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Flowmeter speeds measurement.

Fluid processors are lowering instrumentation and labor costs for flow measurement by incorporating the TransPort Model PT868 ultrasonic flowmeter made by Panametrics Inc. (Waltham, Mass.) into their operations. This handheld instrument weighs only 2 pounds, yet can store more than 40,000 data points and up to 20 sets of site location parameters.

Honda of America Manufacturing Inc. (Marysville, Ohio) is one company that uses the PT868 to monitor the flow of clear coat finish applied by robots to car parts, and thus to determine the proper film thickness, said production staff engineer Tim Perkins. Technicians in Marysville also use the PT868 to measure the flow of xylene, a solvent used to clean the paint applicators, to comply with EPA regulations regarding xylene usage. Thomas M. Laronge Inc. (Vancouver, Wash.), a technical consulting firm, uses the PT868 to diagnose velocity-influenced or -induced corrosion in the water systems of commercial structures.

Panametrics engineers drew on their experience in designing downhole flowmeters for oil exploration to miniaturize the model PT868. "We used surface-mounted components on the circuit boards of the PT868, which allowed a 4:1 reduction of the unit's area," explained Saul Jacobson, the Panametrics project engineer who led development of the device.

The Panametrics designers achieved a higher level of integration with the new flowmeter by incorporating the Motorola (Schaumburg, Ill.) 68332 microcontroller. The operator may reprogram the PT868 on site using the keypad or remotely using a personal computer.

Cost considerations led Panametrics to choose a custom molded plastic case for the PT868. In addition, Jacobson and his colleagues reduced the number of components to about one-quarter of previous generations of comparable flowmeters. These measures helped keep the list price of the PT868 to $5895; equipment with comparable power lists for $8000 to $12,000, according to Bob Davis, marketing associate at Panametrics.

The PT868 was designed to function with 1.5 watts of power, reducing battery size and enhancing portability. Comparable flowmeters require 10 to 20 watts of power, typically delivered by motorcycle-type batteries, according to Mike Scelzo, marketing manager. The PT868 uses four C-sized nickel cadmium batteries.

Panametrics designed the entire PT868 package to fit into a carrying case that the technician takes to the flow-measuring sites. The technician programs the menu-driven PT868 via its keyboard with data including the pipe's outer diameter, explained Jed Matson, product manager at Panametrics. Once this information has been entered, the technician straps the flowmeter mount onto the pipe and inserts the two transducers, which are connected by cables to the handheld PT868. A graphical liquid crystal display shows the flow rate in a numeric or plotted form or as logged data.

Speeding up the measurement process has trimmed labor costs for processors that use the PT868. "Technicians have been able to conduct from 10 to 12 flow measurements per day using the PT868, versus 1 to 2 using other flowmeters with similar capabilities," said Davis.

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Title Annotation:Panametrics Inc.'s PT868 ultrasonic flowmeter
Publication:Mechanical Engineering-CIME
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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