Preventable Mistakes with Vortex Flow Meters

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Courtesy of Sierra Instruments, Inc.

Vortex flow meter technology is an ideal technology for many applications particularly saturated and supersaturated steam, volumetric water applications as well as flow energy management (natural gas, compressed air, steam, water) in facilities and large campuses. In some of these applications, vortex installations can be tricky and take flow expertise for the most successful installations. Kam Bansal, the Director of Engineering, has some useful tips for successful vortex installations and common mistakes to avoid to get the most out of your vortex flow meters in your application.

Vortex Flow Meter Mistakes to Avoid

#1 – Water Hammer

If you’ve ever turned on your shower and the pipes made a loud bang, you’ve probably experienced the phenomenon called water hammer. Most commonly caused by opening or closing a valve too quickly, it occurs when a mass of water zooms through a pipe with enough momentum to pack a serious punch.

Commercial pipelines often allow these “water hammers” to reach such high speeds that they can damage the flow meter sensor. To alleviate the “water hammer” phenomenon, try to avoid condensation in steam systems by opening and closing valves gradually to equalize pressure.

#2 – Incorrect Range or Pipe Size

Vortex flow meters are highly specialized devices, and each one is made-to-order based on customer application specifications. This means an out-of-the-box meter will only work for the original order’s conditions. Usually, you can’t make any changes once the meter is installed in the field. However, the software apps offered by Sierra’s InnovaMass iSeries allow you to change variables in-the-field with dial-a-pipe, and tune meter factors in-situ to fit your needs. You can also adjust your vortex meter via the local pushbutton display interface. In addition, if you think your application may approach the meter’s maximum pressure or temperature, it’s better to buy a higher-rated meter than risk overheating or over pressurizing.

Now that you are aware of these preventable mistakes, think about your vortex meter installation process and specification process.

If you need a refresher, watch this short video by Director of Engineering, Kam Bansal, for an in-depth explanation on how to solve some of the common vortex installation mistakes.

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