This year marks the 10th anniversary of Flow Control magazine’s annual Product Innovation Awards. The Innovation Awards program is designed to recognize industry’s most compelling advances in fluid handling technology, showcasing new product releases in the categories of fluid measurement, control, and containment. After announcing the winners of this year’s Flow Control Innovation Awards in the September issue, here we provide case studies/application stories on each of the winning technologies to give you a feel for how these products are helping end-users improve their production processes in real-world environments. If you have any questions about the outstanding technologies presented below or the Innovation Awards program in general, please contact Matt Migliore at

Meter Verification Method Saves Chemical Plant $64,500

Emerson Process Mgmt., Micro Motion’s Meter Verification technology enabled a major chemical company to save $64,500 in one year. By implementing the Micro Motion Meter Verification method for process and master meters, this company was able to quickly reduce maintenance costs and improve plant availability with a payback of less than 20 weeks.

Coriolis users across many industries have adopted Micro Motion in-situ Meter Verification methodology for significant savings in maintenance with improved availability for increased throughput. Flow measurement and mass balance is a major element to operations of many chemical processes, with maintaining and documenting instrument performance critical to the operational success.

In the past, the chemical company under consideration here used master meters from Micro Motion to validate their mass flow, gear, turbine, mag, and vortex meters in-line on a yearly basis or when measurement was questioned. These master meters were annually calibrated at the Micro Motion factory to provide the best potential performance for all validations. By implementing Micro Motion’s new Meter Verification methodology, not only on its master meters, but also on the installed Micro Motion mass flowmeters, the chemical company was able to save $22,500 per year in calibration costs, reduce maintenance costs by over $12,000, and improve overall availability of equipment and processes for a savings of $10,000 per day (customer estimates 3-10 days availability increase per year).

In addition, the upgrade has provided an overall reduction in the manpower it takes to verify and maintain flow measurement, resulting in significant impact on operations bandwidth and allowing operations and maintenance to focus on more critical issues and improvement opportunities.

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Advanced Diagnostics Improve Food Measurement Uptime

Emerson Process Mgmt., Rosemount Measurement has been working with a worldwide manufacturer of food products and food technology to improve plant productivity. This manufacturer needed to improve measurement uptime and reliability in its flow applications. Because the abrasive nature of the process led to issues with impulse-line plugging, both reactive and unnecessary preventative maintenance practices were implemented. In two critical applications in the furnace and citric-acid area, impulse lines had to be regularly cleaned, resulting in costly and unnecessary maintenance. The manufacturer turned to the Rosemount 3051S Advanced Diagnostics Meter to address this issue.

The 3051S flowmeter utilizes new Advanced Diagnostics for HART Protocol to provide users with an added capability to troubleshoot, detect, and prevent abnormal situations in DP flow applications. Emerson’s patented Statistical Process Monitoring (SPM) technology provides an early warning of abnormal process or equipment conditions, such as plugged impulse lines, changes in fluid composition, or other events.

The 3051S with Advanced Diagnostics were employed on a high-pressure pipeline with an abrasive slurry flow where it was known to plug. The SPM feature on the 3051S was integrated as part of a total 3,000 tag, AMS Device Manager online system with Enhanced EDDL Graphical User Interface. This enhanced view of the user’s process is intuitive and easy to navigate, further reducing response time to abnormal situations. “It was easy to install,” said the customer. “We took it through its learning sequence to set up the diagnostic capabilities.

“As expected, the abrasive liquid corn starch and enzyme mixture at high pressure and temperature plugged the impulse line within a few days”, explained the customer. “The Rosemount 3051S’s SPM diagnostic was successful in alerting the operators to the problem each time it happened.” The standard deviation tracking feature of the SPM software identified that the impulse line was beginning to plug, so the operator could proactively call on the maintenance department to unplug the line. “The software did just what Emerson said it would do.”

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Coriolis Meter Improves % Solids Meas. at Ethanol Plant

Endress+Hauser’s Proline Promass S Coriolis Flowmeter is being used at a major ethanol production facility in Nebraska that produces 50 million gallons per year in its dry-grind process plant. Like many other companies in this growing industry, automation, continual optimization, and innovation are key drivers for success. In such a highly competitive, developing, and quality-sensitive industry, major concerns are associated with operating costs, process downtime, and off-spec product.

