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Ultrasonic Flow Meters: Top 3 Applications

A few years ago, Bronkhorst expanded its portfolio of liquid flow meters and controllers with a range of ultrasonic flow meters. This Blog looks at the Bronkhorst ES-FLOW Ultrasonic Flow Meter which is used for measuring and dosing small quantities of fluids

Nowadays, the ES-FLOW flow meter is used in many different industries. Our main customer markets are the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, analytics, and chemical markets. In this blog, Erwin Eekelder, Product Manager, and Jethro Molenaar, Area Sales Manager share the top 3 applications for an Ultrasonic Flow Meter.

Key Features of an Ultrasonic Flow Meter

We developed our ultrasonic flow meter series to allow low volumes – between 2 and 1500 ml/min – to be measured and controlled with high precision, high linearity, and low-pressure loss. This is achieved by using ultrasonic sound waves in a sensor with a small tube diameter.

We discovered that users prefer this ultrasonic flow meter over the other measurement and control technologies because of the following features:

  • It is fluid independent
  • It has a hygienic design that now also has 3-A authorization
  • It has a built-in PID controller.
  • It is not sensitive to vibrations.
  • It offers continuous and batch dosing.

Since its launch in 2017, the range of ultrasonic flowmeters has seen several changes that ensure even closer alignment with the requirements of the various customer markets. These changes include a swivel display, new communication buses, a new hygienic valve, and updates in the hygiene certifications (3-A).

“Our goal is to create a highly accurate, liquid independent line of flow meters meeting the highest hygienic standards to serve the needs of our customers,
expecially for applications were low flow solutions are important.”

– Erwin Eekelder

Dosing liquids for pharmaceutical research

One of our customers in the pharma industry has combined 16 ultrasonic flow meters with pumps. Jethro: “In this particular application, our ES-FLOW flow meter is used in research into new medicines. The fact that this flow meter is fluid independent and can directly control a pump, made it very useful for dosing the many different fluids being used. While it was being installed, we were asked whether the read-out display could perhaps be positioned vertically. This prompted the development of a swivel display.”

Dosing flavors and fragrances in the confectionery market

One of our customers in the confectionery market asked Jethro’s support for a dosing solution to dose flavors and fragrances. The idea was to use the ultrasonic flow meter to control a plunger pump and to dose the natural flavors and fragrances.

When combining the flow meter with a plunger pump, higher accuracy and repeatability can be achieved and this results in less waste of the – often expensive – flavors and fragrances during the process. This way, you will get more consistent quality and fewer rejects, which will reduce your raw material costs.

This customer case, together with similar ones, taught us the importance of having a flow meter that meets the highest hygienic standards. The ES-FLOW design is based on a straight tube with no dead volume, which makes this flow meter suitable for hygienic applications. Recently we received the 3-A authorization for this flow meter.

Dosing kerosene during HVOF thermal spraying

High-velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) coatings involve the vaporization and mixing of a fuel with oxygen within the combustion area. The mixture is ignited under controlled temperatures and pressures, producing a flame with supersonic speed. Substances are then injected into this flame and propelled towards the substrate to form the coating. This ensures materials even better to withstand high temperatures, erosion, wear, and other conditions to which they are exposed.

In this application, an ultrasonic flow meter can be used to ensure a highly consistent kerosene flow during the process. Even though when aluminum particles are included, it does not have to interfere with the performance of the ES-FLOW.

What is Bronkhorst working on next?

Erwin: “At the moment we are working on further expansion of the product line by adding more models with lower- and higher flow ranges. Besides that, we are working on a design without a display.”

Jethro: “I think every fluid application is different. However, with the extensive product live we have – thermal, Coriolis and ultrasonic flow meters – we can offer the customer a solution for practically any scenario. We can customize it completely!”

Products featured in the blog

  • Innovative sensor with fast response time and high accuracy
  • Low-pressure loss due to the straight stainless steel tube
  • Dosing with integrated PID controller
  • Direct volume flow measurement, independent of fluid properties
  • Compact control solutions using a valve or a pump
  • Hygienic design with a capacitive touchscreen
  • IP66 and IP67 rating and CIP cleanable
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