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Portable Pneumatics Flow Meter

12/14/2012 12:24 PM

For planning the purchase of the new compressor, I need to make a map of the local compressed air requirements at the factory where I work.

There aren't any fixed flow meters. What would be the easiest way to measure local flows in the installation?

My first idea is to use drill two holes in every pipe, connect a differential pressure gauge and apply Darcy Weisbach. But perhaps there is an easier and safer way.

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#1

Re: portable pneumatics flow meter

12/14/2012 12:34 PM

Why not use a clamp-on flow meter?

Clamp On Ultrasonic Flow Meters

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#2

Re: portable pneumatics flow meter

12/14/2012 12:40 PM

I have seen several posts about this topic. They want to figure the air consumption that they use so they can purchase a new compressor. Doesn't any one look at the future. You have a working compressor now what was it's rated capacity?

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: portable pneumatics flow meter

12/14/2012 1:35 PM

We have three compressors at the time.

Compressor 1: Ingersoll Rand SSR MH 37

  • Capacity = 5.2 m3/min
  • Pressure = 9.8 bar
  • Power = 3.5 kW

Compressor 2: (identical to 1) Ingersoll Rand SSR MH 37

  • Capacity = 5.2 m3/min
  • Pressure = 9.8 bar
  • Power = 3.5 kW

Compressor 3: Ingersoll Rand IRN 90K-CC (Nirvana series)

  • Average capacity (over time) = 13.59 m3/min
  • Average usage = 81%
  • Average power = 82,2 kW-h

Someone decided to purchase a new IR Nirvana 160n, that will give:

  • Working pressure = 8 barg
  • Working flow = 27.35 m3/min

This is supposed to cover the extra requirements for the ongoing expansion of the facility, but I have my doubts and want to check the numbers.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: portable pneumatics flow meter

12/14/2012 2:28 PM

Is this one compressor to replace all three?

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#9
In reply to #4

Re: portable pneumatics flow meter

12/15/2012 5:20 AM

No, it will replace the first two and add some capacity. I have some doubts about the capacity being enough.

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#10
In reply to #3

Re: portable pneumatics flow meter

12/15/2012 7:47 AM

Well that increase the capability by almost 40%.

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#13
In reply to #10

Re: portable pneumatics flow meter

12/19/2012 8:00 AM

But the new milling and solvent facility is much larger than the current one.

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#5

Re: portable pneumatics flow meter

12/14/2012 4:20 PM

Clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeters can be a great to make non-invasive measurements but it's a challenge to get enough energy out of a transducer, through a pipe, through the medium, sometimes bouncing off the far side, and then back to a receiver transducer.

You need to make sure that a clamp-on flowmeter can handle the conditions you're likely to encounter, which include the wall thickness of the pipe, the ratio to the pipe diameter, the air pressure.

Many low end clamp-on flow meters will not handle even 90 psi air in a 1" sch 40 pipe.

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#6

Re: portable pneumatics flow meter

12/14/2012 5:02 PM

An other solution is the Pitot tube which measures the difference between static and dynamic pressure thus the fluid velocity. The measurement will not be as precise but I think high precision is not required and it will cost a lot less. Of course there is a need to drill small holes.

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#7

Re: Portable Pneumatics Flow Meter

12/15/2012 2:56 AM

Call your compressed air equipment supplier. They have well trained techs that will be happy to do an air assesment for you.

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#8

Re: Portable Pneumatics Flow Meter

12/15/2012 5:11 AM

Measuring the air flow will only give you a figure for legitimate usage inclusive of air leaks. Better to look at each piece of equipment that utilises air and calculate a requirement for each. This usage mapping would force you to analyse your air use, maybe see if some cylinders can operate with less force at a lower pressure, give you a sound base for predicting future use on any extensions, and tell you how much leakage you have on the system. It will be time consuming and expensive but most installations can lower their running costs significantly after a detailed analysis. As a spin off this will tell you which parts of your process are air greedy and in need of improvement.

Monitoring with an ultrasonic sound meter will locate precisely where the leaks are. By comparison, flow monitoring to find leaks is a very crude method.

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#11

Re: Portable Pneumatics Flow Meter

12/15/2012 9:10 AM

On second thought, just put run time recorders on each compressor.

You have their specifications, so it should be a simple matter to determine the system demand. That would take leaks into account, too.

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#12

Re: Portable Pneumatics Flow Meter

12/15/2012 9:17 AM

The answer demands a GA.

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