FlowLabPro, automatic low flow meter calibration stand

The Litre Meter temperature-controlled volumetric low-flow calibration rig FlowLabPro delivers automatic calibration of flow meters and instrumentation within a flow range of 0.0006 to 200 l/hr to an accuracy of ±0.2 per cent and a repeatability of ±0.05 per cent. Brochure.

Accuracy is much greater and uncertainty is much lower than was previously achievable using volumetric calibration.

All the associated tanks, pumps, ultrasonic sensors, pressure gauges and temperature probes are housed in a compact and manoeuvrable temperature-controlled cabinet.

FlowLabPro for low flow determination on a range of fluids

Now commercially available from Litre Meter, the new volumetric low-flow calibration rig can measure any fluid type within reason and features a reverse flow testing facility.

Charles Wemyss, CEO of Litre Meter, said: “We recently introduced our LF03 low-flow VFF rotary piston meter taking the capability of our VFF flow meter range down to lower flows than ever before – for example, on a fluid with a viscosity of 10 cSt the LF03 will measure down to 0.06 litres/hour at pressures of 1 bar right up to 4,000 bar.

“As a result of this innovation the next logical step was to develop a calibration rig capable of accurately measuring ultra-low flow rates. We were so happy with the results that the decision was made to make the volumetric low flow calibration rig available on the open market.”

    • Calibrate up to 5 flow meters with one setup
    • Automatic selection of up to 6 pre-loaded fluids from 0.2 cSt to 1000 cSt
    • Flow rate calibration 0.01 ml/min to 200 l/hr on all viscosity fluids
    • Temperature controlled 16°C to 24°C
    • Visual and Audio warning on completion
    • Automatically generates Calibration Certificates
    • Easy calibration setup and user interface
    • Repeatability ±0.05%
    • Accuracy ±0.2%
    • Small footprint – 120x60cm
    • Can be left overnight
    • Automated calibration over a number of flow rates from minimum to maximum
    • Significantly reduced calibration times

FlowLabPro automatic flowmeter calibration at low flows

Litre Meter at Offshore Europe 2019

Ah, how time passes. It seems it was only a few weeks ago that we were were at ’17 at the AECC. We now wake up to the brand new exhibition centre situated near the airport in Aberdeen. Litre Meter are at booth 2L25 which is just on the right as you walk through the main entrance. Foxdenton Gin have customised several bottles of their flavoured gin liqueurs with the Litre Meter logo. Our whisky rig, present at the last two shows, has been updated to measure gin. The LF15 rotor and chamber has been upgraded to the very latest LF03 size. We are wondering how low we will be able to go on the day?

Foxdenton Gin have customised several bottles of their flavoured gin liqueurs with the Litre Meter logo.

At 2013 OE we were able to fill up a 700 cl bottle in an ‘exhibition day’ with the LF15. That’s just 100 ml/hr.

Litre Meter VFF measures whisky

With a business card as a simple entry form you may be able to win a bottle of gin liqueur.  We look forward to meeting you.

Rotary Piston versus Turbine Flow Meters – Application strengths

We’re often asked why we recommend our VFF Rotary Piston device for chemical injection and, in particular, against the traditional turbine flowmeter.  Here are 8 specific advantages of the VFF over turbine flowmeters:

  1. Low Flow The lowest flow measurable by a VFF rotary piston positive displacement flowmeter is two orders lower, especially if the viscosity is greater than water. For example, the LF03 at just 10cP will measure down to 0.025 l/hr – that’s a teaspoon every 12 minutes. A small turbine, even at 1cP, it’s optimum viscosity, peters out at 0.03 l/min – over 70 times higher.
  2. Pulsing Flow Customers tend to use pulsing pumps for chemical injection and even with pulsation dampers turbine meter blades will tend to over spin and cause the flow meters to read high if you are measuring total flow. Pulsation dampers are set at a pressure higher than the line pressure and are only guaranteed to reduce the pulsation to within ±10% at best of line pressure. If the line pressure changes at all during operation, then pulsation dampers are useless as they can only be set for one pressure. In our experience PD meters are ideal as they track the pulse and will read accurately for total flow even if no dampers are fitted.
  3. Display stabilisation The second problem with pulsing flow on a turbine meter is that the flow rate indication or 4-20mA output will range up and down at a frequency slightly out of synchronisation with the actual flow. To stabilise this reading rolling average electronics are often used. However, this can have two negative effects: firstly, the rolling average function, which is software based, will increase the response time on a control loop, the effect being that any changes in flow will take longer to be corrected. Secondly, you can easily get the control loop constantly ranging up and down chasing the flow meter reading but never quite catch up. These could be expensive for the client with wasted chemical. PD meters do not require the rolling average function as their reading while moving with the pulsing flow will be accurate.
  4. Viscosity effects Turbine meters are inferential devices: even small changes in viscosity due to ambient air temperature changes will be sufficient to affect the accuracy. In addition, if the viscosity is above 1 cSt then the lower end of the flow range will be less accurate and some of the measurement range will be lost. With chemical injection applications offshore it is inevitable that through the year there will be a wide range of ambient air temperatures and viscosity changes are very likely. PD meters are not affected by viscosity changes; in fact, if the viscosity increases their accuracy gets even better as the slippage past the gears or piston reduces. In our experience the only application where a turbine meter may be used for chemical injection is Methanol as it has a very low viscosity of 0.6cSt at 25°C and much higher injection rates.
  5. Maintenance If something fails in service in a turbine meter the whole unit must be removed from the line. With a PD meter the meter body can be left in the line and the top cover removed to replace the internals.
  6. No straight lengths Turbine meters typically require a minimum of 10 diameters upstream and 5 diameters downstream of the flow meter, increasing installation space requirements.  In most configurations of piping prior to the meter much more is needed. Positive displacement flow meters do not require straight lengths.
  7. Non-standard connections There is a design issue if the turbine assembly cannot slide through the connector inside diameter. If it can’t physically pass through then there has to be at least one if not usually two adaptors. For example, Autoclave Engineers fittings can have 5mm id tubes. It is not possible for most turbine assemblies to be made this small.
  8. Range ability Most turbine flowmeters have flow ranges limited by bearing friction, hydrodynamic influences like viscosity and sensor drag. A ratio of maximum to minimum flow is typically 10:1, maybe higher of the viscosity is low. In the LF03 example given in point 1, the turndown ratio is 720:1. Furthermore, in the LF series the rotors and chambers are interchangeable. The LF15 and LF05 will drop into the body of an LF body previously holding an LF03 chamber. If the flow rate is set to decrease over the years of installation, then a new chamber can extend the life of the unit. Any future iterations of the VFF will use the same size ensuring the LF02 or LF01 will extend the range even further down.

If there are any doubts then please consult the specialists.

Custom Pelton Wheel flowmeter designs

Litre Meter have manufactured pelton wheel flowmeters since 1975.  They are based on a light-weight, low inertia, plastic rotor spinning on jewelled bearings and monitored by a no-drag pick off.

The standard range covers many flow rates, materials, end connections and pressure ratings.  The wide rangeability and compactness lends their design to a multitude of applications.  Every now and then, customers request some interesting variations, for a variety of reasons.

Company A. Our oldest current client first bought meters from us in 1980. Their remit was an all stainless design with welded connections. Something compact was a benefit so Litre Meter varied the design of the then LM220-20bar. 1/4″NPT end connections were added and hundreds have been sold over the years.  Issues were found on some older units in high humidity locations so the meters were redesigned to meet EP455. Additionally, the redesign was an ideal opportunity to integrate some of the customers own modifications. The current version has an internal ‘divide by 10’ circuit to reduce the output frequency.  Meters are provided within a specific range of meter factors and have full immersion tests on a batch basis.

LM220 with 1/4″NPT connections, welded construction, wide flow range

Company B. This customer purchased hundreds of flowmeters for the measurement of  32% Caustic, 40% Nitric or 3% Peracetic Acid. The major material was 316SS whilst plastic wetted parts were either Polypropylene or PVDF; seals were FPM or EPDM both depending on the fluid. Unique modifications included in-line 1/2″ Table D flanged connections and a scaling feature enabling the output to be 10 pulses per litre.

Company C. In the automotive sector, one customer started customising the Pelton Wheel meter themselves.  They substituted the standard nylon flow body with stainless steel. Litre Meter stepped in and offered a slimline stainless steel body with metric OD pipe connections. Hundreds were subsequently ordered over two continents for fuel flow measurement.

Flowmeter M8
Development phase, with brass unions, later replaced with 316 stainless steel to match the rest of the construction.

Company D. Amine is used in the casting industry to set the sand in place prior to casting. Sand moulds are cheap and suit the casting process. The sand is bonded together with a chemical binder – in this case an amine. It is liquid through the flowmeter and turns to gas within the core. The customisation relates to 3 different aspects. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, the ‘on’ time for the meter is very short, in the region of a few seconds. The meter has to ramp up very quickly, provide enough pulses to be useful and accurate. Secondly, the meter had to fit within an existing pipework configuration, This resulted in a unique configuration:

Unique Orientation
Pelton Wheel meter with welded pipes

Thirdly, because the amine is very low viscosity, calibration was changed to acetone rather than water.

Company E. The customer had purchased various custom pelton wheel meters over the years for progressively higher and higher specifications. Most were the LM220 which has an enormous flow range.  All were for aerospace applications measuring jet fuel or similar on-board an aircraft. The image below shows the latest one, carefully engineered to provide the best linearity within a very tight, odd-shaped, envelope.

Pelton Wheel
Custom Pelton Wheel for limited space, manifold connection

The testing regime involved simulating not just flight but also transport to the aircraft, by various means, and take-off under extremes of temperature.  This was as much a test of the flowmeter as it was for the laboratory.  The design incorporated a pressure sensor and a manifold connection for the customers valve plus a new sensing method.

 

Call us with your application! Subscribe to FlowSight – our newsletter.

 

Six Degrees of customisation

Litre Meter supply a range of flow meters for Oil & Gas applications. They specialise in customising a range of flowmeters to meet specific customer requirements. A good example of this is flow meters for subsea use i.e. with the ability to work subsea and transmit a flow signal signal to the surface. The image (from 2011) shows another which uses many of the custom attributes of the VFF series of rotary piston positive displacement meter.

A 2011 VFF showing 5 degrees of customisation

There are six degrees of customisation:

  • Connections – in this meter Grayloc hubs were utilised
  • Materials – normally 316 but Duplex S32760 was specified
  • Flow Range – This series included 139 meters all with PVD coating, removable PBCs and special calibration ranges.
  • High Pressure – most were 1035 bar/15,000 psi/15ksi
  • Communication – these had HART 5. The current FlowPod versions offer HART 7
  • Subsea – The only missing degree…
A 2018 VFF Flowmeter showing the compactness of the FlowPod display. Same 5 degrees of customisation: High pressure, special connections, communication, low flow, flow range

PBC

The Pressure Balanced Chamber (PBC) is used to isolate the measuring element from the pressure vessel purpose of the VFF. This allowed optimised materials for the rotor and chamber – to give better flow range, for example, and simultaneously enabled the use of more exotic materials for the pressure vessel. Many more units have been constructed in duplex and super duplex which would have proved almost impossible to use for measurement surfaces (due to the tolerances of manufacture).

PVD

When Litre Meter separated the meter into two functions of measurement and pressure containment the use of coatings could be exploited. After careful selection and testing all of the VFF range are now supplied with PVD coating. This remarkable addition enables both higher and lower flow rates. For example, and it is the best example, the HF66 size was rated to 66 l/min maximum. Typically, without coating, the stainless steel rotor could measure down to 5 l/min on water. With the PVD coating the coefficient of friction is reduced and the minimum reduces to 12 l/hr, yes 12 litres per hour, and the added hardness enables over-range up to 130 l/min – subject to factory approval.

What Flowmeter calibration techniques do Litre Meter use?

Essentially, there are three separate calibration methods that Litre Meter have in-house to calibrate a range of flowmeters.  As the fluids can vary from water to thick oil and the flows range from a few millilitres per hour to 1,000 litres per minute, there are not only three calibration methods but 10 rigs in total, all traceable to National Standards.

The most common calibration method for Litre Meter is gravimetric with flying start and stop.  This method, as the names suggests, records the weight to provide a mass flow. Frequently, this is converted to a volume flow after determination of density.  After that, the use of master meters is popular for higher flows, above a few litres per minute. Finally, where the flow rates are outrageously low – i.e. just millilitres per hour – Litre Meter has a volumetric pistonless design – the FlowLabPro.

Gravimetric Flying Start-Stop

Most Litre Meter flowmeters are calibrated using a gravimetric method.  A flow rate is established through the flowmeter with the output flow returning to the main reservoir.  At the commencement of test, the output flow is diverted into a weigh tank.  When sufficient volume of fluid has been collected in respect of that particular flow rate, the output flow is diverted to the main reservoir once more.  The time for the volume of fluid to be collected is recorded, together with the number of pulses produced by the transmitter.

The density of the fluid is determined at time of calibration.  Volume divided by time equals flow rate.  The number of pulses divided by volume equals the pulses per litre Meter Factor.  The calibration certificate is prepared from a table of these values.  If on-site calibration is required and a known volume of fluid flow can be established, then the same calculations apply to reproduce the calibration certificate.

Significant effort should be spent ensuring that the start and stop timing accurately reflect when flow is being weighed and that the speed of changeover is maximised. With modern, accurate weigh scales and timing the stop/start transitions are where precision improvements are made. Litre Meter have developed a simple program that enables quick monitoring of diverter performance and aids the operator in adjusting the timing.

When pulse rates are very low, such as in the VFF and some other positive displacement flowmeters, the flow rig electronics are altered such that a calibration run commences on a pulse and finish on a pulse. For example, a calibration run is dialled in requiring 60 pulses.  The operator starts the test with continuous flow running through the MUT. When the next pulse is sensed the diverter operates and the scales begin weighing the fluid. After 60 pulses pass the diverter switches back and measurements are taken. There will be 60 pulses, a specific weight and a specific time enabling the calculation of flow rate and pulses per mass unit. With an sg reading from a suitably accurate densitometer then the rate can be calculated in volumetric terms and the pulses used to calculate pulses per litre.  There is no uncertainty in the number of pulses i.e. whether the next pulse was about to arrive or had just been. This is usually an uncertainty of up to two pulses.  There is an unknown time at Start of diversion but this is somewhat equalled out at the Stop side. Good calibration of the start/stop sequence can almost eliminate this unknown.

Master Meter

As the flow rate increases the compactness of the Gravimetric method with it’s diverter starts to die away and the rigs become very large. At Litre Meter we have a good crossover between the upper end of the gravimetric to the lower end of the master meter which provides some flexibility and confidence.  For water the gravimetric rigs are suitable for flows up to 30 l/min and the master meters commence at 1 l/min. For oils it’s 10 and 0.1 respectively. Without the knife-edge start of the gravimetric flying start (above) the master meter technique pivots (sorry for the pun) around dual chronometry.

The Meter Under Test produces a pulse train simultaneously with the Master Meter but at a different frequency.  The computer program starts and stops the test period depending on the preset length of test and the number of pulses desired.  The preset length is then subtly adjusted so that a precise number of pulses is used. Further analysis of the MUT pulse rate counts the number of pulses, and more importantly, determines the fractional number of pulses at the start and end of test.  Finally, the test is repeated at least three times at each flow rate.  These are installed in a continuously running system, in a loop, thus enabling multiple tests in quick succession.  The pump or valve position is then altered to process all of the desired flow rate range in a suitable number of steps.

Piston-less piston prover

For investigation of very low flows our traditional gravimetric rigs were unable to control and/or develop low flows consistently. For the LF03 the low flows are actually lower than the leak flows through the valves or our then smallest system. A change of method was required.  Starting with a series of pumps a method was instigated using a rising column of fluid being monitored by an accurate height sensor.  With a variety of column diameters a wide range of flow rates can be generated and measured accurately.  Pulse interpolation is used in much the same way as for dual chronometry, above, except that the MUT and the height sensor are the two sources of pulses. All of the components including a choice of fluid reservoirs are together in one enclosure, temperature controlled, to maintain consistency.  Up to 4 rotors and chambers can be calibrated together over the required flow rate range enabling calibration to continue overnight, unsupervised.  Additional software programs can quickly determine minimum achievable flow which significantly speeds up parts selection for our LF and ULF calibration levels.

 

 

The TASI Group Continues Expansion with 2nd Acquisition in Q2

Marlborough, MA – May 9, 2019 – The TASI Group continues the growth of its Flow Segment business with the recent acquisition of Sierra Instruments, a global company specializing in the manufacture of flow measurement instrumentation.   This is the 2nd acquisition finalized by The TASI Group in just two months.