Early in 2007, Promass S was recommended to the Nebraska ethanol facility in order to solve a specific application challenge that required a meter capable of precision density measurement for determining percent solids in corn slurry streams prior to fermentation. Critical control of percent solids content is required to prepare the corn slurry stream prior to cooking and subsequent fermentation. Accurate and stable control of percent solids allows better control of water addition in the slurry tank, thereby saving energy.

Promass S was optimized using Endress+Hauser’s PC-based Concentration Software, which allows customer-specific laboratory density, temperature, and percent solids data to remain confidential. When compared to the in-plant laboratory measurements, it was determined that Promass S was providing percent solids measurement in the corn slurry process with lab correlation better than 0.3 percent under process conditions of >30 percent solids and temperatures in excess of 180 F. Consequently, the in-process accuracy is comparable to the standard deviation of the customer’s laboratory technique.

Due to the high level of percent solids accuracy produced from the meter, the corn slurry percent solids measurement was more consistent, thereby increasing product quality and lowering energy costs. By tightly controlling the percent solids at a tighter range, optimization of enzyme addition and jet-cooking energy required is better achieved. Further downstream, the operation of the evaporation column and the liquefaction tank may also be improved.

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Magmeter Helps Water Co. Keep Up with Population Growth

GF Piping Systems is helping Latin America improve its water and wastewater processing capability to better cope an unprecedented population boom. According to independent studies, the total amount of facility investments in Latin America will need to increase by a factor of three — from a present day value of $18 billion to $60-$70 billion — to satisfy the rapidly increasing water demand.

In Brazil, Companhia de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo (SABESP), the Sao Paulo state water company, provides water and sewage services to a range of residential, commercial, industrial, and governmental customers in the City of Sao Paulo and in 367 of the 645 other municipalities.

Teaming up with GF Piping Systems, SABESP tested the new Signet 2552 Metal Magmeter Flow Sensor at the Presidente Prudente facility, a municipal drinking water treatment plant located some 400 miles west of Sao Paulo. This facility needed a reliable, low-maintenance sensor installed in a six-inch (DN 150), cast iron, cement-lined pipe on the effluent side of the plant. To meet its requirements, a 2552 Magmeter with frequency output was installed through a ball valve into the pipe, just downstream from a full-bore magmeter and connected to a Signet 8550 Flow Transmitter. Hot-tap access into the pipe stream allowed quick and easy installation without system shutdown.

“The test unit performed exceptionally well, closely matching the full bore sensor readings,” says the management and operational development department engineers of SABESP, Presidente Prudente. “Because of its reliable readings, the Signet 2552 Metal Magmeter will be installed into our other facilities.”

The engineers also found that the magmeter required less maintenance and was easier to use compared to the paddlewheel sensors they had been using, which necessitated removing a hot-tap flowmeter when replacement of a pin or rotor was required. “At the present time, we use many paddlewheel-type sensors that sometimes require rotor and pin replacements,” say the SABESP engineers. “With the 2552 Magmeter, we expect maintenance-free performance and more consistent and reliable readings.”

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Variable-Speed Circulator Pump Enables Solar Upgrade

Grundfos Pumps provided an ideal pumping solution when Hot Water Products ( was called on to upgrade a Wisconsin-based nursing home’s conventional heating and domestic hot water (DHW) system with a solar system. When specifying equipment for the application, HWP’s Dan Movrich knew Grundfos’s E-Circulator TPE Pump would not only offer energy-saving operation along with the energy-conserving solar upgrade, but would also optimize the overall efficiency of the entire system.

Finding an energy-efficient pump that operates cohesively with a solar hot water system for the nursing home’s upgrade was the first order of business for Movrich. His top choice, the Grundfos TPE in-line circulator with integrated variable frequency drive (VFD), provided seamless pump installation and offers the perfect solution for solar application challenges. TPE parameters include pressure, differential pressure, temperature, and differential temperature, and allow control by any industrial transducer.

