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Flow Meter Selection GuideThanks to our long established web presence marketing several lines of Flow Meters, I've had the opportunity to speak with and learn from hundreds, if not thousands of customers over the past 17 years that need help determining which flow meter is best for their specific application.

Some know exactly what they want, others have a general idea and are looking for a 2nd opinion. But the majority of our customers are looking for someone with industry experience to help them narrow the available choices down to a single meter or metering technology. If you fall into that last group, you are not alone. The majority of callers I speak with are in need of more than just a little hand-holding as they sift through all of the available technologies.

My knowledge of flow properties and flow measurement began with basic fire department hydraulics where putting the right amount of water in the right place and at the right time was critical to the lives of my coworkers and the citizens we were charged with protecting. This meant that I needed to know how much pressure to apply at the pump to be sure the person at the other end of the hose line had enough water to control the fire, but not so much that he or she was unable to control the hose. With that as my foundation, followed up with 17 years of supporting flow measurement products from a technical perspective, I feel uniquely qualified to help you with your flow measurement questions, applications, etc..

That said, the goal of this series of articles is to walk you through the process of flow meter selection. We'll start by covering what you need to know about your application to begin the process of choosing the best flow meter, as well as a general overview of the current technologies available to you from the Instrumentation Group at Cross Company.

Every application starts with the basics. There is specific information about your application that you'll need to know to begin the selection process. That includes:

  • Fluid Type
  • Fluid Properties (viscosity, specific gravity, material compatibility, etc.)
  • Preferred Line Size and Connection Type
  • Flow Range - Minimum and Maximum Flows
  • Flow Units - Gallons, Liters, Cubic Meters, Cubic Feet, etc.
  • Do you need a display? If so, will it be mounted locally or remotely?
  • Do you need flow rates and flow totals or just flow totals?
  • Do you need an output? If so, Pulse or 4-20mA/0-5Vdc?
  • Is there power available? If so, AC or DC?

With these few basic application details in hand, we can begin the process of choosing a specific technology. Consider the following to be a general rule of thumb:

  • For clean, low viscosity fluids, consider using a Turbine, VA or Transit-Time flow meter.
  • For clean, high viscosity fluids, your best bet would typically be an Oval Gear Meter.
  • For dirty fluids, regardless of viscosity, consider using a Doppler Meter.
  • Alternates to the meters mentioned above include Mag Meters, Vortex Meters, Differential Pressure Meters and many others.

Meet the Author
Flow Specialist - Bill Michie Written By: Bill Michie  
Flow Applications Specialist
Cross Company
Instrumentation Group

Phone: (866) 905-9790 (M-F, 8am-5pm Eastern)
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