Tuesday 22 June 2010

New benchmark in flow sensor measurement

Servomex has delivered a benchmark improvement to gas flow measurement and safety with the launch of Flowcube, a brand new sensor technology which integrates into its acclaimed analyser range.

Developed to address the current limitations in gas flow measurement, Flowcube is an advanced sensor which for the first time enables multiple system diagnostics and data trending to be ascertained from the flow measurement. While gas flow has traditionally been measured separately within a sample system, compromises with this technique has meant plant operators have to rely on basic “flow or no flow” status information which can only shut down a process when a potential error is detected. Flowcube is the innovative and cost-effective solution to this industry problem: a sophisticated and highly sensitive transducer design, placed in-situ of a Servomex analyser, which enables both accurate trending of the overall sample system and the implementation of preventive rather than reactionary maintenance for minimum disruption to processes.

These highly accurate measurements mean the basic “flow or no flow” status information is now superseded by a sophisticated two-stage alarm capability that introduces a ‘maintenance required’ trigger stage alongside the standard critical fault signal. Not only does this allow sample system issues to be dealt with before they cause intermittent, slower or inaccurate measurements, but it offers operators new flexibility in diagnosing problems early, scheduling maintenance and avoiding unnecessary, unexpected and costly downtime. In addition, Flowcube’s ability to deliver accurate measurements means trending data is reported via an instrument’s digital communications, enabling users to monitor sample system performance over time to reduce the risk of system failure.

Unlike thermal conductivity technologies and rotameters, which can be greatly affected by thermal conductivity changes in the sample gas and density and viscosity changes respectively, Flowcube technology measures the bulk cooling characteristic of the gas. The result is a stable measurement that does not respond predominately to one physical gas characteristic and is more immune to changes in the sample gas mixture. Positioned at the outlet of the measurement cell to guarantee a representative sample is present at all times, the Flowcube sensor ensures maximum measurement certainty and optimum safety to enable users to set user-defined alarm levels with confidence.

Flowcube technology therefore enables operators to implement a preventative rather than reactive agenda for analyser flow control, avoiding costly plant downtime by allowing the scheduling of routine safety checks and sample system maintenance – a particularly useful function where operations are being run with minimum personnel on-site. With no consumable parts, an almost indefinite field service life and no special gases or setup required, Flowcube delivers low cost-of-ownership with just a simple calibration procedure required at a minimum of twelve months. Flowcube is certified intrinsically safe (EEx ia) for use in hazardous areas and with continually flammable gases, and it forms part of the SERVOTOUGH Oxy SIL 2 assessment for use in Safety Integrated Systems.

“Flowcube is a prime example of how Servomex applies our technical and analytical expertise to solving real customer issues,” says Chris Cottrell, Managing Director, Servomex.
“Not only does it address a fundamental customer problem with the previously inflexible flow measurement techniques offered by our industry, but the improved alarm system and system trending measurements offer new and immediate benefits to customer operations.”

Flowcube will be available immediately as an option for the SERVOPRO MultiExact multigas analyser and award-winning SERVOTOUGH Oxy oxygen analyser, with compatibility for other Servomex analysers to follow.

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