Steam flow meters are essential for a plant´s efficient operation and safety. There are multiple steam flow meter types and they all have their advantages and disadvantages for different applications.

The article here helps us find the suitable steam flow meter depending on the process required.

Steam flow meter types

The two most common types of steam measurement are multivariable transmitters, vortex steam flow meters and portable ultrasonic flow meters. Both have their upsides but it is preferable to use  vortex steam flow meters in most cases.

Multivariable transmitter for steam measurement

The multivariable transmitter measures differential pressure, static pressure, and temperature. Then it calculates flow rate, measuring with a basic element like an orifice plate.

Mass flow equation

Here, the benefit of the multivariable is its popularity; we’re using industry-standard tech with a familiar process. However, these devices need primary elements, which often bring a host of problems. For example, if we choose an orifice plate, then we’ll find a rather user-unfriendly installation. Also, primary elements usually come with tedious and complex calibration and verification.


To know more about gas flow meter, you can read the Visaya Article on choosing the right natural gas flow meter

Setting up a multivariable transmitter for steam flow measurement

Despite its popularity, multivariable transmitter steam measurement has its limitations. Setup can become very complicated: most of the time we need specific software that guides you through it.  Moreover, you’ll need a license for access and the interface for most of the software and it needs to be set up in a field transmitter.

The high temperature can also become a problem. Because of it, we are mostly limited to mechanical parts during setup and the device should be placed far away from the sensor.

Lastly, the mechanical parts can make measurements less accurate. That means regular checks on everything to make sure it all works the way it should.

Vortex steam flow meter

The second option for steam flow measurement is a vortex steam flow meter. Because the vortex directly measures the mass flow, it has a simple setup. It does need a minimum velocity to measure accurately. But in the end ,the installation will be easier and cheaper than if we choose a multivariable transmitter with an orifice plate.

The vortex’s low profile means it won’t capture the full flow range. Fortunately, it’s not a big issue for steam, so you don’t have to worry about that. Also, you can find vortex meters with high-level steam diagnostics for better plant efficiency.

Vortex steam flow meters are the best solutions for steam measurement available today. Their main advantage is that they offer faster diagnostics and most of the devices today even have self-diagnostic functions. Furthermore, vendors guarantee accuracy and stability, which means that we won’t need to calibrate the device every year.

Last but not least, a broad range of vortex steam flow meters come with steam quality measurement features, which can be used to improve steam production.

Portable ultrasonic steam flow meter

As far as portable ultrasonic steam flow meters go, we’ll find just a few. But we can get a portable ultrasonic flow meter with the steam measurement function. Of course, a portable device won’t give the same accuracy as an inline meter, but it could help with flow verification or flow meter verification.

To know more about ultrasonic water flow meters, you can read the Visaya Article on the Types of Vortex Flow Meters


If we want quick configuration and installation, we can go with a vortex steam flow meter. On the other hand, if we prefer a more traditional solution, we can use a multivariable transmitter with an orifice plate.

To know more about steam flow meters, you can get in touch with our engineers and we will be happy to help.

Recommended articles