As plant managers are upgrading batching software or automating, many are opting for electronic flow-monitoring devices. Over the past 5 years, manufacturers report an estimated 15% to 20% annual increase in the use of electronic flow monitors. This new generation of high-tech devices offer producers potential maintenance savings, a new range of diagnostic capabilities, and increased reliability. As with all technological changes, specifiers must choose from a wide range of accuracies and equipment types.Electronic flow monitors have no moving parts to wear out. Along with their greater reliability, electronic flow monitors can automate complex process decisions or provide early detection of problems. Mechanical flow monitors can't offer this because they're not capable of monitoring flow rate, only whether flow occurs or not. Producers have used electronic flow monitors to automate several types of processes

  • Proportioning products
  • Starting and stopping conveyors
  • Reducing the need for "human watchdogs."

Producers can choose from three types of flow monitors. Flow detectors communicate flow/no-flow status. Flow indicators provide a rough estimate of mass-flow concentration while flow meters precisely measure the amount of material flow.Producers also have some options in operational technology. Four types of devices are available:

  • Acoustic
  • Microwave
  • Triboelectric
  • Ultrasonic

A table is included to summarize features and applications of the four types of flow-monitor technologies. Keywords: plant, flow, electronic, flow, monitor, control, automation, detector, indicator, meter, acoustic, microwave, triboelectric, ultrasonic, Milltronics, Ramsey, Triboelectric, Auburn International, Babbitt International, Bindicator, IEC, Monitor Technologies, ASI Instruments