Troubleshooting Tips for Positive Displacement Flow Meters


Accurate measurement of liquid flow is of paramount importance to maintain supreme quality of several industrial processes. There are several types of flow measurement equipment available, which support several demanding operations across industries. Positive displacement flow meters are amongst the popular types that are used to achieve precise measurement of the flow of liquids. Available in several models, these units are simple in construction, and easy to install in hostile industrial environments.

Sudden Failures – Nightmares for the Users

Positive displacement flow meters are required to operate in extreme industrial conditions. They are exposed to varying temperature ranges, pressure levels, corrosive media, and other contaminants. Hence, they must be closely examined on a regular basis and maintained as recommended by the manufacturer. However, most of the time, these units are overlooked by the users, resulting in unexpected failures. This unforeseen malfunctioning affects the entire operations of a plant, leading to costly downtime and expensive repairs.

Tips on Troubleshooting

There are several troubleshooting tips you can use before taking the unit to a repair station. A clear understanding of various troubleshooting techniques helps you bring the unit back to its operational excellence. Moreover, you can save time and money that might otherwise be spent in a repair center.

Below are some of the common problems associated with positive displacement flow meters and their troubleshooting tips.

  1. Problem – There is no flow through the meter.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Heat the meter to melt any solid material that may be blocking the rotation.
  • Remove the plumbing base and examine crankshaft and piston rods closely for damages. In case there is debris clogged the components, clean the parts and reinstall them.
  • Inspect the meter. In case you find any defective part, you don’t have any other choice, except taking the meter to a reliable service center.

Note – Follow the aforementioned troubleshooting tips when you experience a high pressure drop across the meter.

  1. Problem – There is no indication of fluid passing through the meter. However, fluid is actually flowing through the meter.

Troubleshooting Tip

  • Verify whether DC power is present in the Pressure Control Assembly (PCA)
  1. Problem – Indicated flow does not agree with expected readings due to excessive reverse flow in the system, or improper calibration of indicators.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Verify that there are no air bubbles in the line.
  • Verify K-factor for the meter. Compare this value with the setting of the display.
  • Verify reverse flow pattern in the system. Usually, transmitters in the meter can buffer up to 1 revolution of reverse flow. An incorrect flow total will be displayed in the meter if the reverse flow is greater than one meter revolution.

The aforementioned are few of the common problems associated with flow meters. You can try these troubleshooting tips to recoup the operational performance of positive displacement flow meters. It is important to read and understand the trouble shooting tips provided in the user guide of the respective manufacturer. They are of great help in critical situations.

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