s requirements and proven operation up to one million cycles eliminating any quality concerns.

“We grabbed the chance to beta test the new ASCO composite valve,” said the company’s president and CEO. “These valves can take the pressure. We’re operating them up to 70 PSI.” In addition, he says the valve NSF rating met the system’s NSF certification requirements. “It’s very important that our valves also have that certification.”

The user is also pleased that the ASCO composite solenoid valves are proven reliable up to 1 million cycles. “We’re seeing maybe 100,000 cycles per year," said the company’s CEO. “Plus, we’ve had on-time delivery since the composite valve launched.”

The company also valued the 212 valve’s FasN connection system—a turn-and-lock technology that quickly attaches the valve to a wide variety of fitting types for rapid assembly and design flexibility. Like other quick-connect systems, FasN maximizes ease and speed. But unlike some previous systems, it also prevents leaks. FasN-equipped valves can be used with all three types of standard valve-to-pipe end connections—threaded pipe types with NPT thread; CTS or PEX tubing with turn-and-lock; and PVC with solvent bond.

“I’d say we’ve put in over 700 of the valves already. And every one has performed," said the president. “So our equipment now lasts longer than the whole grocery case.”

Medical Extruder Finds a Mercury-Free Cure for Pressure Sensor Headaches

Innovation Awards Dynisco“Non-filled transducers that perform as well or better than filled units are always a plus in the extrusion of medical devices,” says Larry Alpert, engineering services manager, Putnam Plastics Corp., Dayville, Conn., a supplier of medical catheter extrusions and minimally invasive tubing. In two plants totaling 120,000-sq.ft., Putnam has over 45 plastic extruders and dedicated clean manufacturing space. Transducers are used for pressure control in extrusion dies and at gear-pump inlets, and Alpert says they are in the process of upgrading to Dynisco Vertex mercury-free sensors.

Mercury is known to be toxic, of course, but even non-mercury fillers can be problematic. “Foreign matter of any kind in medical extrusion is a grave concern that could lead to having to recall product,” Alpert explains. “When transducer failure leads to contaminated product, we don’t usually find out until after the fact. By then, the components could already be at the next step in the process or on the way to the customer, and that puts us at risk with our components and with our customers.”

Dynisco Vertex sensors employ a novel approach, sensing pressure directly without using complicated mechanical structures or liquid fill media. This means faster response and better control for today’s precision extrusion systems, and it contributes to a longer service life. With no mercury or fill material of any kind, it is friendlier to the environment and less likely to cause product contamination.

Putnam has tried all the different non-filled approaches at one time or another and found that they don’t last long before there are technical issues. Electronic transducers suffered from issues due to overheating of the electronics, linearity, and in general, poor reliability. Mechanical, push-rod-type transducers have many known issues and don’t offer the same level of performance compared to filled sensors. “We’ve been using sensors filled with NaK (sodium/potassium) for quite some time,” he says. “While they are mercury free, they have a very limited lifetime and seem to require repair or replacement in little over a year.”

Because the Vertex mercury-free pressure sensor is a drop-in replacement for his NaK-filled units, Alpert says the upgrade is simple and transparent to operators. He especially appreciates the Vertex diaphragm, which is six times thicker than those on other units and coated for abrasion-resistance. “The thicker diaphragm is a blessing. Many of our extrusion systems have three and even four transducers, and they go through a lot of handling. We are an OEM supplier and have many short runs that require frequent bare-metal cleanouts—sometimes multiple times a day. By far, our biggest transducer repair cost has been due to diaphragm damage, and we now look for Vertex to outlast NaK sensors, reducing our total cost of ownership for pressure sensors,” Alpert says.

The thickness of the diaphragm and materials of construction make for a highly robust device so it should be no surprise that it outperforms and outlasts other sensors. Dynisco is so confident in the durability of the Vertex sensor that it is covered by a four-year warranty.