Offering flow and test solutions to international markets, Sierra Instruments is comprised of two divisions: FLOW, headquartered in Monterey, California and AUTO, headquartered in Malvern, United Kingdom.  The FLOW Division manufactures mass flow meters and flow controllers for gas, liquid, or steam application.  The AUTO Division builds complex, custom, integrated test facilities and world-class engine and vehicle test automation systems.

“Sierra’s flow product portfolio compliments TASI Flow businesses, offering new technologies including Transit-time ultrasonic and vortex shedding, among others,” explained TASI CEO John McKenna. “This acquisition is strategically important to the continuing growth of TASI Flow and the TASI Group.”

With this recent acquisition. the TASI Flow Segment now includes the following operations:

  • Air Monitor
  • AW-Lake Company
  • EXACT Dispensing Systems
  • Fox Thermal
  • Greyline
  • KEM Kuppers Electromechanik GmbH
  • Litre Meter
  • Onicon
  • Pulsar Process Measurement
  • Seametrics
  • Sierra Instruments
  • SignalFire Wireless Telemetry
  • Vögtlin Instruments GmbH
Logos of the 13 TASI Flow companies
Logos of the 13 TASI Flow companies

For more information about Sierra Instruments, visit https://www.sierrainstruments.com/.

About the TASI Group

The TASI Group of Companies is comprised of three technologically advanced product platforms commonly linked by a disciplined focus on Test, Measurement, and Assembly. Each TASI company delivers products and services to today’s world manufacturing environments, focusing on Automotive, Medical Devices, Oil and Gas, Plastic Containers, Consumer and General Industrial markets. For more information about the TASI Group, visit their Web site at www.tasigroup.com

Pelton Wheel flowmeters

Litre Meter manufacture and distribute an enviable range of flowmeters. From the low flow robustness of the VFF positive displacement meter to the precision of the Tricor Coriolis range, Litre Meter have a solution to your tricky measurement application.  Call our engineers now to receive the best advice on meter selection and application.

LM & MM Pelton Wheel

LMX Pelton Wheel
Stainless Steel Pelton Wheel LMX Flow Meter

The LMX series, pictured, was designed from the outset to meet two simple parameters: a pressure rating of 100 bar coupled with a temperature rating of 100°C. End couplings are either ½”NPT or BSP with built-in straight lengths of pipe. As a bonus, the minimum fluid temperature can be -50°C and there are just 3 wetted materials. With 316 stainless steel, PTFE and sapphire in contact with the fluid there are few applications that it can’t handle. Flow rate abilities are selected by different internal jets enabling the same size body to measure from 0.004 l/min up to 65 l/min in just a few sizes.

Applications are numerous. The Pelton Wheel was originally developed with petrol and water in mind.  These are both low viscosity fluids and are measured regularly, often at low flow rates. The smallest range (LM003) is designed to measure from 4 millilitres per minute up to 60 ml/min. As the jet size increases the rangeability also increases. The LM05, for example, 0.02 to 1.3 l/min and the LM220 is a magnificent 0.1 to 28 l/min.

These wide ranges can be attributed to 3 significant design factors:

  • Wide bladed pelton wheel design for maximum impulse
  • Sapphire bearings for minimal friction
  • A no-drag sensor to enable lowest flows

With over 44 years’ experience in these meters we have optimised the bearing and sensor design for long life and high efficiency with remarkable linearity.

Litre Meter and KEM flowmeters

 

Litre Meter manufacture and distribute an enviable range of flowmeter. From the low flow robustness of the VFF positive displacement meter to the precision of the Tricor Coriolis range, Litre Meter have a solution to your tricky measurement application.  Call our engineers now to receive the best advice on meter selection and application.

LM & MM Pelton Wheel

LMX, pictured, was designed from the outset with some simple parameters.  A pressure rating of 100bar coupled with a temperature rating of 100°C. End couplings are wither ½”NPT or BSP with built-in straight lengths of pipe. As a bonus the minimum fluid temperature can be -50°C and there are just 3 wetted materials. With 316 stainless steel, PTFE and sapphire in contact with the fluid there are few applications that it can’t handle. Flow rate abilities are selected by different internal jets enabling the same size body to measure from 0.004 l/min up to 65 l/min in just a few sizes.

 

VFF Positive Displacement

The group of VFF meters pictured are all in the LF range which covers the LF03, LF05 and LF15.  The internal chambers are interchangeable, if required, and future developments of this design will all be based around the same size chamber.  The FlowPod instrument is our standard fit offering most customers exactly what they want. Pressure and temperature ratings range from 414bar to 1380bar and beyond with temperatures to over 100°C depending on area type.

ZHM Gear Meter

The KEM ZHM, shown in High Pressure spec with blue Xylan coated bolts, is a traditional round gear positive displacement meter ideal for hydraulics measurement being capable of wide flow turndowns and a range of materials and specifications.

Tricor Coriolis

The 3rd generation Tricor Coriolis meter is now available with DSP Digital Signal Processing electronics for the ultimate in precision, accuracy.  The standard electronics is still available for general industry use at ±0.3% of reading levels. Sizes cover the majority of applications and the plain bores make selection simple.  Where pressures head north of 300 bar the TCMH can be specified which also has unique OIML137 certification for liquid hydrogen dispensing, also MID-002.

SRZ Helical Screw and HM Turbine

The KEM SRZ Helical Screw Positive Displacement flowmeter and the KEM HM axial turbine flowmeter complete the Litre Meter and KEM range. The SRZ are especially good for high viscosity or abrasive or filled liquids where they are the natural preference to the ZHM.  Viscosity change has little effect and the largest can measure 400 l/min.

The HM turbines are the workhorse of industrial measurement with a clear line of design going back several decades. They are well suited to measuring low and medium viscosity liquids whether they are lubricating or not. They can be specified for cryogenic fluids too. A variety of end fittings and materials reflect their design flexibility.

 

TASI Adds ONICON to Flow Segment Group

TASI and Onicon

The TASI Group recently acquired ONICON Incorporated, a private company specializing in the design and manufacture of flow meters and energy measurement systems. ONICON addresses liquid flow, steam flow, natural gas flow, airflow, and thermal energy applications with a broad range of flow meter technologies, including electromagnetic, turbine, ultrasonic, thermal mass, vortex, Pitot tube and BTU meters. Through its own acquisitions, ONICON offers six brands including:

  • Onicon
  • Air Monitor
  • Seametrics
  • Fox Thermal
  • Greyline
  • Pulsar

Larger Segment

The ONICON acquisition is another is step in the continuing development of TASI’s premier flow and level measurement business. The combined businesses now form a substantially larger TASI Flow Segment that offers an extensive range of technology to better serve customers around the globe and extend into new markets.
”The ONICON acquisition is a strategic win for everyone,” stated TASI CEO John McKenna. ”ONICON’s diversified portfolio of flow technologies compliment TASI Flow businesses with little overlap in technology, industries and geographic regions. This acquisition positions both businesses on an aggressive growth path “

Existing TASI Flow Group:

The organization joins the TASI Flow Segment of complementary businesses which includes:

  • AW-Lake Company
  • KEM Kuppers Electromechanik GmbH
  • Litre Meter
  • SignalFire Wireless Telemetry
  • Vogtlin Instruments GmbH
  • EXACT Dispensing Systems

What happens now?

John Norris, former ONICON President and Chief Executive Officer, will serve as TASI Flow Segment President with responsibilities for overseeing the entire combined group of world-class flow businesses. He will report directly to John McKenna the TASI Group CEO.

Calibration of a thermotechnical test stand

Measurements for approvals are taken under highly constant thermal conditions using an especially designed test stand.

The TRICOR Coriolis Mass Flow Meter TCM 0325

The TRICOR Coriolis Mass Flow Meter TCM 0325 was integrated into the hot water circuit

APPLICATION 

The Thermotechnical Institute (WTI) of the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences is one of three centres of expertise in Germany appointed for the type approval and DIN testing of heating cost allocators (according to Section 5 of the Heating Costs Ordinance). Measurements for approvals are taken under highly constant thermal conditions using a specifically designed test stand. The specimens (heating cost allocators) are mounted on a radiator. Hot water is circulated through the radiator. The supply and return temperature, as well as the mass flow and volume flow of the hot water, have to be measured with high accuracy. A permanently installed external device is used for measuring the volume flow according to the Coriolis principle.

TECHNICAL DATA

Medium Hot water
Temperature 68-194 °F (20-90 °C)
Pressure 1.5-15 psi (0.1-1 bar)
Measurement range 5-200 l/h

PRODUCT

A TRICOR Coriolis Mass Flow Meter TCM 0325 for liquids and gases.

CHALLENGE

For accreditation as an internationally recognized test laboratory according to DIN EN 17025, the flow meter that is used has to be calibrated using a DAkkS calibrated measurement standard; a relatively low flow rate has to be measured as accurately as possible over a wide range of 5 to 200 litres per hour. Since the hot water contains suspended matter in the form of tiny lime and rust particles, the measuring device should not have any components that are moveable or susceptible to deposits. Furthermore, the flow meter that is used has to ensure the required accuracy across the entire measuring range for the medium being used, with calibration according to DAkkS standards. The applicable accuracy limit was less than 2 % of the measured value.

SOLUTION

The TRICOR Coriolis Mass Flow Meter TCM 0325 was integrated into the hot water circuit and serves as a reference for the internal calibration of the existing, permanently installed flow meter. The TCM 0325 supports flexible and portable operation. It is calibrated at the prescribed regular intervals according to DAkkS standards in KEM’s own calibration laboratory certified according to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025:2005.

BENEFITS

  • Reliable, reproducible measurement results
  • Coverage of the entire calibration measurement range with just one measuring device
  • High measuring accuracy
  • Flexible and portable application
  • Calibration and certification to DAkkS ISO 17025 standard

Why should I measure Corrosion Inhibitor (and how)? – our experts explain:

It is essential to measure Corrosion Inhibitor, accurately and continually.  With the correct system, pipeline life can be extended for many years.

Corrosion Inhibitor, sometime abbreviated to CI, is manufactured by various chemical companies to inhibit (to stop or slow) the rate of corrosion inside a pipeline as it carries a flowing product. In the normal Litre Meter context, a company that is heavily involved in Oil & Gas flow measurement, the flowing product is crude oil, straight out of the well.

Depending on the chemistry of the well, a specific inhibitor will be recommended or will be formulated to treat the oil in an optimum manner. As each well is different a large variety of solutions can now be chosen.  For flow measurement, the two main variables are flow rate and viscosity. Usually the fluids are compatible with stainless steel but sometimes higher specification steels or more exotic materials like titanium are required.

If not enough CI is present in the oil then the pipe walls will be corroded and will eventually lose their integrity and then fail. If too much is injected then costs can quickly mount up. Not only is the raw inhibitor expensive but also the tanks will need replenishing more often. Worse still, the refineries will charge dollars per barrel to remove the excess before the crude oil can be processed.

Corrosion Inhibitors prevent corroded pipes

Relying on pump speed, combined with calculation of volume per stroke, is insufficient for full flow assurance. The pump motor can be going but that’s no guarantee the fluid is flowing or that the amount is correct. Full flow measurement is necessary. Optimal meter selection, by experts, ensures good measurement over the full range of flows that the process can experience. It’s not unusual for the flow rate to vary by a factor of a 100 during the life of a well so a wide ranging flowmeter system is a good choice.

The VFF positive displacement flowmeter has been developed over the years to meet all the requirements of chemical injection and more.  They all offer:

  • Excellent materials, for long life, compact and lowest weight.
  • Repeatability – what happens now is the same as a year ahead
  • State of the Art instrumentation – mostly in SS with 4-20 and HART and linearisation.
  • Flexibility, changeable internals for gross range changes, high pressure ratings as standard, etc

Corrosion Inhibitor measurement = VFF

Extending the flowmeters calibrated range – an expert view

It’s not an uncommon request.  When the enquiry comes in the client thinks the required range will be 1 to 10 but, once installed, it’s clear that he should have stated 2 to 20.  Then, the question is: what do we do?

First: it’s unlikely that the range can be extended beyond the meter maximum rated flow rate.  Some flowmeter principles can cope with excessive flow rates, probably at the expense of pressure drop, but most can’t.

Second: Consider the magnitude of change and the expectation of accuracy. If it’s a change from 1 to 10 to 1 to 11 with a 5% accuracy requirement when the maximum rate is 12 then that’s an easy one – check with the factory on how the range can be changed within the instrumentation but the range extension will be OK. On the other hand, if it’s a ±0.2% meter then it’s unlikely that any range extension will be within that value without a return to the factory for recalibration.

Here’s an example:

The client had purchased an LF03 VFF positive displacement meter for the measurement and control of corrosion inhibitor.  The viscosity was 55cP and, although the meter is capable of 18 litres per hour, had specified an operational range of 0.2 to 2.3 l/h which we calibrated over.

A year later we had a request for a range change – could they up the calibration range to 5.6 l/hr? Of course, yes. Could we provide a statement to this?  See below:

VFF Flowmeter Extended Range Accuracy – 50cP viscosity

The original calibration for meter VFF5112 was up to 2.3 l/hr on 55cP. Litre Meter have analysed the last 17 LF03s calibrated at or around 50cP and can confirm that re-ranging to 5.6 l/hr will have only a minor effect to system accuracy.

VFF Analysis:

It can be seen from the aggregated performance curves above that extending the flow rate above 2.3 l/hr up to 7 l/hr produces little change in the meter linearity. We would suggest that, in the absence of any higher flow rate information above 2.3 litre per hour, that the meter is unlikely to be outside of ±2% of the 2.3 l/hr pulses per litre value up to 7 litres per hour. Increased confidence and accuracy can be obtained by recalibration.

Linearisation:

Litre Meter produce a document LM0688 “Technical Description – Linearisation” that explains the linearization process and the flow rate versus pulses per litre table. Also here.

KEM Küppers flowmeters include the ZHM round gear PD meter

Litre Meter are the exclusive UK distributors for KEM Küppers.  These include the ZHM, SRZ positive displacement, HM turbine and the Tricor coriolis series. Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

KEM ZHM01/3 gear meter
KEM ZHM01/3 gear meter

The ZHM series is highly engineered round gear PD flowmeter suitable for a slew of different applications such as hydraulic oil, automotive paint and chemical dispense measurement.

  • From 0.002 to 1 LPM to 1,000 LPM
  • Ratings to 315, 414, 690 bar and higher
  • Accuracy: ±0.5% of reading or better
  • Repeatability: ±0.05% of reading
  • Can be installed in any orientation
  • Cartridge, compact & aluminium options.

All of these units are manufactured in Germany by Litre Meter’s sister company, KEM Kueppers GmbH.

 

 

Low Flow Calibration – limits

The accuracy of the flowmeter can be determined by the change in the pulses per litre value over a flow rate range selected from the calibration certificate.  (This source document is also available for download from litremeter.com.)

  • Repeatability is better than ±0.1% of reading over the top 99% of range.
  • Accuracy with linearisation is better than ±0.5% of reading.

The minimum flow rate achievable depends on many variables but can be reduced to two factors:

  • the viscosity of the fluid. The higher the viscosity, the lower the low flow rate ability.
  • the perfection of the meter dimensions and components.
  1. Standard (STD) calibration rates can be achieved 99 times out of a 100. No special selection required
  2. Low Flow (LF) calibration requires matched parts and more calibration time
  3. Ultra Low Flow (ULF) calibration requires the best parts and the most patience by our calibration engineers. It is highly unlikely we can provide a batch of ULF meters due to their scarcity.

In particular, for LF03, LF05 and LF15, we can compare the low flow limits both on a linear scale and, secondly, on a logarithmic scale, as well as in a traditional table. The respective maxima are 18, 30 and 90 litres per hour:

Describes the low flow performance of the LF15
VFF flowmeter LF15 – flow range on various viscosities STD vs. LF vs. ULF
Describes the low flow performance of the LF05
VFF flowmeter LF05 – flow range on various viscosities STD vs. LF vs. ULF
Describes the low flow performance of the LF03
VFF flowmeter LF03 – flow range on various viscosities STD vs. LF vs. ULF

These tables were all updated in August 2019; rounding of some of the flow rate values understated the flowmeters’ abilities.

Additionally, work is underway to improve availability of the LF and ULF calibration bands.  Each rotor and chamber is now pre-calibrated on a nominal viscosity when first received. In actual fact, they are not calibrated as such but the low flow is determined using a custom flow programme on our automatic calibration lab.  This low flow value then enables the chamber and rotor to be categorised into one of the three bands. When an order is received with flow range and viscosity parameters the best chamber and rotor can then be selected with a high confidence level.

Reverse flow measurement – an expert view

Most flowmeters are setup for forward flow measurement. That is, they have a preferred direction for operation and that is adopted by the manufacturer/designer and advised to the customer.

Some flowmeters are symmetrical in the forward and reverse direction and will work in the reverse direction, too. Some are symmetrical and may not function or function well, due to meter design or principle, in reverse.

Finally, some meters may detect that the flow is in reverse and, better still, measure in either direction to the same accuracy.

