Smart water metering for smart cities

Badger Meter, a leading global innovator and manufacturer of flow measurement, control and communications solutions, highlights the key trends predicted to shape the water utility industry in 2020. Of the four trends included in this year’s list, the value of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G networks in creating smarter water metering solutions and resiliency in the face of growing water security concerns rose to the top.

One of the ways that Utilities are preparing for the future is via the use of cellular solutions. Cities across the united states and now Europe, are using cellular networks to achieve ‘smart water,’ become water resilient and replace ageing infrastructures.”

The key trends predicted to shape 2020 include:

  • -Smart water metering for smart cities
  • -Increasing value on resiliency and system security
  • -The future of LPWAN technologies, including cellular NB IoT and LTE-M, that ensure system longevity

Infrastructure renewal and financing capital improvements

Smart Water Metering

Many industries are incorporating the Internet of Things (IoT) into their processes and are seeing tremendous success. Water metering is no different. The adoption of cellular technology in water metering solutions is opening the door to new opportunities and greater flexibility for utilities. Most cities—large and small—already have cellular infrastructure in place. By implementing IoT-enabled cellular networks, such as BEACON® Advanced Metering Analytics (AMA) software suite with ORION® Cellular endpoints, cities can benefit from longer battery lifespan, greater scaleability and increased mobility, as well as easier integration of smart sensors for water, parking meters, lights, transportation and more without duplicating infrastructure. Smarter solutions, powered by cellular and IoT-based technologies, are rapidly transforming the water metering industry and helping water utilities face the serious challenges ahead.

Increasing Value on Resiliency

Droughts, flooding, storms and other weather-related events are top-of-mind for water utilities because of the potential impact they can have on water quality and water systems. This is one of the factors behind a requirement in America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 for community water systems serving more than 3,300 people to develop or update risk assessments and emergency response plans. The risk assessments include strategies and resources to improve the resilience of the system, such as actions to protect the safety and supply of drinking water and physical security and cybersecurity of the system.

The resiliency of cellular networks is one of the most important benefits of cellular-enabled technologies. After major weather events, cellular networks typically come back online fast in order to support emergency efforts. This means a water utility using cellular networks would be back online quickly, too.

Cybersecurity also continues to be a growing concern. In the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) 2019 State of the Industry survey, 88% of participants said cybersecurity was a high priority issue and nearly 30% rated it as critical. Actionable data, provided through solutions like BEACON AMA, are helping utilities address these concerns.

For instance, Badger Meter cellular endpoint data is fully encrypted to protect the information as it is collected by the cellular gateway. Once the cellular gateway has the endpoint data, it uses a secure network connection tied to the headend software. This level of security is extremely important because using a secure Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network connection direct into the headend software eliminates the need to expose data to the public internet for transmission.

Next Generation E-Series Ultrasonic Meters for Residential Applications

E-Series Ultrasonic water meters from Badger Meter use solid-state technology in a compact, totally encapsulated, weatherproof, and UV-resistant housing, suitable for residential and commercial applications. Equipped with an easy-to-read, 9-digit LCD display, the ultrasonic meter presents consumption, rate of flow, reverse-flow indication, and alarms. With no moving parts, the E-Series Ultrasonic meter improves reliability and has greater extended low flow accuracy compared to mechanical meters.

Future of LPWAN Technologies

An evolving trend and valuable addition to the water utility industry, advancing cellular and IoT-based technologies continue to help water utilities reduce infrastructure spend, increase interoperability of data and stay up to date with regular technology updates. Most recently and looking ahead to 2020, the industry is moving to support faster, more reliable 5G networks. When the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), which maintains and develops protocols for the mobile industry, introduced the LTE-M and NB IoT networks, it shared that they will be supported by both the 4G and 5G networks. This ensures longevity for cellular endpoint devices going forward.

For water utilities looking to implement a solution, such as the ORION Cellular LTE-M endpoint, the 5G

network will empower improved cost-effectiveness. Greater and quicker access to data will allow water utilities to make more informed decisions using metering data from their systems.

Infrastructure Renewal

The top two challenges facing water professionals, according to the AWWA 2019 State of the Industry survey, are renewal and replacement of aging water and wastewater infrastructure and financing for capital improvements.

Through its decades of industry experience, Badger Meter understands these issues and strives to provide the flexibility and support water utilities need. For instance, BEACON AMA can support both classic endpoints and cellular endpoints—a helpful solution for utilities interested in making a phased change to more advanced technologies.

The company recently worked with the municipal water utility of Paducah, Kentucky, to implement a cellular solution. The water utility could not complete a full-system deployment all at once. However, the BEACON AMA solution with ORION Cellular endpoints offered the utility flexibility in deploying at its own pace. Utility managers even found that additional revenue from the new technology will help pay for replacements of their larger 3 inch, 4 inch and 6 inch meters in less than two years. Additionally, because ORION Cellular endpoints do not require a utility to install a traditional fixed-network infrastructure, water utilities can reallocate infrastructure installation and maintenance expenses to other projects.

Together, the four 2020 industry trends highlighted by Badger Meter—which has reported on the top metering trends it sees in the industry for the past five years—provide valuable insights and information for thousands of water utilities across the United States as they work to make smart decisions going forward.

For more information about Badger Meter and its line of smart metering technologies, visit or contract your UK agent, Bell Flow Systems Ltd

A Guide to Choosing the Right Flow Meter with Badger Meter

Flow measurement is a critical aspect of plant and process operation in many industries. Users choosing equipment to measure the flow of liquid or gas processes must consider a wide range of factors to arrive at an optimal solution. Experience has shown there are significant differences between flow meter technologies, with each type of device having its own advantages and disadvantages.

The following article describes the key criteria in flow meter selection.

It evaluates the most common instrument designs and offers guidance in implementing the right solution for specific applications.


In modern plants and facilities, personnel need to make faster and better decisions by capturing, managing and analysing the right data at the right time. These facilities rely heavily on flow processes, and thus accurate and reliable measurement technology is vital to the efficiency and safety of their operations.

Typical flow-metering applications in the chemical/petrochemical sector for example include:

  • Chemical Batching
  • Dosing/Blending
  • Catalyst Injection
  • Chemical Recovery
  • Custody Transfer
  • Steam Flow
  • Lube Oil Loading
  • Process Cooling
  • Pressure Regulation
  • Leak Detection
  • Fuel Consumption Monitoring
  • Fiscal Transfer
  • Product Load-out
  • Reactor Feed
  • Safety Shutdown
  • Waste Treatment
  • Emissions Monitoring

Most chemical processing plants have two primary flow measurement challenges: accuracy and cost. The goal is to correctly match the right flow meter to the right application to achieve the best performance for the lowest purchase prices and total cost of ownership.


Flow meters are excellent tools to measure, monitor, and control the distribution of a host of process fluids. The question is which technology to use, since a wide variety of meter designs are available. Each type of meter has it’s own pros and cons, and must be properly deployed to achieve optimal performance.


Coriolis Flow Meter

Coriolis meters contain a vibrating tube in which a fluid flow causes changes in frequency, phase shift or amplitude. The sensor signal is then fed into the integrally mounted pc-board. The resulting output signal is strictly proportional to the real mass flow rate, whereas thermal mass flow meters are dependent of the physical properties of the fluid.

One of the most important features of Coriolis flow meters is that they directly measure fluid mass over a wide range of temperatures with a very high degree of accuracy. Their unobstructed, open flow design is suitable for viscous, non-conductive fluids that are difficult to measure with other technologies. With no internal moving parts, Coriolis meters require a minimum amount of attention once installed. However, they are sometimes considered too sophisticated, expensive or unwieldy for certain applications.


