XSENS explains: Non-Intrusive Ultrasonic Transit Time Method

Non-Intrusive Ultrasonic Transit Time Method: How It Works and Benefits Overview

The ultrasonic transit time method is a non-intrusive flow measurement technique that relies on the travel time of ultrasonic signals through a flowing fluid. XSENS Flow Solutions applies this method in our Flow Rate measurement products like the XRATE Liquid Flow Rate meter. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how this method works:

  1. Transducer Installation:
    • Two ultrasonic transducers are mounted on the external surface of a pipe at a specific distance apart.
    • One transducer serves as a transmitter, emitting ultrasonic pulses, while the other acts as a receiver, detecting the transmitted signals.
  2. Signal Propagation:
    • Ultrasonic pulses are transmitted through the pipe wall and into the flowing fluid.
    • The fluid acts as a medium for the ultrasonic signal to propagate.
  3. Upstream and Downstream Travel:
    • The ultrasonic pulses travel both upstream and downstream with the flow of the fluid.
  4. Signal Reception:
    • The downstream transducer detects the ultrasonic signal traveling with the flow, and the upstream transducer captures the signal moving against the flow.
  5. Time Measurement:
    • The time it takes for the ultrasonic signal to travel upstream and downstream is measured precisely.
  6. Velocity Calculation:
    • Using the known distance between the transducers, the velocity of the fluid is calculated using the formula .
  7. Flow Rate Determination:
    • The fluid’s velocity is then used to calculate the volumetric or mass flow rate of the fluid within the pipeline.

Benefits of Ultrasonic Transit Time Method:

  1. Non-Intrusive Measurement:
    • The method does not require direct contact with the fluid, making it suitable for applications where invasive measurements may be impractical or undesirable.
  2. Bi-Directional Flow Measurement:
    • The technology can accurately measure flow rates in both directions, providing versatility for applications with changing fluid dynamics.
  3. Wide Applicability:
    • Ultrasonic transit time meters are suitable for various fluid types, including liquids and gases, making them applicable in diverse industries, including oil and gas.
  4. Low Maintenance:
    • With no moving parts in contact with the fluid, these meters require minimal maintenance, contributing to their reliability.

Benefits of Non-Intrusive or Clamp-On Installation:

In addition to the general advantages of the ultrasonic transit time method for flow measurement, the non-intrusive or clamp-on installation further enhances the applicability and convenience of this technology in the oil and gas industry.

  1. No Process Disruption:
    • Clamp-on ultrasonic flow meters do not require cutting into the pipeline or interrupting the process. This non-intrusive nature allows for flow measurements without disrupting operations, minimizing downtime and production losses.
  2. Versatile Retrofitting:
    • Non-intrusive meters can be easily retrofitted to existing pipelines without the need for extensive modifications. This makes them a cost-effective and convenient solution for upgrading or expanding measurement capabilities in established facilities.
  3. Reduced Maintenance Downtime:
    • Since clamp-on transducers are attached externally, they eliminate the need for regular maintenance shutdowns. This feature is especially beneficial in industries where continuous operation is crucial, as it minimizes downtime and associated costs.
  4. Compatibility with Various Pipe Materials:
    • Non-intrusive ultrasonic meters are compatible with a wide range of pipe materials, including metals, plastics, and composites. This versatility allows for deployment in pipelines made of different materials without compromising accuracy.
  5. Ease of Installation:
    • The installation process is simpler and faster compared to traditional intrusive methods. The clamp-on transducers can be attached to the exterior of the pipe quickly and without specialized tools, reducing installation time and associated labor costs.
  6. Flexibility in Flow Measurement Points:
    • Non-intrusive meters provide flexibility in choosing measurement points along the pipeline. This adaptability allows operators to optimize flow measurement locations based on specific process requirements, enhancing the overall efficiency of the system.
  7. Minimized Environmental Impact:
    • Since non-intrusive installations avoid cutting into the pipeline, there is minimal impact on the environment. This can be crucial in environmentally sensitive areas or when dealing with hazardous fluids where containment and spillage risks must be minimized.
  8. Cost Savings:
    • The absence of intrusive modifications, coupled with the ease of installation, leads to overall cost savings. Reduced labor, minimal equipment downtime, and lower installation complexity contribute to a more economical solution over the long term.

In summary, the non-intrusive or clamp-on installation method complements the benefits of the ultrasonic transit time technology by offering additional advantages related to ease of deployment, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. This makes it an attractive option for flow measurement applications in the oil and gas industry, particularly where process continuity and cost efficiency are paramount considerations.