What is the perfect flowmeter? Emerson’s Tonya Wyatt references an earlier Flow Control magazine article, to open her article, Flowmeter Diagnostics Optimize Production in Process Plants. It:
…never drifts or wears. It never needs zeroing. It measures in mass units. It is immune to the effects of changing fluid properties and fluid dynamics, density, viscosity, Reynolds number, speed of sound, swirl and irregular profile. It features advanced diagnostics capable of thoroughly checking any abnormal conditions, perhaps even sending text messages to relevant stakeholders to provide advanced notice and guidance on how to remedy the condition. And, ultimately, the diagnostic data is accepted by regulatory agencies in all industries.
Advances in technology have allowed for significant leaps forward in product development. In particular, many of the chips needed to power diagnostics have become small enough to fit in a transmitter or wireless diagnostic tool.
These diagnostic advancements have enabled operations personnel to go beyond:
…physically going to the meter and taking readings, resetting certain parameters and then uploading or manually entering the collected data into a computer.
Tonya highlights the improvements from an online diagnostic collection and transmission approach in terms of safety, time and cost perspectives.
In terms of safety, it means not:
…having to physically check the meter means personnel are not exposed to product in the pipeline. It also means there is no shutdown needed to check the meter. During abnormal operation, such as shutdown and startup, safety risks are greatest, including individual exposure to process fluid.
From a time savings viewpoint, these:
…advanced diagnostics can provide alerts to problems in the process that a technician can address before process upsets occur. As a result, regular maintenance can now be scheduled; plant and meter maintenance becomes proactive instead of reactive; and schedule-based maintenance is not needed if the diagnostics can ensure the meter is working properly.
And from a cost perspective:
Diagnostic costs can add up, particularly when a meter needs to be removed from the line and sent to a laboratory for testing and servicing. For large meters, it can involve cranes or other equipment to remove the meter.
Read the article for how meter verification and especially automated, smart meter verification helps with checking for changes in meter performance and used to extend proving and calibration intervals that may be required in custody transfer arrangements.
You can connect and interact with other flow measurement experts in the Measurement Instrumentation group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community and/or at the September 23-27 Emerson Exchange conference in Nashville.