Revisiting a forgotten flow solution

05 December 2018

Fraser Higgins explains why variable area flowmeters should not be overlooked when a simple yet versatile flowmetering solution is required.

Effectively monitoring flow is integral to the successful operation of a multitude of applications within the industrial sector. With such a wide range of options available, selecting the most appropriate product for a specific application can be a difficult task. 

Increasingly more plant managers today are looking to retrieve more detailed data from their process applications. Variable area flowmeters, as the entry product into flowmeters, are often dismissed as a ‘basic’ product. While it is that in its standard form, a variable area flowmeter offers a simple indication of the flow through a system. However, it can be adapted with the addition of further equipment to enhance its performance, if needed. 

Not every application will require complex flow monitoring technology or data collection and a variable area flowmeter might provide a good solution for an application that purely needs to maintain a flow, rather than measure it, such as a caustic wash that needs to be continuously circulated around a system.

Often, over-engineered products are specified  so do try to seek advice at the design stage of a project to ensure that the most appropriate product is selected, based on the specific criteria for the individual system. It may be possible to adapt a simple product to include specific technology, providing a more cost-effective solution, without compromising performance. 

The advantage of a variable area flowmeter lies in its versatility. Alongside the additional technology that can be fitted to a system, there are up to 16,000 different configurations possible with some variable area flowmeters.

Designed to operate as a visual check for plant engineers who need to monitor a flow rate for control or quality purposes, a variable area flowmeter can provide an effective method of confirming a flow rate is being maintained.

Durapipe offers a choice of three different tube materials which enables it to carry a range of fluids. Its variable area flowmeters also come with a choice of polypropylene or stainless steel float, which can be fitted with a magnet to connect to flow switches that can maintain its flow rate within a range. A limit switch can control a pump, to provide an automatic response if it is detected that the flow rate is falling or rising, ensuring that the flow is maintained at the correct level and the pump is protected from running dry. 

With a wide choice of measuring scales also being available and fully adjustable flow indicators, a bespoke flowmeter can be created to meet a wide variety of application requirements.

The benefits of a variable area flowmeter extend beyond the product performance. It does not require any external energy source and works independently from electrical conductivity. This can help speed up installation and can help to reduce maintenance and replacement costs over the lifetime of the product.

Plant engineers require a flowmeter that can be flexible to their needs, and for applications that require an indication of flow rate, so a consistent flow is maintained through a system, variable area flowmeters should not be overlooked. With each individual product custom built to cater for specific requirements they do offer a very versatile flowmetering solution.

Fraser Higgins is industrial brand manager at Durapipe. 

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