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Sierra’s Biggest Stories of 2017


Dec 15, 2017
Julie Graff
Written By:
Julie Graff

Another year has come and gone, and it certainly was a big one for Sierra! Let’s look back at the news and top content that we shared with you in 2017. New at Sierra in 2017 Last year was a big year of innovation for Sierra. Here are the developments we were particularly proud of: The Big-3™ […]

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How an Ultrasonic Flow Meter Works


Dec 05, 2017
John, Chief Engineer
Written By:
John, Chief Engineer

An ultrasonic flow meter utilizes ultrasound to measure the velocity of a fluid and is used in a variety of fluid applications. Ultrasonic flowmeters are ideal for water and other liquids. Clamp-on ultrasonic flow meters achieve high accuracy at low and high flows, save time with no pipe cutting or process shutdown, and are not affected […]

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How Does a Water Flow Meter Work?


Oct 27, 2017
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

A water flow meter is a device that measures the amount of water flowing through a pipe. There are several water flow meter technologies to choose from depending on the water measurement application, maintenance requirements, and budgetary terms.  Each of these types of water flow meters has a unique principle of operation, specific application benefits, and overall cost-of-ownership. The question […]

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Understanding 4-20mA Current Loop Communications


Oct 13, 2017
Kam Bansal, Dir. of Engineering
Written By:
Kam Bansal, Dir. of Engineering

Imagine this: You’ve got your flow meter with 4-20mA output setup. Confidently, you flip the switch, turning it on and then it happens–the readings are off. You’re not getting the output you need. Frustrated, you tinker with it, and still nothing. Now, you’re out of your depth. You need to get this thing working so […]

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How Does a Flow Meter Work?


Oct 09, 2017
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

A flow meter works by measuring the amount of a gas, liquid or steam that passes through or around the flow meter sensors. While flow meter sensors work in many different ways, the end goal is the same: Deliver the most accurate and repeatable flow measurements for the specific application, whether for general research, process […]

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Preventable Mistakes with Vortex Flow Meters


Sep 22, 2017
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

Vortex flow meter technology is an ideal technology for many applications particularly saturated and supersaturated steam, volumetric water applications as well as flow energy management (natural gas, compressed air, steam, water) in facilities and large campuses. In some of these applications, vortex installations can be tricky and take flow expertise for the most successful installations. Kam Bansal, […]

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How Does a Thermal Flow Meter Work?


Aug 31, 2017
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

An insertion-type (immersible) thermal flow meter works by measuring the total mass flow rate of air/gas flowing through a pipe or duct. In a thermal flow meter’s simplest working configuration, gas flows past a heated velocity sensor and a temperature sensor. Instrument electronics work to maintain a constant temperature differential of 50 degrees Celsius between the actual gas temperature and the […]

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Making Ultrasonic Liquid Flow Meter Installation Easier


Jun 26, 2017
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

Ultrasonic transit-time flow meter technology is becoming one of the most adopted technologies for accurate liquid and energy/BTU measurement. Although a major benefit of the technology is that it is non-invasive and can be clamped to the outside of the pipe, an inherent challenge with ultrasonic clamp on liquid flow meters is finding the best […]

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[Minute Flow Tip Video] Mass Flow Versus Volumetric Flow Technology


Mar 28, 2017
Jim Oswald, Technical Support Manager
Written By:
Jim Oswald, Technical Support Manager

When engineers and systems integrators need to measure gas flow rate in an industrial process or scientific research, there are many types of technologies to choose from.  This makes selecting the right gas flow meter a challenge. In addition to technology, engineers must consider many other parameters: price for value, cost of ownership, size of footprint, application flexibility, calibration method, accuracy […]

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Sierra’s Biggest Stories from 2016


Jan 09, 2017
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

2017 is here and this year will bring many new exciting developments at Sierra, but before launching completely into the new year, let’s take a look back at our top stories of 2016. New at Sierra in 2016 We’re always looking for new ways to communicate and interact with our customers and industry. Find out about three […]

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Direct Mass Flow or Volumetric: The Thermal Flow Meter Technology Advantage!


