Do You Need to Calibrate your Flowmeters?

Be sure you calibrate your flowmeters on a schedule that makes sense for your business.

Do You Need to Calibrate your Flowmeters?Achieving the correct flow is important for the operation of any hydraulic system, but especially in industrial applications. Depending on the type of application, there may be hundreds of flowmeters that need to be kept properly calibrated in order to deliver correct readings on all kinds of fluid lines, including those delivering fluid power and those delivering product or ingredients.

Even a slight error in the reading from the flowmeter can result in serious losses for the operator. For example, if the flowmeter is reading even a little bit low on a custody-transfer application involving crude oil or natural gas, the operator could be losing millions of dollars. As another example, a food processing plant with bad flowmeters could end up producing poor quality or unsafe products which would have to be recalled, again costing a lot of money.

Because accurate flow measurements are so important in these and other industrial settings, the industry standard is to calibrate the flowmeters annually. Depending on the application, this may be accomplished by getting a consultant onsite or sending the flowmeter to a certified lab. Either way, calibrating annually may be a waste of time and money for some flowmeters and a risk for others. Some meters may be able to go years without calibration, while others should be calibrate every few months.

A better way to create a calibration schedule is to perform a thorough analysis of your system and then rank your valves on their priority based on the process fluid, the operation, and its impact on your business. Here are the 4 levels of priority to consider:

  1. Critical for the product. Any flowmeters measuring fluids that are essential for the quality and integrity of your product are top priority. Examples could include meters on pipes delivering chemicals in a manufacturing plant or ingredients in a food processing plant.
  2. Critical for the process. As your second priority, you need to maintain those flowmeters that affect critical aspects of your operational processes. In other words, protect the meters that could cause inefficiencies, production losses, or total system shutdowns next.
  3. Critical for safety. The third level of priority is flowmeters that are important for operator, equipment, or environmental safety, but do not require a high degree of accuracy to do their job.
  4. Non-critical. Finally, you have your non-critical flowmeters that have no impact on product, process, or safety yet should still be calibrated every few years.

Need Hydraulic Repairs?

If incorrect flow has cause a malfunction in your hydraulic equipment, Bernell Hydraulics can help. We offer 24 hour emergency hydraulic repair service, and if you know what replacement parts you need we’ll be happy to bring them along for an even faster resolution to the problem. We always test the system thoroughly before leaving your property to make sure the repair has been successful, and we guarantee all our work. Call 909-899-1751 now for help.

Posted on March 27, 2015
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