SICK Automation’s FLOWSIC600-XT Quatro ultrasonic gas flow meter was installed in Big Elk Energy Systems’ mobile gas flow rate test bench – the first of its kind in the world. The test bench can be used to verify gas meters that are installed in high-volume gas installations without interrupting operations. The gas meter combines two measuring systems in one body, offering full redundancy in a very compact enclosure.
The FLOWSIC600 Quatro measures flow with the well-proven 4-path Westinghouse chordal configuration. It uses superior sensor transducer technology that provides the
highest accuracy, together with long-term performance stability. Combined with the fully automated meter self-diagnostics (monitoring and warning of all diagnostic parameters – a first in the industry), the result is a solution for gas metering that significantly reduces maintenance costs and measurement uncertainty. This device operates under environmental extremes of heat, ice, water and sand, as well as other adverse operating conditions.
With the aid of state-of-the-art technology, two measuring devices are contained in a single unit using the 4+4 path concept. This permits redundant control measurements, which are important particularly given the high demands that are placed on a test bench. Intelligent diagnostics ensure that even the smallest changes in flow behaviour can be detected. The FLOWSIC600-XT Quatro is also unusually compact and can tolerate vibrations during transportation – another ideal prerequisite for a mobile test bench.
About the FLOWSIC600-XT product family
Every ultrasonic gas flow meter in the FLOWSIC600-XT product family is designed for custody transfer gas flow measurement. The device family satisfies national and international standards and guidelines for meteorology, explosion protection and pressure devices.
Four device variants are available, which means that every gas flow meter is designed to satisfy special performance requirements, which are not always the same. This performance-oriented classification is helpful as the first step in focusing and solving tasks and meeting customer requirements in a unique manner. The classifications in this product category are: the FLOWSIC600-XT, -XT Forte, -XT 2plex and -XT Quatro. No matter which version is selected, it can be easily installed into all custody transfer applications with a nominal width between 3 and 48 inches. Connection to all conventional flow computers on the market is also easy.
About the test bench
When it comes to measuring high volumes of gas, two things are paramount: uninterrupted operation and minimal measurement uncertainties. To ensure the latter, gas meters are, in some cases, recalibrated on a regular basis. Recalibrating the metering package system is a major hold-up for operations. Gas meters need to be removed and transported over long distances – with lots of associated risks such as transport damage. In the meantime, the system has to use redundant equipment to continue operation, often with reduced capacity. It can take weeks, even months, until the meters can be reinstalled.
To reduce this workload pressure and expense, Big Elk designed one of the world’s first mobile flow test benches – the patented Mobile. Master. Meter.™ System (shortened to M3™). It can be transported by truck to the measuring stations and connected to the existing pipe system, integrating it into the gas flow. The adjustable high-pressure connection pipes of the M3™ – for different run lengths, heights, angles, and positions – can be easily positioned with a crane and smoothly connected with overlapping slip joint connectors.
“We wanted an ultrasonic gas flow meter for the master meter. It needed to be a highly reliable measuring device that enabled us to maintain the calibration of the master meter at a level of at least 150 ft/s (45.7 m/s),” explains Big Elk CEO Geoff Hager. “Also, confidentiality was extremely important to during the long R&D process. Both of these factors, and the fact that the SICK ultrasonic product line is the standard for many of our key clients, led us straight to SICK.”
Hager says that what ultimately tipped the balance was the innovative design and the new style of condition-based indicator of the XT, which enables improved control diagnostics even within a normal 4-path configuration. “With the current M3™ test bench, the pressure is limited to the full ANSI 600 class. Initially, calibrations are offered for 4 inch (102 mm) to 12 inch (305 mm) pipe diameters. In fact, all speeds between 1 ft/s (0.3 m/s) and 150 ft/s (45.7 m/s) can be recorded. A second model is being planned for line sizes up to 24 inches (610 mm) and for pressures up to the ANSI 600 class.”