New options added to the CoolPoint vortex shedding flow-meter line not only improve their reliability but also open up new application opportunities for the devices, Universal Flow Monitors vice president of marketing Eric Rosaen tells New Equipment Digest.
NED: What led Universal Flow Monitors to develop this particular flow meter?
ER: Universal Flow Monitors recently added an Intrinsic Safety option and a battery-powered option to its CoolPoint vortex shedding flow-meter line. These options were added for different reasons.
The IS option was a longstanding request from the company’s existing distribution base. The goal was to provide a more reliable and advanced technology. A loop-powered meter designed for low-viscosity fluids and that does not have moving parts can now be placed in hazardous locations.
The battery-powered option was developed as an alternative to competitive products that use moving parts, and delivers greater reliability at remote locations that do not require real-time control.
NED: How is this product different from similar types currently being offered?
ER: The CoolPoint vortex shedding flow meter itself was introduced in 2004 to compete with paddle-wheel flow meters.
At the time, we had a product in the automotive market that monitored a single welding gun, but a competitor came along that could monitor more than one gun at a lower cost. We then developed the CoolPoint vortex shedding flow meter for this application. It is an electronic instrument that measures and monitors water flows.
Unlike mechanical switches, vortex shedding meters have no moving parts to stick or coat, eliminating the potential for clogging.
We took this meter to various manufacturers to show them what it could do and we gave the product away for free so they could test it. On one such meeting, we found a Canadian automotive plant that had a bottleneck in their process and our product solved the problem. The CoolPoint was officially born.
CoolPoint flow meters use a bluff body obstruction to produce vortices, and an electronic transducer measures these oscillations to provide a signal proportional to flow rate. Increasing flow increases the frequency of oscillation.
NED: Any key problems that arose during the development process?
ER: The initial CoolPoint was made of brass, but it now offered in other metals and plastic for certain applications. It has an inline configuration that is specially targeted for applications demanding robust construction and superior value.
We began to add options for other measurements such as temperature, pressure and totalizing. The newest options have taken different amounts of time to develop.
The Intrinsic Safety option, for example, was held up by the recession. Once the recovery started, it was a relatively simple matter to get the circuitry produced and then submit it for regulatory approval.
The battery-powered option was very quickly brought to market; the greatest delay was getting the injection mold tooling completed.
NED: Who do you view as the primary users of this device and how will they benefit?
ER: The IS target markets are chemical-processing facilities, refineries and mines. All of these operations use cooling and pump seal water monitoring systems in hazardous locations. Previously, these operations required either mechanical technology such as Universal Flow Monitors' variable-area products or exceptionally costly laboratory-level instrumentation.
The battery-powered option is intended for anyone who needs to monitor the flow of low-viscosity fluids at locations where power is not available or monitoring is intermittent. By providing a user-selectable display of flow rate or flow total, the battery-powered option is expected to be very useful for maintaining environmental compliance reporting during mine-water removal, retention-pond filling, etc.
NED: Care to add any other interesting sidelights?
ER: Additional options for the CoolPoint vortex shedding flow meter are always in development at Universal Flow Monitors.
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