Nov 18, 2016
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

In today’s world where everyone is watching the bottom line, you need high performance, cost-effective instrumentation—and capillary thermal mass flow meters and controllers have been proven to meet this criteria in a wide range of process applications. Thermal mass flow technology is an industry standard for mass flow control of gases because it measures flow directly, […]

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Sensor Probe Insertion/Retractor Simplifies Installation of Steam Flow Meters in Hot Tapping Applications


Oct 26, 2016
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

Accurately measuring fluid flows like steam in large ducts or pipes is a challenging application. Large ducts and pipes often have swirl or turbulent flow which makes accurate flow measurement difficult. Not to mention, installation of steam flow meters can be extremely challenging since in many cases you will need to shut off the steam flow to install […]

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Primary Standard Gas Flow Calibration—The Only Guarantee of Accuracy


Sep 19, 2016
Jim Oswald, Technical Support Manager
Written By:
Jim Oswald, Technical Support Manager

At Sierra, we have a saying: “An instrument’s accuracy is only as good as its calibration.” The accuracy of your mass flow controller (MFC) is essential in assuring the efficiency, performance, and quality of your flow meter. In many cases, if your instrumentation is not calibrated, then a decline in performance is possible due to sensor drift from the factory […]

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Tuning Your Boiler for EPA Boiler MACT Compliance


May 12, 2016
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

The EPA’s Boiler MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) regulations are heating up. Boiler MACT is an EPA rule to limit hazardous air pollutants (HAP) from commercial and industrial boilers and process heaters. Originally published in 2011 as a mandate driven by the Clean Air Act,  the rules are Area Source Boiler MACT 40 CFR 63, subpart JJJJJJ for smaller […]

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For Vortex Flow Meters, Accuracy Matters in Steam Energy Flow Measurement


Mar 13, 2016
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

The heat is on. Most facilities managers are in the hot seat to account for all of the flow energy, going in and out of their facility which is no easy task. This mandate is no different for steam flow measurement. Vortex flow meters continue to be the industry standard for accurate steam flow measurement. […]

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How to Reduce Methane Emissions with Thermal Mass Flow Meters


Feb 11, 2016
Glen, Account & Market Manager
Written By:
Glen, Account & Market Manager

The flare gas discussion is heating up again. According to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. oil production is at an all-time high, and so are the harmful methane emissions from leaks, flaring and venting. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has proposed to update 30-year-old regulations in order to reduce the excess release of natural […]

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Watch Video: Sierra’s NEW Website Simplifies Finding the Right Flow Meter


Nov 20, 2015
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

Let’s face it, finding the right flow meter for your application can often be a daunting task. Which product best suits my application? Which flow meter version will give me the best price vs. value to meet my needs? How can I get my meter quickly? Who can help specify flow meters for my facility? These […]

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Why Dry Sensor Design Is Key for Stability, Accuracy and In-Situ Validation


Mar 01, 2015
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

Designing a stable sensor that will last over the lifetime of your thermal mass flow meter is the holy grail in thermal mass flow meter design.  The truth is that most flow meter manufacturers use a “wet” sensor design, filled with epoxies and cements.  As conditions in your application change, the sensor is heated and cooled over time, expanding […]

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The Truth About In-Situ Calibration Validation of Thermal Flowmeters


Sep 10, 2014
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

In-situ calibration validation is one of the great benefits of thermal mass flow technology. This video reviews in-situ calibration validation and details how thermal sensor stability is the only way a calibration validation is actually valid! Get the truth about in-situ calibration so you can make informed decisions. Watch the video now! For a more detailed […]

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Best Practices for Mass Flow Controller Manufacturing


May 29, 2014
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

In Part 1 of our mass flow controller best practices series, Best Practices for Mass Flow Controller Selection and Installation,  Sierra’s Chief Engineer John Smitherman compiled a comprehensive list of best practices for the selection, installation and operation of mass flow meters and controllers. With so many flow measurement products and technologies on the market, […]

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Understanding Flowmeter Recalibration Traceability…


May 19, 2014
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

Customers often ask if they need to have their flow meter instrumentation calibrated annually. Along with calibration-related questions, traceability is another area that garners its fair share of inquiries. In this week’s post, I’ll share the answers to these commons questions you may have been wondering about. Do I need to have my mass flow […]

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Best Practices for Mass Flow Controller Selection & Installation


Apr 07, 2014
John, Chief Engineer
Written By:
John, Chief Engineer

As scientists, facilities managers and manufacturing engineers, specifying equipment is a part of our daily work life. What product do I need? What’s the best price for the value? How do I install the product once I get it? The more information about best practice principles, the easier the job is of specifying and buying […]

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NEW Video Animation: How Do Thermal Mass Flowmeters Work?


