Flowmeter News:Industry 4.0 applications_0423

Flowmeter News:Industry 4.0 applications_0423

Using Flowmeter Measurements to Improve Quality

Flow meter main

Depending on the product under scrutiny, food and beverage plant managers may have to meet the requirements of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), European Union (EU), and perhaps other agencies. Applicable regulations may include cGMP, GFSI, ISO, HACCP, SQF, SID and others.

These requirements and regulations specify proper ingredients, procedures and sanitary conditions. In many cases, compliance with these regulations requires lab analyses during and after production. 

To perform a lab test (Figure 1), technicians periodically take a grab sample, take it to an on-site facility for analysis and communicate the result to plant personnel. Operators and maintenance personnel then make adjustments and corrections to improve control of the process, or to make repairs when required. 


Figure 1: Hours can elapse from the time a sample is taken to its analysis. 

This presents problems because lab analyses aren’t done in real time, are time-consuming, are labor intensive and raise the possibility for manual errors. Even if it takes 30 minutes to grab a sample, analyze it and report the results, this information represents where the process was 30 minutes ago—not now. The result could be a spoiled batch. 

If the measurement had been done inline, a sudden deviation would be detected. Inline measurements can also be used to enable automatic closed-loop control, which is not possible with manual measurements. A typical closed-loop control strategy uses an inline measurement as the process variable input to a PID controller. The controller output drives some type of a regulating device, such as a control valve. The PID controller continually and automatically adjusts its output to maintain the desired value close to the setpoint.

Often overlooked by many in the industry is the ability of Coriolis flowmeters to be used for quality control. This article shows how Coriolis flowmeters can be used in the food industry to monitor processes and reduce or eliminate the need for lab analyses.

Testing Required

Checking for product purity and quality is important, but so is meeting the expectations of consumers for proper taste and texture. 

For example, cold and hot wort measurements in a brewery are important to ensure best quality and yield, as well as the taste. 

Viscosity measurements can test for consistency of the batter coating for beans, onions, meat and poultry. Measuring the Brix of tomato paste can help control the amount of paste to be added during cutting.

A single Coriolis flowmeter (Figure 2) can measure a number of parameters simultaneously, including density, concentration, viscosity, Brix, Plato, volume, mass flow and temperature—often eliminating the need for multiple instruments. 

Coriolis flowmeter

Figure 2: A Coriolis flowmeter, such as this Endress+Hauser Promass®, makes multiple measurements that can be used for inline quality control.

For example, the flowmeter’s highly accurate density function can be used to measure Brix and Plato values to ensure the quality of ingredients. Viscosity readings provides continuous measurement to minimize the chance of producing off-spec product.

Diagnostics built into a Coriolis flowmeter can help identify process problems. For example, entrained air in a line can affect product quality. An operator needs to know if external air is being drawn in through a leaking seal, a cavitating pump or an empty balance tank. 

A Coriolis flowmeter does not operate properly with large amounts of entrained air, so it has diagnostics to detect this condition. In an Endress+Hauser Coriolis meter, a diagnostic value shows that tube oscillation is in a good range, indicating no entrained air. If air appears in the line, the diagnostic value will change (Figure 3), setting off an alarm to the operator.


Figure 3: Diagnostics in a Coriolis flowmeter can determine if entrained air is present (purple trace in the figure). This data can be used as an operator alarm and to help during setup.

A Coriolis mass flowmeter measures the density and flow rate of fluids simultaneously as they flow through its tubes (Figure 4). These devices are based in principle on the Coriolis Effect, which is the deflection of the path of a fluid within its tubes. An excitation coil oscillates the tubes at the first node of their resonance frequency, and the frequency of oscillation changes with the density of the fluid.  

Flow Tubes

Figure 4: Measuring deflection of the flow tubes in a Coriolis flowmeter allows the meter to measure flow, mass flow, density, concentration and other parameters.

Initially, when there is no flow, the tubes oscillate synchronously, but as fluid begins to flow, the sensors on the inlet and outlet bends begin to oscillate non-synchronously with a phase shift. Measuring the oscillation frequency provides data to determine flow, mass flow, density, concentration, etc.  

The flowmeter has RTDs installed to measure the temperature of the fluid. RTDs also measure the temperature of the tubes, required because tube elasticity changes with temperature. The changes in elasticity will impact how the tubes bend and therefore the density measurement, so temperature compensation factors are needed for density calculation.  

The applications described below cover measuring concentration, viscosity and density, but these are only some of the possible on-line quality measurements possible with Coriolis flowmeters.

Checking Concentration Makes Beer Better

Concentration measurements are made by breweries, needed to control the sugar content of their wort to determine the alcoholic strength of the beer. The amount of sugar content correlates to degrees Plato (°P); for example, 1°P wort will contain 1 gram of sugar per 100 grams of wort. 

A Coriolis flowmeter provides an accurate density and temperature measurement, both of which are needed to determine the degrees Plato. A Coriolis flowmeter also has integrated formulas that use the measured density and temperature to calculate concentration. 

