Article | July 11, 2012

Coriolis: An Increasingly Versatile Angle On Flow


The right flowmeter will make you money. Frank Frenzel has seen it many times.

As Global Product Manager for Coriolis Mass Flowmeters for ABB Measurement Products, one of his favorite examples is a chemical manufacturer that changed its process for fulfilling customer-specified concentrations of acid, which were sold by weight.

Originally, its process involved pumping a calculated amount of acid into a tanker truck, and then adding another calculated amount of water to reduce the concentration. If all went well, a truck could be filled in 40 minutes to a final weight and concentration that were within contracted tolerance.

Today, using a Coriolis Mass Flowmeter, the acid and additive are mixed inline and pumped into the tanker in single process; the proper concentration is assured by the Coriolis  meter’s ability to measure density; the proper weight is assured by its ability to measure the flow of mass.

As a result of the change, the time it took to fill a truck was reduced by half. With 5,000 loads fulfilled a year, the savings amounted to 1,650 hours – about 10 weeks equivalent. The new flowmeter improved margins on existing business, and created an effective capacity increase that allowed the company to add new contracts.

Measuring flow of a gas or liquid through an industrial process often presents a series of technical challenges, but it is often also a decision that can impact business. Well over a dozen technologies are used as the basis of measuring flow – each with its own strengths and weaknesses. But there are also so many variables that selecting the best technology for a given application can be a difficult exercise in managing compromises.

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