How Do Thermal Mass Flow Meters Measure the Flow of Compressed Air

The use of thermal mass flow meters for monitoring compressed air flow is becoming increasingly popular in industrial settings. By providing accurate, repeatable airflow measurements, these meters can help ensure operations’ safety and efficiency. A thermal mass flow meter can accurately measure and monitor your compressed air system, pinpointing where airflow is used and quantifying compressed air leaks. This allows you to ensure your system runs efficiently and save on energy costs.

This blog will explore the advantages of using thermal mass flow meters for compressed air flow monitoring and how they can maximize performance and efficiency.

Thermal Mass Flow Meter

Thermal Mass Flow Meter

Thermal mass flow meters are becoming increasingly popular in industrial applications due to their no-fuss design. With no moving parts and no need for temperature or pressure corrections, these meters retain excellent accuracy over a wide range of flow rates. Furthermore, even when there is a limited straight run, which is common in many industrial applications, flow conditioning can create an acknowledged and repeatable speed profile and decorate the glide meter’s accuracy.  With its ability to solve such common issues, it’s no wonder thermal mass flow meters are becoming the go-to choice for many industrial applications.


  • It has no moving parts, and mass flow is independent of pressure and temperature, so you don’t have to worry about fluctuations or variables.
  • Additionally, thermal mass flow meters have programmable pipe sizes and gases, allowing you to customize measurements to your application.
  • With a turndown ratio of up to 100:1, you can get an exact measurement without any pressure drop.
  • With better accuracy and rugged, easy installation, your thermal mass flow meter will work reliably for years.


While thermal mass flow meters are an excellent option for measuring gas flow, there are some cons to consider.

  • High moisture content can affect the accuracy of the readings, making them unreliable.
  • These meters are also vulnerable to damage, making them unsuitable for harsh environments.
  • Additionally, they cannot be used for measuring gases with temperatures above 500°C.
  • Moreover, the upstream length must be long enough to include a flow straightener for the meter to function correctly.

Thermal Gas Mass Flowmeter (4)

Where is Compressed Air used?

Compressed air is so integral to industrial process facilities that it is often referred to as the “fourth utility” after natural gas, electricity, and water. While this utility offers excellent benefits, it comes with the downside of being one of the most energy-inefficient resources available. As a result, compressed air is plenty extra pricey on a unit according to the energy-added foundation than different utilities. However, businesses can significantly lower energy costs by reducing compressed air waste while contributing to a greener future.

Compressed air is vital in lots of applications, from pneumatics, car propulsion, air-begin structures in engines, refrigeration structures, conveying, computerized equipment, controls, and actuators, to spraying cooling.  It provides a reliable, efficient, cost-effective way to power various machines and processes. Compressed air is an ideal solution if you need a reliable energy source for your industrial operation, factory, or workshop.

Monitoring Compressed Air Flow

Industrial air compressors are notoriously energy-hungry. They often account for up to a third of the total energy expenditure in an industrial plant. Using a thermal mass flow meter in energy management systems makes it possible to determine the optimal number of compressor units needed for any given operation. This helps reduce energy waste by monitoring excessive air consumption and identifying compressed air usage patterns throughout the day. With this data, it’s possible to adjust the number of compressor units accordingly and ensure energy is used efficiently.

Compressed Air Leaks

Compressed air leaks can be a significant drain on energy, with up to 30% of the equipment’s productivity wasted. This raises the cost of the produced compressed air, increases maintenance costs, and reduces the compressor’s service life. Leaks can also cause uneven line pressures, resulting in air-operated tools performing less efficiently and impacting production efficiency. This can all add up to significant losses in productivity and profits. However, taking the time to identify and fix compressed air leaks can save you money in the long run and help you get the most out of your equipment.

Leaks in compressed air systems can be found in many areas. Still, they are prevalent in condensate traps, couplings, fittings, filter-regulator assemblies, flanges, Packing, thread sealants, hoses, short disconnects, pipe joints, valves, tubes, or point-of-use devices.  Identifying and fixing these leaks quickly and efficiently can help you save energy, reduce maintenance costs, and ensure your system runs smoothly.

Thermal Gas Mass Flowmeter (1)

Eradicating Compressed Air Leaks

Identify the leaks and save money. Even the most minor leaks in a compressed air system can significantly impact resources and costs. Pressure drops in the system force the compressor to work harder and consume more energy, leading to increased costs. Conducting a compressed air audit can help identify weaknesses in the system’s infrastructure and eliminate pressure drops, resulting in significant and ongoing savings. Investing in an audit can help ensure your compressed air system is running at peak efficiency and save you money in the long term.

Once leaks have been identified and fixed, it’s essential to ensure they don’t form again. Dust and moisture in the pipes can quickly create new leaks that can drastically reduce the efficiency of your compressed air system. To prevent this, regular and systematic maintenance of the entire system is vital. This can include regularly checking, cleaning, or replacing filters throughout the system, as this will significantly reduce pressure drops and increase energy efficiency.   Doing so will help keep your system running smoothly with fewer leaks and greater efficiency.

Identifying Air Leaks

Compressed air leaks can be quickly and accurately detected using a combination of an ultrasonic acoustic detector, gas leak detection compounds, and thermal mass flow meters.  Ultrasonic acoustic detectors and gas leak detection compounds pinpoint the location of the leaks, while thermal mass flow meters are used to measure the magnitude of the energy loss.  This data can then be used to determine the extent and size of the leaks, as well as quantify the wasted energy.


In conclusion, thermal mass flow meters quickly become necessary for industrial settings. They provide accurate and repeatable airflow measurements and help pinpoint areas of compressed air leaks, allowing businesses to save on energy costs and ensure their machines run efficiently.  With the wide range of benefits thermal mass flow meters offer, it is no surprise that they are becoming increasingly popular in industrial settings.

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