Process flow measurement in mining encompasses a wide range of fluids and gases that need to be constantly or periodically monitored, ranging from air, water or acids, to tailings or concentrate slurries and hydrometallurgical fluids. The instrumentation necessary to accomplish this, depending on the application, usually employs magnetic, vortex or ultrasonic technology as well as a wide variety of design approaches that are becoming increasingly more sophisticated as end users demand easier installation and replacement, more-accurate measurements, faster response time and higher reliability. A recent spate of new-product announcements from flow-measurement suppliers illustrates the state-of-the-art for this equipment sector.

Among recent products introduced by ABB are its ProcessMaster Wafer (flangeless) FEM300 Minimag flowmeter, which comes in DN 3 through DN100 sizes and with a Tefzel liner. Standard electrode choices include Hastelloy C, Tantalum and Platinum/Iridium.

According to ABB, the Wafer flowmeter offers especially short response time. The universal transmitter design simplifies spare parts inventory and reduces inventory costs. The transmitter may be integral with the sensor or remotely located. Advanced data storage within the sensor eliminates the need to match sensor and transmitter in the field. The factory-set parameters can be modified quickly and easily without opening the housing via the display and soft-key buttons. The unit rejects invalid entries.

ABB’s CoriolisMaster FCB330 and FCB350 compact Coriolis mass flowmeters for measuring gases and liquids are the newest members of its CoriolisMaster family of direct mass flow measurement products. ABB said the units provide accurate measurements of multiple variables with a single device: flow (mass and volume, with accuracies to 0.1%), density, concentration and temperature. A new double tube design has no moving parts and requires no special up- or downstream piping. This minimizes maintenance and installation space, and allows retrofitting of older flowmeters in places where Coriolis meters couldn’t be used in the past. The design also uses wider inner tube diameters, producing lower pressure drops and higher capacities, saving up to 25% pump power and making the new mass flowmeter an attractive alternative to mechanical meters.

The new meters support pipe sizes from DN15 to DN150 and are available with an integrally mounted transmitter for reduced installation time and wiring.

ABB said it also has made enhancements to its AquaProbe insertion electromagnetic water flowmeter line, with an extended range of power source and transmitter options. Designed to work with both WaterMaster and AquaMaster 3 transmitters, the enhanced AquaProbe offers a choice of power solutions including main-and battery-power options, plus an all-new renewable power version; a simple DC (6-21V) connection can be hooked up to sources as small as a 5W solar panel or 60W equivalent wind supply. When coupled with its use of super capacitor energy storage technology, this feature totally eliminates the need for either mains or battery power. However, in the mains-power mode of AquaProbe with AquaMaster 3, new ‘SuperCap’ technology maintains continuous measurement and alarms reporting via SMS for up to five days in the event of a power failure. This increases to three weeks for the renewable power mode, with SuperCap also acting to power the meter during the night. A new development in the battery-only version of the AquaProbe with AquaMaster 3 is the option of an alkaline-manganese dioxide battery pack, offering an operating life of up to five years.

Computing the Flow
Krohne claims its new Summit 8800 digital flow computer offers performance, handling, and interoperability improvements over standard flow computers; and says its new Optisonic 6300 clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeter has been designed for easy installation and high reliability in heavy industrial and hazardous environments.

Among the improvements in the Summit 8800 computer is a dedicated microprocessor with a fast ¼-second processing cycle for each input/output (I/O) board rather than using one shared processor. A removable multi-gigabyte memory card stores data with enough capacity for several years of flow information. The computer’s modular design allows the user to plug in up to six I/O or communication boards as needed for multiple flow streams, analyzers or additional network communications options.

A scroll-and-click navigation and touch-screen control makes operation simple and straightforward while a large display with multicolor traffic-light guidance also simplifies operations and system maintenance, according to the company. Network security is enhanced with multiple, redundant Ethernet ports while wide-area communication is possible using a range of common protocols.

The Optisonic 6300, said Krohne, offers performance capabilities that exceed even those of its UFM600 T model, featuring improved measurement accuracy, ATEX approval, an extended temperature range and the ability to handle smaller line sizes. The 6300 also includes features to aid installation and enhance product operations. One new feature is the integrated display, which allows signal quality to be shown in real-time during calibration of the signal transducer. This feature allows engineers to optimize flowmeter performance and maximize measurement accuracy.

Ready for the future
Fluid Components International (FCI) bills its ST100 Series thermal mass air/gas flow meters as ‘future-ready.’ According to the company, the ST100 Series comprises two core model families: ST and STP. ST meters measure mass flow and temperature, and the STP family adds a third parameter, pressure. Both families include single-point and dual-element models as configurations outfitted with FCI’s in-situ calibration option, VeriCal, which FCI said can be calibrated to measure virtually any process gas, including wet gas, mixed gases and dirty gases.

FCI notes that, should a plant’s needs change over time or an upgrade be desirable, the ST100 flow meter adapts as necessary with a plug-in card replacement that can be changed out by plant technicians in the field.

The meter’s graphical, multivariable, backlit LCD display/readout continuous display of all process measurements and alarm status, and the ability to interrogate for service diagnostics.

The ST100 offer three different types of flow sensors to best match user applications: The fast-response FPC-style sensor features an integral flow conditioner and protective shroud optimized for compressed air and clean gas applications. The general purpose FP-style features a protective shroud and is the sensor used with VeriCal. For wet or dirty gases, or erratic flows, an unshrouded S-style sensor facilitates easy cleaning and provides a smoothed response.

The basic insertion style air/gas meter features a thermal flow sensing element that measures flow from 0.25 to 1000 SFPS (0.07 NMPS to 305 NMPS) with accuracy of ±0.75% of reading, ±0.5% of full scale.