We use the term flowmeter generically. When discussing flow direction and measurement we should consider the instrumentation as well as the flow sensor itself.

Distinctions:

Type A – not designed for Reverse flow, may cause damage:
Type B – can accept reverse flow, no detection
Type C – can accept reverse flow, detects direction of flow
Type D – Can accept reverse flow, measures accurately but doesn’t output direction
Type E – Accepts reverse flow and provides flow velocity and direction

B, C, D, E may need special instrumentation to extract the desired information.  The type designation just helps us understand the designs – it isn’t used outside of this article.

Flowmeter element Type
Orifice plate B, C, D or E
Wedge B, C, D or E
Venturi tube B, C, D or E
Flow Nozzle B or C
Pitot tube B
Elbow meter B, C, D or E
Target meter B or C
VA A or E (E with a special meter)
Positive Displacement A, B, C, D or E depends on design and sensing
Turbine A, B, C, D or E depends on design and sensing
Pelton A, B, C, D or E depends on design and sensing
Vortex A or B
Electromagnetic B, C, D or E – most units would be E
Ultrasonic(Doppler) B, C, D or E – most units would be E
Ultrasonic(Time-of-travel) B, C, D or E – most units would be E
Mass Coriolis B, C, D or E – most units would be E
Thermal Mass Insertion B
Thermal Mass Capillary B
Weir A
Flume B

 

Litre Meter flowmeters

Pelton Wheel

The LM range have a jet (apart from the LM220 and LM330). With a jet concentrating the flow onto the rotor, a reverse flow is very inefficient and the rate of rotation is much reduced for the same flow. The 220 and 330 are broadly symmetrical in some models and have different pipe layouts in most versions. These have never been fitted with technology to provide direction.

The same can be said of the larger, orifice plate based, MM meter. The inlet and outlet holes to the pelton wheel chamber are much different in size, so function poorly in reverse. A sole MM was manufactured with two pelton wheels and two sensors facing in different directions. By comparing the magnitude of the signals it was simple to tell which direction was active.

VFF

All VFF (rotary piston positive displacement) meters are perfectly symmetrical in design with rotors able to rotate clockwise or anticlockwise. There are small differences in machining so there are small differences in meter performance forward and reverse. There is a prescribed forward direction (purely for consistency) but the client can select the other direction as forward.

With a standard sensor the output is the same whether the flow is forward or reverse – just a series of pulses. When two sensors are fitted then the direction and magnitude of flow can be determined if the right instrumentation is used.

There are two suitable instruments used by Litre Meter and at least one system used by clients with varying degrees of sophistication. Sometimes two sensors are fitted for redundancy purposes. The instrument monitors one sensor. After a certain time period, if there isn’t a pulse attention is switched to the other sensor. The period is set to be a few seconds longer than the frequency for lowest flow achievable or the clients lowest expected flow.

Litre Meter use two sensor setups both based on reed switch sensing of the magnet in the VFF rotor. Litre Meter are developing a 3-D magnetometer based field sensor that can determine the position of the rotor in the chamber for finer pulse output.

If reed A switches before reed B then direction is forward. If B before A then direction is reverse.

The two reed switch setups are similar in concept but packaged differently. The original reed switch is situated in a sensor hole. When two reeds are used there are two parallel holes generally situated along the radius of gyration of the magnet. They are spaced to produce a clear lead or lag depending on rotor direction. The Fluidwell F115 is designed to interpret the lead/lag to produce a display with directionality.

With the introduction in 2015 of the CIFM versions of the VFF and the Litre Meter FlowPod the sensor was repackaged, with two reeds as standard, in an M8 stainless sensor body. Only one sensor hole is required as the reeds are side by side. The F115 and FlowPod can both interpret the CIFM sensor output.

F115

Fluidwell manufacture a wide range of instrumentation which Litre Meter have used since 2002. The F115 version is specifically designed for directionality. It does not have linearisation.

Description

The flow rate / totalizer model F115-P is a microprocessor driven instrument designed to show the flow rate, the total and the accumulated total. This model is able to detect the flow direction and to show a positive or negative flow rate, the totals for both directions and the cumulative totals.
This product has been designed with a focus on:

  1. ultra-low power consumption to allow long-life battery powered applications (type PB/PC),
  2. intrinsic safety for use in hazardous applications (type XI);
  3. several mounting possibilities with aluminum or GRP enclosures for harsh industrial surroundings;
  4. ability to process all types of flowmeter signals;
  5. transmitting possibilities with analog / pulse and communication outputs.
Flowmeter input

Two sensors with a phase difference of 90 or 270 degrees, can be connected to the F115-P.

Standard outputs
  1. Pulse output to transmit a pulse that represents a totalized quantity as programmed.
  2. Negative / positive pulse output indication – i.e. a flag.
  3. Linear 4-20mA analog output to represent the actual flow rate as programmed. The 4-20mA signal limits can be tuned.

FlowPod

Description

The FlowPod was designed from the outset with the CIFM sensor which is fitted with two closely positioned reed switches in one M8 stainless steel package. They are positioned in the flowmeter to provide a two separate pulses along the path of the spinning rotor. They are fairly close together such that there is a distinct time difference between reed A and B depending on direction.

In most installations the second reed is for redundancy purposes. The FlowPod monitors reed A. After a certain time period, if there isn’t a pulse, attention is switched to reed B. The period is set to be a few seconds longer than the frequency for lowest flow achievable or the lowest expected flow.

For directionality the FlowPod monitors reed A and B and interprets lead and lag to determine flow direction. Within the software forward direction can be set as ‘A before B’ or vice versa. Redundancy is still offered, although, of course, without direction.

Linearisation is standard on the FlowPod. The curve of flow rate versus frequency is similar in forward and reverse.

 

Litre Meter – who are we?

1. Can we start with some background on yourself and a brief history of Litre Meter?

Litre Meter was founded in 1975 by Sandy Wemyss. It originally designed and manufactured a Pelton wheel turbine flowmeter – still on sale today – along with a comprehensive selection of flow instrumentation. After Sandy’s death in 1978 his son, Charles Wemyss joined in 1982 and has been there ever since.

2. What inspired you to establish Litre Meter?

It was spun out of a development company looking at many types of flowmeter technologies for a variety of clients. One particular design was not used by that customer and was the genesis of the LM Pelton Wheel line. The MM soon followed and so a wide range of applications could be solved and Litre Meter Limited was established.

3. Given the massive proliferation of marketing technology, how do you see the Litre Meter market evolving over the next few years?

Litre Meter will always find a market for flowmeters at the margins. We are famous for providing flow solutions that are out of the ordinary, perhaps at low flow, with special materials, high pressures, or with specific pressure drop requirements. Whilst everyone one of our meters can measure the ordinary we will always aim for the niches.

4. Could you tell us about a standout business campaign to supply flow meters?

Our best campaigns come through word-of-mouth. Our two largest orders were as a direct result of providing, successfully, similar systems to original clients. They were impressed and those teams, when the time came, placed orders for similar equipment.

5. One word that best describes how you work.

Dynamically

6. Something you do better than others – the secret of your success? 

We still feel like a small family company. Staff turnover is very low, our longest employee has been here 31 years.

7. You did a thesis on ‘Weight reduction in the car with particular reference to the Wankel rotary engine’ in your Mechanical Engineering (The University of Sheffield). Can you brief the major points on it?

Even back in 1981, we were looking forward. Fuel consumption and efficiency were still drivers in car design but not as much as they are today. The thesis explored weight reduction in all aspects of the car but especially in the engine. There are great challenges to non-metallic materials in the engine bay relating to temperature and pressure. Various materials were explored, and simple components identified for evolving into composite construction. The Wankel engine has since fallen by the wayside, limited in its combustion efficiency with its awkwardly shaped combustion chamber. However, it now finds a role in UAVs where it’s relatively light weight and low vibration characteristics are close to ideal.

8. Litre Meter had received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, which is an outstanding achievement to be recognized at the highest levels for your success. Can you please elucidate on this?

Litre Meter awarded Queen’s Award for International Trade

Specifically, this was an award for Export, reflecting our global success. Traditionally Litre Meter finds its markets overseas, not only in the USA but also in South East Asia and Europe. For a period of several years, our export orders increased culminating in over 70% in 2015.

9. Can you please address the challenges of low-flow measurement?

The term ‘low flow’ has different values to different people. The VFF can easily measure down to 200 milliliters per hour. For other meters, this will be considered impossibly low. For some, 200 ml per day is achievable but not necessarily with the right combination of other specifics such as viscosity or pressure. For Litre Meter, the challenge is to achieve these low flows in a package suitable for some of the most arduous conditions on the planet. We select appropriate materials, backed up by ISO9001:2015 quality management, with high specification testing procedures, high-pressure ratings and high resistance coatings for longevity.

10. How do Litre Meter’s flow meters meet the demands of your customers and transform their business in the new digital economy?

Litre Meter’s Mission Statement is very simple: Our purpose is to provide flow measurement solutions to enable our customers to control their usage of fluids, materials ultimately to reduce costs and environmental impact. The digital economy has the same focus as most economies: to drive down costs and reduce the ecological footprint. High-performance measurement.

11. What are some of the primary end user drivers and requirements in the market that impact the flow meter productivity, and which are the primary market sectors represented by your major customers?

Flowmeter performance is king in our main market which is Oil & Gas. Clients drove the design of the VFF meter to what it is today. The components have been optimized to be as compact and lightweight as possible whilst retaining the flow performance and instrumentation specification. The adoption of our CIFM philosophy has produced a number of crucial advances in meter and instrument design. CIFM is an abbreviation of Chemical Injection Flow Meter. The first and most obvious is that the meters are more compact. Underneath the skin though there are important advancements in components, reliability, Exd philosophy and instrumentation. Standardisation has been a keyword and Litre Meter expect 80% of future orders to be from a standard (but wide) range rather than 20% with 80% bespoke. Over 800,000 variations are possible and every drawing including GA and lifting is available at the time of inquiry.

12. We understand that Litre Meter will enlarge market sales to drive further expansion. Can you share with us in which geographic and technology areas this will cover and do you anticipate further growth via acquisition?

Litre Meter has a 5-year plan and this involves organic growth within our current markets plus expansion into other markets and acquisition. Our geography is driven by our customers and therefore currently covers many of the oil and gas hotspots and includes multiple areas worldwide where skids are built. Our technology platform is stable but we continuously push the operating boundaries to measure lower flows with or without higher pressures.

About: Charles Wemyss – CEO
Charles Wemyss

Charles Wemyss is the CEO of Litre Meter Limited, the flowmeter experts in supplying Mass, Water, and Chemical Injection Flowmeters worldwide. He holds the Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) degree from The University of Sheffield. His area of expertise lies in Oil & gas flow measurement and especially chemical injection measurement for positive displacement meters and Coriolis mass meters, over the last twenty- five years. Charles Wemyss plays a key role in launching a bespoke range of customisable flowmeters, growing the organization’s reach worldwide.

 

Originally published in PlantAutomation.

 

A history of subsea flowmetering – Litre Meter experts

Here is a short history of deploying flowmeters, of various technologies, subsea
France, 1985:
The first custom design involved the LM pelton wheel. A compact product was required for installation on a submarine.  The pelton wheel is a radial turbine meter type suitable for low viscosity liquids and, in this incarnation, with a stainless steel body rated to 20 bar internal pressure and capable of 0.1 to 28 l/min. Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.
Challenger Oceanic, 1992:
Litre Meter contributed a plastic bodied LM pelton wheel.  The internal and external pressures were identical so the plastic housing was quite strong enough with simple hose connections. The electronics, however, was inside a submersible pod where the pressure was 1 bar. To withstand the pressure differential (300bar, 3000m) the sensor wall, thin for good signal acceptance, was constructed in a titanium alloy, previously purposed for the nose cone of a Harrier Jump Jet. The meter was installed on Alvin and used as part of a sampling system in subsea fumaroles, in places such as the Marianas Trench. Particles were collected and the volume of water measurement helped determine the percentage of solids.
North Sea, 1993:
For a simple solution to the flotation and righting of an offshore vessel two VFF 4 flowmeters were designed with subsea totaliser displays.  The VFF4 was the original VFF flowmeter size capable of measurement, at that time, of 4 l/minute as they were fitted with carbon graphite rotors.  A simple reed switch sensor was used.  With a battery powered LCD display mounted behind a clear acrylic window the diver were able to assess the amount of hydraulic fluid being used and thereby the angle of the platform as it slowly rotated from it’s horizontal transport position.  The challenge was to design a compact subsea display against a tight cost restraint.
Heron and Egret, 1996:
As Litre Meter extended it’s capability with increased design freedom internal pressures increased to 690 bar. The application required a very low flow of chemical to be measured and the smallest meter at the time, the MF15, was selected, again with a carbon graphite rotor.  The next problem was designing for 300 bar external pressure and provide a loop powered 4-20mA output with a customer specified Tronic connector.  Two sensors were utilised with a well designed electronic board that provided redundancy by continuous monitoring each sensor.  Typically, scale inhibitor was measured at 0.5 to 2.5 litres per hour. A stainless steel housing was constructed incorporating the connector and fully O-ring sealed.  The housing was tested by Sira at 300bar.
VFF MF15 for subsea duty with 4-20mA loop powered output
Subsea visual rate display, 2005 onwards
By upgrading an existing turbine design Litre Meter engineers were able to add a submersible battery powered display for use by an ROV mounted camera.  Starting with a standard ‘topsides’ meter a subsea collar was welded on. Then a stainless steel canister was constructed with a heavy duty acrylic window to withstand the pressure at 800m external depth. A large height LCD rate and total instrument was incorporated.  As the turbine used a magnetic sensor requiring no power, a simple battery powered solution was provided to the client. Flow rates were typically 5 to 90 l/min of water but the design has been incorporated in to different size turbines since.
Turbine flow meter for subsea duty with battery powered LCD totaliser
Galley Tieback, 2006:
Hydraulics measurement was needed, in a very specific envelope. The fluid was Castrol Brayco running at a wide ranging 1 to 50 litres per hour. Internal pressure was up to 414bar and the external pressure was 20bar.  A 4-20mA loop powered electronics was integrated within a cylindrical housing and utilised a Tronic connector.
MF30 VFF flowmeter developed for subsea use, mounted
Thunderhorse, 2006
When hydraulic fluid is measured valve position can be interpreted.  When subsea this is considerably more difficult as the measurement has to be compact and resist high pressures inside and out.  With an innovative manifold base little of the VFF MF30 meter remained. The sensor was standard but all other aspects of the design were optimised to use least space, maintain a pressure rating in and out and incorporate a custom electronics interface. Forward and return lines were monitored with pressures at 760bar and 345bar respectively. External pressures could be up to 300bar. Glass to metal seals for the sensor outputs were utilised together with the redundant sensor design used before.
MF30 VFF flowmeter developed for subsea use, with manifold mounting
Subsea valve, 2006 onwards:
The VFF meter in it’s various sizes were becoming more and more popular for chemical injection particularly at high pressures and low flows.  The MF15 was redesigned as the LF15. This enabled a higher accuracy, lower flow ability and crucially a smaller chamber diameter.  This, in turn, allowed a more compact meter design at the same pressure or, usefully, a higher pressure rating for a specific cap diameter.  The design brief was simple: Could we design a 1,035 bar meter for 90 litres per hour and 345 bar external rating in the same envelope as a can of Guinness? – we’re still working on this! What we did end up with is a fairly compact device (100mm diameter and 125mm long) where we  supply just the chamber and cap and the customer integrates these parts into a subsea module.  The unique chamber design allows pressure independent measurement whether at 1 bar or 1,000 bar.
With an expected lifetime of 30 years all efforts were made to increase the ability of the rotor and chamber.  Extensive testing on various bearings and coatings refined the design, retaining it’s simplicity but greatly improving resistance to high flow shocks and significantly improving low flow performance.  A full 2.5 years continuous running at twice the previous maximum flow demonstrated it’s durability. Careful calibration showed that low flow measurement at the start and the end of the 30 months were identical thereby proving that 90 litres per hour was the new maximum with that design and coating.
Hundreds are in service subsea around the world. The meter is used to provide feedback on the flow rate of chemical.  The pulse output (with a redundant sensor) requires no power and the meter has excellent particle size acceptance.
North Sea, 2012
The VFF4, when specified with a PVD coated Nitronic rotor and chamber, can measure up to 8 litres per minute. With a pressure rating of 300 bar (external and internal) a compact 3 wire 4-20mA meter was designed with 1/2″NPT connections. Hydraulics footprinting was then possible subsea. A Seacon Micro Wet-Con 4 pin connector was utilised with dual reed switches for redundancy. Field not known.
VFF4 VFF flowmeter developed for high pressure subsea use on hydraulics
North Sea, 2013
Apart from the Pelton Wheel, turbine and VFF rotary piston flowmeter designs there are other meter types that an provide a significant design benefit to subsea modification.  The ZHM gear meter offers a wide range and high pulse output rate. A SubConn subsea connector was incorporated and a high pressure 690bar design modified for 0.3 to 6 litres per minute.  The application was again chemical injection and 409 bar was the external rating.
ZHM positive displacement gear meter for subsea use
North Sea, 2015 onwards
When a clean sheet of paper is used then a streamlined solution can result.  The subsea turbine flow meter developed for hydraulics measurement from 3 to 33 l/min (HM009) is typical of this approach.  The turbine blades are standard whilst the sensor and Canbus electronics board are encapsulated by welding into the integral stainless steel housing. The customer specified subsea connector provides easy integration electronically. Internally, the meter can withstand 1,035 bar (tested to 1550 bar, 22,500 psi) and externally the specification allows for 300 bar.
HM turbine flowmeter for subsea use in two common configurations

The drive to save weight from the flowmeter experts

There was a very interesting article about Shell in last months Fortune. It explains how Shell were approaching the next decade and building 4 different scenarios of oil price and availability and their investment reactions to those.  I’ve included the link at the end of this article.  Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

It also detailed the effect on their platform design when the oil price suddenly reduced.  The most striking image is of two platforms designed in different eras.  Appomattox will soon be active in the Gulf of Mexico so would have been designed in 2013 with a Final Investment Decision (FID) in July 2015.  Vito was designed in early 2014, when oil was at $100.  By 2015, when the price had slipped, Vito was looking bulky. In early 2016 it was decided to slim it down to be profitable at $40.

