With so much large equipment making up industrial process cooling systems, smaller cogs like a flow monitor can sometimes be forgotten. These little giants, however, can be vital to the success of the entire system. Some studies show as much as 30 percent of the total energy consumed by an industrial facility is used by the process cooling systems. How can engineers and project managers stay on top of such spiraling numbers? By understanding the flow.

Here are 10 reasons flow monitors and flowmeters are vital to maximizing your industrial process cooling system.

1. Flow Monitors Are Less Expensive than New Equipment

This is simple: Flow monitors are employed to maintain the accurate balance of recirculated water and air supply. By managing this process and making sure the flow rates are adequate, engineers will quickly discover if any issues arise in the flow. Then, they can halt any major malfunctions quickly, before it does damage to the entire system.

2. E is for Efficiency

It is a constant battle to increase overall efficiency of a process cooling system. Big money gets spent on motors and pumps hoping to solve these issues. But, if a motor is working at a high efficiency rate and the pumps cannot match it, that money is not well spent.

In addition, a lot of time is spent searching for, finding and fixing restrictive valves and leaky seals. A flowmeter helps ensure the full system is operating at peak efficiency. It can alert engineers to which spots in the line need to be addressed.

3. Time to Upgrade

How long has it been since you changed your flow monitors? Modern flow monitors can be calibrated to within ±10 percent of actuation points. The technology has increased dramatically, meaning they can be custom built into your specific system’s needs.

For instance, as flow is established upward and continues to increase through a nonadjustable flow monitor, the pressure differential across the magnetic piston increases until it overcomes the magnetic piston’s resistance (mass). This force causes it to progress fully upward to actuate the hermetically sealed reed switch. Reed switches are highly reliable in the correct application. They can function for millions of cycles. This is a snap action and occurs in the decreasing mode as well. In other words, modern flow monitors can keep a better eye on your system than ever before.

4. Was That a Foul?

Teflon flowmeters can get to within ±5 percent of total accuracy. By managing this process over a period of time with something as simple as a log, engineers can see the flow numbers and determine whether a line has fouled.

So how does it work? When fluid flows through the unit, it displaces the Teflon-encapsulated magnetic piston. This displacement is proportional to the volumetric flow through the unit. A transducer — encapsulated in the body outside the fluid path — senses the displacement of the piston. This transducer’s signal is converted by a microprocessor-based conditioning circuit, then sends the signal to three types of outputs: voltage, pulse and current loop.

5. Decrease Dreaded Downtime

Replacing parts is a pain. No one wants to take a system from the floor for any extended period of time. Systems that rely on flowmeters and monitors can pinpoint where the systems were previously operating at peak efficiency and dial those numbers back in with the new parts. That removes any unnecessary experimentation time and gets the systems back online faster.

6. Find the Leak

Slow leaks can bleed efficiency dry. Larger ones can be catastrophic.

Flow monitors help detect leaks and failing pumps. They allow engineers to discover when a flow rate drops suddenly, which can mean a leak has developed in the cooling system. Solving the problem from there — whether it is redirecting the cooling fluid or lowering the use of heat-sensitive equipment — is up to the engineers. But, knowing is half the battle.

7. Beat the Overheat

Clearly, overheating any part of the system must be prevented at all times. Most industrial equipment has a specified flow rate to adequately cool it while working. If the flow is low and inadequate, the equipment can overheat, sometimes quickly. Installing flowmeters near this equipment gives engineers a way to ensure the system is functioning correctly.

8. Keep a Healthy Bottom Line

Finding ways to save money through the cooling process is vital, and the preventive maintenance that flow monitors and meters provide is invaluable. From early detection of issues to reducing energy costs of system use, smart use of these tools is a good way to maintain and sometimes even improve profitability.

9. Know Your Flows

It is important to understand exactly which flow monitor or flowmeter will benefit your system. Adjustable? Non-adjustable? Magnetic? A single flowmeter? Two flow monitors on the line? Do the research to find out what will work best for your system. That work up front will pay large dividends in the future.

10. No Time to Research? Find a Flow Expert

Time, as we know with our systems, is valuable. If you do not have the time to dig into the monitors and meters that benefit you the most, get some help. With the amount of technology and customization available, the perfect combination for your system is out there. It pays to reach out to an expert and walk through your needs.