Differential Pressure

Differential Pressure Meter

Differential Pressure (DP) meters measure the pressure differential across the meter and extract the square root. They have a primary element that causes a change in kinetic energy, creating differential pressure in the pipe, and a secondary element measuring the differential pressure and providing a signal or read-out converted to the actual flow value.

Differential Pressure meters are versatile instruments, which employ a proven, well- understood measuring technology that does not require moving parts in the flow stream. DP meters are not greatly affected by viscosity changes, however, they have a history of limited accuracy and turndown, as well as complex installation requirements.


Electromagnetic Meter

Electromagnetic meters will measure virtually any conductive fluid or slurry, including process water and wastewater. They provide low pressure drop, high accuracy, high turndown ratio, and excellent repeatability. The meters have no moving parts or flow obstructions, and are relatively unaffected by viscosity, temperature and pressure when correctly specified. Nevertheless, their propensity to foul can cause maintenance issues. Electromagnetic meters tend to be heavy in larger sizes and may be prohibitively expensive for some purposes.

Positive Displacement


Positive Displacement (PD) meters separate liquid into specific increments, and the flow rate is an accumulation of these measured increments over time. The rotational speed of a PD meter’s impeller is a function of the process flow. An internally coupled counter, either electronic or mechanical, monitors the measuring element’s rotations to provide a volumetric recording of the flow total.

Positive Displacement meters are highly accurate (especially at low flows) and have one of the largest turndown ratios. The devices are easy to maintain as they have only one or two moving parts. There is no need for straight pipe lengths as with other metering approaches. However, PD meters require clean fluids and can be large and burdensome to install.

Thermal Mass

Thermal Mass Flow Meter

Thermal Mass meters utilize a heated sensing element isolated from the fluid flow path. The flow stream conducts heat from the sensing element, which is directly proportional to the mass flow rate. The meter’s electronics package includes the flow analyser, temperature compensator, and a signal conditioner providing a linear output directly proportional to mass flow.

Thermal mass meters carry a relatively low purchase price. They are designed to work with clean gases of known heat capacity, as well as some low-pressure gases not dense enough for Coriolis meters to measure. The main disadvantage of thermal technology is low-to- medium accuracy, although suppliers have improved the capabilities of these meters in recent years.


Turbine Flow Meter


Turbine meters contain a freely suspended rotor, and the flow against its vanes causes the device to rotate at a rate proportional to flow velocity. A sensor/transmitter is used to detect the rotational rate of the rotor; when the fluid moves faster, more pulses are generated. The transmitter processes the pulse signal to determine the flow of the fluid in either forward or reverse direction.



Turbine meters incorporate a time-tested measuring principle, and are known for high- accuracy, wide turndown and repeatable measurements. They produce a high-resolution pulse rate output signal proportional to fluid velocity, and hence, to volumetric flow rate Turbine meters are limited to use with clean fluids only. Bearing wear, a common concern with this type of device, was largely addressed by the development of ceramic journal bearings. As a mechanical meter, turbines require periodic recalibration and service.


Impeller Flow Meter

Impeller meters are frequently used in large diameter water distribution systems. The device consists of a paddle wheel inserted perpendicularly into a process stream. The number of rotations of the paddlewheel is directly proportional to the velocity of the process.

Impeller meter attributes include: direct volumetric flow measurement (often with visual indication), universal mounting, fast response with good repeatability, and relatively low cost. Note their performance suffers in applications with low fluid velocity. The meters are also sensitive to flow profile. They can only be used in clean, low-viscosity media.

Variable Area

Variable Area Flow Meter

Variable Area meters are inferential measurement devices consisting of two main components: a tapered metering tube and a float that rides within the tube. The float position — a balance of upward flow and float weight — is a linear function of flow rate. Operators can take direct readings based on the float position with transparent glass and plastic tubes.

Simple, inexpensive and reliable, Variable Area meters provide practical flow measurement solutions for many applications. Be advised most of these meters must be mounted perfectly vertical. They also need to be calibrated for viscous liquids and compressed gases. Furthermore, their turndown is limited and accuracy relatively low.



Ultrasonic Flow Meter

There are two types of ultrasonic meters: transit time and Doppler. Both designs will detect and measure bi-directional flow rates without invading the flow stream. Ultrasonic meters are ideal for troubleshooting, diagnostics and leak detection. They can be used with all types of corrosive fluids, as well as gases, and are insensitive to changes in temperature, viscosity, density or pressure.

Ultrasonic meters have no moving or wetted parts, suffer no pressure loss, offer a large turndown ratio, and provide maintenance-free operation—important advantages over conventional mechanical meters. Conversely, the precision of these meters becomes much less dependable at low flow rates Unknown internal piping variables can shift the flow signal and create inaccuracies.


Vortex Flow Meter

Vortex meters make use of a principle called the von Kármán effect, whereby flow will alternately generate vortices when passing by a bluff body. A bluff body is a piece of material with a broad, flat front that extends vertically into the flow stream. Flow velocity is proportional to the frequency of the vortices. Flow rate is calculated by multiplying the area of the pipe times the velocity of the flow.

Vortex meters have no moving parts that are subject to wear, and thus regular maintenance is not necessary. Only clean liquids can be measured with this type of instrument. They are particularly well suited for measurement of gas emissions produced by wastewater. Vortex meters may introduce pressure drop due to obstructions in the flow path.


Oval Gear

Oval Gear Flow Meter

Oval Gear meters utilize a positive displacement meter design, whereby fluid enters the inlet port and then passes through the metering chamber. Inside the chamber, fluid forces the internal gears to rotate before exiting through the outlet port. Each rotation of the gears displaces a specific volume of fluid. As the gears rotate, a magnet on each end of the gear passes a reed switch, which send pulses to the microprocessor in the register to change the LED display segments.

The latest breed of Oval Gear meters directly measures actual volume. It features a wide flow range, minimal pressure drop and extended viscosity range. This design offers easy installation and high accuracy, and measures high temperature, viscous and caustic liquids with simple calibration.

Nutating Disc

Nutating Disc Flow Meter

Nutating Disc meters are most commonly used in water-metering applications. A disc attached to a sphere is mounted inside a spherical chamber. As fluid flows through the chamber, the disc and sphere unit wobble or “nutate ”.  This effect causes a pin, mounted on the sphere perpendicular to the disc, to rock. Each revolution of the pin indicates a fixed volume of liquid has passed.

Nutating Disc meters have a reputation for high accuracy and repeatability, but viscosities below their designated threshold adversely affect performance. Meters made with aluminium or bronze discs can be used to meter hot oil and chemicals.


In a typical chemical production facility, fluid characteristics eg. single or double phase, viscosity, turbidity, flow profile (laminar, transitional, turbulent, etc.), flow range, and accuracy requirements are all important considerations in determining the right flow meter for a particular measurement task. Additional considerations such as mechanical restrictions and output-connectivity options also impact the user’s choice.

For most general industrial applications, the key factors in flow meter selection are:

Process Media

Different flow meters are designed to operate best in different fluids/gases and under different operating conditions. That’s why it is important to understand the limitations inherent to each style of instrument. The most important difference between these two types of media lies in their relative compressibility (i.e, gases can be compressed much more easily than liquids). Consequently, any change that involves significant pressure variations is generally accompanied by much larger changes in mass density in the case of a gas than in the case of a liquid.

