A beginners guide to flow monitoring
Flow monitoring needn’t be complex! After all, the objective of monitoring flow rates is simply to measure the volumetric or mass flow rate of water, sewage or trade effluent. Here at Detectronic we have decades of experience delivering a wide variety of flow monitoring projects for various customers. We’re here to help and advise at every stage.
What are your objectives?
The first step in efficient and effective flow monitoring is to have a clear objective of what you want to achieve. What information do you actually need? Are you trying to establish dry weather flow patterns? Do you need to measure discharge for billing purposes? Is infiltration and leakage an issue?
What environment are we working in?
Next we must understand the environment being monitored in order to select the most suitable product. Is it an open channel, or is it a closed pipe? Is there a straight section of pipe available? What type of water is it? Domestic sewer, trade effluent, surface water, mixed? We often find a site survey is useful for many customers. One of our engineers will visit the site and carry out a detailed analysis of the area.
Our flow monitoring proposal
Once the survey is completed, we will suggest a flow monitoring solution that will fulfil those objectives and deliver optimum long-term return on investment. We will outline exactly what equipment you need and show your engineers where it needs to be placed for optimal data collection. Alternatively, we can install and maintain the equipment for you.
How does a flow survey work?
Do you need short term or continuous flow monitoring? Flow surveys are very useful for understanding performance. They are great for checking the efficiency of your plant or wastewater network and identifying weaknesses. Flow surveys are often carried out over 4, 8 or 12 weeks (depending on processes and rainfall). A big advantage of commissioning a flow survey is that you don’t need to invest in buying the equipment. We would install the flow meters, level monitors and rain gauges, analyse the data as it comes in, provide you with a full detailed report and uninstall everything at the end of the project.
For continuous flow monitoring, purchasing the equipment is often more cost effective. At Detectronic, we can also offer maintenance packages to keep the equipment optimised and annual calibration certificates to those who need it.
What flow meters are required?
There are many different water flow meters and monitors available on the market today and each has its own price tag, function and capability. We design and build our own range of monitors, all of which have been tested and proven across hundreds of different parameters applications and situations. Our range includes MCERTS and ATEX certified products.
Our flow monitoring technologies
At Detectronic we specialise in the following flow monitoring technologies:
Ultrasonic area velocity – provides highly accurate measurements and ideal for open channels. The sensor sits in the water and measures both the velocity and the depth of water to determine flow rates.
Radar – where the liquid is corrosive or you need a solution that is non-intrusive, these transmit short pulses that reflect off the surface of the water and use this to determine velocity.
Clamp on – suitable for closed pipes, transducers are placed on the outside of the pipe and send signals to one another in the direction of the flow and then against the flow. Flow rates are determined by the time difference between the signal travelling upstream and downstream.
Level – where monitoring flood risk is an objective, or you want to calculate flow through a flume or weir, level monitors are ideal. They send a pulse and measure the time it takes to return from the waters surface. They can also be used with a depth sensor that measures the pressure of the water.
Analysing the data
Flow meters only collect the data. That information is then transmitted, processed and presented in clear, insightful and useful dashboards on our cloud portals.
By implementing a bespoke flow monitoring scheme with Detectronic, it’s possible to improve the performance of an organisation’s assets by discovering any underlying problems and then working out a way to solve them.