Liquid Flow Measurement Basics

Background: Global Demand for Flow Meter Technology

The global flow meter market size was valued at $7.3 billion in 2018, and is projected to reach $11.9 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 6.3% from 2019 to 2026 (www.businesswire.com/news).

Some of the major market players operating and profiled in this sector are Honeywell International Inc., Siemens AG, Emerson Electric Company, ABB Ltd, Schneider Electric SE, Yokogawa Electric Corporation (www.businesswire.com/news).

Business Significance of Liquid Flow Measurement

Understanding liquid flow measurement and its underlying technologies enables us to appropriately select the right meter that will financially and operationally benefit your manufacturing facility, plant, or building.

Several different types of fluid flow measurement technologies exist, most notably (but not limited to):

  • Magnetic
  • Coriolis
  • Ultrasonic (Doppler)
  • Differential Pressure
  • Positive Displacement
  • Turbine
  • Vortex shedding
  • Thermal

 

Important considerations when selecting flow metering devices include:

  • Accuracy
  • Cost
  • Physical constraints
  • Flow rate range
  • Flow profile
  • Fluid characteristics including temperature and pressure
  • Head loss across meter
  • Operating requirements
  • Maintenance
  • Life requirement based on application or business need

 

For our clients, the case for ultrasonic technology is that it has major benefits.

Like its name suggests, an ultrasonic flow meter transmits ultrasonic sound waves (sound humans cannot hear) through a liquid in a pipe using transducers (Figure 1 below). The meter measures the time (called transit time) to and from the transducers, the diameter of the pipe, and, along with other input parameters to compute a flow measurement.

Figure 1

Significant benefits of ultrasonic liquid flow measurement include:

  • Non-intrusive
  • Quick to install permanently or temporarily
  • Requires no production downtime
  • Zero head loss across the meter as the meter has no probe in the fluid
  • Accurate to +/- 1% of reading

 

How can understanding fluid flow impact a manufacturing facility? 

First, we simply ask do fluid systems like chilled water, hot water or process water systems exist in your building or process?  If so, has the system or systems been balanced according to the engineered design?  Unfortunately, the answer most often is no.

I contend an unbalanced fluid system has the “robbing Peter to pay Paul” syndrome.  The consequence can negatively impact operations and bottom line costs.  I’ve listed 3 typical negative results of this “syndrome.”

  1. Systems or equipment starved for water (those providing less than design flow) cannot extract or inject heat at the design rates and, consequently, the system may not perform as intended.
  2. Systems providing excess flow also operate less efficiently.  Equipment is designed to operate with fluid at certain rates and exceeding those rates may also cause heat transfer rates to reduce when the fluid is too turbulent.
  3. Simultaneous heating and cooling easily occurs either directly or indirectly to mask the real issue and cost additional in utility expenses.   Under heating or under cooling often happens when systems don’t operate at design and the net difference needs to be made up somewhere, usually with supplemental equipment like unit heaters, portable coolers, etc.

 

Let’s look at a couple typical fluid system comments from building engineers, facility managers, maintenance managers, etc.

Common Myths Debunked:

Myth: More water is better.  Always.

Fact: The right flow rate is just as effective or more effective than excess water.  Excess water just costs energy to pump and causes other areas of systems to operate less efficiently or effectively or both.

Myth: The water system will balance itself out automatically.

Fact: Most water systems in the market will not balance themselves out automatically.

1. The system MAY balance itself out if the system is completely pressure independent.

2. A pressure dependent system MAY balance itself out if it was balanced and commissioned properly on install…which is a BIG IF.

3. The system MAY balance if all the valves are operating AND CONTROLLING properly.

Let’s just say very few fluid systems are balanced properly and many cost owners and managers thousands of dollars a year in some combination of waste, productivity, throughput, wear and tear of equipment, etc.

To find out more about how you can schedule an ultrasonic flow test at your facility, please contact us for details.  We perform flow tests or rent out meters by the week for longer tests.  More often than not, the project has a 100% ROI or better.

Matthew Strebe is a licensed mechanical engineer in Minnesota and holds certifications in building commissioning, and building energy assessments through ASHRAE.

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What’s on the Horizon at Como Zoo

Como Zoo Study

By Mary Stokes

 

As the first light of morning brightens the enclosure, the King of the Jungle cracks open one eye, surveying his domain with interest.

 

Something is different.

 

The quality of the indoor light, usually so brash and glaring is softer, somehow, hearkening to the gentle rays of the morning sun.

 

Schroeder is his name, and as the gorilla shakes the fine layer of condensation from his fur, he savors the flavor of the air with wide nostrils.  It is humid, with the slight morning chill characteristic of the lowland tropics.

 

More…natural.  More pure.

 

He is more at home in the enclosure than he’s been in years, the humidity and heat of the morning slowly building as the sun rises, and the lights and air control compensate, creating the atmosphere of the jungle.

 

Around King Schroeder, his troop is waking: Alice, Nne, Dara, and the latter’s 2-year-old child, Arlene.  In the distance, the sounds of the bachelor troop waking ring out, their noisy voices loud and hoarse.  Jabir, Samson, and Virgil, a group of related males, are the other inhabitants of the enclosure.

 

Schroeder tolerates them, but if they get too close to his consorts, he will warn them off.  Oftentimes, just a look from the King is enough.

 

What have the humans done now?

 

Ignoring his troop for the moment, Schroeder climbs the nearby trees and ropes to investigate.  While the others are starting their day of feeding and resting, he prods at the covered lights and discreet air vents.  A light mist is released from them, feeding the humidity of the air.

 

What Schroeder sees is only the outer shell of a complex system of climate control, lighting, and energy management.

 

In order to create the best habitat for the primates, the atmosphere is as close as possible to the animal’s natural environment while still remaining green and sustainable.  Every part of the exhibit has purpose, from the vegetation that will be used as graze for the gorillas to the harmony of lights and natural lighting.  The utilities are streamlined and highly efficient, so no energy or resource is wasted in the care of the gorillas.

 

These measures are not simply to provide Schroeder and his family with an ideal environment.  As the number of wild gorillas dwindles, it is up to the Como Zoo and other establishments like it to encourage population growth and preserve the breed.  This, in turn, requires sensible solutions to the conservation of not only animals, but energy use as well.

 

Como Zoo is creating a future for its gorillas and giving them room to grow.  Schroeder will be the father of a new generation of gorillas, thanks to the zoo staff and the new, sustainable exhibit.

 

The enclosure is a harmonious work of art and efficiency.  From the trees that provide browse for the gorillas to the climate control and lighting, its design has the future of not only the animals in mind, but the future of the establishment and future generations of gorillas.

 

Schroeder looks down on the enclosure from his perch, taking in the view.  His troop is foraging below him, little Arlene romping around and pestering the other gorillas.  He can see the multitudes of humans that pass through, eyes wide and sparkling.

 

He breathes deeply, nostrils flared, before swinging down to join his family.

 

The air is clear and fresh, the light constant and natural, and the climate comfortable.  While he may not understand the finer points of his surroundings, he is content in his tenement.

 

This is my home.

 

SES, Inc. recently completed a Gas and Energy Study of the facilities and enclosures at Como Zoo where we identified energy saving strategies such as LED lighting that will produce an annual savings of 23,912 Dtherms of gas and 1,615,311 kWh of electricity. We at SES, Inc. are very excited to have gotten to work with the Como Zoo and to look ahead at what is on the horizon.

Photo Credit: Forest, by werner22brigitte-5337 licensed under C.C. by 2.0

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Rethink Energy: Manufacturing for The Future

Effective Solutions for ManufacturingWritten by Amon O’Connor.

Minnesota’s manufacturing sector is arguably the backbone of the state’s economy, 14.7 percent in fact. According to Enterprise Minnesota, it represents the largest portion of the state’s $255 Billion GDP and makes up 13 percent of the workforce. Moreover, for every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, an additional $1.40 is added to the economy. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, this is the highest return factor of any economic sector.

 

Here in Minnesota, the combination of our location by the Great Lakes and a strong manufacturing economy provides incentive for innovation. Manufacturing has historically fallen behind the curve when it comes to sustainable energy, connectivity, and technology integration. In these times however, there is substantial evidence to suggest that manufacturers of any size should be making business decisions that connect, streamline, and improve your facility, leading to reduced energy cost and increased efficiency in production.

 

Solutions such as smart sensors, devices that make “dumb” work-horse manufacturing machinery into intelligent, adaptive devices along the entire value chain, are now being implemented in many industry sectors. This type of device-level energy management is an auspicious approach to revamping an outdated system that can add value to an already highly lucrative industry.

 

With sustainability in the limelight, the pressure in 2017 for modernization is high. If you are a manufacturer in Minnesota, the chances of there being profit from such changes is incredible designerfashionconsignments.com. Companies like Sustainable Energy Savings, Inc. are creating answers and multifold returns to the growing need for strategic energy solutions, bringing manufacturers in line with both shareholders and the environment.

Sustainable Energy Savings, Inc. is proud to be part of this thriving, robust Minnesota community.  Our commitment to game-changing innovation is backed with more than seven years of expertise, bringing energy solutions that impact your bottom line.

 

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The Value Proposition of Solar.

The Value Proposition of Solar

By: Jason Ackermann, CPPM

 

The Solar Industry has changed tremendously since it first came on the scene in the 1970’s. As with any mature industry the technology has improved and cost have dropped by 90%!

 

Over the past decade, the amount of residential solar has risen exponentially while both commercial and industrial property owners have been slower to adopt even with a generous federal tax credit that will offset the installation cost. The solar investment tax credit allows investors in solar energy systems to claim up to 30 percent of their solar installation costs as a credit on their taxes. In December of 2015, the program was extended by five years in order to spur the growth of commercial and industrial solar projects. If we looked at both commercial and residential rooftop solar solutions there is enough suitable, sunny rooftops in the U.S. to provide nearly 20% of the power in every state.

 

 In my home state of Minnesota, we have approximately 282 million square feet of public building rooftops. If we were to place solar arrays on the roof tops of just our K-12 public school buildings, we could create enough to power to satisfy the needs of 125,000 homes. The 30% reduction in utilities would save those school district 110 Million dollars per year, enough to hire an additional 2,200 teachers. Visit supercleaningservicelouisville.com.

 

Where would a commercial or industrial property owner interested in solar energy even begin? The best place to howells ac start is always with a comprehensive energy plan that has been customized to your building. Our expert team is ready to guide you through every decision point, maximizing your investment dollars and saving you money.

 

Jason Ackermann, CPPM, is the Vice President of Sales & Marketing at SES, Inc and a Senior Consultant at Legacy Road, Inc.

 

Photo Credit: Barley Field Sunrise Morning, by kangbch licensed under C.C. by 2.0

 

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