In a recent case study, an aluminum fabricator benefited from using a thermal mass flow meter with Bluetooth wireless to remotely reconfigure its hard-to-reach integral-style meters. The case study was published in P.I. Process Instrumentation Magazine, announcing that the Sage Paramount with Bluetooth (optional) was honored in the 2022 Innovation Awards.
Case Study Summary
The Paramount is an industrial thermal mass flow meter that measures gas flow rate and consumption. The SageCom Validation and Configuration Software, installed on a laptop or PC, permits the user to reconfigure or verify the Paramount flowmeter, perform diagnostic tests and ensure the meter is functioning correctly. Traditionally, this communication occurs through a mini-USB cable between the meter and the computer. The option of Bluetooth for wireless connectivity to enable remote programming of the flowmeter is exceptionally beneficial to permit remote communication with hard-to-reach integral-style meters.
Challenges to Modify Meter Parameters
It is a common issue, particularly for new thermal mass flow meter users, to require changes in flow meter settings after installation. These modifications can be made with any Paramount meter using a laptop with the SageCom software. However, making changes after installation can be challenging and cumbersome when the meters are integral-style and installed in hard-to-reach places.
Aluminum Fabricator Using the Bluetooth Option
An aluminum fabricator used thermal mass flow meters in two applications at its facility. The company agreed to test the Sage Metering Paramount with Bluetooth to determine the convenience and benefit of communicating and modifying the meters’ parameters without cabling between the meter and the laptop.
Air-to-Fuel Ratio to Improve Efficiency
The company needed to control the natural gas flow to their ovens to optimize the air-to-fuel ratio to achieve a higher BTU rate. As with any combustion operation, efficiency can be improved by controlling the air-to-fuel ratio.
Nitrogen Blanketing to Prevent Product Oxidation
The same fabricator needed to determine the ideal flow of nitrogen being used to blanket its product to prevent the oxidation of its finished aluminum. The aluminum is covered and maintained under a nitrogen atmosphere during gas annealing so that the product does not come into contact with oxygen. In blanketing, measuring the inert gas’s flow is critical. A nitrogen/hydrogen blend can also decrease annealing time as hydrogen has a high heat capacity.
Benefits of the Bluetooth Wireless Meter
The aluminum fabricator experienced numerous benefits of using the wireless option on its integral-style meters.
- The user could access all of the functionality of the intuitive SageCom™ software without the need to connect cabling between the Sage Flowmeter(s) and laptop or PC.
- The user could simply select the auto-generated COM ports of any Bluetooth® enabled meter(s) and access them quickly wirelessly from their laptop or PC (within the range).
- The user has wireless communication within 50 feet of the meter and witnessed connectivity up to 75 feet.
- The user no longer needs to climb ladders while lugging a laptop to access hard-to-reach flow meters to make changes to the flow meter’s settings.
- The user could wirelessly adjust the following flowmeter parameters:
- Change the full scale of the flow meter
- Change the decimal point displayed on the flow meter
- Add a low flow cutoff on the flow meter
- Change the response rate (filtering) of the flow meter
- Change engineering units on the flow meter
- Change the pulse rate of the totalizer
The new wireless feature is optional and, for a minor expense, saves the user time and money to remotely reconfigure any Bluetooth-enabled Paramount meter within 50 feet (and more) away from an enabled laptop with SageCom. If you’d like to read the case study in full, visit P.I. Process Instrumentation and search for Sage Metering Honorable Mention.