A radical design overhaul slashed the top weight over the next year, from 40,000 tons to 8,900 tons. The shell team right-sized Vito, for a world of ‘peaking oil demand’.

The similarities with Litre Meter developing the FlowPod instrument seem tenuous – and we don’t have meters on either platform, which is unusual. But, the FlowPod was developed over 12 months from the original FPod Exd flow display.  The prime motive was size reduction and improved performance.  With that, and unclear at the start of the process, was a beneficial reduction in meter size and weight into the bargain.

The original purpose of the redesign was two-fold: firstly, to reduce the size of the instrument enclosure – mounting them remotely from the meter produced some unexpected challenges for our clients from time-to-time; secondly, to replace on obsolescent internal electronic component. It transpired that the new component was even bigger than the old one so a thorough instrumentation re-design was discussed, eliminating the large isolator and taking the benefit of a reduced enclosure size. This wasn’t an easy task and soon we were down the road of a ground-up redesign encompassing the traditional sensor which now had to be part of an Exd system.

With a new sensor every cap was also redesigned and there was a knock-on effect to the VFF body. We coupled this refinement with a desire to provide our customers with more standard meters ‘off-the-shelf’ shifting our traditional 80% bespoke/20% standard to 80/20 standard design vs custom, offering better availability.
When the dust had settled the new VFF, although having the same flow rate ranges, had a standardised Pressure Balanced Chamber design with a redesigned sensor, a compact display dubbed FlowPod certified Exd and over 114,000 different standard designs.
Litre Meter have analysed our customer’s requirements which has resulted in the various meter sizes being available in most appropriate connection sizes and styles. For example:

VFF flowmeter sizes and selected threaded connections

The sheer range of choice, which also encompasses body & cap materials, seal materials and instrumentation has effectively designed out the need for customization. Drawings are available for over 114,000 different VFF configurations – including

  • General Arrangement,
  • Parts List and
  • Lifting Diagrams, together with a
  • STEP file, allowing instant modelling.

Lead times are reduced, enabling customers to bring their projects to fruition earlier. There is a dedicated program that enables Litre Meter and their distributors to select and configure flowmeter solutions quicker and more accurately.

All the VFF range are designed around the Pressure Balance Chamber.  Cap and body sizes have been rationalised and minimum pressure ratings increased. For example, the most popular 1/2″NPT female body is now rated to 530 bar rather than 414 bar previously, increasing it’s usability just by varying bolting material.

Here are two identically ranged meters with 1/2″NPT female connections:

The older FPod on the left dwarfs the more compact FlowPod and rationalised body and cap.

Instrument weight plummets from 5 kg to 1.2 kg and display enclosure diameter reduces from 6.5 to 3.5 inches.  Stainless steel is now standard.   Here’s a quick comparison:

FlowPod benefits

We think this clearly demonstrates Litre Meter’s commitment to continuous improvement, matching Shell’s dramatic reductions on the Vito project. Fortune article.

 Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

Upgrading your FPod to FlowPod – a simple guide

Litre Meter ships biggest ever VFF flowmeter!

At the end of 2017 there was more activity than usual at Litre Meter as some of the largest VFF meters were gathered together for assembly and calibration. A complex project involving 7 different VFF sizes including the largest ever VFF was nearing completion.  The V400 weighs a hefty 600kg and measures a suitably massive flow rate of 330 l/min and is designed for 19m³/h normal flow. The liquid is lean MEG (monoethylene glycol) which is used as an antifreeze in offshore production platforms, amongst others.  The VFF series normally tops out at 2″ connections so 6″ was quite an engineering and logistical task.  Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

The pressure rating of 260+bar and the customer’s 6″ line dictated the use of 6″ANSI2500 connections and a 316L body.  On top of this is the standard chemical injection instrument, the FlowPod, which provides a clear display, 2 wire operation and HART all in a 316 Exd enclosure.

6" VFF V400 with 6" ANSI2500 flanges for measurement of Lean MEG, ready for final testing.
6″ VFF V400 with 6″ ANSI2500 flanges for measurement of Lean MEG, ready for final testing.
6" VFF V400 with 6" ANSI2500 flanges for measurement of Lean MEG.
6″ VFF V400 with 6″ ANSI2500 flanges for measurement of Lean MEG.

Other meter sizes included a V270 for methanol measurement, several HF60s also for methanol and an LF03 measuring just 0.5 litres per hour of antifoam (40,000 to one range from the smallest to the largest, in case you’re wondering). They all use the VFF rotary piston technology with pressure balanced chambers to ensure accurate measurement independent of operating pressure.  The range of displacements is from 0.4ml up to around 860 ml.

Connection ratings were equally disparate, ranging from ANSI150 to API6A, matching pressure ratings from 16.5 to 690bar.

Litre Meter CEO Charles Wemyss said: “Many new technologies provide superb measurement at various pressures, flow rates and operating conditions but lack the ability to provide measurement when the going gets tough, the pressures get high and the rates get low, or in this case when the rate gets high.  For super low flows at challenging pressures, or when pulsing flow can’t be tamed, the VFF comes out on top.

“Hydrate, scale and corrosion prevention strategies provide protection during normal operation, start-up and shutdown.

“Litre Meter’s VFF flowmeter is ideally suited for use in the oil and gas industry and in particular for low flow / high pressure applications.

“Years of experience in chemical injection applications onshore and offshore have confirmed the instrument’s capability to reliably measure fluids under extreme conditions of both flow and pressure.”

What’s in a typical flow meter datasheet?

First, let’s have a look at what might land on your desk.  Later, we’ll review it line by line. Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

A typical datasheet relating to a flowmeter is given as below – this one is based on a NORSOK format:

Flowmeter datasheet – Norsok layout.

This one is for the same meter but based on an ISA format (a version used by Litre Meter which uses S20.25 as it’s base):

Flowmeter datasheet – ISA layout, describing the same flowmeter.

Norsok:

This is an approximate layout, typified by NORSOK.

1 General

1.01 Type – a description of the flowmeter, by trade name and basic principle

1.02 Manufacturer – manufacturer’s name.

1.03 Design Temperature Limits – maximum and minimum design temperatures in suitable temperature units (°C)

1.04 Design Pressure Limits – maximum and minimum design pressures in suitable pressure units (bar gauge)

1.05 Estimated Pressure Loss – pressure drop at a specific flow such as maximum in suitable units (millibar)

1.07 Face to face dimension – complete assembly length in millimetres, with a tolerance

1.08 Mounting – type of mounting, in this case, In-Line but could be insertion, clamp-on etc.

1.09 Weight – dry, without fluids – in kilogrammes

2 Instrument Characteristics

2.01 Calibrated Range – flow rate range that the unit will be calibrated over – and units

2.02 Characteristic – an appreciation that not all meters are necessarily linear – some are non-linear such as orifice plates where the pressure drop is related to the flow rate by a square law, in this case linear – and linearised.

2.03 Meter factor – an estimated value of the number of pulses per litre – or other volume or mass unit

2.04 Accuracy – with percentage bounds and either proportional to the actual reading or FSD (Full Scale Deflection)

2.05 Linearity – with percentage bounds and either proportional to the actual reading or FSD (Full Scale Deflection)

2.06 Repeatability – with percentage bounds and proportional to the actual reading

2.07 Max Range limit – not necessarily the same as the maximum calibrated flow – describes the capabilities of the flowmeter

3 Meter Body

3.01 Nominal Size – normally relating the meter body size to the pipe size

3.02 Manufacturer model number – to precisely define the scope of supply

3.03 Process connection size and type – Size and flange or thread type, for example

3.04 Pressure rating – the rating of the flowmeter body in comparable units to 1.04

3.05 Face to face dimension – will match 1.07 in most cases

3.06 Body inner diameter – where appropriate

3.07 Sour service specification – nominated when appropriate – ISO or NACE in this example

3.08 Material, body – A specification for the material of the flowmeter body i.e. the main part of the meter

3.09 Material, Raised –

3.10 Protective coating/color

3.11 Other

4 INTERNAL

4.01 Type – such as rotor and chamber or another description of the flowmeter internals and principle

4.02 Material, shaft – if any

4.03 Material, support – if any – this might refer to a turbine flowmeter part

4.04 Material, rotor

4.05 Material, bearing – if any, may include material and type

4.06 Material, Seal – not just the materials but may include seal type

4.07 Material, pick-up – i.e. sensor material, wetted, or not

4.08 No of pick-ups

4.09 Other

5 FLOW STRAIGHTENER

5.01 Type

5.02 Material

5.03 Connection

5.04 Other

6 METER TUBE

6.01 Material

6.02 Connection up/downstr.

6.03 Up/downstream length

6.04 Tube inner diameter

6.05 Other

7 STRAINER

7.01 Type

7.02 Body/mesh material

7.03 Connection

7.04 Other

8              TRANSMITTER

8.01        Manufacturer model no

8.02        Mounting

8.03        Max distance meter/trans

8.04        Cable connection

8.05        Cable entry

8.06        Dimension

8.07        Material

8.08        Enclosure protection

8.09        Ex. classification

8.10        Protective coating

8.11        Indicator

8.12        Tamb

8.13        Totalizer

8.14        Output signal (note 9.02)

8.15        Communication

8.16        Recommended loop voltage

8.17        Transmitter loop voltage drop

8.18        Max loop current (fault condition)

8.19        Other – in this case describes more of the hazardous area ratings and standards – CSA, IECEx and ATEX

Measuring Sodium Hypochlorite in Hazardous Areas

Sodium Hypochlorite

Sodium hypochlorite is a green/yellow liquid with the characteristic smell of chlorine. It was first used as a bleaching agent and was then discovered to be effective in controlling wound infections. Subsequently, it is most commonly known as household bleach. The solution exhibits broad spectrum anti‐microbial activity and is widely used in healthcare facilities in a variety of settings. It is usually diluted in water depending on its intended use. Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.
In the chemical injection arena, it is common to inject sodium hypochlorite into sea water. Sea water can contain dissolved oxygen, bacteria and solids. These can affect an oil reservoirs life. Hypo is used as a bactericide whilst filters take care of the solids. Hypo is aggressive before it is diluted in the sea water and therefore requires some specialized devices in terms of wetted materials. Litre Meter have been manufacturing flowmeters since 1975.
We’ve always concentrated on the harder margins of metering typically at low flows and/or at high pressure. For this application note Litre Meter illustrate two solutions to this application based on <20 % solution. Download brochure.

Sodium Hypochlorite Flowmeters ‐ Applications and Rates ‐ VFF

The VFF has successfully metered fluids such as oils, hydraulic fluids, corrosion / wax / demulsifier / pour point dispenser /scale / hydrate inhibitors, biocides, oxygen scavengers, etc. for over 30 years. Meter bodies are produced in a variety of high grade materials which offer good chemical and environmental resistance. For sodium hypochlorite, Litre Meter recommend Titanium for the body and chamber with carbon graphite for the actual rotary piston. This ensures maximum compatibility, life and accurate response. The magnet is either encapsulated in titanium or PTFE.

VFF Flowmeter Sizes and Connections.

Applications for flow‐rates as low as 0.5 litres per hour have been supplied. Normal minimum flow rates depend on operating viscosity. In this case, viscosity is assumed to be between 1 and 2.5cP. Using the smallest VFF with carbon graphite rotor (LF15) and calibrating on water, which has a lower viscosity than NaOCl, a range of 0.5 to 40 L/hr is achieved. The meters range in size from the smallest titanium body, LF15 – 40 L/hr, to the largest V270 ‐ 270 L/min max. Higher flow‐rate meters are available to special order. The table at the end of this article assists in the selection of the best technology.

Sodium Hypochlorite Flowmeters ‐ Applications and Rates ‐ Pelton Wheel

Litre Meter started manufacturing the Pelton Wheel turbine in 1975. These usually had some stainless steel components together with a plastic rotor, elastomer seals and sapphire bearings. All plastic versions soon followed, including all Polypropylene, all PFA, all PVC and all PVDF. The other wetted parts are still sapphire with a suitable elastomer such as FKM or FFKM for the single O ring seal. The normal specification for Sodium Hypochlorite compatible Pelton Wheel flow meters is now PVC for the main body and cap with PVC or titanium internals, sapphire bearings, an FKM O‐ring and PFA rotor.

Pelton Wheel Flowmeter for Sodium Hypochlorite

The Pelton Wheel is an economical device with low pressure ratings and needs to have relatively steady state non‐pulsing flows.
The table at the end of this article assists in the selection of the best technology.

Compatible Materials

Due to the nature of Sodium Hypochlorite only a select group of tested materials is recommended by Litre Meter. We tailor our meters using three key materials, developed over 30 years of measuring Sodium Hypochlorite:

PVC, Hastelloy and titanium
The PVC design can be used up to 15 bar pressure maximum. Hastelloy (UNS N10276) up to 1035 bar. For the ultimate select titanium (UNS R50400) designed for 1380 bar (20,000psi, 20 ksi)

These material make up the body and the cap of the meter. The seals between the meter body and cap are normally FKM. Other seal materials include FFKM and PTFE. All seals within the meter are fully compatible with Sodium Hypochlorite.

Flow ranges and references

All Litre Meter manufactured flowmeters are custom calibrated across the customer specified minimum to maximum flow conditions and working viscosity. The minimum flow rates achievable are dependent on fluid viscosity. With sodium hypochlorite, in most normal concentrations, water is used as the calibration medium as this proves to be the best for accurate calibration representation. The table below assists in selecting which technology is preferred.
Normal engineering materials like 304 and 316 stainless steel, aluminium, brass and steel are unsuitable due to the aggressive nature of the free chlorine in the Sodium Hypochlorite. Plastics such as PVC and PTFE are suitable together with Hastelloy C and purer grades of Titanium.

Comparison table:
Table showing selection criteria for Sodium Hypochlorite meters in two different flow technologies.

Why should I measure Scale Inhibitor (and how)?

Money, money, money – or, as we now call it, Flow Assurance, coupled with a low flow meter

Allowing scale to build up on the inside of the pipeline may seem fairly inconsequential. However, when the amount of scale is considered, (and referencing the image) it is immediately obvious that the expensive crude will slow down and pumping costs will soar. Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.
Scaling reduces the area of a pipe if scale inhibitor is not used
Scaling reduces the area of a pipe if scale inhibitor is not used – Stock image
Chemists will analyse the crude oil as it comes out of the well, sometimes years before production starts. From geotechnical surveys other technicians will determine the rate of oil output through the anticipated life of the field.  With this data the chemist will recommend what the concentration of the scale inhibitor should be.  The pressure of the well will determine at which pressure the inhibitor needs to be injected at. Day to day the temperature will vary according to the seasons, the weather and location of the measurement.
The analysis of the crude, unrefined oil will tell the chemist whether the pipe will start to scale up as a result of pumping the oil through a pipe to the ship or refinery.  Certain chemicals are then formulated to optimise and negate the scale.  There will be compromises between concentration of the fluid, application flow rates and storage availability.  If the concentration can be increased so that the tanks only need filling up once per month then that is preferred to once per fortnight. Inevitably this means that the flow rate is lower, and probably, the viscosity increases. Measurement range will also vary through the life of the field. It may start slow, then plateau a few years later and then tail off as the field winds down.  Additionally to this, the consistency of the unrefined oil will probably change from start to finish.  All of these variables can lead to a range of viscosities and a range of flow rates.
In summary, selection of the meter philosophy and specification is critical to successful measurement of scale inhibitor and future condition of the oil pipeline.

