5 measurement technologies that don’t scratch the surface! (Visaya Weekly Episode 30)

Hello, Visaya! This is German.

I’m next to part of one of the most famous walls in the world, the Berlin wall! This wall divided East and West Berlin, physically and ideologically, for 28 years.

But have you ever dreamed of having the ability to see through walls? One of my favorite and creepiest of superheroes has this power – well, at least if there’s no lead around!

So we’re a long way from having abilities like the ones of the Man of Steel. But there are technologies that enable you to “see” through surfaces, allowing you to understand what’s happening with your processes.

So these are the five technologies you can use right now to measure your process without scratching the surface.

1. Ultrasonic flow meters

If you understand what industrial or process automation means – #Pauto – you will, for sure, need some flow to be measured. This means that you understand the challenge you face when dimensioning a flow meter. You need to:

  • scale the sensor 
  • check the pipe diameters
  • choose the primary elements
  • make sure you can fit them
  • etcetera

    Well, there are ultrasonic clamp flow meters that are able to measure the volumetric flow rate of your plant without any major changes in your infrastructure. So this measurement is done using ultrasonic waves that go through the surface of your pipeline.

    Flexim and Siemens offer examples of this technology that uses the speed of ultrasonic waves, in a fluid or the transfer-time principle, to calculate the flow velocity and volumetric flow rate.

    The working principle of these instruments can be explained using the moving walkways found in airports.

    If you walk in the same direction of the moving walkway, you move faster than when you walk against the moving walkway’s direction.

    If you fire an ultrasonic wave at the same time but in opposite directions, ultrasonic flow meters are able to calculate the difference in transit time of the propagating ultrasonic waves. This difference is proportional to the flow velocity.

2. Corrosion measurement

Clamp ultrasonic flow meters are also used for highly corrosive or hazardous fluids. These fluids can corrode or erode the internal surfaces of the pipes.

In these cases, nonintrusive ultrasonic corrosion sensors like the Permasense from Emerson are used to measure the changes of the wall thickness of your pipelines.

This way operators can know the status of the infrastructure at any time and are able to plan any maintenance or replacement of the plant’s infrastructure.

3. Surface temperature measurement

For corrosive or erosive fluids or for pipelines with high flow velocities, temperature measurement with traditional thermowells can be a challenge.

In these cases, clamp-on thermometers like the Rosemount X-well are used to measure the temperature of the surface of the pipeline.

Also, in fire furnaces, skin-point thermocouples like WIKA’s TC59 are used to detect any hotspots in the carrying pipe inside the combustion chamber of the furnace.

4. Radar level measurement

Just like glass seems to be invisible to our eyes, some polymers are invisible to radar waves. In this way, it may be possible to measure the level of a polymer tank with no nozzles using radar level sensors like the Vegapuls 61.

5. Infrared temperature measurement

If you may remember, in one of our past videos, I talked about infrared temperature measurement. These sensors measure the thermal radiation emitted by hot objects. This way, it’s possible to measure the surfaces of hot fluids like molten metals or a hidden engineer without the need to look inside the bag.

Leave in the comments below your experiences with surface measurement!

Thank you for watching. See you next week!

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