Clamp-on ultrasonic meters are an attractive option for flowmeter applications that require permanently installed flow measurement or BTU/energy measurement instrumentation for continuous monitoring. This is particularly true for applications where the flowmeter needs to be installed in an existing facility where the piping layout is already completed and in place. Traditionally, an in-line flow metering device such as a turbine, or an electromagnetic flowmeter would be used in this type of situation. While these kinds of meters do offer to provide accurate flow measurement and reliable performance for permanent, fixed-install situations, they do present some installation challenges.
Any inline meter will require the pipeline to be cut and have flanges welded in place or threaded union fittings added, which all happens after the process has been shut down. This installation process can be time consuming and expensive; the cost of the added materials, the labor, and the downtime itself should all be given equal consideration with the purchase price of the flowmeter.
All of the issues mentioned above can be avoided by making use of an ultrasonic meter instead of an older technology meter with inline mounting. The non-invasive nature of the ultrasonic flowmeter dramatically reduces the installation time required for traditional inline meters thereby eliminating the associated costs. Instead of shutting down the process, making cuts to the pipeline, welding on additional fittings or cutting threads, and then mounting a large meter in place, the ultrasonic meter installation process consists of programming the pipe parameters into the display module, measuring the transducer spacing on the pipe line, and then clamping a pair of compact transducers onto the pipe. All of this is done while there is still fluid flowing through the pipe – there is no need to shut down the process. The total installation time is measured in minutes instead of hours or days and the costs are dramatically less compared to inline meters. For larger pipe sizes, the savings are magnified further as the purchase cost differential between clamp-on and in line meters is greater and the installation time is even longer for bigger in line meters.
There are also performance benefits to be considered in addition to the time and cost savings that the ultrasonic flowmeter offers for continuous monitoring, permanent install applications.
Unlike inline meters employing mechanical measurement techniques, the ultrasonic meter features non invasive flow measurement with no moving parts which provides for superior service life and particle tolerance and no pressure drop across the meter. The ultrasonic meter even offers advantages over newer technology meters like the electromagnetic (mag) meter which can only be used with electrically conductive fluids. The ultrasonic meter may be used to measure any liquid flow regardless of the media’s electrical conductivity, making it an ideal choice for non-conductive fluids such as deionized water that can not be measured by the mag meter.
SmartMeasurement offers a broad selection of permanent-install ultrasonic meters to accommodate a wide variety of application requirements including high suspended solids counts, high entrained gas / air bubble presence, high temperature, high accuracy, low purchase price, and the ability to perform BTU/energy consumption calculations.
SmartMeasurement’s ultrasonic flowmeters for permanent install are available with either clamp-on transducers or inline flow bodies for performing the fluid velocity measurement. For the display / converter module, a number of display styles are offered including wall mount, panel mount, or compact DIN rail mount. This wide array of choices allows users to mix and match the optimal display / sensor options to put together the ideal combination based on the application requirements. As a result, the ultrasonic technology and all of its associated advantages may be deployed in almost any situation where a mechanical flow meter would have been used in the past.
There are several different types of ultrasonic meters within SmartMeasurement’s ALSONIC family of products that may be configured for fixed, permanent installation. For clean water applications where low cost is an important factor, the ALSONIC-FX and ALSONIC-FX2 are offered. For applications where high accuracy is critical, or applications where the fluid may contain up to 30% suspended solids or bubbles, the multi-path ALSONIC-DSP is an ideal choice. The ALSONIC-EG and the ALSONIC-BAEG are offered for building automation applications where BTU/energy monitoring is required. For wastewater and other applications with high solid counts, a Doppler technology ultrasonic flowmeter is offered with SmartMeasurement’s ALSONIC-DDPL product line.
Read more about the different types of Ultrasonic Flow meters: