The April technology evening featured Alvin Seitz of Bürkert who outlined a fairly new flowmeter technology using surface acoustic waves (SAW). So, are SAW flowmeters the greatest thing since sliced Coriolis?
Ann de Beer (left) awards Alvin Seitz (right) the SAIMC presentation certificate.
Yes, and no. Yes they are multivariable devices, which give values for temperature and flow rate. And density sort of: they are capable of detecting changes in density, without giving a definitive value. This will almost certainly be improved as the technology matures. Still on the plus side, they are considerably cheaper than equivalent Coriolis flowmeters, and have a single, unobstructed tube, making them a good fit with the food and beverage or pharmaceutical industries. They also occupy far less pipe length and accuracy is quoted at 0,4% of reading at flow rates above 1 m/s.
No, they are not a direct replacement for Coriolis meters – yet. For one, they need 40 diameters of straight pipe upstream of the device. For another, the range is currently limited to line sizes from DN 15 to DN 50, but this will no doubt change over time. The accuracy of density measurement is something the R&D team is refining, but look out for future improvements.
There was lively interaction with the audience during the presentation and lengthy discussion afterwards. The branch thanks Alvin and Bürkert.
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