Flow meters are essential tools for flow measurement. If you are planning to install a flow meter in your flow system, I am sure that you have done well through several articles. The problem is that many of these articles often focus on the accuracy and quality of these flow meters for promotional purposes instead of their performance under real application conditions.
Most content hardly talks about installation processes of particular flow meters. A flow meter needs to be installed properly to measure flow rate properly. Improper installation of flow meters leads to poor performance, which will negatively affect productivity. Most calls made to the manufacturers complaining about flow meters not working properly are due to poorly installed flow meters. To help you understand just how important flow meter installation is, read this guide on installing flow meters properly.
General Flow Meter Installation Guidelines
Below are several guidelines on how to flow meters correctly. They will help you get a general idea of what you need to consider before installing a flow meter based on its application needs.
Check whether the fluid to be measured is a single-phase fluid
Before installing a flow meter, you need to consider whether the kind of fluid that you have been measuring is a single-phase fluid or not. If it is two-phased – used to measure liquids and gas – then you need to consider this flow measurement condition.
Establish what the flow meter’s orientation
The accuracy and performance of a flow meter are greatly affected by how the flow meter is installed. Besides rotameters, most flow meter types can measure flow rate in any direction. This means that they can be installed without considering the direction of the flow. Rotameters can only be installed vertically to function properly where the flow goes from bottom to top.
In applications that use liquid or gas, installation must ensure the flow meter is always filled with fluid
This means that the flow meter should be installed so that it is always filled with the media regardless of whether there is flow. For the second undesired phase, installation should include an escape path.
Gas and steam flow meters should be installed at a high point
Gas is turned into liquid when pressure and temperature conditions reach a certain point. Any condensate will be trapped in the lower part of the pipe. In this case, steam and gas applications where piping is installed vertically should be installed at a high point. This is meant to allow the draining of fluid from the flow meter.
Installation of flow meters should be done where they don’t form bubbles
There has to be a sudden pressure drop in the flow line to turn gas into a liquid. This process is known as cavitation. If you use the flow meter to measure media that is likely to gasify, you need to avoid bubbles from forming. This means the piping should be placed so that bubbles won’t form. Bubble formation usually interferes with the performance of the flow meter. This should be a critical flow meter installation consideration, especially for applications that require higher accuracy levels.
Flow meters play a critical role in ensuring that the flow rate is accurate and repeatability is achieved in the flow measurement sector. Various factors determine the performance of a flow meter. Among them is flow meter installation. Depending on the type of application needs, flow meters can be installed differently; therefore, it is up to you to know your requirements before installing the flow meter.