As flow metering technologies become more digital, the volume of data generated has increased dramatically. As the devices get smarter, so must we. Condition-based monitoring (CBM), where data output by digital data is used to assess device performance, has been around for a few years now, however TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory are working on a project focused on the diagnostic and predictive capability of these systems and the ultimate end-user experience.
If you have a problem with your flow meter, then you call an expert engineer – or at least that has been the approach in the past. As technology has progressed, devices have become more complex and troubleshooting even more so. However, the ability of these devices to output and record large volumes of data has led to the growth of CBM to predict and diagnose faults.
As part of a BEIS-funded project, our Digital Services Team are focused on improving the capabilities of CBM, not just to predict a fault, but to provide specific diagnostic information to the end-user which can be used to solve the fault quickly. The digital infrastructure available at the UK Flow Measurement Facilities allows for the recording of all data from multiple digital networks via a bespoke data acquisition (DAQ) package, making data easier to store and subsequently analyse.
This three-year project has been underway since April 2018. Significant effort has gone into compiling the current knowledge within the business and revisiting historical data for missed correlations and new understanding.
In close partnership with a metering manufacturer, we have tested Coriolis meters within our Water Facility and monitored the response of the meter to various installation and process effects. “We are trying to get to a point where the software will indicate not only that there is a problem but based on the data available have the capability to diagnose and guide the end-user on how best to rectify it”, commented Technical Lead for Digital Services, Gordon Lindsay. “At present we have carried out extensive testing in our water facility and have created a predictive model to diagnose issues with a high level of accuracy. The next stage is to continue testing with more complex fluids and at various temperatures and pressures in our Oil, EPAT (Elevated Pressure and Temperature) and Multiphase Facilities, all the while increasing the volume of data available for the predictive model.”
The advent of condition-based monitoring and increasingly intelligent devices means a real step-change in how we monitor and calibrate flow meters. The real benefit for industry will be the reduced time and energy required to troubleshoot with confidence and the associated reduction of production downtime as a result.
If you are interested in learning more about this project or becoming involved, contact Gordon Lindsay