5 Key Insights On Flowmeter Calibration from Leading Industry Experts

Industry experts talk about when to calibrate, how different applications come into play, common pitfalls to avoid, how stricter government mandates are affecting calibration, the types of instruments used for calibration, and the future of flowmeter calibration.

Insights iStock/ThinkStock
Insights iStock/ThinkStock

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Flow Control received a lot of feedback on a recent flow calibration discussion that started on our LinkedIn page. In an upcoming issue, Flow Control will release the roundtable discussion that resulted from that LinkedIn post. Meantime, below are five interesting quotes from the exchange on which that article will be based:

“Calibration is like insurance; you pay premiums year-after-year and never make a claim. It is tempting to wonder why you are paying out. Then your car is in an accident, or your roof is damaged in a hail storm, and you are reminded why you paid those premiums.

“I would say the largest pitfall is not calibrating to a customer’s application. Correct parameters for each different type of flowmeter can be a large factor in performing a correct calibration; along with inlet and exit conditions to match the end-users particular situations.”

– Thomas Kegel, senior staff engineer for Colorado Engineering Experiment Station, Inc. (CEESI)


“Meter calibration is largely a risk mitigation activity. The larger the potential risk (typically financial), the more benefit there is to calibrating a meter.

“Even with advances in electronics and a greater understanding of the physics involved in the measurement process, meter calibration will remain a vital part of measurement because it reduces the risk associated with measurement errors.”

– Terry Grimley, manager of Metering Research Facility at Southwest Research Institute


READ ALSO: To Calibrate or Not to Calibrate – Understanding when and why your flowmeters need to be calibrated


“Calibration provides certainty of the measurement. While some meters perform very well uncalibrated, there will be no certainty of the installation unless there is calibration compared to a traceable reference.”

– Thomas Ballard, global product manager for GE Measurement and Control’s Custody Transfer Flow Meter business


“The obvious problem (with not calibrating flowmeters) is the degradation in performance of the flowmeter. Accuracy is critical in many processes. The clearest example is in a flowmeter used for billing (custody transfer). An inaccurate flowmeter is going to cost either the supplier or the customer money depending on whom the error falls in favor of.

“Government regulation has had an impact, particularly in the field of emissions control. Federal, state, and local regulations require the measurement of combustion and greenhouse gases in many processes, and these regulations are expanding. These laws specify certain methods and the periodicity of recalibration for the flowmeters used. Even when they do not explicitly do so, many companies measure these emissions for the purposes of carbon offsets, waste gas recovery or to avoid hefty fines. The measurement of flare gases in the oil and gas fields are examples of this.”

– Scott Rouse, vice president of Product Management at Sierra Instruments


“Gravimetric and positive displacement calibrators/provers for liquid applications, and strict standards for master meters (transfer standard meters) are types of calibration instruments being produced to help end-users effectively meet calibration requirements, as well as bell provers and sonic nozzles for gas applications.”

Louis C. Collins, technical sales consultant for Schneider Electric, Foxboro Field Devices


If you would like to get involved with discussions such as these, please make sure you follow Flow Control magazine on LinekedIn.


Jake Mastroianni is the managing editor of Flow Control magazine. He can be reached at JMastroianni@GrandViewMedia.com. Follow Jake on Google+.

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