Whether we are using sunflower oil or only see sunflowers in pictures of farms, it exists as its own industry. Choosing the right oil flow meter definitely requires knowing the properties of the application. The article here discusses some of the suitable flow meter options for the viscosity of sunflower oil in the production line.
Oil flow meter specifications
Besides the process parameters, we will also need to consider accuracy, chemical compatibility, space constraints, and installation requirements in order to choose an appropriate oil flow meter.
So what does an oil flow meter need? The primary requirement for measuring the flow rate of lubrication oil is the smaller flow rates, a meter should be able to measure low flow rates like 0.2 to 0.5lit/min.
However, being a viscous fluid, oil can lead to measurement difficulties due to turbulence and bubbles. So an oil flow meter should deal effectively with the turbulence and bubbles.
For oil, we should get a flow meter with as few moving parts as possible because mechanical moving parts may cause temperature changes and we have to maintain the temperature of the oil between 20-50˚C.
To know more about the type of flow meters, you can read the Visaya Article on flow meter types
Oil flow meter types
Taking all the above into account gives us a couple of good choices: a Coriolis oil flow meter, ultrasonic oil flow meter, electromagnetic oil flow meter, and variable area oil flowmeter.
The following section describes each of the flow meter to help us understand the applications in details:
Coriolis oil flow meter
Coriolis meters are great oil flow meters. As this device measures the mass flow, the errors due to physical properties are less. That means we won’t have to worry about temperature and pressure changes.
Coriolis oil flow meters work well because they provide great accuracy, and can measure other parameters besides flow, like density. This feature also allows better quality in the product. Endress+Hauser, Yokogawa, and Siemens all offer density measurement in their Coriolis meters.
We can also measure viscosity, but not every supplier provides this feature. For example, Endress+Hauser has its patented Torsion Mode Balanced (TMB) system for measuring viscosity. As Coriolis meters have no moving parts, we will have lower costs in maintenance than the other meters.
To know more about Coriolis flow meters, you can read the Visaya Article on the Definitive Guide to Coriolis Flow Meter
Ultrasonic oil flow meter
Ultrasonic oil flow meters are non-invasive because they use sound waves to measure. It offers moderate accuracy. For more on ultrasonics, you can read our article on them. Ultrasonics may work well for lubrication oil processes because they have no moving parts, wide ranges, and generally minimal pressure drops and maintenance.
Clamp-on ultrasonic oil flow meters don’t make contact with the product, reducing the risk of contamination or leakage. However, compact ultrasonics provides easy installation.
If you decide to go for an ultrasonic oil flow meter, keep in mind its limit on pipe diameter and the smaller flow rate. For some vendors, the range starts at 10 mm and goes to 3000 mm. But this oil flows at around half a liter per minute, so we should take the pipe size and the flowrates into account.
To know more about ultrasonic flow meters, you can check out the Visaya Article here
Electromagnetic oil flow meter
Magnetic oil flow meters can also be considered for flow measurement of the oil. But it only measures flow of conducting fluids, since oil is non-conducting fluid, the oil flow measurement is not possible with magnetic flowmeter. Moreover, if our application is water or highly conducting liquid, then Magnetic flowmeter is a suitable option.
To know more about magnetic flow meters, you can read the Visaya Article here
Variable area oil flow meter
A variable area oil flow meter can also be considered as an option for flow measurement of lubricating oil. But it provides visual flow measurement i.e. no analog 4-20 mA output. Therefore, this option does not benefit you in oil flow measurement.
Because of lubrication oil’s smaller flowrates and higher viscosity, it creates some unusual challenges. Electromagnetic oil flow meters, variable area oil flow meters, and ultrasonic oil flow meters have their own limitations. Therefore, we recommend a coriolis oil flow meter for sunflower oil.
If you have any questions about the suitable oil flow meter for your requirements, you can get in touch with our engineers!