What is the Role of Digital Flow Meters in the Sanitary Processing Industry

Digital Flow Meters are quickly becoming an essential tool in the sanitary processing industry. With their advanced technology and accuracy, they can provide reliable measurements of liquids, gases, and other materials. They have become an invaluable asset in helping professionals to manage their operations and ensure quality control. This blog will explore the role of Digital Flow Meters in the sanitary processing industry.

Digital Flow Meters

The need for precise process measurements often necessitates using digital instruments due to their accuracy, reliability, and ability to store the measured results for further analysis and data storage.

When selecting a digital flow meter, professionals must assess the various technology options available, as the final choice can be complicated.

What is a Flow Meter?

A flow meter is a device used to measure the flow rate of liquids and gases through pipes and tubes during production operations. Designed for use in sanitary processing industries, flow meters are a vital component of their product and utility flows (e.g., steam, water, glycol, etc.).

By accurately monitoring these flows, companies can ensure optimal productivity and efficiency.

Why Measure Fluid Flow?

Measuring fluid flow is essential for the success of many industrial operations. There are several key reasons why accurate flow measurement is essential:

  • For dosing operations, measuring flow is necessary to ensure that a specific volume of liquid is combined with a measured amount of a solid, such as when preparing the dough.
  • Continuous or batch processing operations can benefit from accurate flow measurement, as it gives plant operators an indication of how productive their processes are at a given time.
  • In some cases, the products flowing through pipes must withstand shear forces caused by flow velocity, which can impact their permeant structure and rheology. Knowing the fluid flow rate is essential to maintaining product quality.
  • Clean-in-place (CIP) operations require a particular velocity of cleaning solution through the pipes for thorough cleaning. As a result, velocity must be measured to guarantee that the CIP solution is doing its job.

By accurately measuring fluid flow, professionals in industrial operations can ensure that their processes are running optimally and that product quality is not compromised.

Digital Instruments VS Analog Instruments

For any measurement, there are typically both analog and digital instruments that may be used.

Analog instruments are sophisticated mechanical devices that accurately measure liquids and gases. Using calibrated measurement indicators, such as indicator needles on a dial, provides reliable and precise measurements that professionals depend on.

The standard thermometer is a sort of analog measuring instrument. Using the principles of thermal expansion and contraction, this device can measure the temperature of a substance. A calibrated transparent tube within the thermometer contains a sealed column of mercury heated by the measured substance. As the mercury heats up, it expands and rises within the tube, providing a precise temperature measurement.

The measurement process is purely physical, requiring highly accurate instruments and precise techniques for accurate results. Digital instruments are more complex, involving intricate software and hardware components that require expertise and specialized training to use correctly.

A digital magnetic flow meter, also known as a mag meter, is one of the sanitary processing industry’s most commonly used digital flow meters. It relies on various physical principles for its operation, including electromagnetic induction.

The Coriolis effect, and ultrasonic wave propagation, rely upon the form of the meter. These digital flow meters provide accurate and reliable readings, making them ideal for professional use in food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and other industries.

Digital instruments are essential tools for professionals in many industries, allowing them to measure and assess various characteristics of materials. At the core of these instruments is a transducer, which converts the material’s characteristics — such as its heat, if a thermometer, or the flow rate of a liquid, if a flow meter — into an electrical form that can be interpreted and analyzed.  This information is then processed through various stages to provide accurate, reliable data that can be used to make informed decisions.

  • A signal processing unit that amplifies the output from a transducer and ensures reliable signal quality;
  • A multiplexer and signal converter that mix multiple analog signals and convert them into digital form;
  • An analog-to-digital converter that accurately translates the analog data into its digital equivalent;
  • A display that displays the measurement in digital form.

Digital instruments are also designed to accurately and precisely measure and convert the studied material temperatures. This allows professionals to obtain reliable results and make informed decisions based on the data they obtain. With digital instruments, professionals can easily and quickly measure and convert temperature readings from various materials.

Analog instruments are cost-effective and ideal for use in challenging operating conditions such as extreme temperatures and humidity. While they may be less accurate than digital instruments, they are reliable and can provide reliable measurements under challenging environments.