Type of Measurement

Industrial flow measurements fall under one of two categories: mass or volumetric. Volumetric flow rate is the volume of fluid passing at a given volume per unit time eg. Litres per minute. Mass flow rate is the movement of mass per time unit eg. Kilograms per minute. It can be calculated from the density of the liquid (or gas), its velocity, and the cross sectional area of flow. Volumetric measuring devices, like variable area meters or turbine flow meters, are unable to distinguish temperature or pressure changes. Mass flow measurement would require additional sensors for these parameters and a flow computer to compensate for the variations in these process conditions. Thermal mass flow meters are virtually insensitive to variations in temperature or pressure.

Heathrow Case Study

Impeller Turbine Meters installed at Heathrow airport

Flow Rate Information

A crucial aspect of flow meter selection is determining whether flow rate data should be instantaneous or continuous. A flow rate has to do with the quantity of a gas or liquid moving through a pipe or channel within a given or standard period of time. A typical continuous flow measurement system consists of a primary flow device, flow sensor, transmitter, flow recorder, and totalizer.

Desired Accuracy

In many production processes, accurate flow measurements can be the difference between on-spec quality and wasted product. Flow meter accuracy is specified in percentage of actual reading (OR), percentage of calibrated span (CS), or percentage of full-scale (FS) units. It is normally stated at minimum, normal, and maximum flow rates. A clear understanding of these requirements is needed for a meter’s performance to be acceptable over its full range.

Application Environment

Flow meters can be employed under a host of varying conditions in a chemical process plant. For example, users must decide whether the low or high flow range is most important for their metering application. This information will help in sizing the correct instrument for the job. Pressure and temperature conditions are equally important process parameters. Users should also consider pressure drop (the decrease in pressure from one point in a pipe to another point downstream) in flow measurement devices, especially with high-viscosity fluids. In addition, viscosity and density may fluctuate due to a physical or temperature change in the process fluid.

Fluid Characteristics

Users should be cautious that the selected flow meter is compatible with the fluid and conditions they are working with. Many chemical and petrochemical operations involve abrasive or corrosive fluids, which move under aerated, pulsating, swirling or reverse-flow conditions. Thick and compacted materials can clog or damage internal meter components, hindering accuracy and resulting in frequent downtime and repair.

Installation Requirements

Planning a flow meter installation starts with knowing the line size, pipe flow direction, material of construction, and flange-pressure rating. Complications due to equipment accessibility, valves, regulators, and available straight pipe run lengths should also be identified. Many types of flow meters must be installed with a run of straight pipe before and after their mounting location. Where this is not possible, a flow conditioner can be used to isolate liquid flow disturbances from the flow meter while minimizing the pressure drop across the conditioner.

Power Availability and Hazardous Areas

Pneumatic instrumentation was once used in most hazardous area applications, since there was no power source to cause an explosion. Today’s ATEX installations normally call for intrinsically safe instruments, which are “current limited” by safety barriers to eliminate a potential spark or Explosion proof solutions which feature approved E xd enclosures. Self-powered flow meters offer an advantage in such environments or where a power source is not available. They do not require external power to provide a local rate/total indicator display for a field application, and instead rely on battery-power for displaying, logging and transmitting data. Solar-powered systems can also be used in remote areas without power.

Calibration Services

Ultrasonic Flow Meter

Necessary Approvals

UK firms are obliged to comply with strict standards set by the EU. Approvals for the use of flow measurement equipment in hazardous locations are covered by the ATEX directive. Standards such as the Measuring Instruments Directive (MID) apply to fiscal and custody transfer metering for liquids and gases. In terms of environmental emissions, industrial flow meters must meet the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Standards EN55011:1992 and EN61326-1:1997.


Flow meter users must decide whether measurement data is needed locally or remotely. For remote indication, the transmission can be analogue, digital, or shared. The choice of a digital communications protocol such as HART®, FOUNDATION Fieldbus™ or Modbus also figures into this decision. In a large industrial facility, flow readings are typically supplied to an industrial automation and control system or SCADA system for use in process control and optimization strategies.


Companies purchasing flow meters should remember that accurate instruments cost more based on their capabilities. It is better to locate the type of meter suited to a specific application before sacrificing features for cost savings. Users should closely evaluate their process conditions, including flow rates, pressure and temperature, and operating ranges. Do not be swayed by lower priced alternatives that would be applied outside of their capabilities.

All flow meters are affected to some extent by the flowing medium they are metering and by the way they are installed. Consequently, their performance in real world conditions will often be different from the reference conditions under which they calibrated. For the lowest uncertainty of measurement, positive displacement meters are generally the best option. Electromagnetic meters provide for the some of the widest flow “turn-down” ranges and turbine meters are usually the best choice for the highest short-term repeatability vs price. Despite their high initial cost, Coriolis meters are ideal for measuring particularly viscous substances and anywhere that the measurement of mass rather than volume is required.

Flow meter users should also take care to examine long-term ownership costs. A flow meter with a low purchase price may be very expensive to maintain. Alternatively, a meter with a high purchase price may require very little service. Lower purchase price does not always represent the best value.

Generally speaking, flow meters with few or no moving parts require less attention than more complex instruments. Meters incorporating multiple moving parts can malfunction due to dirt, grit or grime present in the process fluid. Meters with impulse lines can also plug or corrode, and units with flow dividers and pipe bends sometimes suffer from abrasive media wear and blockages. Changes in temperature also affect the internal dimensions of the meter and require compensation.

The need to recalibrate a flow meter depends on how well the instrument fits a particular application. If the application is critical, meter accuracy should be checked at frequent intervals. Otherwise, recalibration may not be necessary for years because the application is non-critical, or there are no factors which will change the meter’s performance.

Electromagnetic flow meters used in calibration on site

No matter the chosen flow meter technology, overall system accuracy will not exceed that of equipment used to perform the meter calibration. The most precise flow calibration systems on the market employ a positive displacement design. This type of calibrator, usually directly traceable to National standards, provides total accuracy of at least 0.05 percent.


Choosing the right flow measurement solution can have a major impact on operational and business performance. For this reason, companies anticipating a flow meter purchase should consult with a knowledgeable instrumentation supplier in the early stages of a project. The effort spent learning about basic flow measurement techniques, and available meter options, will ensure a successful application once the equipment is installed.

(With Thanks to Badger Meter)

Basic Theory of Pressure Transducers

A pressure transducer is a device which converts an applied pressure into a measurable electrical signal which is linear and proportional to the applied pressure.

Standard Pressure Units

Within industry there are three major pressure datum’s that you will need to understand for your given application; absolute, differential, and gauge pressure. Each area of the world uses a different unit of measure depending mostly on regionality as well as the magnitude of the measurement. The most common units of measure are Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI) and Bar (B) for higher pressure ranges and Inches of Water Column (“WC) and Pascal (Pa) for lower pressure ranges (for a list of common units and conversions please go to our Conversion Tool).

When the unit of measure and the pressure datum are combined it gives the user a more complete description of what is going on or what is needed in the application. The pressure datum is typically depicted as a suffix to the unit of measure.

Absolute pressure is measured relative to a perfect vacuum. A common unit of measure is pounds per square inch absolute (PSIA).

Differential pressure is the difference in pressure between two points of measurement (measured relative to a reference pressure). This is commonly measured in units of pounds per square inch differential (PSID).

Gauge pressure is measured relative to current atmospheric pressure Common measurement units are pounds per square inch gauge (PSIG – also PSIC for compound or PSIV – Vacuum are also commonly used gauge measurements)

IMP Industrial Pressure Transmitter

IMP Industrial Pressure Transmitter

Understanding the difference between gauge and absolute pressure is critical for most applications. Remember that gauge pressure is measured relative to current atmospheric pressure (subject to change with changes in the barometric pressure) and that absolute pressure is measured relative to a perfect vacuum. Thus, your application will determine which of these approaches is required.

