Fox thermal flow meter

Guys, this company has the coolest logo! I’m not kidding, the Fox Thermal Instruments logo is fantastic. The marketing guy who created it totally deserves a raise.

Fox thermal flow meter
Courtesy of Fox Thermal Instruments, INC.

Speaking of deserving, we have something else that deserves mention here. The Fox dudes have worked for more than 20 years manufacturing only thermal mass flow meters. What I can say? Respect!

Okay, let’s review the product and highlight the pros and cons of adding a Fox device to your application. Today, we’re gonna review the FT2A. Take a seat, have a read, and draw your conclusions!

Whatcha got there?

Experience! This is the best answer for that question, seriously. The FT2A doesn’t have the best design, and we talked about that before, right? I like cool devices with cool designs, focused on the user experience. Still, cool designs won’t improve your process application.

The FT2A design says, “Do you want something fancy or something functional?” Okay, when you put it that way, we’ll take Fox’s fabulous function.

FCI Thermal flow meter
Courtesy of Fox Thermal Instruments, INC.

It has a great list of features, but I’d like to highlight the digital protocol. It has DeviceNet and Modbus TCP-IP! But why doesn’t it have HART communication? If you want HART, then you need to switch to the FT3. Odd.

The accuracy for inline and insertion options are the same, 1 percent of reading and 0.2 percent of full scale. Nice. And you can use it on pipes from 1.5 to 12 inches. Handy!

What can it do?

It can measure mass flow! If you need your mass flow measured accurately, then you can use this. End of story. Okay, not really. Lots more to talk about here.

Did you know the fox thermal flow meter won two awards in 2014? Yep. Basically, the device will measure the flow rate, flow total, and temperature, then send you this information through whatever protocol you use. It also gives you discrete input and output.

FCI thermal flow meter
Courtesy of Fox Thermal Instruments, INC.

The display is simple and navigation okay. I kinda hope they’ll work on a better user experience for the local display. Just a little update, to add a few “fancy” features and provide seamless integration into the control system.

Why should I care?

The FT2A is a good and simple option for your application. It has plenty of features, although I had trouble with the integration. I didn’t find the General Station Description (GSD) file or any examples of how to set up the device using outsourced tools for the PROFIBUS protocol. Minus one point there.

You’ll need proprietary software to set it up, and you’ll need the USB port to access the flow meter options. They definitely need improvement for this part. I miss having Foundation Fieldbus communication and a data logger. You have the data logger option in the model FT3, but it only has two protocols available. Lost another point there.

In general, the FOX thermal flow meter is a good flow meter because the company has 20 years of experience on the market. Still, it could use improvement in a few areas, like a better user interface, better documentation, and seamless integration.

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