Digital instruments are more complex, expensive, and susceptible to adverse operating conditions than analog ones. However, they are far more accurate in their measurements, and users can store the results of their measurements electronically for further analysis or keep operating records.  Protective cases are available to help mitigate any environmental issues.

Digital flow meters are the preferred choice for measuring fluid flows in sanitary processing plants. With the latest technology and superior accuracy, these flow meters are the best option to ensure accuracy and efficiency in sanitary processing plants.

To ensure the safety of their equipment and personnel, it is essential to consider the potential environmental hazards associated with fluid flow sensors. That’s why digital flow meters and their associated electronics componentry and displays are often remotely located away from these sensors. By doing so, engineers can be assured of the accuracy of their test results and the ability to collect and analyze data necessary for efficient operations and product quality.

Digital flow meters differ primarily in the sensing mechanism used to collect information on fluid velocity. However, converting this information from an analog to a digital form is similar across all flow meters. Professional engineers and technicians working with digital flow meters should be aware of this to ensure their measurements’ accuracy and reliability.

Magnetic Flow Meter

Magnetic flow meters, also known as magmeters, measure fluid flow rates by measuring the voltage generated when a liquid passes through a magnetic field (see illustration).  The physical principle behind this type of meter is electromagnetic induction. For mag meters to work correctly, it is essential that the fluid is conducting and contains ions (e.g., water) and that the pipe surface is electrically isolated (e.g., rubber-lined steel tube). Moreover, mag meters can measure fluid velocity in various fluids, including slurries and liquids with embedded solids. However, corrosion of the electrodes may occur when measuring certain liquids, which can result in inaccurate readings. To avoid this, mag meters can be fitted with electrodes made from high nickel corrosive-resistant alloys. For professionals in the field, correct installation and maintenance of mag meters are crucial for obtaining reliable readings.

magnetic-flow-meter (2)

Coriolis Flow Meter

The Coriolis digital flow meter is a highly specialized device utilizing a lateral tube that vibrates and distorts under fluid flow pressures. Sensors detect the changes in frequency, phase shift, and amplitude of this vibration, which are then analyzed to determine the mass flow and density of the measured fluid (see illustration).  This technology offers incredibly accurate flow measurement results, regardless of the type of gas or fluid being measured. However, one of the drawbacks of this type of meter is its size and weight due to the “U”-bend design, which may present issues with drainability. Professional users must take this into account when making their flow measurement selections.

Coriolis Mass Flow Meters

Mechanical Flow Meter

Mechanical flow meters are a reliable and accurate family of devices used to measure fluid flow velocity. These devices consist of a chamber, typically containing a screw, piston, gears, disk, rotating vane, or diaphragm, which obstructs the Fluid flow, and a rotating or reciprocating mechanism that permits the passage of constant quantities of fluid via the chamber.

The rate of rotation or reciprocation of the mechanism determines the flow velocity. For professionals requiring reliable and accurate fluid flow velocity measurements, mechanical flow meters are ideal. These devices can withstand some impurities in the measured fluid and work well with clean and non-corrosive liquids and highly viscous fluids.

Ultrasonic Flow Meter

Ultrasonic flow meters provide a reliable, cost-effective solution for measuring the velocity of a variety of fluids. These meters measure flow volume using ultrasonic transducers to calculate the flow rate based on two main types of technology – transit time and Doppler shift.

  • Transit time float meters degree the distinction withinside the transit time of ultrasonic pulses propagating in and in opposition to the course of fluid float.
  • Doppler waft meters degree the Doppler shift (i.e., the frequency shift) that displays an ultrasonic beam off the particulates withinside the fluid flow. A significant benefit of this flow meter is that the sensors remain outside the fluid flow, allowing them to be used with corrosive materials and slurries.

Pipe type ultrasonic flowmeter

Furthermore, ultrasonic flow meters are often less expensive to use and maintain, as they do not require moving parts compared to mechanical flow meters.


The need for precise measurements often requires professionals to turn to digital instruments due to their accuracy, reliability, and ability to retain the measured results for analysis and data storage. BCST can assist in the selection process by helping to narrow down the range of options available, including a few that meet the requirements for measuring fluid flow rates under sanitary operating conditions. By relying on digital technology, professionals can be sure that their measurements are accurate and reliable.

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