water flow meter

4 types of industrial water flow meters

A water flow meter is a metering accessory that measures the flow rate of water through a pipe. There are many water flow meter technologies and metering accessories to choose from, depending on your application, budget, and commitment to scheduled maintenance! The main question to answer is what device to choose for your specific measurement application, whether it is an ultrasonic or magnetic flow meter, volumetric or mechanical, each one with specific benefits and costs. Let’s discuss these so that you can make an informed decision:

Mechanical water flow meters

Mechanical flow meters are the most common of the industrial water flow meter range. They’re also the most budget friendly! A mechanical flow meter uses the rotation of a turbine to measure flow. The speed at which the blades spin is proportionate to the volumetric flow rate of the water.

This means they don’t work with low water pressure systems. While accurate, mechanical flow meters can clog up when the water contains larger particles or is unclean, which can lead to higher maintenance costs.

Vortex water flow meters

Vortex water flow meters work differently to mechanical flow meters by measuring flow using the vortices or swirls that are produced when the water moves past a blockage. In a vortex meter, the frequency of the vortices is proportionate to the velocity of the flow. Vortex water flow meters can be multivariable, measuring up to five variables such as temperature, density, volumetric flow, pressure, or mass with just one connection.

Ultrasonic water flow meters

Just like the name suggests, ultrasonic water flow meters use ultrasound to measure water’s flow rate. The difference in the receiver times of two ultrasonic signals transmitted in opposite directions, upstream and downstream, is equal to the flow rate.

Suitable for high flow rates and non-conductive water, ultrasonic water flow meters can clamp on to the pipe from the outside, allowing them to measure water flow in large pipes.

Magnetic water flow meters

Magnetic flow meters are another type of industrial water flow meter that measure the flow rate of water using a magnetic field. This works on the principle that any liquid will generate voltage when flowing through a magnetic field. The faster the flow, the more voltage generated – directly proportional to the movement of water. Highly accurate, and usually with visible LED displays, magnetic flow meters are suited for most application except custody transfer or to measure pure water.

Ultimately the type of flow meter to choose will depend on the application. Most water management and industrial installations use magnetic or ultrasonic flow meters to measure water consumption. These devices are also well suited for drinking water supply – and can come with programmed switches and alarms.

To find out the right type of industrial water flow meter for your facility, give us a call on 1-800-367-4180 (toll-free). We are your industrial pumps supplier in Canada and we’re here to help you choose, install, maintain, and monitor a variety of equipment. And to answer questions about things you’ve previously tried gone wrong.