Also, within the pressure datum known as “gauge pressure” there are three main categories:

Vented to Atmosphere (PSIG)

Sealed (PSIS)

Vacuum (PSIV)

By design, pressure transducers are available to measure gage, absolute or sealed pressure. The most common reference is atmospheric pressure and the units are designated at PSIG. In this case the measuring device is referred to as a Gage Pressure Transducer.

Gage Pressure Transducer – PSIG

Measures pressure referenced to local atmospheric pressure and is vented to the atmosphere. When the pressure port is exposed to the atmosphere, the transducer will indicate 0 PSIG. This occurs because the pressure on both sides of the diaphragm is the same and there is no net output.

Venting is accomplished by means of a small diameter hole located near the transducer’s electrical termination – connector or cable. The vent hole contains a porous, stainless steel disk designed to filter out harmful airborne particles from entering the transducer. Depending on accuracy class, PSIG transducers above certain pressure levels may in fact be sealed. This can be done because the possible measurement errors due to sealing will stay within the accuracy specification of the transducer.

Absolute Pressure Transducer – PSIA

Measures pressure referenced to an absolute vacuum, hermetically sealed at 0 PSIA. When the pressure port is exposed to the atmosphere, the transducer will indicate atmospheric pressure; approximately 14.7 PSIA. This occurs because there is a vacuum on one side of the diaphragm and atmospheric pressure on the other. The net output represents the difference, which is atmospheric pressure.

Depending on accuracy class, PSIA transducers above certain pressure levels may not have an absolute vacuum reference. They can be sealed with atmospheric pressure because the possible measurement errors will stay within the accuracy specification of the transducer.

Sealed Pressure Transducer – PSIS

Measures pressure referenced to the prevailing atmospheric pressure hermetically sealed within the transducer. When the pressure port is exposed to the atmosphere, the transducer will indicate approximately 0 PSIS. This occurs because there is a fixed atmospheric pressure on one side of the diaphragm and the ambient atmospheric pressure on the other side. If they are the same the net output is 0 PSIS. If they are not the same, then the net output will be a reading other than 0 PSIS.

Depending on accuracy class, and design considerations, PSIS transducers below certain pressure levels are not available. Internal pressure changes due to temperature will produce measurement errors that will exceed the accuracy specification of the transducer. If a sealed transducer is required at low pressure levels, then the PSIA version should be used.

Heron 4-20ma vented Pressure Transmitter (0-10m)

Heron 4-20ma vented Pressure Transmitter

Practical Applications

Absolute Measurements

Absolute measurements are generally used in applications where you need a repeatable reference pressure; i.e. in an experiment or in a barometric application. For example if you are looking to replicate a test that was originally completed by a colleague in a different geolocation, you may want to use an absolute sensor to minimize variables in your test. Other applications include weather stations, altimeter calibration equipment, and semiconductor fabs and many more. However, if you want to measure or control a pressure that is based on current conditions a gauge sensor may be best.

Gauge Measurements

Generally, if you want to measure or control a pressure that is influenced by changes in atmospheric pressure. This style sensor is used in any application where you want to overcome the atmospheric conditions to produce a task or pull a vacuum to accomplish another type of task. The applications for gauge pressure sensors are quite vast. Some examples are pump discharge pressure, fire hose discharge pressure, tank level, steam pressure in a commercial boiler and many more.

Differential Pressure Sensors

Remember that Differential pressure is the difference in pressure between two points of measurement. You can measure very low to high pressures in all kinds of different media including liquids, gases, water, refrigerants and air. Thus, if you want to measure the difference in pressure across a filter (see below), you could use a differential pressure transducer to tell you when it was time to change the filter so you can maintain the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of your building. Differential applications can be quite varied, some examples are supply and return pressure in a chiller, air flow stations, leak detection systems, pressurised tank level, hospital isolation or protection rooms, and many more.

See our range of pressure sensors here >>

Note: This information was collated from web resources located within the public domain. No liability for the accuracy of this text nor it’s use for any reason whatsoever is accepted by Bell Flow Systems Ltd

Tank Cloud, remote tank level monitoring from APG

Tank Cloud is perfect for a single remote tank, or an entire tank farm. We’ve got it covered, no matter what the situation.

Our Tank Cloud master level sensors connect directly to the Internet for single tank applications. They also use Modbus to connect up to 10 slave sensors for tank farm applications.

Modbus is simply a communication protocol that the sensors use to pass data to the master sensors and then to the Internet for your viewing pleasure. It also makes wiring as inexpensive as it possibly can be, reducing the amount of cable needed and simplifying the wiring for easy installation.

Tank Cloud sensors can be daisy chained together for fast and inexpensive wiring. There are also a few other features designed to save you time and money – like Power Over Ethernet, that can power up to 6 sensors with the right Ethernet switch.

The sensors can be programmed remotely – so once the sensors are on the tanks, powered up, and connected you can walk away and do the rest from your office.


Adding Tank Cloud to your tanks will save you money in two critical ways:

♦ You’ll stop wasting time on the expensive task of checking remote tank levels. Enjoy tank level data at your fingertips.

♦  You’ll instantly know about expected and unexpected events. Receive an instant alert of tank empties and refills, including theft.

Stop wasting your time on level checking. This pulls your productive personnel off–task, and often costs you a lot of time and fuel to get on location. If you manage your own remote tanks, this is a major sticking point – causing a bottleneck to productivity, risk of injury, and is rarely executed with exactness.

If you collect from or refill remote tanks, you can improve your customer service dramatically, optimise collection and delivery routes, and (once optimised) service more customers with the same trucks. Relying on algorithms, or other forecasting techniques, to guess when the tank needs attention, is essentially rolling the dice.

Not only can you log-in to our secure servers at any time to see your tank level data, but you can leverage two critical tools to give your tank managers the critical information they need at exactly the right time.

Stay In The Know With Remote Tank Level Alarms

Remote monitoring is much more powerful when the right people can be notified of tank conditions at the right time. Tank Cloud’s remote tank level alarms do exactly this.

Send key personnel an automatic text message or email when tanks meet your pre-defined level condition. Give them the tool they need to respond appropriately to the routine tasks of servicing tanks, the emergency of a pending overfill, or to theft.

Tank Cloud sensors have a few different types of alarms. Local alarms can be initiated by sensor trip points and are completely user defined. Remote alarms are configured at our secure data portal at

Remote alarms will notify you when a tank is ready to be serviced – either picked up or refilled. They can even alert you to potentially unauthorised access events, such as theft. Creative uses of remote and local alarms include the initiating of a surveillance camera when tank contents are removed rapidly.

Perhaps the best part about our remote tank level alarms is that they’re completely user defined – meaning you can set them up to tell you about any tank level condition. Tank Cloud gives you the flexibility and control to set up alarms that match how you do business.

Crunch The Numbers With Tank Level Data Logging

Adding data logging to your Tank Cloud remote tank level monitoring will give you the information you need to make important long-term decisions.

Specifically, data logging will help you with the following:

♦  Tell you how and when your resources are used

♦  Give you production/usage trends

♦  Provide a record of your collections and deliveries

Understanding how your resources are used, and specifically when, is invaluable as you grow your business and plan for the busy seasons of the year. It’s one thing to have experience in your industry; it’s another to have the numbers in front of you. Optimising your business is a lot easier when you have the data to back up your decisions.