Severe Service Vortex Sensor Provides Reliable Solution for Demanding Offshore & Solar Applications

Innovation Awards RosemountOffshore Application: National oil companies, independent oil companies, and well service companies all operate offshore oil drilling platforms with key unit operations to support the production of petroleum products. The instrumentation used on these platforms includes multiple flowmeter technologies, which are selected for each application based on the flow measurement requirements and the capabilities of the flowmeter technology. After carefully reviewing all of the published specifications and manufacturer’s recommendations for flowmeter selection, the Rosemount 8800 Vortex Flowmeter was selected for a water flow measurement off a first-stage separator.

After nearly a year in service, a service technician was sent out to inspect the failure of the vortex flowmeter. At this point all that the service technician knew was that a flowmeter that had been reliably reporting flow for several months had suddenly dropped to an output of 4mA (or zero flow). The technician dutifully followed the instructions in the operation manual and discovered the vortex sensor had failed. Thankfully, the line didn’t need to be shut down to replace the faulty sensor—as a replacement sensor was available off the shelf.

As a follow-up to the failure, the technician sent the sensor out for analysis to determine the failure mode. After a few days the failure analysis results came back, showing the sensor failed due to chloride induced stress corrosion cracking in the sensor lead wire. Although the sensor was isolated from the process fluid, it was exposed to the chloride-rich offshore ambient environment. Additionally, the sensor was in close proximity to a high temperature process line, which further accelerated the corrosive action. 

After checking with the factory, the service technician learned that a new vortex sensor, known as the Severe Service Sensor, was now available. The new sensor featured a Monel 400 sensor lead wire and Inconel 600 sensor housing material. Both of these materials have been proven to resist chloride-induced stress corrosion cracking. After replacing the standard sensor with the new Rosemount 8800 Vortex Severe Service Sensor, the technician confidently concluded that the replacement sensor was able to withstand the challenging offshore environment.

The Rosemount 8800 Vortex Severe Service Sensor was designed with the toughest process conditions in mind. A unique nickel-alloy sensor lead wire and housing material of construction support resistance to corrosion in ambient environments where chloride levels are elevated, such as near-shore or offshore marine environments. A proprietary piezoelectric crystal is designed to handle continuous exposure to process temperatures that were previously considered untenable. These two key features combine to make the Rosemount 8800 Vortex Severe Service Sensor a truly rugged and reliable vortex sensor capable of standing up to the requirements of the most difficult applications.

Solar Application: Spain is one of the most advanced countries in the development of solar energy.  One type of a concentrating solar power plant uses solar troughs. These solar troughs are essentially long parabolic mirror troughs that focus the energy of the sun on a pipe. The pipeline contains high-efficiency heat transfer oil, which is heated and delivered to a central unit where the heat can be used to create steam and ultimately generate electricity. These solar trough pipelines can see temperatures as high as 600 F to 700 F. It is essential that the flowmeter technology used to monitor these flows can tolerate continuous high temperature process fluid.

Vortex technology was previously selected on a solar project to measure the flow of the heat-transfer fluid. Unfortunately, the flowmeter manufacturer that was selected provided a flowmeter with a gasket in the meter body and a vortex sensor that failed after being installed for only two months of service. Not only did the vortex meter fail and lose the ability to reliably report flow after a short installed service life, inspection of the metering point at the time of failure showed that the meter was also leaking heat-transfer oil through the gasket connection for the vortex sensor and on both process flanges.

The customer reviewed the Rosemount 8800 Vortex design and was impressed by the high temperature performance of the Severe Service Sensor and the weld-end meter body design, which eliminated all leak points from the flowmeter installation.  After several months in service, the severe service sensors have stayed online and continued to function, while there have been no leaks detected at the installation point.


Coriolis Mass Flowmeter Enables Quick Startup, Reduced Maintenance, and Streamlined Calibration

Innovation Awards EndressIn the food & beverage industry, time to market and getting the most from assets is of critical importance. Pre-assembled units or skids in small designs with a modular principle can provide crucial advantages in this area.

The Promass S is well known for its design that meets all standards in the food & beverage industry, FDA and 3-A, and is suitable for CIP/SIP. And now Endress+Hauser has developed the Proline 100 series of transmitters specifically to meet the needs of skid builders and end-users in the food & beverage industry. It maintains full functionality of Endress+Hauser’s proven multi-parameter Coriolis mass flowmeter in a compact stainless steel housing.

