David W. Spitzer
David W. Spitzer

Which of the following are reasons why flow is measured?

A.  Gather information about the process
B.  Totalize the amount of flow
C.  Ensure that the process is operating properly
D.  Improve the process
E.  Monitor safety

Commentary
A process is anything that changes. The process could be reading a book or stepping forward and back. However, many industrial processes involve the movement of fluids from one location to another. By measuring these flows, virtually all flowmeters gather some type of information about the process (Answer A). The purpose of the flowmeter is determined by the use of that information.  
For example, the total amount of fluid that passes through a flowmeter (Answer B) might be used for custody transfer or billing purposes. Monitoring the process is often performed using flowmeters to ensure that the process is operating properly (Answer C) and safely (Answer E).  

Flow measurements in conjunction with other process measurements are often used to improve the process (Answer D). In particular, heat and material balances, heavily dependent on design and operating flowrates, are often fundamental to the development of process improvements.

Additional Complicating Factors
There are many reasons to measure flow. Can you think of any others? E-mail your thoughts to FlowControl@GrandViewMedia.com.

David W. Spitzer is a regular contributor to Flow Control magazine and a principal in Spitzer and Boyes, LLC, offering engineering, seminars, strategic, marketing consulting, distribution consulting, and expert witness services for manufacturing and automation companies. David has more than 35 years of experience and has written over 10 books and 250 articles about flow measurement, instrumentation and process control. 

David can be reached at 845 623-1830 or www.spitzerandboyes.com. Click on the “Products” tab to find his Consumer Guides to various flow and level measurement technologies.