It also helps to monitor trends of production and/or usage. For inventory managers, this tool tells your purchasing department when and how much to buy. For distributors, this gives you greater insight into demand, and helps you offer amazing customer service. For collection services, this helps you understand your customer’s production rates and allows you to plan ahead.

Our data logging service will keep up to three years of data on a per sensor basis. This gives you the flexibility to pick and choose which tanks need data logging the most, and scale the solution to your exact needs. You can export the data into your favourite spreadsheet format for number crunching fun!


Digital pressure gauges are an important part of any process that uses pressurised vessels or lines. They serve a vital safety tools to control pressure, and they help you keep your equipment running smoothly. When used right, pressure gauges are one of the most valuable instruments you can have.

How Tank Cloud remote monitoring works

Tank Cloud is an awesome solution for the right applications. It excels for most people who need to monitor tank levels in remotely located tanks. Our sensors work very well for most types of liquids, even many harsh chemicals, and our line up of sensors is continually growing.

In the past, we have had great success with a few types of applications:

♦  Tank Collection Services – Any business who is charged with emptying tanks throughout a region when they fill up.

♦  Bulk Liquid Distributors – Any distributor who transports bulk liquids and wants to help customers manage their liquids. Often a valuable service that generates revenue.

♦  Inventory Managers – Any business that manages its own bulk liquid inventory with dispersed tanks – either regionally dispersed, or in facilities spread throughout the nation or world.

Tank Collection Services

A great example of a tank collection service is used oil recycling companies. These businesses visit either restaurants or auto shops (depending on the oil in question) and remove the used oil for recycling. Often, the collection service buys the oil from the establishment and then resells it to re–refineries.

Instead of guessing when their customer’s tanks are ready for service, and often getting burned by either a lower–than–expected tank level or random theft events, these businesses are able to actively plan their routes and optimize their collections with Tank Cloud.

One national oil recycler has virtually eliminated waste and increased productivity and profitability. Our customer is now able to take on more customers with their existing assets – maximizing their ROI on their fleet investments. In addition, with the higher accuracy of Tank Cloud sensors, they can provide an accurate account of oil collected to their many customers – giving them the peace of mind that they’re getting a good deal from the collector.

Similarly, Oil & Gas companies that collect crude oil, condensate, and wastewater from distant production tanks benefit from knowing ahead of time the exact level of the tank.

Bulk Liquid Distributors

The distribution of bulk liquids depends on clear communication and a bit of forecasting. Many distributor customers have a difficult time with both communicating inventory and forecasting future need. Tank Cloud helps in both instances with real time tank level information, alarms, and data logging.

One of our customers distributes agricultural chemicals to dairies throughout the West country. Miscommunication between the dairy farmer and the distributor often resulted in over–ordering and unhappy customers.

So our customer stepped in to help dairy farmers better manage their inventory needs and provide just–in–time deliveries. The service was a new source of revenue for the company, and helped distributors and customers work together.

Inventory Managers

If you’ve ever tried to keep track of tank levels in different locations, you’ll understand how difficult it can be – especially as we ask fewer employees to take on more responsibility.

This was the case forthe Department of Transportation. Employees found that managing their inventory of liquid de-icer was a constant challenge. Remote tanks were placed strategically to maximise statewide coverage. However, without sensors and manpower truck drivers were left estimating inventory levels.

Orders were commonly too late or too big. When too much was delivered, the council was responsible for the entire order.

Tank Cloud sensors give the state employees the information they need to stay on top of the inventory and save taxpayer’s money for more important uses.

Another customer in the industrial laundry and uniform wanted to know their chemical inventory levels in a few hundred locations nationwide. In addition, they wanted to improve safety by keeping employees and chemical distributor reps off of the tanks. Tank Cloud was the perfect solution to address both inventory tracking and safety concerns.

The Bottom Line

Our customers are optimizing their business, saving money, and generating new revenue everyday by using Tank Cloud to get a handle on their remote tanks. The fact of the matter is, if you manage remote tanks, you’re losing money every day you wait.

APG level monitoring products are available from Bell Flow Systems Ltd in the UK
contact us at


Managing Losses in Compressed Air Systems with Thermal Mass Flow Technology

Managing Losses in Compressed Air Systems with Thermal Mass Flow Technology

Monitoring Compressed air within a manufacturing facility has become increasingly important as the associated costs have risen dramatically in recent years

Compressed air systems are found throughout industry and are often the largest excess user of electricity in a manufacturing plant. Air leaks can be a significant source of wasted energy and can be diagnosed by fitting thermal mass flow meters at strategic points in the system to calculate outflow generated air with downstream usage. Thermal Mass flow meters measure true mass flow which compensates for any differential pressures across the system, providing accurate comparative data from the installed locations.

The primary reason thermal mass flow meters are popular in industrial compressed air applications is the way they are designed and built. They feature no moving parts in a nearly unobstructed straight through flow path, require no additional temperature or pressure corrections and retain accuracy over a wide range of flow rates. Straight pipe runs can be reduced by using conditioning elements and installation is very simple with inline and insertion models available













TGF200 series micro flow meters offer a low cost solution for accurately measuring compressed air based on patented sensor filming technology and advanced thermal mass flow measurement technology. This range is designed to measure pressure and temperature compensated mass and standard volumetric flow within small pipe-lines in general industrial applications and laboratories, offering high turn-down and a choice of outputs


TGF450 Thermal mass flow meter was designed especially for the measurement of compressed air in larger pipes. It can provide stable and accurate measurement at a very economical cost and has 1.5% FS+0.5RD accuracy on a 100:1 wide turndown ratio. The compact design and thick probe are easily installed in high pressure pipelines with limited space. Manufactured from stainless steel, this insertion style flow meter has various power, signal output and mounting options

The fact of the matter is that compressed air is not cheap and is becoming a financial burden to both small and large companies operating expenditures. In this age of energy efficiency and widespread efforts to drive down associated costs in order to ensure a greener footprint, it is becoming more important for a business to identify why is it so important to monitor the air flow rate in compressors?

There have been extensive studies done over the years on plant wide operating costs for the majority of Industrial businesses and one of the largest fixed overheads continues to be electricity. One of the major contributors to this excessive electricity draw in a large number of instances are the company’s air compressors. The simple actions required to reduce excess electricity usage and provide for a more efficient compressor throughput is to monitor the air flow rates and optimize the compressor’s efficiency or else replace any parts in a compressed air system as highlighted during this monitoring.

Squirrel 2020

Modern Thermal Mass Flow meters such as those above can be integrated into Data logging packages such as the Squirrel 2020 via their analogue, digital or serial outputs. Time-base relevant data can then be evaluated to indicate problems with factory shift performance or individual operator technique. Installed flow meters can then also be used for allocating inter-departmental energy costs and managing budgets based on energy saving performance

Further information on Bell Flow Systems Compressed Air Flow Meters available here >>>

15 Good Reasons for Choosing our Flow-Monitors

15 Good Reasons for Choosing our Flow-Monitors

  1. The units can be mounted in any orientation, unlike rotameters
  2. No glass to break, just a rugged plastic window
  3. Dirty water, oils and coloured liquids no problem
  4. The units are among few available that incorporate a 15 amp switch
  5. Wide choice of switches available – 3, 4 and 6 wire switches, Flameproof / Explosion Proof.
  6. More than one switch can be installed for multiple flow rate switching points.
  7. Switching Points can easily adjusted in the field
  8. Non contact 4-20 mA position encoder option
  9. Standard enclosure box IP 65
  10. Springs are not in contact with the flow.
  11. Large choice of materials to suit most applications
  12. Only one moving part
  13. Flow switches are needed to monitor flow in lubrication and spray systems. Flow switches are better than pressure switches here as a blockage will be signalled by a Flow Switch, whereas pressure remains – so a pressure switch will not indicate the potential trouble.
  14. Flow Switches are invaluable for balancing circuits and the added switch will warn operators of any change in the period following installation.
  15. Individually built and calibrated to customers requirements, usually within 2 weeks.