In a brewery, after the grains are malted and milled, the mash goes into a lauter run, a vessel used to separate mash from the wort. Density and concentration measurements are made as the wort leaves the lauter run.

There are multiple methods (Ref.1) to measure sugar content, both manual and automated. However, the manual measurement is usually taken after the lautering process is complete, whereas an inline measurement allows for real-time correction of the process, often by automated means via closed-loop control. The end result is reduced waste from bad batches, and reduced time and labor by not having to manually sample the wort.

Validating Viscosity

Fruit processing plants need a history of raw fruit temperature, density, Brix, viscosity, flow rate and total flow volume.

A Coriolis flowmeter measures density, so it can calculate Brix, proportional to the amount of sucrose content in water. This measurement provides a picture of the condition and quality of incoming fruit. For example, hard fruit that is still in solid chunks will show a low brix. In contrast, a high brix measurement could indicate overripe, mushy fruit with very little intact solids. Operators or the control system can use the Brix measurement to determine how to process the incoming fruit.

Viscosity of the fruit product is measured to determine end product quality. Viscosity describes the flowing properties of a fluid, and it depends on the forces acting between molecules. The more viscous a fluid is, the stronger the intermolecular forces. As a result, larger internal resistance has to be overcome to move the fluid or apply a force to it. Viscosity is an indirect measurement of product consistency and quality. 

A Coriolis flowmeter can use two simultaneously driven frequencies for measuring mass flow and viscosity. The torsional or viscosity mode uses a higher frequency to induce a shear rate on the fluid (Figure 5) with the shear force on the inside of the tube being a function of shear rate and viscosity. By measuring the drive current, viscosity can be calculated.

ViscosityFigure 5: Viscosity is calculated as a function of shear rate and viscosity.

In new Coriolis flowmeters, two eigenmodes are stimulated by an exciter on the measuring tube: the bending mode and the torsion mode. The bending mode determines fluid density and mass flow, while viscosity is calculated based on the torsion mode.

Viscosity is usually measured in a lab, under lab conditions. The advantage of measuring viscosity directly in the process is that it’s a true reflection of the process conditions and avoids the delay of taking samples to the lab. This allows for live corrections of the process if viscosity is outside the product’s tolerances, often by automated means.  

Ice Cream Overrun

Food products are often foamed with gases to achieve the desired consistency. This occurs, for example, when ice cream is produced (Figure 6). Gas is injected during the freezing process, trapping microbubbles into the ice cream to give it a creamy texture. This process works with high-fat as well as low-fat ice cream.

Ice Cream

Figure 6: Ice cream is injected with air prior to freezing to give it a creamy texture. 

Gas content is a significant factor in the overall quality of the final product and is an important process parameter. The increase in volume of the final product caused by the injected gas is known as overrun. Depending on the product, the overrun can be between 20% and 120% for ice cream or frozen products.

A Coriolis flowmeter can be used to make this measurement. For example, the Endress+Hauser Promass Q with Multi-Frequency Technology (MFT®) enables continuous monitoring of the overrun. The density of the liquid ice cream is measured as it’s being transferred to the freezers.

Ice cream plants typically inject air, manually measure density and adjust the process accordingly. Air injection also needs to be adjusted if the recipe, freezer temperature or air pressure changes. A Coriolis flowmeter provides the measurement online (Ref. 2), saving sampling time and allowing immediate and automatic adjustment of air injection.  

Adding Instrumentation

This article only covered how Coriolis flowmeters can be used for inline quality monitoring in food plants. While Coriolis flowmeters are extremely capable, adding additional instruments—such as pH meters, colorimeters, dissolved oxygen sensors, and other in-line analysis devices—can help a food plant analyze and control even more of its processes in real time.

How ultrasonic flow meter technology helps drive energy efficiency

Combine precision resistance temperature detectors with an ultrasonic flow meter to gain more accurate thermal measurements at your facility.

By Ryan Nice and Chris Sizemore, Badger Meter

Industrial energy efficiency has improved dramatically in recent decades. Even so, a large portion of global energy demand still goes towards manufacturing operations. The high level of energy that industrial plants consume has a major impact on both the economy and the environment.

For today’s industrial organizations, maintaining sustainable operations has become a key requirement. With the green energy movement gaining momentum, manufacturing facilities are seeking to become more energy-efficient. One of the highest priorities is effective energy management. Plant managers have the challenging task of managing all the flow energy in their facility. They and their facility operators and MRO teams need proven technologies to monitor the consumption of energy in a wide range of applications.

Many industrial sites can significantly improve their operating efficiency, and apply industry-accepted energy management strategies, by deploying advanced flow measurement technology. The latest ultrasonic flow meter solutions enable plants to obtain the information needed to meet their sustainability goals, reduce energy costs, and improve overall performance.

Typical measurement requirements

Plant MRO departments must find ways to better monitor crucial energy-related factors, such combustion air and fuel gas flow, to identify loses and improve profitability. By monitoring the end-use locations of fuel across the plant and measuring the consumption rate for individual applications, plant personnel can gain insight into potential areas of efficiency optimization. This is also the situation with electricity consumption. In both cases, reductions in energy usage can be achieved simply by determining where resource losses are taking place.