The VFF rotary piston flowmeter has been used for many years to measure scale inhibitor at a variety of flow rates, pressures and viscosities.

VFF flowmeter for chemical injection service, with FlowPod display

Flowmeters for Sodium Hypochlorite – Hazardous Area, too

Sodium hypochlorite

Sodium hypochlorite is a green/yellow liquid with the characteristic smell of chlorine. It was first used as a bleaching agent and was then discovered to be effective in controlling wound infections. Subsequently, it is most commonly known as household bleach. The solution exhibits broad spectrum anti‐microbial activity and is widely used in healthcare facilities in a variety of settings. It is usually diluted in water depending on its intended use.
In the chemical injection arena, it is common to inject sodium hypochlorite into sea water. Sea water can contain dissolved oxygen, bacteria and solids. These can affect an oil reservoirs life. Hypo is used as a bactericide whilst filters take care of the solids. Hypo is aggressive before it is diluted in the sea water and therefore requires some specialized devices in terms of wetted materials.
Litre Meter have been manufacturing flowmeters since 1975.
We’ve always concentrated on the harder margins of metering typically at low flows and/or at high pressure. For this application note Litre Meter illustrate two solutions to this application based on <20 % solution.

Sodium Hypochlorite Flowmeters ‐ Applications and Rates ‐ VFF

The VFF has successfully metered fluids such as oils, hydraulic fluids, corrosion / wax / demulsifier / pour point dispenser /scale / hydrate inhibitors, biocides, oxygen scavengers, etc. for over 30 years. Meter bodies are produced in a variety of high grade materials which offer good chemical and environmental resistance. For sodium hypochlorite, Litre Meter recommend Titanium for the body and chamber with carbon graphite for the actual rotary piston. This ensures maximum compatibility, life and accurate response. The magnet is either encapsulated in titanium or PTFE.
Applications for flow‐rates as low as 0.5 litres per hour have been supplied. Normal minimum flow rates depend on operating viscosity. In this case, viscosity is assumed to be between 1 and 2.5cP. Using the smallest VFF with carbon graphite rotor (LF15) and calibrating on water, which has a lower viscosity than NaOCl, a range of 0.5 to 40 L/hr is achieved.
The meters range in size from the smallest titanium body, LF15 – 40 L/hr, to the largest V270 ‐ 270 L/min max. Higher flow‐rate meters are available to special order. The table on the last page assists in the selection of the best technology.

Sodium Hypochlorite Flowmeters ‐ Applications and Rates ‐ Pelton Wheel

Pelton Wheel Flowmeter for Sodium Hypochlorite

Litre Meter started manufacturing the Pelton Wheel turbine in 1975. These usually had some stainless steel components together with a plastic rotor, elastomer seals and sapphire bearings. All plastic versions soon followed, including all Polypropylene, all PFA, all PVC and all PVDF. The other wetted parts are still sapphire with a suitable elastomer such as FKM or FFKM for the single O ring seal.
The normal specification for Sodium Hypochlorite compatible Pelton Wheel flow meters is now PVC for the main body and cap with PVC or titanium internals, sapphire bearings, an FKM O‐ring and PFA rotor.
The Pelton Wheel is an economical device with low pressure ratings and needs to have relatively steady state non‐pulsing flows.
The table on the last page assists in the selection of the best technology.

Compatible Materials

Due to the nature of Sodium Hypochlorite only a select group of tested materials is recommended by Litre Meter. We tailor our meters using three key materials, developed over 30 years of measuring Sodium Hypochlorite:

These material make up the body and the cap of the meter. The seals between the meter body and cap are normally FKM. Other seal materials include FFKM and PTFE. All Seals within the meter are fully compatible with Sodium Hypochlorite.

Flow ranges and references

All Litre Meter manufactured flowmeters are custom calibrated across the customer specified minimum to maximum flow conditions and working viscosity. The minimum flow rates achievable are dependent on fluid viscosity. With sodium hypochlorite, in most normal concentrations, water is used as the calibration medium as this proves to be the best for accurate calibration representation. The table below assists in selecting which technology is preferred.
Normal engineering materials like 304 and 316 stainless steel, aluminium, brass and steel are unsuitable due to the aggressive nature of the free chlorine in the Sodium Hypochlorite. Plastics such as PVC and PTFE are suitable together with Hastelloy C and purer grades of Titanium.

Comparison Table:

Table showing selection criteria for Sodium Hypochlorite meters in two different flow technologies.

Litre Meter can provide optimum solutions for a wide range of flow rates of Sodium Hypochlorite. Using a variety of materials, a flowmeter can be constructed that handles any specific concentration of NaOCl and provide a display and/or output for measurement and control. For references etc please download our brochure.

What’s the best chemical injection flow meter? An expert explains:

Litre Meter VFF rotary piston positive displacement flowmeters have proven to be the foremost solution for chemical injection flow metering applications. They are able to handle the wide range of flows at pressures from a few bar up to 10,000 and 20,000 psi (690, 1,380 bar) and higher. The FlowPod instrument has been developed after feedback from many clients in the chemical injection arena, focussing on ease-of-use, compactness and functionality. Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

In many chemical injection applications the VFF is the sole answer because of it’s unique capabilities at the ‘margins of measurement’. This might include super low flow rates and low viscosity or awkward chemical compatibility and material requirements. The standard range of VFF meters, available from 2015, was also designed in response to user feedback. It provides a number of bespoke chemical injection features that are no longer specials.  Since then, 80% of meters supplied have been from stock designs as opposed to 20% before.  This also means that drawings are immediately available including STEP files, lifting diagrams and parts lists.

Since 2013, as standard, all VFF meters have a URL given on the name plate and a QR code that links to a website with specific calibration certificates, manuals, hydrostatic test certificates and material certificates.

  • VFF positive displacement meters can measure accurately at any pressure and with a pulsing pump.  The measurement accuracy is unaffected by working pressure or change due to the unique construction.
  • VFF positive displacement meters can measure a range of chemicals at extreme low flows such as less than 100 ml per hour and at low or high viscosity.  Particle size limits are a generous 40 or 100 microns.
  • VFF positive displacement meters can measure a variety of chemicals requiring alternatives to 316L.  Titanium rotors are standard with titanium, super duplex and Hastelloy options for body and cap.
  • VFF positive displacement meters can be constructed using exotic materials and/or exotic material specifications. Litre Meter have developed their own material specification for 316L, duplex and super duplex. We have built meters from highly specified materials with extensive testing regimes to tight delivery times.

Call us now with your chemical injection metering requirements for probably the best flowmeter.  (it’s why LITRE METER RECEIVES A QUEEN’S AWARD FOR ENTERPRISE)

VFF Flowmeter Sizes and Connections.

Electronic documentation – leading the way

Litre Meter now provides all documentation electronically for it’s manufactured flowmeters.  That’s not just a manual emailed to the client, either.  Each meter has a product label and includes a QR code and URL. At the website location there’s a minimum of a calibration certificate, quick start instructions and a full Installation and Operation Manual (IOM). Most will also have material certificates, hydrostatic test certificates, wiring diagrams and a function test cert. Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

The product label is comprehensive, providing all calibration data.  The URL provides everything else the installation engineer might need. Using a smart phone and scanning the QR code is even more convenient.

Charles Wemyss, CEO of Litre Meter, says:”If a client needs any information emailed we just send the link. For larger projects with a number of flowmeters and larger documentation packages we include a single zip file for ease of downloading.  We’ve been providing this as part of our service since 2013 and our customers love it! This is a project dear to our hearts that cuts waste right down and provides our clients with a very quick and easy access point.  As far as we know, there is no other instrumentation company providing this level of data direct to their clients.”.

Litre Meter QR code allows remote access to documentation

 

KEM Küppers Subsea flowmeter solutions

Litre Meter are now the exclusive distributors for KEM Küppers. In addition to their standard ranges of positive displacement and turbine flowmeters KEM offer a customisation service that encompasses the necessary modifications and approvals for subsea service. Both the ZHM gear meter and HM turbine meter have versions that are designed to rigorous subsea specifications. The subsea versions have encapsulated electronics, a welded stainless steel cover and an FEA designed housing that remains stable at high external pressures. All of these are manufactured by Litre Meter’s sister company KEM Küppers in Germany. Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

Two Subsea Applications:

Production – Blow Out Preventers (BOPs) are large subsea control valves used to prevent uncontrolled release of pressure or flow of fluid during well drilling operations or production. The hydraulic valve can be remotely controlled to close or open to avoid a “blow out”, and are typically installed multiple times in stacks as a precaution. Maintenance of BOPs and regularly testing is a very high priority for both the oil company and drilling rigs. Subsea turbine flow meters are used on the hydraulic fluid to monitor the valves to ensure that they are functioning correctly when needed.

ZHM: Positive displacement gear meter with wide flow range. Image shows subsea cover and connector.

Subsea chemical injection – As oil is pumped from the subsea well, many chemicals and additives are injected to ensure maximum productivity. In many cases, oil companies install subsea flow meters to measure these chemicals at the point of entry, which is often far below the surface, instead of topside where the liquid has to travel a great distance before entering the flow stream. Often this is more cost effective. Subsea Positive Displacement (PD) flow meters are used to inject additives such as mono ethylene glycol (MEG), methanol, and low-dose inhibitors (LDIs).

HM: Axial turbine flowmeter, redesigned for subsea duty, with subsea electrical connectors.

Call Litre Meter now for further information. 01296 670200. www.litremeter.com

What is linearisation – what is it and why do I need it? An expert explains:

Linearisation is a process that enhances the accuracy of any repeatable flowmeter. Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

This article will show the amount of accuracy increase that can be expected from optimising linearisation points in terms of number and position.

A standard calibration of a VFF flowmeter will involve 10 calibration points. These are always spread out along the customer’s operating flow range. They will be distributed in favour of lower flow rates – where changes in raw meter accuracy are higher.

Below is an example of a flowmeter calibration curve. The results of a calibration are a table of flow rates and the corresponding pulses per litre.  In an ideal world, there would be a hundred or a thousand such points so that the complete curve could be plotted and for any given flow rate the pulses per litre would be known. In practice, there are usually 10 to 20, distributed as shown.

A plot of flow rate against frequency would be an apparently straight line relationship.  The angle of the straight line would be the ‘meter factor’ or the average number of pulses per litre.

Flowmeter linearisation. Flow rate versus frequency.

Flowmeter linearisation. Flow rate versus frequency.

To make this more visual, it’s common to plot the flow rate against the ‘pulses per litre’. This emphasises the changes as the flow rate increases.

Flowmeter meter factor or 'k' factor plotted against flow rate.
Flowmeter meter factor or ‘k’ factor plotted against flow rate.

Better still is a plot of flow rate against accuracy using the ‘meter factor’ as a zero.  The biggest positive excursion defines the positive error and the biggest negative excursion is the negative error.

Flowmeter linearity expressed as percentage error versus flow rate
Flowmeter linearity expressed as percentage error versus flow rate.

If the flowmeter is repeatable then we can use a technique called linearization.  In other words, if the curve (i.e. the relationship between flow rate and pulses per litre) is the same the next time around, then the flow rate can be calculated from the frequency output using the specific pulses per litre value rather than an average pulses per litre value.  If the flow rate is identical to one of the original calibration points there is no adjustment. At other flow rates a calculation is required.  In between the points most linearization systems use simple linear interpolation. For example, if the flow rate is halfway between two original calibration points then an average of the pulses per litre for those two points is used.

The error is represented here by the length of the red arrow.

Linearisation is normally linear interpolation between two points. The difference between the brown linear interpolation and the blue real value is the subsequent error.
Linearisation is normally linear interpolation between two points. The difference between the (brown) linear interpolation and the (blue) real value is the subsequent error.

Now the measurement error is no longer compared to a single meter factor from min to max but a linearity curve built into the meter.

By carefully selecting the calibration flow rates along the range the remaining error can be minimised.  In the example below, the actual curve (in blue) is shown plus the linear approximation (in brown).

The meter character and the linear interpolation between linearisation points for the whole range of the meter
The meter character and the linear interpolation between linearisation points for the whole range of the meter.

Magnified in scale:Here is how this linearization improves the accuracy, on the same scale:

Results of the linearisation.
Results of the linearisation.

Magnified in scale:

The result of linearisation. Now between +0.19% and -0.28%.
The result of linearisation. Now between +0.19% and -0.28%.

And here is the result, if there are 4 calibration points at the lowest flow rates rather than 2.

Concentrating the calibration and linearisation points at low flows, in this example, has a further impressive improvement to overall linearity.
Concentrating the calibration and linearisation points at low flows, in this example, has a further impressive improvement to overall linearity.

As a result of linearization, the overall error has been reduced from max error: 1.19%, min error: -3.98% to max error: +0.19%, min error: -0.28% representing an 11x improvement.  Selecting the calibration points carefully improves this further.  Every calibration point has a cost so there are diminishing returns. If the repeatability is +/- 0.25% then 10 points overall are normally enough.

If enough calibration time is available and the repeatability of the system is considerable then more points can be selected for the linearisation table.  In this extension of the example above 21 points are used rather than just 10.  Arranged carefully throughout the flow range, the net effect is to reduce the max/min to 0.08%, a 64x improvement over the non-linearised version.  If the repeatability of the system was ±0.1% then no more points are required.The flowmeter response (blue) is almost perfectly matched by 21 carefully selected calibration points (brown).

The flowmeter response (blue) is almost perfectly matched by 21 carefully selected calibration points (brown).
The flowmeter response (blue) is almost perfectly matched by 21 carefully selected calibration points (brown).
The final analysis. Total non-linearity reduced from 5.17% to 0.08%.
The final analysis. Total non-linearity reduced from 5.17% to 0.08%.

This article shows that linearisation with a flowmeter instrument can significantly improve the linearity of the flowmeter system.  In this example, if the meter is repeatable, then 6 to 60 times improvements are possible.

Next article: Is there good and bad linearisation?

Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

VFF FilterPro filter protects VFF meters from contamination

Litre Meter introduces the VFF FilterPro Filter that maximizes the efficiency of its flow meters by eliminating contaminants that cause reduced flow, damage to internal construction as well as a blockage.  As 96% of flow meter failures are associated with contamination issues, the FilterPro protects flow measurement instrumentation, assuring optimal flow in liquid injection, batch processing, and lubrication systems. Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

VFF FilterPro - a filter to match your VFF Flowmeter
VFF FilterPro – a filter to match your VFF Flowmeter

Featuring a four-layer wire woven mesh filtration design, the FilterPro uses a proven surface filtration principle that filters elements from 10 to 100 microns (depending upon unit option) by trapping particulates between its layers.  Available in three key filter sizes, the FilterPro pairs perfectly with the company’s positive displacement, rotary piston, and turbine flow meters with connection sizes from ¼” up to 9/16” in multiple thread types.   Offered in 316 stainless steel or exotic materials, the FilterPro is available in the same materials as VFF flow measurement instrumentation to avoid compatibility and performance variances.

Units are suitable for use in low and high viscosity liquids at pressures up to 20,000 psi (1,380 bar) and can withstand a pressure drop of 870 psi (60 bar) with a burst pressure drop of 2,175 psi (150 bar).  Simple to install, the FilterPro is easily cleaned by unscrewing 8 bolts and replacing the filter insert.  The company is currently developing larger filters to accommodate larger meters while incorporating a filter maintenance indicator and greater resistance to burst pressure. Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

VFF FilterPro pressure drops for viscosity and flow rate values - 30 micron
VFF FilterPro pressure drops for viscosity and flow rate values – 30 micron
Exploded view of VFF FilterPro with annotation
Exploded view of VFF FilterPro showing simplicity of design and disassembly
VFF FilterPro with filter cartridges
VFF FilterPro with filter cartridges, available in 10, 30 and 100 micron sizes
VFF FilterPro Dimensions - threaded body
VFF FilterPro Dimensions – threaded body – NPT or Autoclave Medium Pressure. Other connections on request.
VFF FilterPro typical materials and pressure ratings
VFF FilterPro typical materials and pressure ratings

 

VFF FilterPro typical connections and pressure ratings
VFF FilterPro typical connections and pressure ratings

20k meters – brochure available

Litre Meter have been making meters for higher pressures for over 3 decades. Our first 1,380bar unit was shipped in 1997.  We’ve now produced a brochure to cover these ratings.

Download the 20k VFF datasheet
20,000 psi rated VFF flowmeters – brochure

Litre Meter have been manufacturing flowmeters since 1975. We’ve always concentrated on the harder margins of metering typically at low flows and/or at high pressure. The VFF range has many uses in the oil and gas industry and meets the high specifications required. Outside of oil and gas we have manufactured these to 2,500 bar. We have recently noticed a trend towards 20,000 psi ratings and this brochure is in response to that.