The nursing home facility uses DHW for the laundry, residence rooms, and the kitchen, with hot water usage averaging 400- 500 GPH. The solar water heating upgrade provides a supplemental hot-water source for the indirect water heater, which is coupled to a high-efficiency boiler. Three sub-arrays totaling 24 solar panels working with a plate exchanger turn an existing 750-gallon storage tank into a solar tank. This tank is in series with another existing 750-gal. tank, which is in constant circ. with the indirect water heater.

The solar panels are designed for 1.8 GPM flow and at this range, a 12 F differential temperature is expected. The flows can rise as high as 3.2 GPM or fall as low as 0.8 GPM, depending on the sun’s intensity. The variable flow and the control of the flow to maintain the differential temperature presented the biggest challenge.

The Grundfos TPE 40-240 Series 1000 Pump with a differential temperature sensor and integrated variable-speed drive adjusts to conditions so the plate heat exchanger operates at optimum efficiency, regardless of the sun’s availability. With the Grundfos TPE, flow is adjusted to keep the system running without interruption. In addition to significant energy savings offered by the pump, the heat exchanger operates more efficiently, optimizing the overall performance of the solar system.

“The Grundfos variable-speed TPE is the perfect solution for hot water solar applications because of its ability to tune itself with weather conditions,” says Movrich. “The smart pump technology saves energy and works with the solar system for the most energy-efficient hot water system on the market today.”

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Vortex Meter Ups Accuracy of Superheated Steam Measurement

Sierra Instruments’ Innova-Mass Model 241 Insertion Multiparameter Mass Vortex Meter is receiving significant uptake for steam consumption applications. Many large cities in the Northeast United States use central steam heating to heat buildings in the city center. Superheated steam is produced at a central facility, then piped to various buildings where it is used for heating water or for heating the building itself. This steam is not free, so providers must find a means to measure its consumption and bill users accordingly.

Since most steam systems in the Northeast have been in operation for many years (sometimes for almost a century), cities in this region typically used a legacy device calle­d a shunt meter to measure steam consumption. This device has two major drawbacks: first, it is mechanical, so the device wears out; and second, it is a volumetric device, so additional temperature, pressure, and flow computers must be installed to measure mass flow. The total system accuracy and repeatability is affected by the individual components. Further, process variables may be measured at different points. All of these factors together lead to poor accuracy, typically around 5 percent.

A large Midwestern city’s district energy provider faced the same problems described above. Its old shunt meters were wearing out and leading to high maintenance costs and increased downtime. After considering several alternatives, including a standard vortex meter, the company settled on the Innova-Mass Model 241 as a cost-effective replacement. The Innova-Mass simultaneously measures three process variables: velocity, temperature, and pressure (VTP) through one process connection. This allows real-time calculation of true mass flow.

Insertion vortex meters have seen limited use because they are measuring the velocity at only a single point, and are therefore greatly affected by flow profile. The Innova-Mass solves this inherent problem by measuring the Reynolds number in real-time, calculating a dynamic flow profile and determining correction algorithms for the point velocity. This means a reliable insertion meter for very large pipes where an in-line meter would likely be much too costly. Since everything is calibrated together, system accuracy is very high — better than +/- 2.0 percent of reading accuracy and +/- 0.2 percent repeatability is the norm.

The Innova-Mass meter was easily retrofitted into existing steam lines and directly measured mass flow with no extra equipment and no moving parts. By replacing the old shunt meters, the energy provider saved approximately 35 percent annually in maintenance costs and saw a 25 percent increase in billable steam flow.

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Smart Valve Positioner Cuts Cost of Calibration Maintenance

Spirax Sarco’s SP200 positioners have recently been installed at a high-end tire re-tread plant. The process uses steam in the bonding and curing of the re-manufactured tires, and extremely accurate temperature control is required to produce a safe product. In this plant, there is a lot of vibration in the steam pipes caused by machinery used in production; steam boiler pressure varies greatly due to fluctuations in steam demand; and instrument air pressure varies depending on what machinery is being used at the time. A large number of control valves were already installed, but they were struggling to maintain the accurate temperatures required for the application, some fluctuating wildly.

