Flowmeters are Vital to Plant Operations

Flowmeter Verification via Maintenance Manager Functionality

The human body is a remarkable piece of engineering and involves many complex processes. We work our bodies hard and are concerned with keeping it healthy. Hence, even if we work out and look after ourselves, we still go to the doctor for regular health check-ups.

The flowmeters used in your process are themselves complex pieces of equipment, which perform vital roles. They work very hard, often operating 24  hours a day, 365 days a year. Many plants and processes cannot operate effectively without them. Flowmeters ensure dosing rates are optimized, batching and packaging are correct and provide the data for various balances around an operating plant. However, we often neglect to give our flowmeters a “health check-up”.

Most of the time, people only investigate the health of a flowmeter when it has failed, or its measurement accuracy is under question. The reason for this has often been due to the verification process being complicated and costly. In the early days, checking a flowmeter required taking it out of the process and sending it away for checking and verification. In recent times, external verification became an option, which involved using external verification tools and software to check the flowmeter. This required external equipment, which often was not available for purchase by the end-user and also required skilled personnel.

Flowmeter Tube Health CheckModern flowmeters feature “Maintenance Manager” functionalities, which have integrated the verification function into the device, making it both quick and simple to complete. The flowmeter’s electronics run a series of onboard tests while the flowmeter is still installed in the process piping and provide a  “pass” or “fail” result once they are completed. If a flowmeter fails verification, the flowmeter will indicate the area of testing that caused the failure, allowing the user to attempt to identify the cause or to contact the manufacturer for additional support. The time to run a verification depends on the flowmeter and can take from a few minutes to around twelve minutes to complete. As the verification procedure is simple and can be performed while the flowmeter is still installed in the process piping, the flowmeter can be verified as frequently as required by each individual site.

For a magnetic flowmeter, the verification typically tests the magnetic, excitation, and calculation circuits. It should also run a thorough check of the alarms and alarm history. For remote flowmeter systems, the latest advanced flowmeters also include a cable connection check, to ensure the excitation and signal wiring between the remote flow tube and remote transmitter are correct.  Modern magnetic flowmeters featuring built-in verification can run the tests in the flowmeter itself, or the tests can be done via external HART software tools.  Using software enables the capability for additional verification testing of the analog and pulse outputs, insulation resistances, and electronic amplifier checks. It can then provide a hard-copy report of the verification results.

patented tube health check

For Coriolis mass flowmeters, verification typically checks the drive, sensor, and temperature circuits as well as the hardware and software. The most advanced  Coriolis flowmeters also offer an additional option for tube health checking. The measurement tubes in a Coriolis flowmeter can be damaged over a period of time due to corrosion, erosion, or deposits. If the condition of the measuring tubes deteriorates, it will impact the accuracy of your flow and density measurements. The tube health check function measures the change in stiffness of the measurement tubes and compares it to an initial reference value. Coriolis flowmeters featuring built-in verification allow these tests to be performed internally or via HART communication to a software package.  Reports can be provided when external software is used.

Utilizing “Maintenance Manager” functionalities in your flowmeters can really improve your process operations. Flowmeter verification provides you with greater confidence in the accuracy and performance of your flowmeter. It can also provide data for predictive maintenance planning to optimize timing for cleaning, recalibration, or device replacement.

Flowmeters are vital to plant operations – don’t neglect them. Using the latest  “Maintenance Manager” functionalities allows you to give them a regular health check-up and ensure they are operating correctly.



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