Flow, level & control

ManaGinG losses in CoMPressed air systeMs with therMal Mass Flow teChnoloGy


onitoring compressed air within a manufacturing facility has become increasingly important as the associated costs have risen dramatically in recent years.

Compressed air systems are found throughout industry and are often the

largest excess user of electricity in a manufacturing plant. Air leaks can be a significant source of wasted energy and can be diagnosed by fitting thermal mass flow meters at strategic points in the system to calculate outflow generated air with downstream usage. Thermal mass flow meters measure true mass flow which compensates for any differential pressures across the system, providing accurate comparative data from the installed locations. The primary reason thermal mass flow meters are popular in industrial compressed air applications is the way they are designed and built. They feature no moving parts in a nearly unobstructed straight through flow path, require no additional temperature or pressure corrections and retain accuracy over a wide range of flow rates. Straight pipe runs can be reduced by using conditioning elements and installation is very simple with inline and insertion models available. TGF200 series micro flow meters offer a low cost solution for accurately

measuring compressed air based on patented sensor filming technology and advanced thermal mass flow measurement technology. This range is designed to measure pressure and temperature compensated mass and standard volumetric flow within small pipelines in general industrial applications and laboratories, offering high turn-down and a choice of outputs. TGF450 Thermal mass flow meter was designed especially for the

measurement of compressed air in larger pipes. It can provide stable and accurate measurement at a very economical cost and has 1.5 per cent FS+0.5RD accuracy on a 100:1 wide turndown ratio. The compact design and thick probe are easily installed in high pressure pipelines with limited space.

Manufactured from stainless steel, this insertion style flow meter has various power, signal output and mounting options. The fact of the matter is that

compressed air is not cheap and is becoming a financial burden to both small and large companies operating expenditures. In this age of energy efficiency and widespread efforts to drive down associated costs in order to ensure a greener footprint, it is becoming more important for a business to identify why is it so important to monitor the air flow rate in compressors? There have been extensive studies done over the years on plant wide

operating costs for the majority of industrial businesses and one of the largest fixed overheads continues to be electricity. One of the major contributors to this excessive electricity draw in a large number of instances are the company’s air compressors. The simple actions required to reduce excess electricity usage and provide for a more efficient compressor throughput is to monitor the air flow rates and optimise the compressor’s efficiency or else replace any parts in a compressed air system as highlighted during this monitoring. Modern thermal mass flow meters such as those above can be integrated

into data logging packages such as the Squirrel 2020 via their analogue, digital or serial outputs. Time-base relevant data can then be evaluated to indicate problems with factory shift performance or individual operator technique. Installed flow meters can then also be used for allocating inter-departmental energy costs and managing budgets based on energy saving performance.

Bell Flow Systems

Mass Flow Controllers Give Pin Point aCCuraCy when siMulatinG oCean Conditions

tanks. Early in his experiments, Barry was unhappy with the inconsistent data he was getting from his flow meters. Precious research time was lost recalibrating the instruments and laboriously adjusting flow rates on a daily basis. Intrigued by the Sierra SmarkTrak 100’s unique Pilot Module with

Dial-a-Gas capabilities, Barry and his team made a switch to Sierra flow meters in 2005. With the stroke of a button on the Pilot Module,

Barry was able to change his CO2, N2 and O2 flow rates instantly and remotely, creating many varieties of oceanic atmospheres in his tanks with the same set of conditions - same water, temperature, and animals. Now he was able to simply plug his remote handheld Pilot Module

into any one of his nine Smar tTrak 100’s, make a change in the gas flow rate (thus creating another atmosphere), and his new gas flow settings deliver at a rate that will not deviate. If he wants to change his atmosphere again by entering new flow rates, it takes only seconds. “With the Smar tTrak 100, it couldn't be easier - and faster,” says Barry.

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ccording to Dr James Barry, a Benthic biologist and senior scientist at Monterey Bay Research Institue (MBARI), about a third of the human CO2 gas emissions in our atmosphere is

absorbed by the ocean, making the ocean 30 per cent more acidic than just 100 years ago - a marine life process known as “ocean acidification.” In his experiments, Barry and his team use mass flow controllers to

control mixtures of O2, N2 and CO2 that flow into his aquarium tanks. Conditions are varied to simulate past, present, and future ocean

conditions. He measures development, growth and physiological responses to the CO2 stress of the marine animals in these aquarium

And this is what scientists value most - time to concentrate on their research work, rather than adjusting instruments. Sierra’s Smar tTrak 100 was an ideal choice be cause it can control

up to ten gases with a single instrument using the Dial-a-Gas feature. Its pilot Module allows full read/set of all variables in the field. It also has an industry-leading powerful frictionless-hovering control valve for strength and flexibility. And the Smar tTrak 100 can provide highly accurate digital mass flow control.

Sierra Instruments January 2019 Instrumentation Monthly

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