The problem was that old technology flapper/nozzle-type positioners had been used to control the valves. These positioners rely on a skilled technician to properly calibrate very tricky zero and span settings that are highly sensitive to the plant instrument air supplied to them. The changes in the plant instrument air caused calibration drift, and the vibration in the steam pipes caused wear and eventual failure of the old mechanical linkage, which provides feedback of the valve position to the positioner. The plant did not have a skilled technician to repeatedly repair and re-calibrate these positioners, which were causing production downtime.

The plant manager decided to re-fit all of his valves with SP200 positioners. The smart, auto-calibration feature allowed his maintenance technician to install and commission each positioner in about 10 minutes, a job that would normally have taken a skilled instrument technician at least 30 minutes with the old positioners. All 23 valves took a couple of hours to upgrade.

Once operational, the algorithms in the SP200 micro-controller adapted the calibration to the fluctuating instrument air pressure, maintaining accurate response to the process controller. A magnet attached to the valve stem and a Hall effect sensor on the SP200 provided feedback of the valve position without any mechanical linkage, completely eliminating wear and failure caused by the process vibration. In addition, on-board diagnostics helped the maintenance technicians schedule process shutdown for valve maintenance, reducing costs resulting from unexpected valve failures.

The SP200 positioners have now been in service for some time and have given impressive performance, controlling the process temperature within one degree.

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Intelligent Flow Monitor Upgrades Semicon Cooling Process

TURCK’s FTCI Digital Read Out (DRO) flow monitor is helping semiconductor manufacturers maintain proper temperature of their process chambers to improve throughput and quality of the etch process. Typically, water/water glycol is pumped to the chamber to maintain a certain temperature. One manufacturer in particular used three water box cooling lines that pumped water/water glycol directly to the semiconductor’s metal etch process. The coolant came through a central line and was diverted into six separate cooling lines that went directly to the chamber. To ensure the coolant was equally dispersed to evenly cool the chamber, the manufacturer decided to monitor the rate of flow in these lines to determine how much coolant was being pumped into each area of the chamber.

To determine this, the manufacturer first used a basic mechanical switch on the central line to monitor flow. The flaw in this arrangement was that not all the fluid was distributed evenly to each cooling line, resulting in less than ideal conditions. Other solutions that are commonly used for this type of application, like paddlewheels, were not viable for this manufacturer, as paddlewheels are mechanical parts and can break and lodge in the lines, potentially causing complete failure.

From a single paddlewheel on the main line, the manufacturer moved to a simple non-mechanical flow/no-flow sensor on each cooling line. This allowed each line be monitored separately. The manufacturer then found it necessary to adjust the setpoint to a specific switching point. This would require a microprocessor with intelligence.

The manufacturer sought a solution that provided an accurate flow output at all times, while allowing it to troubleshoot potential problems easily. The FTCI DRO flow monitor offered a solution. The DRO flow monitor is linearized and corrected for temperature, making the output of the amplifier proportional to flow, allowing for accurate switch points, on-off delays, adjustable hysteresis and outputs. The DRO flow monitor also contains a microprocessor that corrects for temperature and provides an accurate reading of the water glycol. This delivered on both the flow and temperature, providing redundancy in one device.

DRO flow monitors were mounted to each of the six cooling lines to monitor flowrate while providing a continuous output. Since the DRO flow monitor contains no moving parts, it completely fulfilled the requirements sought by the manufacturer.

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DP Meter Offers Solution Where No Straight Run Exists

Veris’s Extended Range Accelebar Flowmeter offered a solution when a large chemical plant required a check meter to verify the accuracy of a custody-transfer turbine meter monitoring a Propylene supply line. The application did not provide area for locating the meter where there was adequate straight-run, free from upstream and downstream disturbances that disturb the flow profile, such as valves, elbows, expanders, and reducers. As such, piping constraints required the flowmeter to be installed with no upstream or downstream straight run. It would have to be bolted directly between an upstream valve and downstream tee. Another challenge was to find a meter capable of monitoring not only current usage, but also providing the capacity to measure higher flowrates as they increased over time to meet the demand of increased production.

Because there was no room to install pipe expanders or reducers and associated straight run required by other meters, the Extended Range Accelabar was chosen. The Accelabar could be installed between an upstream valve and downstream tee (see photo), as the necessary straight run is integral to the meter. The Accelabar was designed to replace an existing and inoperative turbine meter within a required face-to-face dimension.

Considering the potential of increased demand for Propylene in the future, a six-inch Accelabar was installed in the customer’s four-inch pipe. The Accelabar allowed for an expansion integral to the meter with four-inch inlet and outlet flanges. No piping modifications were required.

The Accelabar consists of a unique toroidal nozzle design and a Verabar averaging pitot tube. The nozzle has a patented straight-run “settling distance” that accelerates, linearizes, and stabilizes the velocity profile sensed by the Verabar. The Verabar, located within the nozzle, accurately measures and significantly increases the differential-pressure output to increase the operating range (turndown).

The Accelabar is accurately measuring the propylene flow, despite the limited straight run of pipe upstream and downstream of the meter. When verified against the actual custody-transfer meter, the Accelabar was in agreement within 0.2 percent. Equally impressive, the Accelabar monitors the future demand when capacity increases.

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Raising the Bar for Primary Flow Standard Technologies

Bios International’s Bios Definer 220 Primary Flow Standard delivers primary precision in a portable, rugged flow standard. The Definer 220 enables high-speed field verification of critical flows, regardless of location, enabling engineers and technicians responsible for maintaining accurate flow measurements to maintain traceability, meet regulatory requirements, and enhance their industrial processes more accurately and easily than ever before.

The Definer 220 transcends the limitations of other gas flow measurement technologies and turns the tables on traditional views that relegate primary flow standards to the laboratory. The Definer 220’s million-cycle valve life design and hand-held, all-in-one utility combine the stability and accuracy of a primary piston prover with the reliability and convenience of a thermal mass flowmeter, bridging the gap between these technologies and enabling the Definer 220 to be used effectively most anywhere — and for a broad range of environmental, process control, and R&D applications.

The Definer 220 is self-contained and ultra-portable. With its drop-tested, shock-absorbing support structure and efficient, long-lasting internal battery and power-save option, it’s ready to go any time. EPA QA personnel and field operators will appreciate the Definer 220’s small size and durability, which allows them to perform fast, accurate flow calibrations while maintaining traceability — whether it’s calibrating ambient-air monitoring equipment on a rooftop or visiting a disaster site to help calibrate air-sampling equipment to ensure the safety of rescue workers.

The Definer 220 is just as easily employed throughout the factory. Whether it’s periodically checking the flowrate on a gas line, instantly verifying the accuracy of MFCs and MFMs on the production floor, or assessing the performance of flow control equipment over a certain period of time, process engineers will find the convenience of a hand-held, battery-powered check standard to be unparalleled, opening up new opportunities for improving industrial processes and making significant cost savings or critical quality improvements. Likewise, R&D engineers will value the Definer 220’s flexibility when performing or validating experiments or generating precision gas mixtures.

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New Valve Enables Validation of Troublesome Biotech Process

Steriflow Valve recently worked with a global biotechnology manufacturer that was experiencing repeated loss of control failures on large buffer, process, and WFI feed lines on several new processes it had been trying to validate for months. Time was running out.

A competitor’s side-mounted, diaphragm-sealed control valves could never properly control the feeds regardless of how they changed the positioner’s settings. After much delay, it was determined that this manufacturer’s weir-style seat, two-ply EPDM/TFE diaphragm, and cam-operated upper valve stem would never be able to operate properly.

The Steriflow representative was a familiar face at this facility, as they had standardized years ago on Steriflow’s MK96 Jorlon diaphragm regulator. He was approached by the project process engineer and asked to supply replacement MK978’s true flow through full-stroke characteristics, and solid, USP VI Jorlon diaphragm. After thorough testing and validation, the Steriflow MK978s with MK16 positioner’s were installed and the process was validated. Additional valves have since been ordered for other process problems at the manufacturer”s plants.

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