Since 1997 Litre Meter has made numerous VFF meters for 1,380 bar in Oil and Gas applications and a reference list is provided at the end of this article.
The same design can be used on 22.5ksi (1,550 bar) with little modification.
The breakthrough in our design philosophy came in 2005 when we separated the measurement of the fluid from the pressure containment. We designed a measurement chamber that floats in the pressure vessel. This ensures accurate, pressure independent flow metering from 10 psi to 20,000 psi. The Pressure Balance Chamber is explained below.

Key Features

  • Rotary Piston/ Oscillating Piston type flow meter with a single moving part provides robust and low maintenance technology.
  • Suitable for low & high viscosity liquids at pressure ratings up to 4,000 bar (60,000 psi). 20,000 psi designs as standard.
  • Available materials of construction: 316L (UNS S31603), Duplex F51(UNS S31803), Super Duplex F53(UNS S32750)/F55(UNS S32760), 6Mo F44(UNS S31254), Hastelloy (UNS N10276) & Titanium (UNS R56400).
  • Connections: Autoclave, Grayloc Hubs, Galperti Hubs, Techlok hubs. More on request.
  • Communications: 4‐20mA HART, Pulse, MODBUS, Foundation Fieldbus, dependent on electronics and certification requirements.
  • Compact
  • Very Low Flow Measurement
  • Tolerant of particulate up to 100+ microns
  • Low pressure drop (<0.1 bar typical)

20K Flowmeters ‐ Applications and Rates

The VFF has successfully metered fluids such as oils, hydraulic fluids, corrosion / wax / asphaltene / demulsifier / pour point depressant (PPDs) /scale / hydrate inhibitors, biocides, oxygen scavengers, etc. for over 30 years. Meter bodies are produced in a variety of high grade materials which offer good chemical and environmental resistance.
Applications for flow‐rates as low 0.00013 litres/min (0.19 litres/day) have been metered within the offshore oil industry. The VFF flow meter provides exceptional rangeability with potential turndowns of up to 3000:1, dependent on operating viscosity.
The meters range in size from the smallest standard stock size, LF03 ‐ 18 L/Hr max, to the largest V270 ‐ 270 L/min max. Higher flow‐rate meters are available to special order.
An extensive range of meter designs and materials offers pressure ratings to 20,000 psi (1,380 bar). Higher pressure rating designs are manufactured up to 4,000 bar (60,000 psi). 20,000 psi designs available, as standard, up to HF60 and special designs can measure higher flow rates.

20K Flowmeters ‐ Meter Sizes

The VFF meter is not just one size, one specification. It’s a comprehensive range of carefully engineered devices to meet today’s standards in the most demanding oil & gas arenas. It’s truly a Versatile Fluids Flowmeter.

In the illustration below the smallest meter is typically housing an LF05 or LF15 rotor and chamber with FlowPod instrument and Autoclave Engineers MP connections.

The middle unit is a medium size meter, say, VFF4 with hub connections and FlowPod display.

The right‐hand meter also has hubbed connection sizes, FlowPod display but is larger to accommodates the HF60 rotor and chamber.

VFF Flowmeter Sizes and Connections.
VFF Flowmeter Sizes and Connections.

Pressure Balance Chamber

What Is a Pressure Balance Chamber?
Extensive testing by Litre Meter in 2005 proved that leaks occur over the top of the rotor at higher pressures. This is due to minute distortions of the cap. For example, at 700 bar the cap moves by just 0.02mm in the centre. Increasing the bulk of the cap still produces this movement. The effect on meter performance was the creation of a leak path for fluid that avoided the positive displacement of the rotor. This was equivalent to about a 3% inaccuracy at 700 bar. As a result, of this Litre Meter designed a pressure balance chamber for its VFF flowmeters so it could operate at extreme pressure and at low flow rates. The pressure balance chamber acts as a barrier, protecting the internal measurement components of the instrument from the high pressure conditions, preventing them from expanding and contracting under the immense pressure. NO DISTORTION MEANS ACCURATE MEASUREMENT AT ANY PRESSURE. All VFFs over 414 bar are fitted with this technology. It is identified by the letters PBC in the calibration certificate.
Key Benefits:

  • No distortion of the chamber at higher pressures.
  • Enables selection of optimal materials for the chamber to match the rotor i.e. PVD coated stainless steel or titanium.
  • Enables selection of optimal materials for the pressure vessel.
  • Enables construction of a duplex bodied flowmeter.
  • Swappable PBC for simplified sparing.

Flow ranges and references

All VFF flowmeters are custom calibrated across the customer specified min – max flow conditions and working viscosity. The minimum flow rates achievable are dependent on fluid viscosity. To see the achievable calibration ranges for each meter size please consult the table below. We can offer meters that range from 0.005 L/hr to 3,600 L/hr at 20K pressures to best suit your applications and with exceptional turndowns.

20K flow ranges

Areas of key significance:

  • Extended experience in measuring 20,000 psi in Oil & Gas applications.
  • World leaders in low flow and high pressure measurement.
  • High or low viscosity fluids flow measurement.
  • The Chemical Injection Specialists.
20,000 psi reference list
20,000 psi reference list VFF meters

Future developments

Litre Meter have already provided meters for 2,500bar. Offshore models at 22.5k & 25k are designed and 30k, 40k and 50k will be produced.
Litre Meter continues to innovate in the field of flow measurement. Recent successes include the LF05 and LF03 size meters, a new sensor, the FlowPod instrument and the FlowLabPro calibrator series. In the near term, expect to see lower flow capabilities, more calibrators and a low flow meter for any liquid type.

Offshore Corrosion Inhibitor Measurement at 20,000psi

APPLICATION: Various chemicals are injected into a deep water well to prevent corrosion, paraffins, hydrates, and scale. The flow rates for the injection are generally very low and need to be metered precisely to prevent under or over-dosing a well.

PRODUCTS SUPPLIED: • VFF series LF03, LF05, and LF15 • HM turbines HM-007 and HM-009/TC-AC/S-EX

CHALLENGE: As oil exploration goes into deeper and deeper water and deeper reservoirs, new challenges arise that put current technology to the test. The newest development is reservoirs that are reaching pressures of up to 20,000 psi. The chemicals need to be injected at a pressure that will overcome the force of the oil flowing up the umbilical.

SOLUTION: By utilizing different technologies available through the TASI Flow portfolio, we were able to offer a solution for this unique chemical injection challenge.
Positive displacement meters from Litre Meter were used for their ability to measure ultra-low flows and their flexible materials of construction that allows for high tensile strength steels exceeding the 20,000 psi pressure requirement. For the higher flow methanol and LDHI applications, the high pressure HM turbine line from AW was used for their ability to measure very non-lubricating fluids while also achieving the desired pressures.
The hazardous area location of these meters also require that all electrical components be hazardous area certified. Because of the close cooperation in development between AW and Litre Meter, as well as all other TASI Flow brands, we were able to offer a single type of user interface for all the meters. Using Litre Meter’s FlowPod transmitter in conjunction with the AW HUB-40EX pickup added a uniformity to the installation of all the meters on the chemical skid.

Corrosion Inhibitor measured at 20,000 psi 1380bar
Corrosion Inhibitor measured at 20,000 psi 1380bar

RESULTS: This is simply one of the first projects heading to locations with reservoirs up to 20,000 psi. In the near future equipment manufacturers in this segment of the market are going to need to produce technology that can keep up with industry needs. TASI Flow’s continuing innovations and ability to customize will allow them to keep pace with the constant change in the O&G production environment. Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

Fuel and fuel additive test system uses Tricor for final testing of Formula 1 gasoline pumps

APPLICATION: Fuel and fuel additives test system for final testing of gasoline pumps at Parker Hannifin Manufacturing Germany GmbH & Co. KG in Mainz-Kastel. The pumps are used by Formula 1 racing teams. Every single gasoline pump is tested and qualified on the test system under completely different operating parameters before they are delivered to the racing customers.

CHALLENGE: A test system of high technical complexity was being designed and modelled for unlimited final testing of gasoline pumps for Formula 1 racing customers. To meet the very high demands for quality, the test must cover the entire performance spectrum and provide the optimum testing conditions for the final test. In the area of flow measurement, the task was to specify a highly accurate sensor for the most varied operating parameters. The flow conditions comprised a large spread in temperature and process pressure. This resulted in a change in the viscosity of the fuel. In the first design, turbine flow meters and TRICOR Coriolis mass flow meters were considered. The solution with turbine flow meters required a cascading of several devices to cover the required flow measurement range. Furthermore, different calibration curves needed to be used in order to meet the accuracy requirements.

TCM 0650-FA-HGSS-CSDS Tricor Coriolis for fuel measurement
TCM 0650-FA-HGSS-CSDS Tricor Coriolis for fuel measurement

SOLUTION: TRICOR Coriolis mass flow meters, by contrast, provide multiple technical advantages for this test bed. Flow meters using the Coriolis principle are significantly more accurate, faster and are almost completely independent from the medium properties like viscosity, temperature and pressure – in contrast to some other flow meters. The TCM 0650 covers the entire testing measurement range. With the TRICOR Coriolis solution, Parker Hannifin can cover the required temperature and process pressure range on the fuel test bed with one device. There are no restrictions in regards to fluid, viscosity or accuracy of measurement. Additional components for a cascading measurement (such as needed with the turbine flow meter option) and the associated added expense are eliminated.

CUSTOMER ADVANTAGE: All requirements are met by the broad measurement range of a single TCM 0650. It reduces not only the purchasing costs but also the costs for having replacement devices. Using analogue output signals and modbus TRU interfaces, mass flow, volume flow, temperature and medium density can be read out at the same time on the local display – remote optional. The TCM 0650 is the optimal solution for Parker Hannifin in order to master this challenging measuring task.

 

http://tricorflow.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/TRICOR_AS_fuel-fuel_additive_test_system_F1_gasoline-pumps.pdf

Exclusive distributors of KEM Kuppers flowmeters

Litre Meter are now the exclusive UK distributors of the KEM Küppers range of flowmeters.  These include the ZHM, SRZ positive displacement, HM turbine and the Tricor coriolis series. Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

KEM ZHM01/3 gear meter
KEM ZHM01/3 gear meter

ZHM: Positive displacement gear meter with wide range and in a variety of materials including aluminium and 316 stainless steel.

HM series turbine meters
HM series turbine meters

HM: Axial turbine flowmeter, also in range of materials, from 0.03 to 25,000 litres per minute and up to 350°C.

SRZ helical screw positive displacement flowmeter
SRZ helical screw positive displacement flowmeter

SRZ: Helical screw positive displacement flowmeter combining exceptional accuracy and viscosity rangeability.  Flows from 0.01 to 400 litres per minute. Low pressure drop.

Tricor coriolis mass flowmeters
Tricor coriolis mass flowmeters

Tricor: Coriolis mass flow meter for gases and liquids. Smallest size available in very high pressure rating (1550bar). Range measures from 3 to 230,000 kg per hour, and higher.

All of these units are manufactured in Germany by Litre Meter’s sister company, KEM Kueppers GmbH. Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

 

 

Chemical Manufacturing – Chlorine Gas – Coriolis application

APPLICATION: A bayonet-style heat exchanger is used by this customer to heat and vaporise dry liquid Chlorine, to supply multiple reactors at various flow rates with Chlorine gas, at 54°C (130°F) and 180 psig. Pure liquid Chlorine is fed to the vaporizer from a pressurized railcar. The heat source was low pressure steam. The existing system did not control the liquid level in the vaporizer nor the flow of the liquid Cl2, and the vapourizer’s liquid level was limited by equilibrium.

TRICOR PRODUCT SUPPLIED: TCM-28K Hastelloy Coriolis Mass Flow Meter with Integral Transmitter

Using Tricor Coriolis meter for the transfer of chlorine. Hastelloy selected.
Using Tricor Coriolis meter for the transfer of chlorine. Hastelloy selected.

CHALLENGE: Chlorine has a high coefficient of thermal expansion. Process upsets or momentary shutdowns sometimes resulted in excessive liquid levels, which rapidly led to undesired pressure excursions. There were also cases of low liquid levels, which led to super-heating of the gas. This problem was compounded by the over-sized tube bundle in the vaporiser.

SOLUTION: Since a very small amount of liquid CL2 can lead to serious swings in level, and therefore over-pressure excursions, a highly accurate and repeatable flow meter was required. The customer chose the TRICOR TCM-28K Hastelloy C-22 flow meter. The C-22 alloy features excellent corrosion resistance to Chlorine, and has proven to be superior to C276 for these applications.

RESULT: The new system uses re-circulating hot water as a heat source, rather than steam, and the CL2 liquid level is now controlled via a cascade master and a mass flow control loop.

Tricor coriolis meter selected in Hastelloy for Chlorine measurement
Tricor coriolis meter selected in Hastelloy for Chlorine measurement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

see the full brochure:

http://tricorflow.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/TRICOR_AS_Chemical_Manufacturing_Chlorine.pdf

 

Tricor Coriolis – available from Litre Meter

Petrochemical Processing – Oil Additive Blending – Tricor Coriolis

APPLICATION DESCRIPTION: This lubricant manufacturer now uses two TRICOR Coriolis meters: one measures the individual petrochemical products as they are offloaded into their tank farm, and the second is for batch control as they create products using components from various tanks. The Coriolis meter for batching is used with a Precision Digital Batch Controller and a pneumatic control valve for precise batching.

TRICOR PRODUCT SUPPLIED: TCM-65K Coriolis Mass Flow Meter with Integral Transmitter

CHALLENGE: This customer used multiple hydrocarbon components to create their products, and some components are measured using a manual weight scale. The display was hard to read and the weight scale was unreliable. Additionally, hydrocarbon components were not being measured upon delivery by the customer.

tricor-blending
The Tricor Coriolis installed on the hydrocarbon line

SOLUTION: One 2-inch Coriolis flow meter was placed in the receiving pipeline for measurement of the individual components as they are off-loaded from delivery trucks to the individual storage tanks which provided accurate measurement and billing. Also, by using the batch controller, control valve and Coriolis meter for the batching process, the customer can now dial in the desired amount of individual components and then walk away. These flow meters were also integrated into a local display, a Precision Digital Consolidator which displays values of tank levels and flow rate.

Tricor Coriolis used for blending
Tricor Coriolis used for blending

RESULT: The new batching system is set to control the flow rate, totalize the flow, and shut off the flow when the setpoint is reached. The customer is pleased with the accuracy achieved.

http://tricorflow.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/TRICOR_AS_Petrochemical_Additive_Blending.pdf

Available from Litre Meter.

Queen’s Award 2016 – the story

We were recently interviewed for a story by our local Chamber of Commerce.  This is the result:

Litre Meter on the front cover of InBusiness
Litre Meter on the front cover of InBusiness

Specialist global flow measurement company Litre Meter has come a long way since its conception in 1975.

Set up in the attic of the Wemyss family home – with a calibration rig in the boiler house and a flow lab in the cellar – it was inevitable for a teenage Charles Wemyss to get involved in the family firm established by his father.

Litre Meter provided flow measurement engineering solutions that were ahead of its time and was set up to create one particular product, the Pelton Wheel – designed as a low cost economical meter for flow.

Charles said: “The product line was unusual at the time but now there are far more competitors to it. We still make it and it is still our company logo.”

From age 12 Charles worked in the business in school holidays but despite the cutting edge products and the company’s impressive initial success, he was uninterested in following in his father’s footsteps.

But when his father tragically died in a road traffic accident in 1978, the future of the company lay solely in the hands of Charles and his mother.

And they have done him proud.

Litre Meter has gone from strength to strength and cemented its presence as an international market leader in the flow measurement field, exporting products worldwide.

Now with a 16-strong team and manufacturing and selling from a converted barn in the North Marston countryside,  unprecedented sales over the past three years have recently been recognised by Her Majesty the Queen.

Litre Meter was awarded the UK’s highest accolade for sustained business exporting success – The Queen’s Award for International Trade.

Charles, now Litre Meter CEO, tells inbusiness: “We had two very successful years which were recognised in turnover and profit but this was a different recognition altogether. It was barely believable.

“It means as much abroad as it does here as a symbol of achievement. It provides a reassurance for our clients that we are of a certain standard.”

The award recognises continuous achievement, through sustained international trade. Litre Meter were praised for their enviable reputation, excellence in design and manufacturing, investment in British Engineering Excellence and service to the global oil and gas market.

“Our vision has always been to become the most respected specialist flowmeter measurement company in the world and this award reflects our continued commitment to that goal,” said Charles. “My father would have been immensely proud.”

In 2013 and 2014 Litre Meter enjoyed its most successful period ever, winning more orders in two years than in the previous six years combined.

This was driven by an increasing presence in the oil and gas sector, which has led to a substantial increase in export business. Over 65% of Litre Meter’s sales are exports.

Charles said: “There are some solutions we’ve got that no one else can do in the world so there’s no competition. We can do much lower flow rates and much higher pressures than most people and that means we can keep pushing those boundaries and keep innovating – that keeps us competitive.