Endress+Hauser had several discussions with a key end-user customer in the food and beverage industry and found that the new Promass S sensor with the Proline 100 transmitter could help them achieve their goals for quick start-up, reduced installation and maintenance costs, and streamline in-house calibration intervals.

The customer purchased and installed the Promass S 100 with an EtherNet/IP output. The Promass 100 includes an add-on Profile to Level 3 and premier integration to the Rockwell Automation PlantPAx process automation system. Using these capabilities in startup, the customer realized a 25 percent reduction in programming time and a 40 percent reduction in control integration time.

The smaller footprint of the Promass S 100 allowed the customer to design the skids with a smaller footprint resulting in more available space in the plant for future expansions. The Promass S 100 transmitter offers a 30 percent smaller enclosure size.

The customer also had to consider high-pressure washdown in their facility. They were able to take advantage of the IP69K option on the Promass 100. The benefit of the high-pressure washdown is that much less water and detergent can be used to obtain the same results as low pressure sprays, meaning, quite literally, less money down the drain.

And finally, Heartbeat Technology simplifies the diagnostics, monitoring, and verification requirements via onboard technology. Using Heartbeat Technology for in-situ verification allows the customer to extend their calibration intervals, which reduces process shutdowns and their long-term maintenance cost.

Thermal Mass Flowmeter Serves Oil & Gas Emissions Testing In On Shore and Offshore Applications

Innovation Awards Fox Thermal InstrumentsQuantum Industrial LLC, an oil & gas consultancy in Texas, has used the FOX Model FT3 Thermal Mass Flow Meter in oil and gas emissions testing applications on shore and offshore.

In using the FT3 meter, Quantum has found it to provide several key advantages when measuring gas emissions:

1.   Calibration can be validated before emission measurement begins;

2.   The calibration validation certificate can be printed and submitted in the report to the client;

3.   The remote probe and 100-foot connector cable allow measurement from a safe upwind position when hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is present in crude oil stock tank emissions;

4.   The USB cable allows convenient data logging and meter setup via a laptop computer; and

5.   The controller housing is rugged and weather proof.

Quantum has used FOX flowmeters for over seven years in the oil and gas industry. FOX’s first model, the FOX 10A, was used to obtain the emission measurements in the seminal report on gas emissions from oil stock tanks (“VOC Emissions from Oil and Condensate Storage Tanks”; Handler, Nunn et al., April 2009).

The FOX FT3 is a quantum leap forward, as the ability to confirm proper instrument calibration in the field is a major improvement available through the FOX CAL-V and Zero CAL-CHECK diagnostic functions. Calibration validation is simple and requires four-to-five minutes for the meter to cycle through the tests. A Calibration Validation Certificate can be produced from FT3 View software.

The infrared sensor buttons under the glass face of the controller are an improvement over the pushbuttons in earlier FOX models. The setup initial conditions for measurement can be entered at either the controller or through a laptop PC into which the FT3 View software has been loaded. The laptop PC can be connected by the USB port in the controller. Setup entry normally consists of the diameter of the pipe holding the FT3 probe, the sampling rate from once-per-second, and units of gas flow that are normally SCFM. However, almost any units of measurement can be displayed.

Data logging of measured flow, total cumulative flow, temperature, and elapsed time can be recorded and displayed on the attached laptop PC or by a data logger attached to the USB cable. Data can be quickly converted to graphs that clearly indicate the critical characteristics of the flow that has been measured.

The FOX FT3 is calibrated in the factory to the gas specified by the buyer. Quantum measures primarily methane, ethane and other hydrocarbon gases, carbon dioxide, and air with the FT3 calibrated on 100 percent methane. Laboratory gas analysis provides the mole percentages of each component gas. FOX provides the Heat Transfer Coefficient for each component gas. When the measured gas is 96 percent methane or more, no correction factor is required. When the methane mole percent is lower, the accurate correction factor is computed from the Heat Transfer Coefficients and the laboratory gas analysis.

– Jim Nunn, CEO, Quantum Industrial LLC,

High-Pressure Cylinder Valve Maximizes Safety in Gas Delivery Systems

Innovation Awards ParkerThe Parker Veriflo HCV Cylinder Valve provides maximum fire and explosion safety for very high-pressure gas delivery systems found in medical, laboratory, industrial, aviation, space, and mining applications.

Independent, third-party design analysis by oxygen safety engineers at Wendell Hull & Associates (WHA) concluded the valve’s unique design and materials “exhibits a low probability and low consequence of ignition.” WHA, which has investigated numerous oxygen system fires involving cylinder valves, determined the HCV Cylinder Valve achieved its significant fire risk reduction by addressing the predominant causes of ignition—flow friction, adiabatic compression, particle impact, and material selection.

The HCV’s patent-pending design includes several major innovations to the cylinder valve’s seat. Most importantly, the seat is out of the direct flow path, greatly reducing flow impingement/friction and adiabatic compression. The polyimide (Vespel) seat material has an auto-ignition temperature (AIT) 80 C higher than traditional nylon seats; nylon also suffers from marginal oxygen compatibility and higher heat content.

The HCV valve’s seat is behind a burn-resistant Monel keeper, reducing its exposed surface area and protecting it from ignition by adiabatic compression. The seat moves straight up-and-down (instead of rotating) and has a metal-to-metal stop to prevent over-torquing. Both features greatly reduce wear and damage (extrusion) to the seat that can increase the risk of ignition from either flow friction or particle generation/impact.

Threads on traditional cylinder valves are in the direct flow path, potentially creating particles that can become an ignition risk or contribute to seat damage. By contrast, the HCV’s rotating threads are outside the wetted area, limiting their potential for particle generation.

Another major innovation is the valve’s construction using burn-resistant alloys (e.g., Monel, bronze) on all wetted metal components. Other non-metal seals and back-up rings are made of polymers (e.g., FKM, PTFE) preferred for oxygen service and fully encapsulated in burn-resistant alloys.

Finally, the ring-shaped geometry of the seat reduces the mass of its non-metal (polyimide) seat material, reducing the energy release if the seat were ignited. This, in turn, reduces the potential for igniting downstream materials or components. The seat design also enables the valve to have the lowest leak rates in the industry.

In an industry where most define “high pressure” as greater than 2,000 PSIG, the HCV’s 6,000 PSIG capacity far exceeds traditional cylinder valve designs. And unlike many other products, the HCV Cylinder Valve exceeds the industry’s demanding ASTM G88—05 Standard Guide for Designing Systems for Oxygen Service.

It is these same design features that compelled a national leader in sales & service to the breathing air industry to choose the HCV valve over competitive solutions.

Pre-Engineered Pump System Effectively Doses Sodium Bisulfite in Water Treatment Process

Innovation Awards seepexseepex’s Pre-Engineered Chemical Metering Skid Systems support a wide variety of liquid chemical dosing applications, primarily for disinfection in water and wastewater treatment facilities. They are designed to eliminate the valuable time and costs associated with engineering, procuring, assembling, and commissioning flow control systems. A customizable system is packaged into a single unit with all the components necessary for chemical dosing and with (or without) controls and framework. The skids can deliver mild-to-aggressive, thin-to-highly viscous liquids, as well as corrosive and solid-laden chemicals.

In various water treatment plants in Puerto Rico, a total of eight skid systems are installed and utilized for handling sodium bisulfite in water filtration processes. The sodium bisulfite controls the chloride levels of the effluent water. The skids were commissioned at seepex’s manufacturing facility in Enon, Ohio, according to each application’s flow ranges and then calibrated according to the flow control loop. Each skid consists of two seepex progressive-cavity MD 003-12 pumps, each with a motor and VFD, a Pressure Control Mechanism (one gauge, one relief valve, and one bypass valve), a calibration column, along with piping and accessories. The systems are indoors, and the pumps operate continuously eight hours a day.

Luiz Rodriquez, a contractor with Electrical Instrumentation Contractors, Inc. (EIC, Inc.), who helped select and install the seepex skids at the water treatment plants says, “The end users and I are very satisfied with how easily the skids integrated into the existing operations, like a plug-in and play installation. The skids work great and perfectly fit our needs of simple integration and ease of installation. We have had only positive feedback from the end users.”

With chemical-resistant materials, all skid components will hold up in harsh acidic and caustic chemical environments. Components include calibration column, pressure gauge, pressure switches, dry-run protection, and flowmeters. Also included are superior-quality seepex progressive cavity pumps. Components of the pumps, such as elastomers, exotic metals, and plastics are also custom designed with chemically resistant materials. An integrated vector drive with automatic (4-20mA) or manual digital speed control comes standard, eliminating the need for a local interface/control panel.

The systems handle pressure up to 350 PSI, flowrates from 10mL/min to 100 GPH, and have turndown capability of 60-to-1. With Non-pulsating flow, accurate and reliable metering is assured. Progressive cavity pumps do not have ball valves, therefore they are not prone to vapor lock and do not require back pressure valves or priming chambers. This makes them a good fit for pumping chemical solutions with high vapor pressures like sodium hypochlorite or ammonia.

Coriolis Mass Meter Helps Ensure Purification in Tungsten Metal Manufacturing Process

Innovation Awards SiemensDuring a field test at a leading metal supplying company, the SITRANS FC430 Coriolis flowmeter demonstrated exceptional stability and reliability in measuring the concentration of tungsten metal.

H.C. Starck, a global supplier of refractory metals and technical ceramics, produces powder chemicals and compounds, including tungsten and tungsten alloys. To produce tungsten powder and products, the company first sources solid tungsten from other industries. This unprocessed metal tends to be extremely brittle and difficult to work with, which is why it must be purified to 99.99 percent pure tungsten. Purification ensures the final product will be malleable enough for use in metalworking, while still retaining its distinctive hardness.

Once the sourced metal is reduced to sodium tungstate in dissolving tanks, it is passed through filter presses before being sent to an intermediate storage tank, where it awaits transfer to a purification header vessel. When one of the header vessels needs to be refilled, a downstream level controller starts a pump and the required quantity of sodium tungstate is transferred from the storage tank to the vessel.

To ensure the purification process is as effective and time-efficient as possible, the purification system must receive real-time updates on the exact concentration (i.e., fraction) of tungsten within the fluid being transferred to the header vessel. For this reason, the metal supplier required the installation of a flowmeter to provide feed-forward process data to the purification system. The chosen meter needed to be capable of highly accurate density measurement despite the fluctuating flow, pressure, and temperature conditions that result from 15 to 20 pump starts per day.

The customer was interested in the SITRANS FC430 for its ability to measure density, volume, and temperature in addition to mass flow, as well as its compact size and accuracy.

To perform the field test, a SITRANS FC430 meter was installed on a discharge line below an intermediate storage tank and adjacent to a transfer pump. The results were highly successful:

  • Performance remained stable at zero flow, with a total deviation of only +/-1.5 kg/h (3.3 lb/h) over a temperature range of 1.6 C (34.9 F).
  • Flowrate and density were reported reliably over the entire duration of a 104-minute trace, with no unexplained fluctuations or spikes in flow trend.
  • Reliability was demonstrated under dynamic conditions, with nearly instant response times to changes in flowrate caused by pump starts and stops.
  • Density readings were accurate to within 1 kg/tonne (2.2 lb/tonne) as compared to a laboratory reading.
  • Performance in fluctuating volume flow was excellent, with the flow signal following the dynamics of a reference reading reliably with no visible deviation.
  • The driver current demonstrated stability of greater than two significant digits at zero flow and deviations of less than two significant digits in conditions where pressure or temperature fluctuated.

The metal supplier was so encouraged by the early performance of the SITRANS FC430 that they upgraded the Coriolis mass flow sensor to a complete system and implemented it as part of the overall tungsten purification process.

Thermal Mass Flowmeters Fill the Bill in Precision Gas-Ratio Control Application

Innovation Awards Sierra

Fiberglass insulation manufacturing is almost akin to making cotton candy. A mixture of silica and other components are melted and passed through a spinning extruder, then rapidly cooled with compressed air (see Figure). As older fiberglass manufacturing plants have demonstrated, manual control of air and natural gas flow to the burners used to melt the initial mix often results in unacceptable levels of rejected material, as well as excessive gas consumption.

Process engineers at a fiberglass manufacturing company in the Southwest of the U.S. were seeking methods to improve fiberglass quality, reduce raw material waste, and increase production capacity, all while keeping the measurement and control system as simple and economical as possible. They faced some unique application challenges:

1.   The process used existing piping of various diameters to carry the natural gas, combustion air used to melt the glass, and compressed air used to cool and chop the fiberglass fibers (Figure 1).

2.   The application also varied with the grade of fiberglass insulation being produced, so the manufacturing process required a great deal of flexibility on gas flowrate, temperature, and pressure. In combustion temperature control, the temperature is directly dependent on the ratio of natural gas to air.

Ultimately, the facilities managers determined that improving the combustion efficiency was the best way to attain the quality and production benefits they were seeking, and they turned to Sierra for a simple and economical solution.

The most efficient solution was a single flowmeter that provides accurate flow measurements of multiple gases under all application variables. Traditionally, orifice plates have been used in combustion-control applications, but they are a fixed size for a certain pipe and must be temperature and pressure compensated. To manage the varying conditions in this application, Sierra’s QuadraTherm 780i was deemed to be a perfect fit.

This new four-sensor QuadraTherm mass flowmeter yields unprecedented accuracy for thermal meters—+/- 0.5 percent of reading—far better than the 5.0 percent full scale of other technologies. The technology also offers a powerful microprocessor that runs a comprehensive flow-measurement algorithm. This algorithm uses inputs from four temperature sensors, instead of the traditional two.

Facilities managers at the fiberglass manufacturing facility installed the QuadraTherm 780i to provide precise flow measurement. QuadraTherm isable to accurately measure multiple gases with Dial-a-Gas (natural gas, air, compressed air), while measuring high or low flow in various-sized pipes with differing amounts of straight run. Its unique Dial-A-Pipe feature allows the ability to change pipe sizes and types in the field.

The QuadraTherm 780i performed very well in this application, measuring direct mass flow of all gases in the process over a wide range of temperatures and pressures. With this precise mass flow measurement for ratio control, facilities managers reported a higher yield of quality fiberglass, which leads to higher overall production capacity and efficiency. With flexible features, one basic meter was configured to match all of the application conditions, allowing for uniform mounting, installation, and wiring requirements.

Portable Electromagnetic Flowmeter Enables a Colorado City to Efficiently Track Multiple Valves

Innovation Awards Singer ValveA city in Colorado needed to determine the flow through each of three separate valve chambers to determine whether water load was shared equally. By measuring the flowrates, the operator was able to use the data to determine whether they need to adjust the pressure set points on any of the pressure-reducing valves in each vault. Since there was no power source and limited space in the station, the client specifically wanted a portable flowmeter that could be shared between three valves in three separate chambers.

Pipestone Equipment’s Dave Buchwald suggested Singer Valve’s SPI-MV, which features a unique single-point insertion probe that can be inserted into a Singer valve to measure flow and then be moved to a different valve. The insertion probe extends into the flow stream through one of the valve inlet connections and protrudes into the valve, equivalent to 1/8 of the valve diameter size. As a single-piece design, the bullet nose profile has no moving parts to get clogged and contains nothing to wear or break.

The SPI-MV has options for both AC and DC power along with a compact design, which enables it to be combined with a data logger and a 12VDC lithium battery. This allows the valve to be left in the probe unit in the vault for up to a month, all the while acquiring and saving flow data. A USB is then used to extract the data off the data logger, and the battery is recharged at the end of the month before the unit is installed into one of the two additional vaults and the cycle is repeated. The installation is straight forward; once the SPI probe is removed, the ball valve is closed, allowing the valve to continue to run as normal.

Since the unit only protrudes eight inches from the valve and requires 12 inches for clearance, it fits easily in to all of the chambers. The SPI-MV is accurate to 2 percent of reading throughout the specified velocity range, which enables the utility to confidently monitor the flowrates and compare loads to ensure equal flow.