These products are built to last and do exactly what they say they will,  with the minimum of fuss,……. promising years and years of trouble free operation.

See the range here>>>

Is your Flow meter delivering its best?

Is your Flow meter delivering its best?
Read on to discover how to extract the most from it!





From Guest Blogger, Edward Simpson of company RS Calibration

Any instrument deteriorates over time. It is a given that to extract the most from it, regular inspection, instrument calibration or an upgrade is mandatory to ensure that the instrument keeps on delivering its best. A flow meter is also one such equipment which is used for diverse applications in numerous fields from agriculture to aerospace. To ensure that such critical equipment consistently delivers its best, it’s important to know the indicators which help you determine whether it’s time for an upgrade or a new purchase.

The parameters listed below can help you decide whether it’s the right time to upgrade your flow meter or not:

♦ If there is a new development or extension in the current operations within the business, or even a small change in the layout of the existing arrangement of the equipment.

♦ Introduction of new piping networks which can alter the fluid dynamics and various compositions of the fluid contents are some of the factors which can affect the monitoring equipment.

♦ Any alterations in the computer systems of your business can give rise to the possibility of the obsolete technologies and control systems becoming vulnerable to it. The flow control equipment is the nervous system of an operation and can be affected in such situations and hence needs to be upgraded.

♦ Historic records help identify patterns in the maintenance of the equipment, recurring problems, frequency of services etc. This data can be used to accurately gauge the need for an upgrade.

♦ Real-time data is equally important and is utilised to keep a check on the accuracy levels of the flow control equipment and helps decide the correct time for an upgrade in this system.

♦ If the flow meter system requires expensive maintenance frequently or its parts are becoming increasingly costly or you need to shelve out a lot of money to hire a technical specialist, it’s time to upgrade the system.

♦ Partial upgrades are also cost-effective and easy to implement. A trained engineer should be hired to implement any type of partial or full upgrades in the flow control system to ensure that there are no glitches in the system. Similarly, for flow meter calibration, it’s advisable to hire calibration experts of an accredited calibration lab.

Selecting a New Flow Meter

In case there is a need for new equipment, keep in mind the following factors before buying a new flow meter:

  1. Model – There are various models of flow meter available today which fulfil different applications and purposes. A simple profiling of material which is to be measured can help you understand the material’s behaviour when flowing through a pipe. This can help you narrow down on the model of the flow meter. If you are unsure about how to follow this procedure, seek the services of a professional.
  2. Objective – The type of liquid or gas to be measured, the turndown ratio, required temperatures and whether it will be operated manually or automatically are some of the parameters which can help you zero down on the objective of buying the flow meter.
  3. Material Compatibility – It’s extremely important to take into account the materials which are to be measured with the help of the flow meter. The model you choose should be compatible with the materials it is supposed to measure. Check each material individually against a reputable chemical compatibility table. Also check your choice of the model with the manufacturer of the fluid to avoid any compatibility issues or problems.
  4. Cost – A cheaper device may be tempting, but it can cost you more in the long run than the price you pay while buying. First, consider the quality, durability and the performance of the device. If it meets your requirements perfectly, even a slightly expensive flow meter will prove to be cost-effective in the long term.
  5. Fitting – You also need to consider the fitting or the installation of the flow meter. Keep in mind the exact location of where it is to be installed as this parameter can highly affect the device’s efficiency and accuracy. Is it likely to be affected by any obstructions in the pipelines such as bends, valves or joints? These aspects can hinder the flow of the materials to be measured hence consider them before making the purchase.

Choose a flow meter which suits the needs of your business. Also, keep in mind that the flow meter should be upgraded and calibrated as required at the right time for optimal outcome. Such simple steps can help boost the efficiency of your operations.


Author Bio: Edward Simpson works for RS Calibration Services and has a knack for finding faults in machines and does not rest until they are rectified to perfection. He lives in Pleasanton, CA and loves to write about how machines work and about the importance of proper care and calibration of equipment. When he’s not working or writing, he loves to run to stay fit.

Waste Water flow measurement in open ended pipes, now possible under all conditions

Accuron Cartridge-insert, open ended pipe flow meters
to fit nominal diameters 4″ – 24″ 

The successful measurement of low flows in partially full pipes and open channels has never been easily accomplished. Problems have ranged from questionable theory to real maintenance issues encompassing fouled sensors, sediment and plugging. The “point velocity” and “line velocity” theories that imply a velocity measured on the fluid surface or near the pipe wall can be substituted for the average velocity throughout the cross-section of the pipe have always been significantly challenged. In addition, flow sensors that sit in the invert of the pipe or hang from the top have made installation difficult, while providing a place for rags and other debris to accumulate. The accuracy of these single technology flow meters are only consistent within a specific or prescribed range of conditions. If conditions change, the stated accuracy ratings are no longer valid.

A new solution…. Accuron Hybrid Technology Cartridge Meters combine two distinct technologies in order to achieve maximum efficiency for monitoring of such flow under all conditions.

The Cartridge Meter is the first open channel flow meter to utilise hybrid technology. The new technology combines a stainless steel trapezoidal flume and Teflon level sensor combination for low flow applications with the highly accurate and non-fouling transit-time chordal velocity method for high flow applications. This new hybrid technology system allows for precise and highly accurate flow measurement during extremely low flows, high flows, flood events, reverse flows, stagnation and non-uniform hydraulic profiles.

High Performance under all conditions

During periods of minimal flow (Zero to 1/3 pipe diameter), The Accuron measures flow within its’ low operating range by utilizing the highly efficient combination of a trapezoidal flume and ultrasonic level sensor. Calibrated accuracy is ±3-5% of actual rate at a turndown: 60:1

During periods of maximum flow (1/3 to full pipe diameter). The Accuron measures flow within its high operating range by utilizing an extremely accurate area-velocity system that combines an ultrasonic level sensor with a pair of transit-time velocity sensors.

The Accuron Cartridge Meter comes with the assurance that each critical component will remain perfectly aligned during its installation plus operate free from the ongoing costs of repetitive maintenance. Transit-time chordal measurement is the most viable technique for predicting average velocity. It provides for detection of chordal velocity across the entire path of the fluid being measured.


30 Minute
Installation Time

A stainless Cartridge, pre-sized for its specific application, arrives at the job site as a fully integrated unit. Every component is factory precision aligned, calibrated and programmed in strict accordance to customer supplied operating specifications.

Free Operation

By utilizing “above the flow” ultrasonic level sensors and non-fouling velocity sensors, the Cartridge Meter remains free from the ongoing problems of sediment build-up, fouled sensors and accumulated debris.

Data Logging
Software Package

Qtrend is an Excel Workbook Flow Data Graphing Package specifically designed to interface with every Cartridge Meter. It incorporates specific formulas capable of charting and displaying all of the data collected by the meter’s onboard logger.

Flow Lab Accuracy Traceability

Prior to field shipment, each Cartridge Meter is NIST traceable tested, calibrated and certified at Eastech’s Flow Metrology Laboratory under the identical size and flow conditions specified for its ultimate application.