“Our big market – where we sell more than half of our equipment – goes offshore to the oil and gas industries and they need those higher pressures and lower flows.”

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing in recent years, there have been many challenges along the way.

Charles recalled: “The most difficult time was the recession in early 2009. It was very tough. We had put together an ambitious plan and presented it to the staff in the January. We called it 5 x 14 – to triple our turnover in five years. Two months later we had to reduce all staff to a three day week.   The drop in the oil price really affected us then.

“We did get to 5 by 14 – we had £5 million worth of orders in one year.”

A key development that has led to this stupendous success was the manufacture of the Viscous Fluids Flow Meter (VFF), which was originally designed in the mid-80s.

“That’s the product that lifted us and took us to where we are now,” said Charles, who fully took over at the helm of Litre Meter 12 years ago.  “It was the right product at the right time. We spent many years refining the product to match the customer’s need, coupled with a worldwide expansion in the market we designed it for and the two things came together quite nicely.”

Litre Meter was sold in 2011 to a large conglomerate, but Charles still sees it as a family firm.

“My proudest achievement is keeping all these guys employed for such a long time. We might now be owned by an enormous American privately owned group but we are still 16 people in a field in North Marston.

“The success we’ve had – and what you don’t realise when you’re in the middle of it – was a big team effort.”

Charles accepted The Queen’s Award for Enterprise from Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace this summer.


FACTFILE

ON YOUR CAREER: “I studied mechanical engineering at Sheffield. I graduated in the June/July and was working here at Litre Meter by the September.

“My tutor at Sheffield was head of the flow measurement lab but I had no interest in flow at all. It was the last thing I wanted to do. But I was sick of cleaning the hospital (straight after university) so I rang the MD of Litre Meter and he had just fired his chief engineer.”

DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY: “We sell and manufacture flow meters and we vary our designs to meet customer requirements. A lot of the jobs are customised, bespoke, made to measure.”

JOINING THE CHAMBER: Litre Meter save money every year by using our International Trade team for export documents. “The service is first class,” said Charles.

[social_icon url=”https://www.linkedin.com/company/litre-meter-limited” profile_type=”linkedin”][linkedin_share style=”none”]

Queen’s Award Presentation 2016

We were thrilled to welcome Alexander Boswell, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire to our factory last month. He brought with him not only an engraved bowl but also our official scroll. The bowl is engraved with the logo of the Queen’s Award and the official title which is: Queen’s Award for Enterprise- International Trade 2016. We were grateful for a precise speech and official presentation and then Charles Wemyss our CEO said a few words followed by photographs. We were joined by Val Letheren, the Chairman of Buckinghamshire County Council and Jenny Bloom, Chairman of Aylesbury Vale District Council.  Many thanks to Joe Bradshaw Assistant Clerk to the Buckinghamshire Lieutenancy who organised all the VIPs so well. The bowl was handed to Alexander Boswell by the Aylesbury Sea Cadet of the Year.

We’re often asked how we managed to achieve such a striking increase in our export sales. Having worked through it we should know this. Looking back we narrowed the factors down to 5:

  • Firstly, we have a great product, that we keep developing. We target that 25% of our turnover comes from developments in the previous three years. For example, the LF05 size, was introduced in 2012 and soon became our most popular size. More recently, the refreshed VFF range with FlowPod display will be even more desirable.
  • Secondly, we have built up a terrific sales team, both in-house and with our distribution network abroad particularly in the US and South Korea. Our own Chris Ringer has swung many orders. His skill with the Shah Deniz 2 project was exemplary and 135 meters totalled £1.4m all told through 2 separate customers, aided by our great product and flexibility.
  • Thirdly, we made a big step forward on Chevron Jack St Malo in 2011/12 which laid the groundwork for meeting the ever increasing engineering challenges.
  • Fourthly, the Deepwater Horizon accident set new standards and introduced more caution to specifications.
  • Lastly, economic climate including oil price. That’s stability coupled with historic higher oil prices.

There were just 150 winners in the UK this year, whittled down from an extensive entry list of 600 or more.

Litre Meter CEO Charles Wemyss accepted the Award from the Vice Lord-Lieutenant
Litre Meter CEO Charles Wemyss accepted the Award from the Vice Lord-Lieutenant
The CEO accepts the Award bowl.
The CEO accepts the Award bowl.
A cake in Litre Meter's honour
A cake in Litre Meter’s honour

Dimethylformamide (DMF) measurement with Tricor

TRICOR_Chemical_Manufact._DMF_EN_spotlight_160705_E002

DMF (Dimethylformamide, N,N-Dimethylmethanamide, (CH3)2NC(O)H) is a clear liquid organic solvent used in a number of industrial processes, particularly in the manufacture of polyurethane products, pesticides, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and synthetic leathers and fibres. The Tricor coriolis meter proved itself on this technically challenging application using standard equipment.

 

Tricor coriolis mass flowmeters used in the flow measurement of DMF
Tricor coriolis mass flowmeters used in the flow measurement of DMF

TECHNICAL DATA:

Medium: DMF

Pressure: >4 bar

Density: 995 kg/m3

Viscosity: 2 cSt

Flow range: up to 20,000 kg/h / 50,000 kg/h for loading and unloading

Flow range: up to 12,000 kg/h / 25,000 kg/h for product supply for a PU coating agent into the reactor.

 

TRICOR PRODUCT SUPPLIED:

TCM 028K Coriolis Mass Flow Meters (28,000 kg/hr max)

TCM 065K Coriolis Mass Flow Meters (65,000 kg/hr max)

TRICOR_Chemical_Manufact._DMF_EN_spotlight_160705_E002 Brochure

https://www.litremeter.com/Coriolis/Tricor_Flowmeters.php

Coriolis
Tricor coriolis mass flowmeters used in the flow measurement of DMF

Expert advice on flowmeters and calibration

Charles Wemyss lists 10 reasons why you should – and should not – calibrate your flowmeter

We use the word flowmeter to describe a device that measures the flow of a fluid. Mostly we’re considering gases or liquids in a closed pipe or conduit and we need either the instantaneous flow rate or the total amount of fluid that has passed. There are many varieties of techniques dependent on the fluid being measured and dependent on the flow rate, pressure, viscosity and more. The flowmeters range from miniature positive displacement devices to large electromagnetic or ultrasonic units used for pipes over 3m diameter. The way we garner confidence in the displayed value is through calibration.

Most flowmeters are supplied by the manufacturer with a ‘laboratory’ calibration. In other words, they have been tested in close to ideal conditions. Depending on the meter type, once installed in your process, that original calibration may be valid – or it may not be.

Litre Meter’s latest rig FlowLabPro is designed for calibrating ultra-low flowmeters

There are a number of key reasons why it should be calibrated:

* To reflect the new, current conditions

* Because some component has a wear factor

* There is an accumulation of dirt or setting product, affecting the sensor

* Because the calibration frequency states it has to be

* Because the results don’t feel right compared to the rest of the process

* The process is producing poor quality product yet the flowmeter seems stable.

The best calibration is that which is performed in situ. Many of the variables are tuned out. The fluid is the same, as is the installation attitude, straight lengths, etc. That’s the precise reason why you should re-calibrate; it gives you that confidence in the device. If in situ is not possible, for example, when the fluid is hazardous or at high pressure then it has to be uninstalled and calibrated elsewhere.

Why shouldn’t it be calibrated?

Clean versus dirty is the first argument for not calibrating your flowmeter. If it comes out of the line dirty and is sent away for calibration then you’d normally expect to ship it clean. The test lab calibrates it in the clean state. However, as soon as you re-install it the process might be depositing dirt back on it. It has been calibrated for a perfect installation and is almost immediately imperfect.  In this scenario, calibration is pointless.

Next, it’s hard to compare installation to installation. All calibration laboratories pride themselves on making adequate provisions for calibration, especially good installation practice. If they’re testing a turbine meter, for example, then they should have a long length of correctly sized piping before the meter – and a length after, too. This eliminates swirl, if it’s long enough, to generate a flat flow profile and present optimum conditions to the meter. Most labs have this setup for horizontal installation – so if you have a vertical install, then watch out. Likewise, if you don’t have a long length of correctly sized pipe, or perhaps a connector that necks the diameter down a few percent, then don’t bother. The results they give you will be meaningless.

The Litre Meter low flow rig FlowLabPro delivers automatic calibration of flowmeters and instrumentation within a flow range of 0.0006 to 200 l/hr to an accuracy of ±0.2%

Next you should ask whether it is the right fluid. Unless your process is running clean water or, maybe a calibration fluid, then your average lab will not be able to calibrate with the same fluid. For some flowmeter types this may not be important. For example, if you fluid is a weak acid with a viscosity of 1.2cP and the meter is an electromag, then the calibration with water will be perfectly valid. Contrarily, if you have 10cP process fluid and it’s a turbine meter then it could be very important that the test fluid is in the 9 to 11cP range to adequately represent the effect of viscosity on meter performance at lower flows.

Traceability is next on the list. If you have been able to clear the hurdles above then it’s important you pick a lab that has the right traceability for you. If your process demands an indication of flow within +/- 4% then there’s little point on getting a UKAS-accredited laboratory with an uncertainty level of 0.22%.

We’re regularly asked ‘how often should it be calibrated?’ Recalibration periods of flowmeters are based on industry standards. In industrial applications, depending on the industry, periods of six to 12 months are recommended. We advise the user to seek out data relating to the process, other components within the process and the usage of the meter. If the measurement is critical then the recalibration should be more frequent than a non-critical, rarely used device. In the absence of any other data we advise an annual check and to vary the future calibration periods depending on results.

If it has remained unused then no recalibration may be necessary, depending on the meter type. It is wise to check that no fluid has settled in the meter that might alter the way the meter works or even cause corrosion. In the event of any doubt then the manufacturer is always your best source of advice.

{originally published in International Process Engineer in May 2016, www.engineerlive.com}

LITRE METER RECEIVES A QUEEN’S AWARD FOR ENTERPRISE

We are delighted to celebrate being one of the select businesses recognised as winners of the 2016 Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the UK’s highest accolade for business success.

Litre Meter awarded Queen's Award for International Trade
Litre Meter awarded Queen’s Award for International Trade

Our award was received for Enterprise in International Trade and was in recognition of achieving significant year-on-year growth of export sales from 2013 to 2015.  In turn, this helped us achieve record increases in turnover and profits resulting in a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 48%.

 

CEO Charles Wemyss: ‘As a very specialist company working on an international basis from the middle of a field in Buckinghamshire it is an outstanding achievement to be recognised at the highest levels for our success.’

 

Litre Meter was established as a family business in 1975 by the current CEOs father, where it moved to Buckinghamshire in 1978. Today, Litre Meter is recognised as the world’s premier Flow Measurement Specialist, employing home grown talent in a converted barn in North Marston.  Our highly engineered products are used in various industries throughout the globe, such as the Oil & Gas sector, where they can be installed on platforms in some of the deepest seas and most arduous environments. We pride ourselves in using local suppliers for our materials, where possible and are proud to be an active part of the UK’s engineering heritage.

 

Notes for Readers

  • 249 Queen’s Awards (QA) have been announced in 2016 for outstanding business achievement in the fields of International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development. Winners of The Queen’s Awards can expect an invitation to attend a special reception at Buckingham Palace.
  • QA winners can also use The Queen’s Award Emblem in advertising, marketing and on packaging for a period of five years as a symbol of their quality and success.
  • The awards are made annually by HM The Queen and are only given for the highest levels of excellence demonstrated in each category.
  • To find out more about next year’s awards visit the Queen’s Award website.
  • Litre Meter, based near Buckingham, UK, was established in 1975 and specialises in the custom design and manufacture of instruments for measuring and controlling fluids.
  • The company has particular expertise with offshore and sub-sea flow measurement and has supplied flowmeters for these applications throughout the world. The company’s VFF flowmeter was developed specifically for the petrochemical industry.
  • Litre Meter also pioneered the development of the Pelton wheel flowmeter, an accurate and versatile technology that has since been used across many industries to measure a variety of low viscosity liquids at both low and high flow rates.
  • Since 2011 Litre Meter has been part of the TASI Group of companies which includes AW-Lake, KEM and TRICOR.
    Rotary Piston Litre Meter flow meter with Hub connectors for high pressure flow measurement
    Rotary Piston Litre Meter flow meter with Hub connectors for high pressure flow measurement

     

    Litre Meter FlowPod flowmeter instrumentation
    Litre Meter FlowPod flowmeter instrumentation
Litre Meter operate out of a barn in the rolling Buckinghamshire countryside - Hart Hill Barn
Litre Meter operate out of a barn in the rolling Buckinghamshire countryside – Hart Hill Barn

Are there any size limitations?

    When specifying flowmeters how does size affect meter selection?

  1. Can you specify the available pipe length? Some installations are very limited on installation length and meter selection can be pivotal. Assume that the number straight lengths before and after the meter (but, see below) isn’t relevant for the moment and all meters are available: If there’s only 1 diameter of straight pipe then the PD meter is probably the Number 1 choice. There’s likely very little room so larger meters like the Coriolis, which is a ‘bulky’ technology, are too long, even if they, too, need no straight lengths: that’s not strictly true but that’s another story entirely.
  2. Width: Does the unit have to fit in a narrow space? Perhaps there’s a wall one side -the meter can’t overhang that side, but is it then facing the right way?
  3. Does the installation space enable the unit to be provided with a local display – which is facing the right way? or will it need to be a remote mounted version?
  4. Is there access for maintenance? Is that all important termination panel just in front of you or is it tucked beyond a stem in a dingy corner of the installation. How good are you at holding a mirror?
  5. If it’s remote mounted – how far away can the display be? ie. what’s limit on the length of cable?
  6. If it’s remote mounted – is that panel mount, wall mount or post mount? Any special mounting considerations like weight, panel size, panel thickness?
  7. Height If it’s not a length or width then height might be an issue. Perhaps the meter can be/ needs to be installed upside down? Maybe there’s a bunch of pipe in close proximity.
  8. Are there weight limitations? On vehicle and aerospace installations the weight can be an overriding factor in meter selection. Are there weight reduction regimes? Changing the connection type or reducing a flow meter size or changing to a lightweight material can have significant effects on weight. A threaded turbine meter can be a tenth of the weight of a flanged coriolis.
  9. Does the meter type require straight lengths before (and after) the meter? Some meters are better than others. Some are much worse than others. A turbine meter needs a minimum 10 lengths before the meter and 5 lengths after. Orifice plates are meant to have more before depending on prior pipe configuration to ensure swirl is minimised.
  10. What comes before the straight lengths? If its two bends in 2 different planes then that’s a great recipe for swirl. Up to 100 lengths of pipe after that will be required to eliminate the swirl.
  11. What methods can reduce pipe lengths? One valid suggestion is to use flow straighteners or plates. These can be as little as 1 diameter long, but with a pressure loss, knock out some flow profile imperfections. They aren’t necessarily commercially available nor cheap. Perhaps, have a look at another measurement technique?

All in all consult the specialists.
Ten top tips for flowmeter selection

Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

Do you know your fluid?

Do you know your fluid? Is it what you think it is? Is it from a known source?

Viscosity, varies with temperature. Is flow measurement going to be affected by viscosity change due to temperature anyway? Might be if the temperature range is large and it’s a Variable Area meter… Will the fluid be changed through the life of the system, introducing different viscosities; meter choice is important here.
Viscosity change over time. due to volatility of light compounds it’s likely, especially if exposed to the atmosphere, that viscosity will increase over time. Possibly if water is leaking into the flow stream or condensation in the process that the viscosity will decrease.
Viscosity changes due to pressure. These are known but fairly small changes compared with temperature effects. Viscosity can double between atmospheric pressure and 2,500bar.
Specific Gravity, Density. These are often quoted in Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). For some flowmeters it’s irrelevant, especially if the measurement principle is volumetric; for others, like VA it’s fundamental. And remember density changes with temperature. In general, if you want a mass flow rate or total then use a mass flowmeter (and vice versa).
Thixotropic? A shear sensitive liquid can be tricky for some measurement principles. To preserve the fluid at normal viscosity the rate may have to radically reduced. Typical thixotropic liquids encountered are paints. When stirred they change from a ‘gel’ to a more free flowing liquid.
Corrosion issues: chemical compatibility. Perhaps the first property that is investigated in meter selection is the chemical nature of the fluid being measured. Is it going to corrode any of the components or will it react with the materials and change some dimensions or shape? If a table found on the internet indicates that polypropylene is ‘compatible’ with fluid X will it be suitable for some close fitting parts where just a 1% expansion will stop the meter going round. 1% may indicate, to some people, that it is compatible.
Build up, formation. Slow or fast deposition on the inside of the pipe and other, more sensitive parts, inside a flowmeter may affect the internal diameter used for rate calculations on velocity based devices or the weight of a rotating part or simply stop a part meshing or rotating.
Solids content and solids size. Generally expressed as a percentage, the amount of particulate and the size of that particulate will govern the metering method. And it may not be obviously so. Some of the latest paints have small amounts of additive to give the paint a special quality. These will block a tightly toleranced PD meter or it’s bearings.
Filter size. Is it filtered? Is the filter mesh in the filter bowl or has it been removed because it keeps clogging up?! What level of filtration, NAS class, mesh size, is designed in and what level has been achieved. Is it well filtered but then stored in an open container?
Lubricity. This parameter is frequently ignored and frequently not known. It can have an effect on some flowmeters.
Homogeneous? It’s usually taken for granted that fluids are homogenous i.e. the same consistency at any point. A typical non-homogeneity is air entrainment, perhaps a few bubbles or a stream of bubbles. In extremis, this might be slugs of air passing through. Most flowmeters can’t cope with this phenomena but some make a decent estimation and more than a few will recover after the air passes.
Anodic acceleration of corrosion. This problem occurs when the fluid acts in concert with two dissimilar materials in the pipeline – for example, the flowmeter body and the pipework. The measured fluid acts as an electrolyte, depositing or removing material depending whether the materials act as anodes or cathodes. In some instances another wetted part may see accelerated corrosion.

