When the UK Industrial Strategy was launched by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in late 2017, one of the Grand Challenges identified was Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a data-driven economy, estimated to add £232 billion to the UK economy by 2030 through early adoption. With such a data-rich environment, it is easy to see that flow measurement is an area where AI could flourish.
As part of the BEIS-funded Flow Programme,National Engineering Laboratory (NEL) are engaged on a project focused on using data to develop diagnostic measures which may be used to flag measurement “health” relative to the last calibration, removing the need for time-based calibration and paving the way for data-driven condition-based monitoring (CBM).
CBM requires effective diagnostics which can signal the need for an intervention. NEL’s digital services team are using their extensive experience in flow metering, digital networks and data science to develop new predictive models. These models can provide an opportunity to increase the diagnostic capability of the end-user, not just for a particular flow meter, but for a whole facility.
“This is a really interesting project for NEL” says Digital Services Technical Lead, Gordon Lindsay. “Over the last five years, digitalisation has become a priority for many organisations, with many believing that there are real opportunities to be had in the vast volumes of data collected by complex networks and systems currently used in industry.”
As part of this project, three technical reports have been published, focused on flow meter diagnostics, digital networks and data modelling. “We have produced these reports as part of the groundwork for the project. Since NEL design, develop and maintain our own facilities, we have acquired a unique perspective on the variations in digital data available to industry and this has informed our experimental methodology going into this project” says Gordon. “These reports include a Review of NEL’s Knowledge in the Field of Flow Meter Diagnostics, Digital Data in Practice and Digital Monitoring and are freely available on our website.
The overall aim is ambitious; Gordon suggests “this project could revolutionise how flow meters are calibrated in the future. A shift from time-based calibration, which at present can be performed irrespective of meter ‘health’ to in-situ CBM, where calibrations are carried out when they are actually needed would be of real benefit to the industry, reducing downtime and increasing productivity and competitiveness.”
For more details contact Gordon Lindsay