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Water Flow Switch- Types, Cost, and Advantages

Water flow switches are vital in various industries. Their costs differ in design and quality- The simple design offers you adequate accuracy at a low price. But if you need more complex designs, you’ll have to pay more.
Materials of the flow meter also add to the cost of water flow switches. You elect the material depending on the fluid properties. You can’t use some metals with corrosive fluids. You need to use a material that will last long without contaminating the fluid or ruining the flow meter. Here are the types of flow meters, their advantages, and their costs. 

Vortex Flow Meters

This is a flow meter that has a disturbance within the flow channel. The disturbance causes vortices downstream. The frequency of the vortex shedding is sent as a signal to the flow meter sensor. The frequency of the vortices is directly proportional to the fluid flow rate.
Vortex flowmeters are among the meters that don’t depend on fluid properties. You can gauge any fluid. The fluid only needs flow at a speed that can create eddies once the disturbance is introduced.

Advantages 

  • It’s durable since it has no moving parts. Hence, it’s not subject to wear and tear.
  • You can stay for a long time without running it for maintenance.
  • They give long-term accuracy.
  • They are reliable
  • You can gauge all types of fluids with a vortex flowmeter
  • The cost of installation is low
  • You can get flow meters in various temperature ranges.
  • They are available in different pipe sizes.

Cost

Vortex flow meters are affordable. Many of them will cost about $1000-$3000. However, there are a few that will cost you as low as $400. Lower-priced vortex flow meters may not be durable, and the accuracy is not reliable.
Inline vortex flow meters cost between $1200-$5000. They have a high accuracy of between 0.3% and 1.0%.

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Ultrasonic Flow Meters

These meters use ultrasound to detect the speed of a fluid within a channel. The flow meter sends two ultrasound signals upstream and downstream. The sensor then gauges the rate at which both signals travel. The downstream signal is faster since it’s flowing with the fluid. On the other hand, the upstream signal is slower since it’s flowing against the current.
Since the sonic time upstream and downstream is different, you use the differential time to calculate the volumetric flow rate of the fluid.

Advantages

  • The meter has no moving parts. Thus, it isn’t subject to wear and tear. Also, it lasts for a long time. 
  • It maintains accuracy for a long time.
  • They are low maintenance since it’s not subject to wear and tear. 
  • They have digital and analog output options. 

Cost

The cost of ultrasonic flow meters depends on the type. They are clamp-on, high temp clamp-on, inline flow meters, and insertion flow meters- The material of the flow meter affects the price of the flow meter. The cost ranges between $150 to $1000.

Magnetic Flow Meters

These meters use the electric properties of fluid and magnetic fields to gauge the speed of the water. As a conductive fluid passes over the magnetic field, a voltage is created. The strength of the voltage depends on the speed of the fluid- the higher the rate, the higher the voltage.
The electronics process the voltage signals into a volumetric flow. These meters have intermediate accuracy- They are suitable for several applications. However, you can’t use them for custody transfer where high precision is needed.

Advantages

  • There’s no pressure loss in magnetic flowmeters.
  • They have no moving parts. Hence, they are durable and require minimal maintenance. 
  • They have a large measuring range. Ths, you have no fear when the flow channel has varying flow speeds.
  • Temperature, pressure, viscosity, and density do not affect the function of the water flow switch.
  • They are perfect for gauging the flow of slurry fluids like wastewater. 

Cost

The magnetic flowmeters can cost from as low as $840 to $1750. The price depends on the application, the material of the flow meter, and the size. 

Positive Displacement Flow Meters

A water flow switch is installed in a straight pipe. However, you can have a flow channel with no sufficient straight channel. You can use a positive displacement flow meter. The water flow switch holds a known volume of water and then release it downstream. The rate at wick the volume is released is equal to the flow rate of the fluid.
There are several types of PD flow meters. They all differ in the shape of the holding part. Also, they are a part of mechanical flow meters since they have a moving part. Their accuracy is a reliable nut. You need to have regular maintenance.

Advantages

  • It has reliable accuracy and repeatability.
  • It has a long life and low maintenance
  • You can use them for high viscosity fluids. 
  •  It’s not sensitive to uneven flow. 
  • The meters will give you readings in a volumetric unit.
  • It has a good turndown ratio.
  • The upstream condition doesn’t affect the accuracy of the reading.

Cost 

PD flowmeters have a wide cost range. You can get them at $245 to $3000. Also, the design, material, size, and accuracy affect the pricing of the flow meters. 

Turbine Flow Meters

These are the most popular flow meters. Also, they are the cheapest in the market. They work through a rotating turbine within the flow channel. The speed of the rotating turbine is equivalent to the fluid flow rate.
Turbine flow meters are in three designs- paddle wheel, propeller, and shunt design. Sadly, these flow meters are prone to clogging.

Advantages

  • They are simple to install and use.
  • They are suitable for both liquids and gases
  • They have a wide flow range of applications.
  • Their technology is easy to understand.
  • They have good accuracy and reliable repeatability.
  • They are helpful in high-pressure measurement.

Cost

The prices of turbine flow meters start at $930. You can pay as much as $3645 for large-scale applications. 

Conclusion

The best water flow switch is one that can cater to your firm’s needs. Check the meter to match your flow range, temperature range and give you the best output signal. The best brands offer high-quality meters that will serve you for a long time. 

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