All in all, consult the specialists. www.litremeter.com

Ten top tips for flowmeter selection.

Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

What is a flow meter and how does it work?

Flow gauge, flow indicator, liquid meter, flow meter – they’re all the same thing; depending on the industry they may have different names, but their function remains the same: to measure flow.

In the simplest of terms, a flow meter is a device which is used to measure the quantity and/or flow rate of a gas or liquid as it moves through a pipe. Some flow meters measure the amount of fluid that passes through the pipe in a given time, while others measure the total amount of fluid or gas that has passed through the flow meter. Sign up for FlowSight, the Litre Meter newsletter.

 

How do flow meters work?

Flow meters consist of three parts: a primary device, a transducer, and a transmitter. As the fluid passes through the primary device, the transducer senses it; the raw signal from the transducer is then sent to the transmitter and turned into a usable flow signal.

Mathematically speaking, a flow meter typically uses the following equations:

  • Q = A · v – Where the volume of fluid passing through a flow meter is equal to the cross-sectional area of the pipe (A) multiplied by the average velocity of the fluid (v).
  • W = r · Q – Where the mass flow of fluid passing through a flow meter (A) is equal to the fluid density (r) multiplied by the volume of the fluid (Q).

 

Different types of flow meter

There are a number of different types of flow meter available, each one suited to a different purpose, but always with the same goal of measuring the flow of a fluid or gas through a pipe.

  • Positive displacement flow meters: As the only meters to measure the actual volume, positive displacement meters work by repeatedly filling and discharging fluids from a chamber. Also known as volumetric flow meters, or rotary piston meters due to the way in which they operate.

    Rotary Piston flow meter with Hub connectors
    Rotary Piston Positive Displacement flow meter with Hub connectors
  • Inferential flow meters: These types of meters don’t measure volume, mass, or velocity. Instead they measure the flow of a fluid by inferring its value from other measured parameters such as differential pressure.
  • Velocity flow meters: The flow of fluid through the pipe is measured by the velocity of the flowing stream in order to determine the volume of the flow.
  • Mass flow meters: A mass flow meter, also known as an inertial flow meter, measures the flow rate of the mass of fluid as it travels past a fixed point during a specified unit of time.

 

What type of flow meter do I need?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to flow meters. It largely depends on the industry you’re in, and what the flow meter will be used for. Here at Litre Meter we’re the flow meter experts, so we can help you to choose which type will work best for your needs, but here are a few questions to ask yourself before looking into purchasing a flow meter for your company:

  • What gas or liquid do I want to measure?
  • What level of accuracy do I require?
  • What is the temperature and viscosity of the fluid?
  • Does the fluid flow continuously or intermittently?
  • Will the meter be mounted in a safe or hazardous location?
  • What are the minimum and maximum flow rates?
  • What is the maximum pressure at the location?
  • What level of pressure drop is allowable?
  • Is the fluid compatible with the materials used in the flow meter?

Each type of flow meter has a different set of applications and constraints, so the best way to choose the right one is to use the application of the equipment, rather than the technology, to guide you in your choice. Once you know the answers to some or all of these questions speak to us and we can help you to determine which flow meter will best suit your needs.

Top tips for selecting the right flowmeter for you

At Litre Meter, we want to make sure that you get the most for your money when it comes to buying a flowmeter, so we’ve put together our top tips for selecting the right device for you…

Made to quantify the rate that liquid or gas moves through it, flowmeters are required by test and measurement professionals to provide results in a wide variety of applications where accuracy is critical. This includes measurements for familiar household things like heating, ventilating and air conditioning to aerospace and agriculture.

Type of flowmeter

There are different types of flowmeter to suit different purposes and applications. By simply profiling the gas or liquid it is measuring, it’s possible to discover how it behaves when flowing through a pipe. You can then narrow down the choice of device to best cope with the conditions of the application. If you’re unsure about how to do this, get in touch with a professional and they’ll be able to help.

Purpose

There are a number of different uses for flowmeters, and as we’ve just mentioned, whatever you intend to use it for will affect your range of choice. You must consider temperatures needed, the turndown ratio, whether or not it has to be user-friendly for the workplace, and the type of liquid or gas that it is measuring the rate of. For example, if fluid containing traces of silt or sediment is flowing through the pipeline, we’d suggest that you use an ultrasonic Doppler flowmeter.

Chemical compatibility

It’s really important to take into account the materials involved in the process you intend to carry out with the flowmeter. Some materials are not compatible and this can have an effect on both the fluid or gas quality and the flowmeter’s durability. Check each material separately against a reputable chemical compatibility table, and checking your selection with the manufacturer of the fluid is also a wise idea to avoid any potential problems or issues.

Price

Whilst buying a cheaper device may tempt you by saving you money initially, it could actually end up costing you more in the long run. Don’t let short-term savings sway you and think about it practically; a higher priced flowmeter can be more cost-effective in its quality, its back-up and its durability.

LongevityVFF with FlowPod instrument.

Talking of durability, before purchasing the device, you should find out how long it typically lasts. Ask the supplier about its failure rate or the type of application you need it for. This may have an impact on the price, but by evaluating the total life cost of it, you will most likely find it to be worthwhile.

Installation

It’s also important to think of the installation before selecting your flowmeter. Consider exactly where and how it will be installed as this can hugely affect its accuracy and efficiency. You must think about the type of meter and whether it’s affected by any obstructions in the pipeline like joints, bends or valves as these could cause distortions to the flow.  This is all worth doing because if the device is installed correctly in a suitable application, it will be more accurate and will ultimately save you money.

If you need help in selecting the best flow meter for the job, our Litre Meter team will be happy to help. Simply get in touch via our Contact Form or give us a call on 01296 670200.

We want your opinions

In 2015 we  launched two new annual opinion surveys – building on a number of surveys that we have conducted in the past –to examine industry trends.

The new surveys look at the challenges facing manufacturing and production, regulation, safety, international standards and general trends.

One survey is specifically for oil and gas, the other is for the general process sector.

Meeting the requirements of safety standards including safety integrity levels (SIL), pressure equipment directive (PED), positive material identification (PMI), ISO17025 and the control of major accident hazards (COMAH) can help to avoid the potential failure of a critical component which could lead, in the worst case, to a catastrophic failure of a process and loss of life.

There has been increased focus on safety issues in the offshore and process sectors over recent years. We want to make sure that our manufacturing focus is on safety in relation to both the environment and industry trends.

Issues surrounding the environment and hydrocarbon releases, asset aging and life extension drive the focus on safety. We want to be able to help in the process of recognising hazards and reducing risk as well as help engineers to take ownership of risk and asset integrity through proving assertions about the functionality and construction of instruments.

Asset integrity management ensures that the people, systems, processes and resources that deliver integrity are in place, in use and will perform on demand over the asset’s life cycle.

Being able to prove assertions about the manufacture and functionality of equipment are vital in this process.

That’s why we are seeking the views of design engineers, industry leaders and decision makers across industry.

The versatile VFF

Litre Meter was founded in 1975 as a manufacturer of industrial flowmeters. Today, the company still manufactures flowmeters, but with a slight shift in focus – more than 80% of its products are designed specifically for the harsh conditions of the offshore oil and gas industry.


The shift towards offshore supplying happened largely due to Litre Meter’s ability to engineer new products, as many offshore oil and gas rigs require custom-built flow measurement solutions for chemical injection; however, the ability to engineer new products has sometimes been a setback for Litre Meter, as the majority of orders would often require custom engineering despite the company’s extensive catalogue of standard products.

Litre Meter defines its company by the strapline, ‘Specialist flow measurement engineering’, representing four of its unique and client-oriented company principles:

  • Specialist: Litre Meter is a specialist manufacturing company, focusing solely on products for measuring flow, rather than level or pressure.
  • Flow: its products drill down into the finer flow details, such as flow rate and flow total.
  • Measurement: its products measure flow accurately – they are not flow switches or flow indicators.
  • Engineering: although it offers a catalogue of standard products, Litre Meter can engineer bespoke solutions for unique challenges.

The VFF series

Litre Meter’s shift in focus began a little over 25 years ago, when it first adapted a standard industrial flowmeter for use on a North Sea oil rig. The popularity and success of this custom device led to the eventual production of their flagship range: the Viscous Fluids Flowmeter (VFF) series.

The VFF series is hugely popular and very adaptable, but its standard range has still been largely overshadowed by a flood of custom orders – until recently. One of the innovations for the 2015 range of VFFs included a new by-product: the FlowPod. The device itself is two-wire and fully HART compatible, with stainless steel housing. It opens up the popular VFF series to an even wider range of low-flow applications, and gives even the most obscure requirements near-instant access to Litre Meter’s innovative engineering without the need for custom designs.

Introducing the FlowPod

Litre Meter decided quite early on that the FlowPod would be its only supporting instrument, and it has completely transformed the way the VFF range can be used.

The FlowPod mounts directly on the VFF flow meter.

Designed as Exi and Exd from the outset, the FlowPod was built in an enclosure small enough to be mounted directly onto the meter body, and gives Litre Meter an innovative method of incorporating extra functionality like reverse flow and redundancy measurement.
For Litre Meter, introducing the FlowPod to the VFF range was a great way to combine multiple design elements, gathered over 30 years of experience, to make an impressive and useful meter with a focus on utility plus weight and size reduction.
The 2015 VFF range includes more than 800 end-user drawings, representing more than 115,000 meter combinations and covering almost every conceivable possibility. While previously, around 80% of Litre Meter’s sales were for custom products, the introduction of the FlowPod means that only 5–10% of meters will now need any extra engineering at all. Most customers can simply access instant PDFs of general arrangement drawings, parts-list drawings and lifting diagrams, together with STEP files, as part of their Litre Meter quotation.
For Litre Meter, this means a faster sales cycle and more revenue; for the customer, it means much faster quotation, production and manufacturing times. 2015 has already been a big year for Litre Meter, and by raising its game and producing a range of meters without equals, it has truly cemented itself as a top-tier supplier of flowmeter technology to the chemical injection industry.

First published in Gas Technology Review www.gas-technology-review.com

 

Litre Meter VFF Range

LF03 chamber and rotor

We recently re-designed our popular VFF (Versatile Fluid Flowmeter) range of positive displacement flowmeters. The innovations in VFF technology make it ideal for bespoke flow measurement.

Innovations include a new compact size and design with reduced weight using high strength material specifications for high pressure applications. The new range of meters is suitable for low and high viscosity liquids at pressure ratings from 414 bar right up to 4,000 bar (60,000 psi). The range covers the measurement of fluids from 0.3 centistokes (cSt) to 100,000 cSt and flow rates of 0.0008 l/hr to 16,200 l/hr.

We have over 40 years’ experience in successfully designing and manufacturing bespoke flowmeters for extreme environments for the most demanding industries and applications.

The VFF series has been distilled into one series to meet the specific requirements of chemical injection flowmetering. The new 2015 VFF range uses the same ultra-reliable rotary/oscillating piston technology that Litre Meter has developed and refined over the past 30 years. With one moving part the flow meter is a robust and low maintenance component within a chemical injection system.

The VFF range has a wide of standard options so we can quickly respond to fulfill most chemical injection enquiries. A full drawing package is available detailing every option in either PDF or STEP formats.

Specifying the right meter for a system is now even easier to specify with a new VFF meter software, a step-by-step builder that takes the user through all the meter options available. When the meter has been selected the user can search the Litre Meter database of over 400 general arrangements and parts listing drawings. For more details the user can browse 3D STEP files for the correct meter to download and insert into the skid assembly.

Meters are constructed from 316L stainless steel, Duplex Super Duplex, titanium and 6Mo. Other materials are available on request. Standard connections include NPT, Autoclave, ANSI flanges, Grayloc hubs, Galperti hubs and Techlok hubs. Two wire Exia and 2/4 wire Exd versions are available and 4-20mA, HART7 communications is standard with new pickup sensor capabilities.

Other innovations in the 2015 VFF range include a new rotatable and positionable Exd approved display union, new sensing options with increased reliability, reverse flow detection and increased resolution.

We are excited about the new range. The new compact and lightweight design has been developed specifically for integration within chemical injection skids. Its footprint is further reduced because positive displacement flowmeters don’t require straight lengths of pipe in the system before or after the meter.

We have also responded to industry demands with regard to lifting requirements for offshore by adding lifting eyes manufactured from certified forged material to every meter that weighs 16 kg or more.

LITRE METER REVAMPS VFF RANGE

IMG_9572 LF03 white bgWe recently re-designed our popular VFF (Viscous Fluid Flowmeter) range of positive displacement flowmeters. The innovations in VFF technology make it ideal for bespoke flow measurement.

Innovations include a new compact size and design with reduced weight using high strength material specifications for high pressure applications. The new range of meters is suitable for low and high viscosity liquids at pressure ratings from 414 bar right up to 4,000 bar (60,000 psi). The range covers the measurement of fluids from 0.3 centistokes (cSt) to 100,000 cSt and flow rates of 0.0008 l/hr to 16,200 l/hr.

We have 40 years’ experience in successfully designing and manufacturing bespoke flowmeters for extreme environments for the most demanding industries and applications.

The VFF series has been distilled into one series to meet the specific requirements of chemical injection flowmetering. The new 2015 VFF range uses the same ultra-reliable rotary/oscillating piston technology that Litre Meter has developed and refined over the past 30 years. With one moving part the flow meter is a robust and low maintenance component within a chemical injection system.

The VFF range has a wide of standard options so we can quickly respond to fulfill most chemical injection enquiries. A full drawing package is available detailing every option in either PDF or STEP formats.

Specifying the right meter for a system is now even easier to specify with a new VFF meter software, a step-by-step builder that takes the user through all the meter options available. When the meter has been selected the user can search the Litre Meter database of over 400 general arrangements and parts listing drawings. For more details the user can browse 3D STEP files for the correct meter to download and insert into the skid assembly.

Meters are constructed from 316L stainless steel, Duplex Super Duplex, titanium and 6Mo. Other materials are available on request. Standard connections include NPT, Autoclave, ANSI flanges, Grayloc hubs, Galperti hubs and Techlok hubs. Two wire Exia and 2/4 wire Exd versions are available and 4-20mA, HART7 communications is standard with new pickup sensor capabilities.

Other innovations in the 2015 VFF range include a new rotatable and positionable Exd approved display union, new sensing options with increased reliability, reverse flow detection and increased resolution.

We are excited about the new range. The new compact and lightweight design has been developed specifically for integration within chemical injection skids. Its footprint is further reduced because positive displacement flowmeters don’t require straight lengths of pipe in the system before or after the meter.

We have also responded to industry demands with regard to lifting requirements for offshore by adding lifting eyes manufactured from certified forged material to every meter that weighs 16 kg or more.

New reed sensors now available

IMG_9574 sensor white bgWe have launched new sensor solutions to complement our revamped range of VFF flowmeters.

Our reed sensor package has been improved and now comes in a 316 stainless steel enclosure which is easy to install within the VFF range. The sensor comes complete with two reed switches that can be set for reverse flow detection or redundancy.

The sensor is tested to one billion pulses and environmentally tested in accordance with BS EN 13628-6: 2006. It is temperature rated to -20 to +80°C and it is available with the two or four wire Flowpod – the new explosion proof flow indication display unit for Litre Meter positive displacement flowmeters.

The non-wetted part has an M6 connector and the sensor is compact and designed for use at high pressures.

The new optional field sensor package comes in the same robust 316 stainless steel housing in order to make the sensors interchangeable with one another. The field sensor enables the output resolution of the VFF meter to be increased by a factor of twelve and it can still detect reverse flow.

Call Now Button