When it comes to boiler operation, for example, the combustion efficiency of air and fuel mixtures is a critical concern. Too much oxygen reduces the operating efficiency of the boiler and causes undesirable pollutants. Likewise, too little oxygen results in fuel not completely combusting and can create a build-up of soot that clogs surfaces and reduces boiler efficiency.

Comparing the flow of natural gas, propane, and other fuel gases to combustion sources versus the output of steam and hot water by those assets can help in driving operating efficiency initiatives. Evaluating equipment performance based on accurate flow data may also assist with plant optimization strategies. Reductions in fuel usage are one of the simplest ways to lower operating expenses (OPEX) and increase profits.

Deploying a metering technology

Whether industrial organizations are trying to meet strict energy consumption requirements and comply with greenhouse gas (GHG) standards, or are looking to apply industry best practices to optimize processes, they can utilize advanced measurement technologies to provide the information needed to meet energy efficiency goals, save money and improve plant performance.

In applications where measurement of hot water and heating liquids is required, such as measuring boiler output to determine if the equipment is operating efficiently, plant personnel can deploy a flow meter with integrated temperature measurement to measure both supply and return temperature and then calculate thermal energy in BTUs. The temperature measurement is typically achieved via use of precision resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), while the liquid flow rate measurement can be performed by an electromagnetic flowmeter, a turbine flowmeter, an ultrasonic flowmeter, or a variety of other flow measurement technologies.

In recent years, ultrasonic flow meters have become a common choice for engineers, operators and maintenance technicians concerned with managing energy at their facilities. These devices employ a proven, non-invasive measuring technique, which involves no moving or wetted parts, and results in no pressure loss. The flow sensors are applied using standard silicone for long-term connectivity to the piping. The ultrasonic meter design offers a wide turndown ratio and provides maintenance-free operation—all of which are important advantages over conventional mechanical and digital meters.


Transit time ultrasonic flow meters, in particular, are well suited for thermal measurements in thermal energy monitoring applications. With this clamp-on style meter, an ultrasonic signal is transmitted in the direction of the flowing fluid downstream, and then another signal is transmitted against the flowing fluid upstream. The time for the sonic pulse to travel downstream is compared to the time for the pulse to travel upstream. This differential time is used to determine the velocity of the flowing fluid, and then calculate the volumetric flow rate in the pipe.

With a matched pair of RTD temperature sensor probes, transit time ultrasonic flow meters can measure the thermal energy (BTU) using the temperature of the supply and return lines of a heating or cooling circuit. These meters typically provide input and output interfaces, batch control and alarm and flow/energy totalizing, which can be employed by a host computer, Burner Management System (BMS), PLC, or flow controller for monitoring and control purposes.

A solution combining a clamp-on, transit time ultrasonic flow meter with precision RTDs provides a cost-effective way of measuring volumetric flow and obtaining energy readings to evaluate the efficiency of boiler and chiller operations, among other plant equipment. By measuring the flow and differential temperature (ΔT), users can calculate the energy consumed in BTUs. Equipment efficiencies can then be calculated as a baseline, and ongoing performance can be continuously monitored.

With a clamp-on ultrasonic flow meter, there is no need to cut piping for installation, no hot permits are required for field welding, and the device provides high accuracy for most flow and BTU energy measurement applications. Such meters also offer an extremely wide turndown and provide maintenance-free operation.


Monitoring energy consumption in industrial equipment applications is critical to improving plant operating efficiency, identifying the waste of resources and minimizing greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere. Modern flow meter technologies like transit time ultrasonic meters provide accurate flow energy measurements that make it possible to meet corporate energy management objectives while supporting today’s green energy initiatives.

Plant managers, operators, engineers and maintenance and reliability professionals should consider all the relevant application factors (e.g., fluid type, flow rate, accuracy and turndown requirements, etc.) when specifying a flow measurement solution. It is advisable to consult with instrumentation suppliers that can recommend the best technology for a particular installation, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.


Orifice flowmeter inaccuracies

Given the multitude of contributors, don't place too much stock on absolute accuracy

Q: On the first page of section 2.15, “Orifices,” of your Instrument Engineer’s Handbook, Fourth Edition - Process Measurement and Analysis, Volume I, it's written that “if the bore diameter is correctly calculated, prepared and installed, the orifice can be accurate to ±0.25 to ±0.5% of actual flow."

My question is as follows: according to formula 3 of ISO 5167-1 and ignoring all other uncertainties except the discharge coefficient, C, the minimum uncertainty for mass flow rate is the same as the uncertainty of C. The latter, as per clause of ISO 5167-1 is at minimum 0.5%.

Saeed Beheshti Maal

A1: A very useful question, because it shows that sometimes loop performance and component performance are confused. In the front of each chapter of my handbook, the key data for only the discussed component (in this case the orifice plate) is given, but not for the flow loop. Such key data includes uncertainty, which can also be called error or inaccuracy (but certainly not accuracy). The data for the orifice plate, as discussed in Chapter 2.15, is only for that component and assumes a calibrated plate.

This is probably also the case with the ISO statement because it assumes that ß, D, Re etc are accurately known constants and contribute zero error. With loop components, this is quite common. For example, when ABB reports its Flow-X calculator uncertainty is 0.006%, it doesn't mean the flow measurement error will only be 0.006%. In short, my advice is to read not only the front summary, but the whole chapter in my handbook because the front page summary is only for the components discussed and can be misunderstood. Actually, in future editions, I might just leave out these summaries to avoid such misunderstandings.

Now, let me elaborate about the other potential error contributions to the total uncertainty of an orifice-type flow measurement. The volumetric flow, Q, through an orifice is:

CG2104 ATE Equation 1

The mass flow, W, is:

CG2104 ATE Equation 2

Where Q is volumetric flow, C is the discharge coefficient, A is the pipe cross-sectional area, h is the pressure drop across the orifice, and ρ is the density. Now, let me mention potential error sources, which will add to the total uncertainty of the orifice-type flow measurement.

Density (ρ): The uncertainty in density (or composition) measurement is usually high (particularly in natural gas measurement), and the resulting error is additional to that of the orifice error itself. The fact that density is under the square root when measuring the mass flow is advantageous because that reduces the increase in the flow measurement error. Errors will also occur if the pressure drop exceeds 0.25 of the inlet pressure because that creates excessive density changes as the flow passes through the orifice.


Discharge coefficient (C): The variation in C is the main contributor to the total flow measurement error because C changes are caused not only by ß ratio variations (ß ratio must stay within 0.2 and 0.65), but for many other reasons. For example, C changes as velocity profile changes due to Reynolds number variations. Figure 1 shows the relationships between discharge coefficient C and the Reynolds number for a number of head-type flow sensors, including concentric square edged, beveled, eccentric, integral and quadrant radius orifices.

C also changes if the location of the vena contracta varies, because it moves with the velocity of flow, and also because the downstream pressure tap is usually not at the vena contracta. Usually flange or corner taps are used in pipe sizes under 2-in., vena contracta taps are used for 6-in. or larger pipes, and pipe taps are used for sizes in between. In addition, as material builds up on the inner surface of the pipes or as corrosion or erosion reduces the sharpness of the orifice edges, the value of C also changes.

Recalibration, rangeability: Dual chamber orifice fittings allow orifice plate removal, replacement or insertion without interrupting the flow by changing orifice plates under pressure, so they eliminate unscheduled downtime. These dual-chamber devices can be operated manually or be motorized, and can reduce measurement uncertainty. They can change the flow rating (increase the rangeability) of the measurement by sliding a new plate into the flowing stream with a different ß ratio. Such fittings can also be used to replace orifices that have likewise lost the sharpness of their edges or can replace them with calibrated plates.

Transmitters: In addition to the above error sources, the measurement error of the developed pressure drop contributes further uncertainty to the flow measurement. Even newer smart transmitters with automatic span switching usually contribute about 0.1% full scale (FS) error, which being a fixed quantity, has to be multiplied by the rangeability to determine the % actual reading (AR) error at minimum flow.

The bottom line is that even newly calibrated plates with state-of-the-art transmitters will have 1% or so uncertainty; the error of an uncalibrated orifice with an analog transmitter will be no better than 2% and will grow worse over time.

Béla Lipták

A2: Regarding the question of orifice plate accuracy (I hate that word), it simply can't be better than the overall uncertainties of the individual components. As a starting point, the uncertainty of the discharge coefficient has to be added to the uncertainty of the measuring system, i.e. the differential pressure cell used to turn the indicated differential pressure into a flowrate. This takes the minimum uncertainty well above that stated in the Instrument Engineers' Handbook. I have to say the statement it's made is misleading in the extreme. The methodology outlined in ISO 5167-1 should be followed, and all the influential effects have to be considered.

In my experience over 40 years, I haven't found an installed orifice plate to be better than 1% even when new. The edge sharpness and pipe internal roughness change with time, and I've done independent audits on older orifice plates and found in some instances the overall uncertainty to be greater than 5%. I hope this helps answer your concern.

Dr. Richard Furness

A3: Perhaps you've discovered a misstatement in the Instrument Engineers’ Handbook. Also, an orifice flowmeter doesn't measure mass flow, only volumetric flow. Perhaps the statement in the ISO 5167 standard relating to mass flow is inaccurate.

Second, who cares? Using an orifice flowmeter for accurate flow measurement is foolhardy. An orifice flowmeter will never be accurate and will become less accurate over time as the sharp edge of the orifice wears. Using flange-taps is common, but the downstream flange tap is never at the location of the vena contracta, even though an orifice measurement depends on the downstream tap being located precisely at the vena contracta.

If accuracy is needed, use a positive displacement, turbine or Coriolis flowmeter. Orifice flowmeters are most often applied in flow control where accuracy isn't required, but repeatability is important.

Dick Caro

A4: Possibly the ± 0.25% refers to a calibrated orifice.

Ronald H. Dieck


Magnetic Fluid Flow Meters Market Share, Trends and Leading Players By 2027

The Magnetic Fluid Flow Meters Market study by Regal Intelligence provides knowledge of the market size and market trends in addition to the factors and parameters that affect it in the short and long term. The study provides a comprehensive 360° overview and perspectives that describe the industry’s main results. This information helps decision-makers formulate informed business plans and make informed decisions to improve cost-effectiveness.

Moreover, the study gives venture capitalists a better understanding of what is best for the company. Some of the key players in the Magnetic Fluid Flow Meters marketplaces are significant competitors are ABB, Emerson, Siemens, OMEGA Engineering, Yokogawa, KROHNE Messtechnik GmbH, Tokyo Keiso, Honeywell, Analog Devices, ONICON Incorporated, Badger Meter, McCrometer, Greyline Instruments, Endress+Hauser,

Market Segmentation:

Important Types in this market are:

On the basis of the Types, the market is classified as: –
• AC (Alternating Current), DC (Direct Current),

On the basis of the application, the market is classified as: –
• Chemical & Agricultural, Pharmaceutical, Food & Beverage, Pulp & Paper, Municipal, Mining, Other,

Magnetic Fluid Flow Meters Production by Region is United States, Europe, China, Japan, Other Regions.

Manufacturing cost structure:

The Magnetic Fluid Flow Meters Market report examines the structure of manufacturing costs and details the raw material, the entire production process, and the structure of the industrial chain. The key driver for each region influencing market growth has been achieved. The report also looks at how to take advantage of the opportunities presented by Asia-Pacific and Latin American emerging markets.

Significant facts about the Magnetic Fluid Flow Meters Market Report:

– This research report provides an overview of key activities, an overview of commodities, market share, demand-supply ratio, supply chain analysis, and details on imports and exports.

– The industry report captures different approaches and procedures approved by key market players of Magnetic Fluid Flow Meters to make crucial business decisions.

-The Magnetic Fluid Flow Meters Market highlights certain parameters such as Marketing strategy analysis, production value, distributors/traders, and impact factors are also mentioned in this Magnetic Fluid Flow Meters search report.

The main questions covered in the report are:

  • What will be the growth rate of the market in 2027?
  • What are the key drivers of the global Magnetic Fluid Flow Meters marketplaces?
  • What are the most important manufacturers in this market?
  • Who are the traders, distributors, and market vendors??
  • What are the market opportunities, market risk, and market outlook of the Market?
  • What is the analysis of the revenues, sales, and prices of the major manufacturers in that market?
  • Which market opportunities and threats should suppliers take into account in the global Magnetic Fluid Flow Meters Market?

Elesa Visual Flow Indicators - now with Flow Meter sensor

Elesa have announced that their high-quality visual flow indicators may now be specified as flow measurement devices with the addition of an external PLC compatible sensor and impellor mounted activating clips. This quickly adapts these units from passive indicators of flow - as protection against blockages for example - into active measurement equipment as part of the adjusting and updating of hydraulic system performance.

The new metering indicators are available in ¾ in and 1in sizes to suit many applications in fluid systems throughout industry where cooling or liquid transfer systems are employed. This will include process or manufacturing plant, e.g., for water, oil, petrochemical and hygienic area systems.

The new visual flow indicator sensor can be mounted in any external position correctly aligned with the indicator tube. The indicator can then operate in two-way liquid flows with a viscosity lower than 30cSt.

These Axial flow devices sit in the moving fluid causing the rotor to spin, which generates a pulsed signal proportional to the speed of the rotor, and so through calibration, gives the flow rate. It is important to allow the propeller adequate rotation with a minimum flow rate being required depending on the type of fluid and its viscosity. Above the minimum flow rate, the rotor starts to rotate with a speed proportional to the fluid flow, while the inductive sensor, completely separated from the liquid passage area, reads the movement 

of the two metal clips mounted on the rotor. This provides a frequency variation that can be transformed into a reading of the flow rate by connection to a PLC.

Elesa visual flow metering indicators feature a shaft and rotor propellor in red (optionally blue) Polypropylene based (PP) technopolymer, fitted with AISI 304 stainless steel sensor activating clips. The tubular housing in clear Borosilicate glass has high operational resistance and is also suitable for use with glycol-based solutions.

ELESA presents a wide range of useful accessories for increasingly sophisticated hydraulic systems which require reliable and high-performance components.

Profibus thermal flow meters support wide range of process and industrial applications

Process, instrumentation and plant engineers utilizing the Profibus digital bus communications protocol in their facility’s operations and needing to incorporate accurate, repeatable air/gas flow measurement into their monitoring and control need now look no further than the rugged, precision ST series and MT series thermal flow meters from Fluid Components International (FCI).


FCI’s advanced single point ST and multipoint MT mass flow meters combine highly accurate, repeatable thermal flow measurement performance with digital bus communications technology flexibility. FCI now offers the industry’s widest choice of thermal meters available with Profibus-PA and Profibus–DP, in addition to HART, Foundation Fieldbus and Modbus, as well as standard 4 mA to 20 mA or pulse communications.

Profibus has become a leading global automation industry standard, which has been in use and growing in Source: FCISource: FCIpopularity for decades. The proven Profibus communications protocol today connects millions of devices and automation systems in factories around the world. It is available in two protocol types: Profibus-DP and Profibus-PA, which are both available in FCI’s thermal flow meters.

FCI’s highly intelligent thermal mass flow meters, depending on the model, can be configured as either a field instrument PA type device or a system RS-485-based DP type device. The ST80 series is available with both Profibus-PA and Profibus-DP, while the ST100A series is available with Profibus-PA. The MT100 series is available with Profibus-PA. In addition to flow rate, FCI’s Profibus compatible flow meters also provide totalized flow, temperature and instrument health diagnostics over the Profibus communications link.

Depending on the model selected and the application, FCI’s thermal mass flow meters offers accuracy up to ±0.75% reading, ±0.5% full scale, with repeatability of ±0.5% reading percent of reading. The turndown ratio is normally factory set and field adjustable from 2:1 to 100:1 within calibrated flow range; up to 1,000:1 possible with factory evaluation.

ST80 series flow meters

The Model ST80 is a high performance, rugged thermal dispersion technology air/gas flow meter. It combines ultra-reliable, feature-rich electronics with innovations such as FCI’s Adaptive Sensing Technology (AST) and an extensive selection of application-matched flow sensors. These sensors include FCI's wet gas flow element to provide a truly superior solution for industrial processes and plant applications. In addition to these features, the ST80 comes with a robust, rugged transmitter enclosure and the industry’s broadest selection of process connections for ease-of-installation in virtually all pipe or duct configurations.

ST100 series flow meters

The Model ST100A is high performance thermal dispersion technology gas flow meter that combines the industry’s most feature- and function-rich electronics. This meter’s versatile flow elements and process connections ensure the best possible measurements and effective installation. Multiple flow element options are available to optimize performance within a wide variety of application conditions and environments. With thermal dispersion there are no moving parts to foul or clog, which means there is virtually no maintenance required over an extremely long service life providing a lowest life-cycle cost.

MT100 series flow meters

The MT100 series is an insertion type, multipoint thermal flow meter designed for large diameter pipes, such as stacks and flues, and large rectangular ducts, such as air feed intakes and HVAC. These large pipe/duct applications are difficult for ordinary flow meters because of distorted flow profiles and lack of straight-run. The design of the MT100 places up to eight flow sensing points in the flow stream and averages them, which results in a highly accurate and repeatable flow rate measurement in fluid temperatures up to 850° F (454° C).

University of Cambridge spin-off Flusso will start the production of what it claims is the world's smallest flow sensor in the second quarter of 2021.

Flusso’s FLS110 flow sensor

Flusso, a spin-off from the University of Cambridge, announced it will start the production of what it claims is the world’s smallest flow sensor in the second quarter of 2021. It is part of a digital flow sensing solution targeting high-volume consumer and industrial markets.

Flusso’s FLS110 flow sensor

Flow sensors are traditionally used for measuring the flow rate or quantity of a moving liquid or gas. Measuring 3.5 x 3.5 mm, the FLS110 is a MEMS sensor developed from Flusso’s patented sensing technology on a silicon CMOS wafer. It has no moving parts, is robust, and suited for cost-effective high-volume production of thermal microsensors, the company claims.

“FLS110 is small enough to fit into virtually any product and can be positioned where flow measurement matters the most,” said Andrea De Luca, Flusso’s CEO and co-founder, at the recent MEMS World Summit Webinar – Research and Startups.

Flusso has designed the FLS110 flow sensor to tackle 5 main challenges in air flow measurement: Price (most flow sensors are in the $5+ price tag, which is a barrier for adoption especially in consumer applications); integration complexity (flow sensors typically have form factors that limit product integration); no choice of measurement basis (flow sensors usually measure one basis between flow rate, differential pressure or velocity); a wide range of competing flow measurement and controlling solutions; a long time-to-market.

The FLS110 is part of a digital flow sensing solution seamlessly integrating hardware and software with mechanical and fluidic components. “We provide our customers with a complete digital flow sensing solution comprising not only the central component, but also a full suite of reference designs, covering electronics and firmware aspects, as well as mechanical and fluidic integration aspects,” said De Luca. Proprietary firmware includes sensor control, sensor reading, temperature compensation, and other algorithms. “This modular approach gives our customers the power to find the right balance between performance and system costs required by their end products.”

Flusso’s digital flow sensing solution (Image source: Flusso)

Earlier this year, Flusso received the ISO 9001:2015 certification.

Air quality

With a footprint of 3.5 x 3.5 mm, the FLS110 is suitable for a variety of applications covering 4 main verticals: consumer appliances (e.g., vacuum cleaners, air conditioning units, air purifiers), air management for smart buildings, smoke and fire detection in industrial settings, as well as home healthcare products (e.g., peak flow meters, smart inhalers, breathalyzers, sport performance trainers).

Air quality has become a major concern due to the increasing population density, wildfires, and respiratory diseases. However, the cleaning efficacy of products decreases as filters clog and as motor and moving parts age. “Adjusting the fan speed according to the flow sensor readings, for example, would allow the air purifier to maintain the required efficacy while minimizing power and noise,” said De Luca. Also, filter status monitors help optimize changeovers for an enhanced user experience.

“The evaluation kit plugs into your flow-system using push-fit connectors and into your PC running our GUI for fast sensor evaluation,” said De Luca. Different fluidic fixtures can be ordered to match flow and dP requirements.

Flusso’s next generation of flow sensors will be in the range of between one and two millimeters, said De Luca. “The design isn’t finalized. We are at the proof of concept level.”

Flusso is a fabless semiconductor company. It relies on an external foundry, as well as packaging and testing houses. It is using 6-inch wafers, with “about 6,000 dies per wafer.” De Luca expects to scale up production and reach volumes of about 10 million in 5 years.

In parallel, the startup said it has been working on a thermal conductivity CO2 sensor, a liquid flow sensor, and a flow sensor combined with a metal oxide sensor for breath analysis applications. It has also demonstrated a GaN-on-Si multi-sensing platform for detection, temperature, pressure, and infrared devices. Commenting on the intrinsic properties of gallium nitride, De Luca said, “You have all the mechanical advantages, and it’s chemically more robust than silicon. You also have some level of biocompatibility, as well as superior temperature and radiation hardness.” However, he continued, “Everything comes against cost, and it depends on the application you are targeting.”

Flusso is now looking for partners to implement some of the technologies under development in its laboratories: partners to bring R&D activities from feasibility to product development and partners for ASIC development. “We see two main avenues for which we might need an ASIC partner: One is if we need to provide our customers with an integrated digital solution. The second one is for the thermal conductivity sensors. In that case, there might be a stronger push for having an ASIC integrated within the sensor.”

Flusso was co-founded in 2016 by Professor Florin Udrea (co-founder of CamSemi, Cambridge CMOS Sensors, Cambridge Microelectronics, and Cambridge GaN Devices), Professor Julian Gardner (co-founder of Cambridge CMOS Sensors and Sorex), and alumni John Coull, and Andrea De Luca.

Flusso completed a £5.5 million Series A funding in 2020 from UK technology investment funds. De Luca said the company is preparing a Series B round to finance the next phase of the company, “from initial sales to profitability”.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Flusso has representatives in Hong Kong and in the US. It currently employs 20 people, mostly engineers and semiconductor industry professionals.

This article was originally published on EE Times Europe.

Anne-Françoise Pelé is editor-in-chief of eetimes.eu and EE Times Europe.


Oceaneering Rotator introduces topside chemical throttle valve

The new valve leverages field-proven technology to address operational requirements for efficient topside chemical dosing.


Offshore staff

HOUSTON – Oceaneering International’s Rotator business has launched a topside chemical throttle valve (T-CTV).

The new valve leverages existing field-proven technology to address operational requirements for efficient topside chemical dosing.

It is also said to be ideal for unmanned and remotely operated applications across industries and can be configured with optional Wi-Fi capabilities.

The valve, the company claims, is also the industry’s only design that combines a full-flush position with an integrated mechanical scraper. This feature ensures contamination tolerance and delivers long-term performance without the need for filters.

201230 T Ctv 01 1 1(Courtesy Oceaneering)

Tommy Tolfsen, T-CTV Product Manager at Rotator, said: “Historically, Rotator’s focus has been on subsea valves and we’re excited about this opportunity to expand into the topside market with an industry-leading solution. Our T-CTV delivers a fully automated chemical dosing package. It combines continuous and accurate flow measurement with automatic flow regulation in a modular, plug-and-play design.

“With the appetite for unmanned platforms growing, we wanted to make sure our T-CTV is ready for full, remote operation.”

The accuracy of the valve results in less chemical waste, according to the company. The valve boasts ± 0.2% of reading via continuous Coriolis flow measurement. The T-CTV control system uses continuous, live feedback from the Coriolis flow meter to automatically regulate and continuously display flow rates.

The valve’s helical flow path provides stable, controlled flow throughout the entire operating range. A fully programmable deadband is set to further optimize flow performance. The accuracy and reliability of the new valve will ultimately reduce opex via lowered chemical costs and improved uptime, the company said.

SIKA Flow & Temperature Sensors are Utilized by TRUMPF Laser Systems in the Semiconductor Industry

SIKA Vortex Flow Sensors (VVX15) and Pt1000 Temperature Sensors are utilized by TRUMPF Laser Systems to improve reliability, performance, and efficiency of laser technology. The computing speed of semiconductor chips is determined by technical progress. It depends on how small the conductor tracks can be made on chips. The smaller the tracks, the more circuits can fit on one chip. So far, the computer speed has doubled every two years (Moore’s Law).

Together with the Advanced Semiconductor Materials Lithography (ASML) Company in the Netherlands, our customer TRUMPF from Ditzingen Germany has developed a unique system. This system makes it possible, using Zeiss lithography optics, to significantly reduce the size of the conductor tracks on wafers and to penetrate into the nanometer (nm) range. For example: A human hair is approx. 60,000 nm (0.06 mm) thick, a conductor track on such a chip is <10 nm, an unimaginable 0.00001 mm! These systems are very expensive for the owner/operator; the TRUMPF component alone costs around 100 million euros / $114 million USD. More than ten TRUMPF systems are now sold through ASML worldwide every year. I

n the new process, the wafers are coated with a lithographic lacquer which are exposed to Extremely short-wave UV (EUV) using very precise Zeiss optics. The EUV radiation comes from “TRUMPF Laser Amplifier“ (see right).

Zeiss optics are internationally unique and are so precise that conductor tracks can be imaged in nanometer dimensions. During the subsequent etching process on the wafer, the exposed layer remains as a conductor track a few nanometers wide.

f the light were significantly longer than 13.5 nm, there would be no conductor tracks in the nanometer range.

So one absolutely needs the monochromatic EUV light with the exact wavelength for this process.

TRUMPF Ditzingen has been developing the EUV light source and the optical beam guidance system since 2010, and was awarded the German Innovation Prize for it in November 2020. There is no other manufacturer in the world who can produce this EUV light reliably and with the required power output except for TRUMPF.

How is this EUV light actually made? In the TRUMPF Laser EUV light source (Fig. 1), a generator lets drops of tin fall into a vacuum chamber (3). A pulsed high-power laser then hits (1) the tin drops rushing past (2) 50,000 times per second. The tin atoms are ionized, creating a very hot plasma. A collector mirror captures the EUV radiation emitted in all directions by the plasma, bundles it, and transfers it to the lithography system (4) for exposure of the wafer (5).

SIKA Vortex Flow Sensors (VVX15) and Pt1000 Temperature Sensors are built into these TRUMPF EUV systems.
Due to its special outer contour, the Pt1000 is mounted in a TRUMPF plug-in adapter T-piece. 

There are also SIKA Pt1000 screw-in sensors in stainless steel.

The SIKA VVX15 is integrated into the TRUMPF hydraulic module and adapted to the hydraulic conditions.

Our long-term relationship contacts with the client TRUMPF brought success!
Our sales representative Martin Knopf has been in contact with the ASML-TRUMPF working group in Ditzingen Germany since 2015. At that time, the first TRUMPF EUV systems were built in a provisional “temporary” building. As a result, there were repeated contacts with this project team and a meeting was scheduled in September 2017, which Mr. Knopf and Mr. Dietrich attended. A flow sensor was originally sourced for a water-cooling circuit distributor for the optical focusing unit. This circuit was previously monitored by a piston guard from a competitor in the market and was not satisfactory. The reason: The piston guard with a spring return often jammed because the cooling water also contained dissolved copper, which stuck to the moving parts of the piston guard. 

Additionally, they were looking for a flow sensor without moving parts to monitor the cooling circuit of other optical elements. So, SIKA was selected for the testing of a SIKA VVX15 Vortex Flow Meter. 

After these tests, TRUMPF quickly recognized that the SIKA VVX15 Vortex Flow Meter was a very precise flow sensor that, when properly installed, delivers extremely reliable measurement results. SIKA temperature sensors (Pt1000) have been utilized by TRUMPF for over 5 years and are successfully used in laser optics as class B screw-in sensors for monitoring temperature control.

The success story continues. In 2019 we were able to offer TRUMPF another benefit. In what context?

Exact SIKA sensors enable the monitoring of the TRUMPF laser optics!
One problem with the latest generation of EUV light is the gradual contamination of the laser optics (surfaces of copper mirrors), which are directly connected to the above-described EUV light source, in a high vacuum. When the tin droplets are bombarded in the plasma chamber, tin, which does not turn into plasma, regularly comes in contact with the optics. As a result of normal molecular migration, the optics gradually acquire a very fine layer of tin. This is not desired, and in the long run, leads to a reduction in the output of the EUV light source yield. It is said that the optics “get dirty.”

As a result of contamination of the optics, the mirror surface becomes slightly hotter over time which reduces the system performance. The challenge is to determine the optics’ temperature, which increases over time, and compare it to a fresh system without “dirty optics”. This is done by suitable measurement of the continuously increasing energy input in the cooling medium. The cooling medium cools the mirrors on the back. This energy input is calculated by a very precise flow measurement and temperature difference measurement. 

Two SIKA temperature sensors and a VVX15 vortex flow sensor are required for this application. The two SIKA temperature sensors, Pt1000 class A, are installed in front of and behind the respective mirror cooling circuit and the vortex flow sensor type VVX15 in the measuring section. The latter determines the heated cooling water volume per unit time. With the SIKA sensors, TRUMPF is able to precisely monitor the efficiency of the EUV systems. This enables TRUMPF to make reliable statements about the required maintenance of the laser optics and to pass them on to ASML.

This, in turn, is a great advantage for TRUMPF and ASML, in terms of superior system performance. True to the motto: