Able Instruments and Controls, founded in Reading, U.K., in 1985, initially was a distributor selling process instrumentation, such as the Besta range of float level switches. Now Able has announced the launch of a product development that is a world first: The Able manufactured fully ATEX-approved, battery-powered portable ultrasonic flowmeter. This custom-engineered package, supplied for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, has external connections for the clamp-on transducers. The basic flowmeter is the Controlotron (Siemens) hazardous area-approved flow computer and data logger for either liquid or gas flow measurement, contained within a special housing that also holds some approved battery packs. The BASEEFA approval obtained by Able for this package allows the operator to exchange the battery packs in the hazardous area. A standard battery pack will power the system for 24 hours.
First application is pharmaceutical
The main target market for Able is normally the offshore oil and gas industry, and this portable meter weighs less than 25 kg, enabling it to be transported by helicopter offshore for check metering or flow surveys and analysis, without the need of a hot work permit. However, one of the first reported applications for the portable flowmeter package has been on a pharmaceutical manufacturing site, Macfarlan Smith in Edinburgh, Scotland. This is a part of Johnson Matthey’s Fine Chemicals division. A new batching system there needed a monitor for the volumetric total of solvent delivered to the process, as a temporary measure while a new production procedure was established. The factory makes alkaloid opiates and similar controlled drugs.
Knowledge gained from customer contact
Able developed this product from knowledge of the market requirement, gained while working closely with customers and their engineers in the major user industries, typically in the completion of instrumentation and control package procurement contracts. Able has also invested in a fully equipped instrumentation training center in Aberdeen for oil industry engineers, featuring a live flow rig demonstrating the level and flow instrumentation they have available and enabling training on site maintenance and set-up procedures.