Emerson customer focus yields targeted Coriolis solutions

Jan. 31, 2022

At its simplest, the chemical industry is centered on reacting one chemical with another to make yet a third. And as it turns out, mass is a much better indicator of proper reagent ratios than the volumes that traditional, pre-Coriolis flowmeters rely upon. So it was that the chemical industry was first to recognize the inherent value of mass flow measurement. Progressive chemical companies were first in line for the new meters back in 1977, and it was off to the races.

“Coriolis technology for the first time delivered a means of direct mass measurement,” says Michael Machuca, marketing director, chemical measurement solutions, Emerson. “Our customers in the chemical industry really gravitated to that because they understood how a precise knowledge of molecular ratios is key to controlling chemical reactions.” Coriolis measurements also gave chemical companies a better handle on mass balances across the plant, which in turn gave them a clearer understanding of overall plant efficiency and performance.

Other important chemical industry applications of Coriolis technology include custody transfer and batching of specialty chemical ingredients, where the meters’ wide rangeability ensures highly accurate cumulative mass flow measurements even of multiple, different reagents. As in other industry verticals, the chemical industry embraced the inherent reliability of Coriolis meters to provide increased confidence in the validity of their meters’ readings.

From chemicals to oil & gas

With a foothold in chemicals firmly established, continued innovations by Emerson’s Coriolis engineers soon had customers in oil and gas turning to Coriolis technology as well. In this case, the earliest applications were in China and Russa, where energy companies were accustomed to selling products based on mass.

But demonstrated performance by Coriolis meters—together with computed volumetric outputs as a meter option—soon had API standards organizations in the US endorsing Coriolis as an acceptable alternative to traditional volumetric technologies for custody transfer.

Meanwhile, oil and gas processors continue to push their Coriolis meters to ever higher temperatures and pressures, as Emerson engineers responded to their increasing demands. They’ve also increased the size of their meters to as large as 14 inches in diameter, allowing Micro Motion Coriolis meters to satisfy all but the highest flow rate custody transfer applications.

A renewed focus on pharma, food & bev

For many of the same reasons that the chemical industry embraced Coriolis technology back in the 1970s, life sciences and food and beverage companies were also early adopters. In both arenas, product quality closely tracks accurate flow measurement, and the same ability to measure the flow rates of multiple substances over wide ranges without recalibration or reconfiguration that appealed to specialty chemical makers was a key advantage in these sectors as well. The Coriolis meter is also well suited to clean-in-place processes.

Food and beverage manufacturers are particularly interested in maximizing production, and that means minimizing interruptions such as changeovers or unexpected equipment failures—both of which play to the Coriolis meter’s strengths, says Melissa Stiegler, director, food & beverage measurement solutions, Emerson. “Sustainability is another issue of rising importance for food companies,” Stiegler says. “So, reducing water and steam usage is another challenge we are focusing on.”

With chemicals and oil and gas together accounting for some 80% of Emerson’s Coriolis meter applications, the company clearly sees further growth potential in the food and pharma segments, and the company’s new 1600 transmitter is designed to suit those industries’ needs, with a fit-for-purpose combination of features and finishes.

From refinery optimization to future energies

“As we’ve increased the high pressure and temperature capabilities of our Coriolis meters, they’ve begun to migrate from midstream oil and gas custody transfer applications to inside the process-unit space of refineries,” notes Meha Jha, senior marketing manager, refining measurement solutions, Emerson.

Blending of crudes for consistent refinery operation is one key application for the company’s Coriolis meters, as is the control of fuel gas ratios which are more readily optimized by mass ratio—leading to lower greenhouse gas emissions. They’ve been deployed to help optimize hydrogen production in refinery steam methane reforming hydrogen units. And their use has expanded beyond petroleum-based fuel production at refineries into the dispensing of alternative fuels like high-pressure hydrogen in commercial vehicle applications.

The Micro Motion High Pressure Coriolis meter features a gas mass flow accuracy rating of 0.5% at pressures up to 1,060 bar (15,375-psi). “It’s the first meter approved for hydrogen dispensing in Europe,” says Thomas Sautier, director of Coriolis product management, Emerson. “Coriolis meters in general have also played other sustainability roles beyond hydrogen into green diesel production and carbon capture.”

And while this may not be an application that Micro Motion founder Jim Smith envisioned back in 1977, it’s clear his inheritors are prepared to continue to reinvent what we know a Coriolis meter to be—for another half century at least.

Sponsored Recommendations

Measurement instrumentation for improving hydrogen storage and transport

Hydrogen provides a decarbonization opportunity. Learn more about maximizing the potential of hydrogen.

Get Hands-On Training in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment

Enhance the training experience and increase retention by training hands-on in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment. Build skills here so you have them where and when it matters...

Learn About: Micro Motion™ 4700 Config I/O Coriolis Transmitter

An Advanced Transmitter that Expands Connectivity

Learn about: Micro Motion G-Series Coriolis Flow and Density Meters

The Micro Motion G-Series is designed to help you access the benefits of Coriolis technology even when available space is limited.