Battery Operated v/s Main operated Flowmeter
by Team Kritsnam

INTRODUCTION

In today’s competitive landscape, even a tiny drop in efficiency can result in cascading negative effects. Loss of resources, money, energy and time can all stem from these seemingly small issues. However, there is nothing small about the billions of tons of water that get wasted every year through oversight, inefficiency and tampering. The harm to companies’ bottom lines and the environment is eye-watering.

The first step to managing water usage and minimising wastage is accurate measurement. In recent years, the market has been flooded with flowmeters- devices that can accurately gauge and report fluid flow under a variety of conditions. However, it may be daunting to navigate the maze of information about the many types of flowmeters. So we have simplified your issue.

In this article, we’ll be looking at the different types of flowmeters so you can easily
understand how they differ and decide which one is best suited to your needs.
Depending on their source of power there are chiefly two types of flowmeters

  • Mains or AC-operated Flowmeters- These are powered by the grid
  • Battery-operated Flowmeters- They draw power from a battery source.

Although similar in purpose, they differ in their power source and we will be explaining how that matters in your business by discussing the key factors in each type.

POINTS OF DIFFERENCE

A) Cost-Effectiveness- The backbone of any industry is efficient resource utilisation for which cost-effectiveness is a very important metric. Battery-operated flowmeters are one step ahead in comparison to main operated ones due to the following reasons.

  • Low failure rates- Battery-operated devices have a stable power source which is not subjected to voltage fluctuations. This is a key contributor to the lower failure rates in battery-operated flowmeters.
  • Self-installation- AC-operated flowmeters come with a range of supporting devices like data logger and UPS which require technical expertise to set up the system. However, you can bid adieu to the extra hassle with the self-installing battery-operated systems which come with an easy-to-interpret user manual. This not only cuts the budget but also saves time.
  • Compact structure- Battery-operated systems have a compact design which not only saves space but also cuts installation costs and time.
  • Cut the extras- Nobody likes added costs. Unlike AC systems, Battery operated flowmeters don't need extra wiring for the connection thereby cutting wiring costs.

B) Ease of servicing

The external power supply is not always reliable, especially in far-flung areas. Failure and detection of the point of defect become a rather cumbersome process that mandates expert technician support. This can be financially draining. However, the problem is easily overcome by battery-operated intelligent flowmeters that are simpler to service and more economical to manage.

C) Compactness

Main operated flow meters come with other types of equipment such as telemeters, data loggers and UPS. Battery-operated systems do not require such additional machinery as they are equipped with micro-power design and take up less space.

D) Ease of installation

Battery-operated flowmeters are plug-and-play devices as compared to mains operated which require more technical know-how allowing users to save cost and time.

E) Durability

Due to less voltage fluctuation and fewer components, it is subjected to fewer collapses and malfunctions. This ensures that battery-operated meters last longer with fewer failure incidents.

F) Meters for Governance

Battery-operated flowmeters by their unique design and structure ensure appropriate vigilance on meter tampering. They are installed with mechanical as well as remote sealing properties which is an ideal choice for groundwater monitoring.

G) Independence

Dependence seems uncomfortable. Unlike Ac-powered meters,
battery-operated systems do not depend on the power grid. The usage of such location and grid-independent flow meters is in keeping with the latest government suggestions and regulations.

Let's discuss some of the commonly operated flowmeters and how battery operation has an added advantage over main operating systems. The elementary types of flowmeters found in the market included ultrasonic, electromagnetic and mechanical to name a few.

  • Ultrasonic- Ultrasonic flowmeters use sound waves to determine the flow rate. The mechanism of the system ensures that they have a low power consumption. The flowmeter system powered by a battery source uses transit time to measure flow velocity and ensures a longer battery life of at least 10 years.
  • Electromagnetic- The Electromagnetic flow meter uses Faraday’s law of magnetic induction to measure fluid flow. The signal-weighting factor compensates for the velocity differences at different points. Electromagnetic flowmeters have relatively high power consumption. Researchers have tried to incorporate electromagnetic flowmeters with batteries in order to reduce power drain. However, these efforts are still in an embryonic stage and need more development.
  • Mechanical- Mechanical flowmeter measures the velocity of water flowing
    through the pipe which enables the turbine or piston to rotate. It has low to
    negligible power consumption which makes it a great choice for a battery
    integrated system.

CONCLUSION

While there are many perfectly reliable AC- operated flowmeters on the market, the future increasingly seems to point towards battery-operated flowmeters. Although AC- operated flowmeters continue to have their usage scenarios, battery-operated flowmeters have certain important differences which make them the flowmeter of choice for many modern purposes.

Merely buying a flowmeter is not enough. There are several things one should consider while making a purchase. These seemingly small intangible factors such as familiarity of plant personnel, their experience with calibrations and maintenance, the availability of spare parts, and mean time between failure history, etc., have an outsized impact on costs. It is hence more sensible to compute costs after considering the impact of these factors. One of the most common flow measurement mistakes is the reversal of this sequence: instead of selecting a sensor which will perform properly, an attempt is made to justify the use of a device because it is less expensive. Those “inexpensive” purchases can be the costliest installations.

The ease of installation, easy-to-access telemetry, lack of dependence on the power grid, lower costs and high accuracy of battery-operated flowmeters are clear improvements over past models and may just be what you need for your projects and companies to avoid added costs and lost opportunities.

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