Flow Switch and Various Types of Flow Switches

Author : Proteus
Publish Date : 2021-03-25

Flow Switch and Various Types of Flow Switches

Various industries have flow switches to monitor and control fluid flow. Other uses of flow switches include monitoring fluid pressure and flow rate through a system, duct, or loop.  

You can use a flow switch or a flow meter to monitor flow in a known time. Also, you can set the switch to monitor fluid flow continuously. A flow meter is not always a flow switch. 

How a Flow Switch Work

You need to know the core components of a flow switch to know how it works. Many switches will have a magnetic or paddle trigger. It triggers a shut-off valve when it senses abnormal flow. It will also trigger an action when fluid levels reach the desired level. The trigger will also act when the fluid drops below the minimum required level. 

The trigger magnet or paddle is placed in a channel after connecting to a circuit. You will need to reset the conditions that should trigger the action. Each condition depends on your industry and needs. 

The signals of a flow switch read on a transducer. It is a secondary component that complements the flow switch. Also, it gets the signals from a transmitter. 

The actions that a flow switch can trigger include shut off and opening valves, diverting flow, activating an alarm. You will set the action you need depending on your industrial needs. 

Other switches do not have physical paddles. Instead, they use signals to activate an alarm. The switches are ultrasonic, and the others are non-intrusive. They are useful when the fluid is contaminated, hazardous, and corrosive fluids. 

There are various ways to install flow switches. Each way depends on the type of flow switch. The basics of installation include installing the switch on a straight section of the duct or pipe. Ensure that the length before and behind them is enough to maintain a uniform flow rate. Never fit or wire a flow switch near a bend, drain, valve, other fittings, wider or narrower sections, and other features that may alter the flow rate and flow pressure. Check the manual for the exact installation process according to the switch type. 

Types of Flow Switches

There are several types of flow switches. They are designed to fit the different flow parameters that are found in various industries. The parameters may be linear, non-linear, volumetric, and mass flow rates of fluids. Before you settle for a flow meter:

  1. Ensure you know what your industry needs.
  2. Remember, no brand of a flow switch will perform all the tasks.
  3. Thus, select one that will meet most of your needs. 

Flow Switches for Water and liquids

Many water flow switches use paddle technology. Mechanical flow switches are okay for water, clean fluids, and non-corrosive liquids. However, there are cases you will need non-intrusive and ultrasonic switches. 

Flow Switches for Air and Gas

You can use flow switches in water filtration systems, exhaust venting, duct heating, etc. they all can be mechanical or non-intrusive types. 

Paddle Type Flow Switches

These are mechanical switches. It means they have moving parts. The pressure if the fluids push the vanes and activate the flow switch. The paddle can be open or closed depending on the function of the switch in the flow system. 

Thermal Dispersion Flow Switches

These flow switches have no moving parts. Thus, they are more durable than mechanical switches. They are, however, intrusive and rely on a sensor probe inserted in the flow channel. It calculates the flow rate according to how quickly it carries heat away. The alarm trigger activates when the speed at which heat travels from the probe. 

Oils Flow Switches

Most oil switches are paddle or thermal switches. They are hard-wearing and can operate under high heat levels. Also, they have better seals and housing. 

Ultrasonic and Non-Intrusive Flow Switches

These are most useful in hazardous, slurry, and corrosive fluids. They are non-intrusive, hence do not come in contact with the fluids. They use pulses to sense the flow rate in a fluid. 

Mechanical Flow Switches

These are flow switches with moving parts. They are useful in clean fluids. You cannot use them in contaminated fluids and slurry since they are prone to stalling. Also, the moving parts wear out easily.

PVC Flow Switches

These are mechanical flow switches that are either vane type or magnetic. They are useful where a quick flow or no flow status is required, 

Calorimetric Flow Switches

These switches use two heat sensors. It works like a thermal dispersion switch. You can tell the flow rate by comparing the heat difference between the two heat sensors. 

Rotary Flow Switches

These flow switches act as basic turbines. It resembles a multi-bladed wheel mounted within a duct stream. You can get these switches as pistons, impellers, and paddlewheel designs. 

Pneumatic Flow Switches  

You use this flow switch in place of a paddle-type switch or air valve for a mechanical switch. You can control the passage of air through valves and relays when the flow starts or stops. 

Final Word

Water Flow switches are vital in all industries. They may not be part of the main operations but support the background operations. It keeps the flow of fluids and energy in check. They also raise alarms or trigger turn-on/shut-off functions when needed. 

Category :technology

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