David W. Spitzer, P.E.

The Internet (just like people) can be your best friend and your worst enemy. A recent e-mail list posting asked if “anyone out there knows what is the largest size available for Coriolis flowmeters? The largest meter I could find so far is 4″ line size. I am looking for 12″ plus. Thanks.”

Responses were received between two and six days after the original posting. Excerpts of some of the responses (in the order received) are as follows.

A. The largest Coriolis mass flowmeter is 300 mm (12 inch) and is made by Vendor 1. Its maximum full scale is about 25,000 kg/min.

B. To the best of my knowledge, there are no 12″ meters available.

C. Coriolis mass flowmeters max out at 4” to 6″ largely because of price and size. You can try installing several units in parallel, but in fiscal metering, large bore applications are served well by the latest multi-chord ultrasonic meters. I believe they can claim to measure density also, so mass flow is achieved from the volume flow and density … Many users have found the combination of magnetic flowmeters, mechanical positive displacement meters, turbine meters and orifice plate meters with density transducers to be an excellent solution to the problem of mass flow. If you already have a volumetric flowmeter, you should explore retaining this meter and simply adding an insertion density meter…and seek the advise of the manufacturers. Our company is one…

D. There is no 12″ Coriolis flowmeter. The vibration force and meter cost are the big problem at this size. The current largest size is 6.”

E. What is your application? Mass flow/density. Perhaps a volumetric flowmeter and a gamma gauge would be your most cost effective solution.

F. Vendor 2 has a Coriolis mass flowmeter available up to DN50. Vendor 4 has got one with DN4000.

G. Consider Vendor 1 (Coriolis 12″), two 6″ Coriolis flowmeters in parallel or a magnetic flowmeter from Vendor 2 that has a 4-20 input for a density gauge, then calculate mass flow.

H. I was wrong. There is a 12″ Coriolis mass flowmeter, manufactured by Vendor 1. Vendor 3 does not make one that large, but others do.

Some of these responses contradict one another. Which messages would you believe if you were monitoring this list?

Commentary
Vendor 1 does make a 12” Coriolis mass flowmeter that can measure up to 25,000 kg/min (Response A). Responses G, H and three other responses (not included above) supported Response A. In this instance, the first response received was correct, however this is not always the case.

Responses B, C and D contradicted Response A as to the availability of a 12” Coriolis mass flowmeter. Response F is clearly in error (or a typographical oversight) by claiming that a vendor offers a 4,000 mm (160”) Coriolis mass flowmeter.

Responses C, E and G suggest other techniques to measure mass flow that often lead to applying their writer’s own products.

The long and short of it is that sometimes the interested parties inhabiting some area of the Internet may be the most knowledgeable sources available. Other times their judgment can be clouded by faulty memory, misperception of the question being considered, incorrect information on their part, poor typing/editing skills or, more insidiously, underlying agendas, either personal or professional.

So, if you are willing to get your information through user-based Internet information sources, also be willing to apply all of the professional filters at your disposal to verify its veracity. Don”t believe everything you read.

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TRIVIA: Entrepreneurial Spirit

Like many electronics entrepreneurs, Joseph Baumoel’s success story began in his garage. With a background in the aerospace industry — specifically in military electronics — he saw that most process control instruments were woefully unsophisticated. His first efforts were in the development of electronic liquid level sensors, a more accurate alternative to the mechanical floats that were most often employed in the early 1960s. Armed with a handful of spec sheets and driving ambition, Baumoel acted as his own sales representative and adapted one of his commercial products for use by Republic Aircraft. As a result, the Controlotron fuel vent detector, an electronic device that alerted fighter pilots to the potentially hazardous presence of fuel in an aircraft”s venting system, became standard equipment in all Air Force F-105 fighter jets. Bolstered by that steady income flow, Joe consciously turned toward more commercial markets, bringing Controlotron products into a variety of liquid control applications.

In 1969, Baumoel recognized the potential impact of computers on process control. He also realized that Controlotron was unable at that point to take advantage of that potential, because the company had no practical experience in computer design and operation. To gain the knowledge the company would need, Baumoel turned to one of his personal passions, golf.

In 1971, after two years of research and development, Controlotron introduced the world”s first golf handicap computer — and the reaction was beyond anyone”s expectations. Baumoel found himself as a guest on The Today Show, as well as numerous other programs, and the computer, which was made available as a rental to more than 10,000 country clubs, began to provide a substantial source of income.

That income, and the computer knowledge gained, was immediately reinvested in the development of a new breed of flow control devices, units able to monitor liquids and detect leaks without physically cutting into existing pipelines. Eventually, Controlotron became internationally known for two different types of “clamp-on” units. Both use ultrasonic energy to provide a “view” into a pipeline, but one utilizes transit-time technology, while the other employs Doppler spectral analysis.

Controlotron”s flowmeters are now used by hundreds of major companies here and abroad.

David W. Spitzer is a regular contributor to Flow Control with more than 35 years of experience in specifying, building, installing, startup, troubleshooting and teaching process control instrumentation. Mr. Spitzer has written over 10 books and 150 technical articles about instrumentation and process control, including the popular “Consumer Guide” series that compares flowmeters by supplier. Mr. Spitzer is a principal in Spitzer and Boyes LLC, offering engineering, expert witness, development, marketing, and distribution consulting for manufacturing and automation companies. He can be reached at 845 623-1830.