Cost Benefits

Accuracy and cost efficiency is guaranteed by providing the end user with a pre-engineered field ready system designed for “out of the box” installation as opposed to the traditional solution. A single cartridge, pre-sized for its specific application, arrives at the job site as a fully integrated unit, requiring only 30 minutes for installation. Every component is factory precision aligned, calibrated and programmed in strict accordance to customer supplied operating specifications.

Engineering and plant personnel may now specify an extremely reliable and cost efficient system to monitor and measure flow in a single assembly. The Accuron Cartridge Meter shifts the responsibility of installed accuracy from the field to the factory. The added labour and expense of field programming, precise sensor alignment and costly flume installation is totally eliminated.

Guaranteed Accuracy

Prior to field shipment, each Accuron cartridge Meter is NIST traceable tested, calibrated and certified at the factory’s Flow Metrology Laboratory under the identical size and flow conditions specified for its ultimate application.

Maintenance Free

The risk and expense associated with repetitive confined space entry due to fouled submerged sensor problems is eliminated by utilizing an “above the flow stream” submersible Teflon level sensor. The trapezoidal flume’s flat straight through bottom permits the flume to pass debris quite readily and reduces the problem of sediment build-up up-stream of the flume and the cartridge’s transit time velocity sensors are designed to prevent the accumulation of rags, branches and similar debris from interfering with the performance of the transducers.

Why choose a Cartridge flow meter….. get the details here

See these products on our website here>>>

Oilfield Water Operations Optimized by Flow Meters :: A White Paper published by Badger Meter


The energy industry is under constant pressure in all production environments In the face of rising costs and increased operating demands, exploration & production (E&P) companies are looking to maximize production – while ensuring safe operations and avoiding environmental impact

During the exploration and drilling stages at oil and gas fields, accurate and dependable flow metering equipment is essential to ensure production is optimized Produced water applications, in particular, challenge oilfield operators The costs associated with these processes can adversely affect the economics of the producing wells, thereby discouraging further development and leaving substantial reserves unrecoverable (See Fig 1)

Figure 1: During the exploration and drilling stages at oil and gas fields, accurate and dependable flow metering equipment is essential to ensure production is optimised.

This whitepaper describes how instrumentation manufacturers have responded to the needs of the upstream sector by offering proven metering techniques to meet demanding flow measurement requirements


In the oil and gas industry, recent technological developments are changing upstream production dramatically and opening up reserves to economically viable extraction Unequivocally, this new development will have repercussions for the environment and the development of renewable energy and a sustainable energy economy

There is an ongoing global shift to unconventional resources such as shale and oil sands Many of the extraction techniques associated with these newer plays – such as hydraulic fracturing – are very water-intensive (See Fig 2)













Figure 2: Many of the extraction techniques associated with shale oil and gas plays are very water intensive.

Producing petroleum products out of the ground generates large volumes of water with undesirable qualities Produced water contains soluble and insoluble organic compounds, dissolved solids, production chemicals (corrosion inhibitors, surfactants, etc ) and solid particles

For petroleum companies, salt water produced during production operations constitutes a critical waste stream affecting their bottom line The disposal cost, covering transportation, capital requirements and infrastructure maintenance, may be as much as $10 00 per barrel A typical production field can produce tens of thousands of barrels of salt water each day


With an increased focus on corporate responsibility and sustainability, the proper handling and disposal of waste streams is critical to all oil- and gas-related businesses  Operators must ensure regulatory compliance while protecting assets, personnel and the environment

Prior to environmental regulations in the 1970s, produced salt water was disposed of using the most economical method available – often times intentionally discharging the water on the ground These past practices and current accidental releases of produced water are national issues that concern managers of Native American, federal and state lands, as well as oil and gas producers, mineral rights and lease owners, state and federal regulators, and landowners

Tight gas, shale gas, oil shale, and liquids-rich, low-permeability plays are now frequently economically viable, and they are being produced in higher volumes than ever before Along with the higher volumes of oil and gas are increased amounts of produced salt water


The flow of liquids and gases must be measured during every phase of oil and gas exploration, production and transportation  This includes production well testing, enhanced oil recovery, fracking and separation to recover and prepare crude oil and produce water These applications demand the highest flow meter accuracy and reliability, as well as long-term stability and a low cost-of-ownership

Today, E&P companies have an urgent need to meet their water management challenges One of these challenges, in particular, is the fact that produced water streams must often be treated prior to disposal or reuse The

capital and operating costs associated with most treatment systems can be very high The need for economical management of produced water is critical

After the drilling & completion phases, the production phase utilizes three-phase separators to separate produced water from oil and gas Pump trucks visit well sites on a frequent basis to collect the water and haul it away to an offloading Salt Water Disposal (SWD) facility In certain areas, this is a very costly practice

The disposal of produced salt water, as well as other defined oil and gas wastes, is controlled by each state’s regulatory agency The most common disposal method is to inject the produced water and associated wastes into suitable, naturally occurring formations

Increasingly, oil and gas firms are seeking to minimize the need to inject produced water at disposal sites, reduce water trucking costs – and at the same time – increase production


There is no question that flow measurement is a crucial aspect of numerous upstream operations – especially those around produced water With countless measuring instruments currently available, making an optimal meter choice can be a daunting task for operating companies Each type of flow meter used to measure oil & gas flow has its own advantages and disadvantages

Although electromagnetic flow meters have specific, limited uses in the oil and gas industry (since hydrocarbons are non-conductive), they are a reliable, cost-effective solution for chemicals, slurries and water/produced water, providing highly accurate volumetric flow measurements Magnetic meters are gaining usage in liquid separators, fracturing water, drilling mud and SWD applications

For example, produced water from well operation is highly conductive, and as such, an electromagnetic meter is one of the most popular approaches for measuring its flow Due to sediment and particulates in produced water,

a flow line may need to be pigged, making the electromagnetic meter an ideal choice Because these meters have no moving parts in the line, they can be pigged without shutting down the process to remove and reinstall the unit (See Fig 3)










Figure 3: Produced water from well operation is highly conductive, and an electromagnetic meter is one of the most popular approaches for measuring its flow.

The two main ultrasonic flow meter technologies are transit time and Doppler Transit-time flow meters are based on the time difference between upstream and downstream sound propagation intervals Doppler flow meters are based on the Doppler Effect The most commonly used ultrasonic device is the transit-time, single-path meter due to its proven accuracy, flexibility, and low cost

The demanding measurement requirements and challenging environmental areas found in the upstream sector can often lead to the selection of ultrasonic flow meters The fluid used in oil extraction and production is frequently pumped at high pressure and flow velocity, making the use on an invasive flow meter highly

challenging Many companies are also choosing ultrasonic meters because they can handle impurities in the flow better than most other designs (See Fig 4)

Figure 4: The demanding measurement requirements and challenging environmental areas found in the upstream sector can often lead to the selection of ultrasonic flow meters.

Wastewater Evaporators

Recent innovations in evaporation technology provide operating companies with an efficient, economical and environmentally responsible way to minimize wastewater transportation and disposal Key to this solution is accurate measurement of the evaporation process provided by electromagnetic flow meters

During the operation of a wastewater evaporator, the volume of high total dissolved solids (TDS) water entering the system is metered, followed by a measurement of the amount of salt crystals or concentrated water exiting the unit The delta of these two measurements is used to calculate the evaporation total, which is the basis for a per barrel service charge billed by the evaporator system provider to the oilfield operator

When used as part of an evaporation system, the electromagnetic flow measurement technique eliminates the need for moving parts, which can lead to performance and maintenance issues The meters measure virtually any conductive fluid or slurry, and are known for low pressure drop, high accuracy, extended turndown and excellent repeatability

Accurate flow data helps enable secure remote operation of an evaporator system – simplifying site personnel training and reducing overhead costs Additionally, improved reliability, increased robustness and reduced maintenance requirements can be achieved (See Fig 5)

Figure 5: Accurate flow data from electromagnetic flow meters can help enable secure remote operation of a produced water evaporator system.

