Welding Flow Meters, Use and Applications
Table of Contents
Flow meters have a wide variety of applications. The aerospace, automobile, chemical and hydraulic industries frequently need quality flow meters for machines critical to their line of work. When choosing a flow meter, the manufacturing process is just as important as the type of flow meter. Make sure to research your options thoroughly to decide on a product that is durable, long lasting and dependable.
In welding, flow meters ensure that the level of gas flow specified for a particular project (type of metal, indoor, outdoor) is correct at the point of use. It provides for more precise gas metering. When used with a regulator, the regulator ensures that gas pressure doesn't exceed safe levels of use.
Types of Flow Meters
Common flow meters include:
- Turbine Flow Meters
- Variable Area Flow Meters
- Positive Displacement Flow Meters
These products can be used for hydraulic tests, batching and mixing chemicals, and determining the rate of liquid or gas flow in pipes. Many products often have a digital scale attached that measures the flow rate of acerbic gases and liquids; a product failure may result in a potentially dangerous and costly situation. Hence, it is vital that this scale displays a reading that is accurate. Sometimes special scales can be purchased separately and attached to your flow meter, so keep in mind that the maximum temperature aptitude, pressure capability and shock and vibration resiliency may be different for each type of scale.
Flow Meter Materials
Perhaps even more important than the digital scale, however, is the material used to make the flow meter. There is extensive engineering and design that goes into creating the most cutting-edge meter possible, and the type of material used can drastically impact its functionality.
Metals used in the manufacturing process are:
- Stainless Steel
These metals are considered some of the strongest in the world and are capable of withstanding daily grinding and shaking. Since purchasing a flow meter ideally should not frequently be done for each machine, you want to make sure that you invest in the right material that will not wear down. Water is not as degrading as oil, for example, so a lower grade of stainless steel might still be sufficient to keep the meter functioning optimally for decades.
The manufacturing process is never complete without applying a protective seal to the product. Contrary to popular belief, the protective coat prevents wear and tear on your product.
Quality seals include:
Imagine the tooth gears of your flow meter suddenly malfunctioning because a chip in one of the teeth caused your entire machine to shut down. This is a nightmare for the profit and productivity of your operation. Purchasing a product with the highest quality coating possible can add an extra layer of protection for peace of mind.
Shown: Victor Technologies from Amazon
Designing Your Flow Meter
Manufacturing processes for flow meters are evolving and changing. Technology gets better every year, and new kinds of flow meters are being designed with longer life-spans, stronger durability, and interesting features. Although there are many great flow meters available on the market, it is also possible to design a custom flow meter. This is advantageous because it can increase the productivity of your machines and eliminate any annoying lags in functionality.
Of course, not everyone is capable of designing a brand new flow meter, which is why experts are available to help you create the perfect flow meter for your needs. Engineers with extensive training can push the limits of flow meter technology to provide you with a flow meter that can outperform any existing meter on the market. Although more time-consuming than picking out a product from a brochure, custom design is often well worth the wait.
Testing Your Flow Meter
Whether for a custom design or public sale, no flow meter is ever sold without extensive testing to ensure that it is safe. Sample products are tested to eliminate unnecessary errors in the welding process, to determine the level of viscosity the liquid or gas must contain to keep the meter running, the meter’s shock and absorption capabilities during heavy processing and emergencies, its response time and inertia rating, and more.
Whether you are looking for a meter to monitor air flow on an airplane or a rotameter to measure residue from a chemical mixture, it is possible to find a product that can keep your operation running strong. No matter its intended application, with a little research you can find a flow meter that has been manufactured with the utmost care.
What is the Difference Between a Welding Flow Meter and Regulator
A flow meter measures the volume of gas passing thru the nozzle per unit of time. Generally, the flow meter will measure the amount of gas in in liters per minute. Flow meters are specific for the type of gas they deliver, the amount of pressure at which the gas is supplied, and the rate (liters/min) of gas the flow meter can deliver. Some flow meters deliver smaller amounts of gas, 0.5 - 5 liters per minute, and others higher rates.
A pressure regulator cuts off the flow of the gas at a certain pressure. It cannot be used to deliver a precise volume of gas. Thus, flow meters must be added in series with regulators (see picture above) for more accurate welding gas delivery.
Note: Some flow meters have regulators incorporated and do not require a separate regulator.
A pressure regulator is designed to lower the input pressure (what is actually in the gas cylinder) down to a desired output pressure. A pressure regulator is marked in PSI (pounds per square inch).
A flow meter does not have an adjustment for output pressure but rather allows you to regulate the amount or volume of a gas flowing from the bottle or other source. A flow meter is marked in CFH (cubic feet per hour) or other volume designation.
Page Author: Jeff Grill