Flow Research Establishes Flow Recalibration Working Group; Plans First Meeting

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Flow Research has established a Flow Recalibration Working Group (FRWG) to address the topic of how to determine when a flowmeter needs calibration. The FRWG is made up of representatives from leading flow calibration facilities and flowmeter manufacturers.

The Flow Recalibration Working Group includes some of the best minds in the business. Its goal is to solve the problem of determining when a flowmeter needs recalibration.

Flow Research has established The Flow Recalibration Working Group (FRWG) for the purpose of determining the criteria to decide when a flowmeter needs recalibration. The FRWG (http://www.frwg.org) was established in 2015. It is made up of representatives from major flowmeter calibration companies and from leading flowmeter manufacturers. The group is planning its first official in-person meeting to be held at the CEESI North American Custody Transfer Conference in San Antonio, Texas, from June 21–23, 2016. The group has already been working by phone, email, and informal meetings between various members.

The idea for this group came out of a series of in-person interviews Dr. Jesse Yoder, Flow Research President, did with end-users of flowmeters during three trips to the Middle East in 2009. He interviewed 15 companies from Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) about their use of flowmeters. Many of them expressed frustration that there was no generally agreed upon interval when their ultrasonic flowmeters need to be recalibrated. These people asked if he could help them arrive at a standard and he started looking into it. An additional source of frustration was that at that time there was no flow calibration facility in the region.

Some of the flow calibration and research facilities represented on the FRWG include Colorado Engineering Experiment Station, Inc. (CEESI), NMi Euroloop, and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The first task of the Group is to formulate criteria for determining when an inline multipath ultrasonic custody transfer needs to be recalibrated. This may include running a software program, using a check meter, running diagnostics, doing dry calibration, or any other method that may be effective. The Group will then address other flowmeter types such as Coriolis, turbine, differential pressure with different primary elements, vortex, magnetic, and thermal.

Determining when a flowmeter needs to be recalibrated is not as simple as selecting a specific time interval. Instead, the goal of the FRWG is to have some tests, programs, or criteria that can be used to determine when a flowmeter needs to be recalibrated. After a flowmeter is put into service, it needs to be recalibrated periodically to insure that is it still operating within the proper specifications. There are a number of different methods used for recalibrating a flowmeter, or at least checking it for proper performance. These include the following:

  • Running diagnostic software to determine if it is operating within acceptable parameters
  • Using a check meter to monitor the performance of the flowmeter
  • Running a “dry calibration” to check that the components are working according to specifications. This method is often used with ultrasonic flowmeters.
  • Having a service company come out and calibrate the meter onsite
  • Pulling the flowmeter out of service and sending it to a flowmeter calibration facility to be recalibrated.

Some countries have instituted their own rules about calibration frequency, but these periods vary and seem to differ on a country by country basis.

According to Dr. Jesse Yoder, president of Flow Research and founder of the Flow Recalibration Working Group:
“This committee is strictly a volunteer effort, and so far has no official sanction. However, the hope is that if we do succeed in coming up with a usable set of recalibration guidelines, we can approach some of the organizations like AGA and API for approval of the guidelines. Short of this, we can publish our report and circulate it among interested manufacturers and end-users. Since, to my knowledge, no one has attempted this before, I think the results will be met with quite a lot of interest.”

In addition to the FRWG, the interviews done with end-user companies in the Middle East in 2009 also led to a series of six studies that Flow Research did in 2012 on gas flow measurement A 3rd Edition of this series(http://www.gasflows.com) is currently being published. Flow Research has also recently published two studies on facilities for liquid and gas recalibration.

About Flow Research
Flow Research (http://www.flowresearch.com), with headquarters in Wakefield, Massachusetts, is the only independent market research company whose primary mission is to research flowmeters and other instrumentation products and markets worldwide. Flow Research has years of experience in doing both off-the-shelf studies and custom work. Published studies can be purchased by anyone interested in the topics. These studies are developed through interviews with suppliers, distributors, and end-users, and are presented in a clear and consistent manner. Topics include all of the flowmeter technologies – both new and traditional – as well as temperature sensors, temperature transmitters, level products, and pressure transmitters.

A growing area of interest – especially related to custody transfer – is flowmeter calibration. Flow Research has recently completed two studies, one on gas and one on liquid, of flow calibration facilities and markets. The studies are called Worldwide Flow Calibration Facilities and Markets (http://www.flowcalibration.org).

The company also focuses on the energy industries, especially on oil and gas production and measurement. Special topics include custody transfer, multiphase measurement, and liquefied natural gas (LNG). A series of quarterly reports called the Worldflow Monitoring Service (http://www.worldflow.com) provides regular updates on both the flowmeter markets and the energy industries.

For more information, visit http://www.flowresearch.com or call +1 781-245-3200.

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