In the future, cloud-based software solutions paired with wireless electromagnetic flow meters will enable unmanned monitoring of produced water consumption, storage and transportation at remote oilfield locations These systems will utilize endpoints to capture interval meter reading data through cellular or fixed network communication technologies They will employ data from the wireless mag meters to provide operators with readings of flow rates and hourly/daily/monthly totals, tank levels and other key parameters without visiting the well site Production decisions can then be made at a central operations centre to help optimize large producing fields

Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing is the use of fluid and material to create or restore small fractures in a formation in order to stimulate production from new and existing oil and gas wells Fracturing creates paths that increase the rate at which fluids can be produced from the reservoir formations, in some cases by many hundreds of percent

Hydraulic fracturing is another common oilfield application for electromagnetic flow meter technology During this process, a mixture of abrasive sand, gel and water is pumped at high pressure into underground rock layers

where oil or gas is trapped Gelling agents are used for lubrication to increase fluid viscosity and make it better able to carry sand This is a key step in holding fractures open Additional chemical injection is used to reduce friction, attack microbes and minimize equipment corrosion

Electromagnetic flow meters are the perfect fit for skid installation, require upstream/downstream straight pipe runs, and provide high measurement accuracy Compared with traditional mechanical meters, electromagnetic meters reduce or even eliminate expensive service, replacement part costs, and downtime

By employing electromagnetic flow meters, operating companies can maintain precise control of the fracturing fluid and the blending of additives This application wears out many other flow meter technologies and can result in an unstable flow signal, making the measurement unusable Once the fracturing process is complete, production can begin

Drilling Mud

During drilling and wellhead installation, precise control of the flow rate of drilling mud going down the borehole to cool the drill bit is a critical step in preparing the well The drilling mud is typically a mixture of water, sand and

a range of chemicals The flow meter used in this application must be able to withstand abrasive materials as well as harsh environmental conditions such as moisture, varying ambient temperature ranges, and vibration in the drilling rig (See Fig 6)









Figure 6: Flow meters used in drilling mud applications must be able to withstand abrasive materials as well as harsh environmental conditions.

The use of electromagnetic flow meters to measure drilling mud can enable oilfield operators meet rigorous production requirements, reduce risk and avoid unnecessary downtime The meters utilize long-lasting sensor lining materials to ensure resistance to chemical corrosion and abrasion, resulting in extended service life

Unlike many other flow instruments, they have no rotating parts inserted in the pipe This can help do away with premature wear, frequent maintenance and associated service costs

At the same time, non-intrusive ultrasonic flow meters perform efficient measurement of mud flow system return lines when the drilling mud contains beads, which are good reflectors for Doppler ultrasound metering technology

Phase Separators

Phase separators reside on onshore well pads and offshore platforms and can be horizontal or vertical They’re used in upstream oil and gas applications for periodic well testing (as a test separator) or continuous production measurement (as a production separator), and can function in either two-phase or three-phase depending on operator strategy (See Fig 7)












Figure 7: Oil three phase separators are used to separate the oil from the gas and water.

The separator is primarily intended to separate the oil from the gas and water On a three-phase separator, all the phases have to be accurately measured and monitored Electromagnetic flow meters are a common choice for water measurement process due to their straightforward design with no moving parts and no path obstructions The meters provide accurate flow readings, which tell operators how their wells are performing and how much oil, water, and gas they’re producing These measurements also assist with fine-tuning recovery operations to maximize retrieval of hydrocarbons

Salt Water Disposal

The process of oil and gas production creates “salt water,” which is considered a hazardous waste because of its high salt content, hydrocarbons, and industrial compounds Companies can recycle the water, injecting it back into working reservoirs for reuse in gathering any remaining oil or gas, or they can discard it at a salt water well disposal site

Ultrasonic flow metering has gained popularity for salt water disposal applications Installation of the meters takes place without interrupting the production and without cutting into the pipe The transducers are simply clamped onto the pipe and do not cause any pressure loss Since they do not come in contact with the medium, they are not subject to wear And, with its sophisticated ultrasonic transducers and superior signal processing capabilities, the measurement system is highly accurate and reliable

Electromagnetic flow meters also play a role in salt water disposal They can be used to reliably measure abrasive discharge fluid pumped to and from wells, and are robust enough to withstand operational vibration on truck- mounted, process water blending units


Whether it’s improving accuracy, decreasing system maintenance or meeting the demands of challenging liquid and gas conditions, modern flow meter technology delivers the performance critical oil and gas applications require

There are numerous benefits to using electromagnetic flow meters to perform fluid flow measurements in E&P operations They are generally non-invasive and have no moving parts, reducing the risk of breakdowns and the frequency of repairs Increased activity in oil and gas production and exploration will continue to put ultrasonic flow meters in the measurement spotlight These meters are simple and inexpensive to install


The oil and gas industry deals with a host of troublesome applications, including produced water evaporation, hydraulic fracturing fluids, drilling mud, three-phase separators and salt water disposal Such applications can be difficult for many flow measurement instruments to handle

Sticking to the old adage of “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” – and not utilizing the best available technologies – could cost petroleum producers and other support companies millions of dollars For many oilfield operators, advanced electromagnetic and ultrasonic flow meters are the instruments of choice when considering cost, accuracy and the service life of installed equipment


Badger Meter is an innovator in flow measurement and control products and is represented in the UK by Bell Flow Systems Ltd. The company’s products measure water, oil, chemicals, and other fluids, and are known for accuracy, long-lasting durability and for providing valuable and timely measurement data For more information, visit   or

Trademarks appearing in this document are the property of their respective entities. Due to continuous research, product improvements and enhancements, Badger Meter reserves the right to change product or system specifications without notice, except to the extent an outstanding contractual obligation exists. © 2018 Badger Meter, Inc. All rights reserved.

Non-Invasive Heat Meters plus remote data collection and viewing in major London train station

Bell Flow Systems help to monitor heat energy usage at a major London train station

Bell Flow Systems were recently approached by a contractor to provide a heat flow measurement system which would provide short term monitoring at a number of locations around a major London train station for a period up to 6 months. As the project was short term the flow meters had to utilise a non-invasive technology, which would not interrupt the flow of water or require modifications to the existing pipework. The client also required the information from the heat flow meters to be recorded on a regular basis so the information could be analysed and assessed remotely. It was specified that the units should be simple to configure and connect to and also to ensure that the systems were flexible so that they could be utilised in other areas of the station for recording information in future applications.

Ultrasonic flow meter fitted to pipe

For the project our low cost BFU-100-RF clamp-on ultrasonic heat flow meter was chosen, along with our Point Green telemetry system. The BFU-100-RF models provide non-invasive measurement from the outside of the pipes using transit time ultrasonic technology. This combined with a pair of clamp-on temperature sensors at each location on the supply and return pipes, meant real-time and accumulated energy readings could be produced. This information was then collected via the Modbus output from the meter and stored for local collection by PC, when the client was able to collect and record the readings to CSV format.

Remote data access via GSM / GPRS


















The client also required the use of the Point Green’s GSM / GPRS functionality to recording readings remotely, for access off-site via our secure data portal, where information can be accessed simply using in an internet browser from anywhere in the world. Further Alarms and important warnings are shown on-line or send via SMS and e-mail. Further information here>>>

For more information on this or other non-invasive solutions please contact / 01280 817304