Flow Conditioning Improves Flow Measurement Accuracy and Reduces Process Plant Costs


If you're expanding, upgrading or retrofitting your plant, you may face a real estate crisis when it comes to finding a place for all your new equipment. This lack of space can lead to problems with providing the upstream/downstream pipe straight runs required by pumps, compressors, valves, flowmeters, blowers, burners and other devices that must have a stable material process flow in order to operate effectively. Flow conditioners can be an effective, flexible and economical solution when process pipe layouts are an issue affecting instrument performance and accuracy.

The necessary addition of elbows, expansions or reductions, and/or or spiral piping in close proximity to instrumentation and other devices often further exacerbates the problem of inadequate pipe straight runs. Too much equipment, too little space and poor piping layouts all work together to alter the process media’s tangential, radial and axial velocity vectors. Flow disturbances then result, including swirl, jetting and velocity profile distortions.

The impact of flow disturbances on flow meters, pumps and other equipment can be significant. In the case of flow meters, irregular material flows adversely affect the accuracy and repeatability of many of the most popular flow sensing technologies: differential pressure, turbine, magnetic, thermal, ultrasonic and vortex shedding. Depending on the flow sensing technology, the straight pipe run requirements for flow meters varies—from 10 to 20 or more diameters Flow Disturbance Problems.