Mar 24, 2014
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

As if your were actor Dennis Quaid in the popular 1987 movie Innerspace, journey inside the pipe to learn the operational principle of thermal mass flow technology and see, from a molecules perspective, why thermal flow meters have become extremely popular due to high accuracy, no moving parts, negligible pressure drop, sensitive direct mass flow measurement with high […]

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Chemical Engineering Magazine Article By Sierra’s Founder


Feb 10, 2014
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

Sierra’s Founder, Dr. John G. Olin, looks at the Principles of Operation, Installation, Calibration and Best Applications for Thermal Mass Flow Meters… Read the full article in Chemical Engineering Magazine.

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Insertion Flow Meter Straight Run Requirements


Dec 02, 2013
Jim Oswald, Technical Support Manager
Written By:
Jim Oswald, Technical Support Manager

You have specified the correct industrial Thermal insertion mass flow meter and received your brand new meter. Now what? Where do you install the meter for optimal performance? This is where technical expertise comes in, along with a mixture of science and tribal knowledge.  In fact, Sierra has talked for years about a flowmeter being only as good as how it was […]

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New Technical Resources: Power Supply and Cabling Options


May 22, 2013
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

Believe it or not, many times selecting the correct power supply and cable for your product is the most challeging part of specifying and installation. To make these decisions easy, we have developed our new Technical Resources: Power Supply and Cabling guide to help you choose the best power supply and cable for your meter […]

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Video: How to Configure Your Set Point on Your MFC


May 16, 2013
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

I hope you’ve enjoyed our Mass Flow Controller video series! Here at Sierra Instruments, we pride ourselves on great customer service, and this series is just another example of how we’re here for you every step of the way. From initial set-up to power options to our last video on “How to Configure Your Set […]

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New Video: Best Cabling Wiring Connections, Power Options


May 09, 2013
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

Interestingly enough, our technical support team gets more questions about the compatibility between our power supplies and cabling options than any other installation question. This, as you know, is an important step to getting your MFC up and running-and providing you with accurate air flowmeter measurements—in no time. In recent weeks our, Technical Support Supervisor, Jim Oswald, has walked […]

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New Video: MFC – How to Set Up, Mount & Leak Test


Apr 26, 2013
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

Jim Oswald, our technical support guru, has had some great response from our new videos. He gets call all day about mass flow control installation questions, so we hope these step-by-step videos can help you set up quickly and get to your work at hand. Our last technical support video walked you through the unpacking process […]

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New Video: Best Practices for Leak Testing Inlet & Outlet Fittings for Your MFC


Apr 05, 2013
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

Have questions about your mass flow controller or flow meter? We’ve got answers. We’re excited to unveil a brand new series of “how-to” videos answering your most frequently asked questions about mass flow controllers and flow meters on Sierra Instruments’ YouTube Channel and in our video section on our website. It is industry best practice to always leak […]

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Article Highlights Advancements in Flow Meter Accuracy


Mar 26, 2013
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

Thanks Flow Control magazine for the great coverage and helping to spread the word to our customers about new technology to improve flow measurement accuracy, which always improves plant efficiency and saves customers money in the long run. John G. Olin, PhD, founder of Sierra Instruments and inventor of a number of flow industry firsts, […]

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Part 3: Cold Weather and Mass Air Flow Meter Gas Temperature (Gas Properties)


Mar 07, 2013
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

In Parts One and Two of this series, we looked at the effects of ambient temperature on mass air flow meters such as Sierra’s FastFlo™ 620S and our new QuadraTherm™ Model 640i. As discussed, cold weather has few physical effects on the meter, but can degrade accuracy due to stem conduction, unless accounted for, as does […]

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Mass Vortex


Jan 01, 2013
John, Chief Engineer
Written By:
John, Chief Engineer

how it works

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New QuadraTherm Flow Meter: iTherm Expanding Gas Library


Nov 27, 2012
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

The iTherm gas library stores proprietary gas packets, which are  analogous to the DNA of a specific gas. It stores all the parameters needed to instantly calculate the thermodynamic and transport properties of every gas or gas mixture versus temperature and pressure. Currently, the library has mapped 18 gases and mixtures, and it continues to grow […]

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New QuadaTherm Flow Sensor: with iTherm, It Learns!


Nov 20, 2012
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

With iTherm, It Learns… QuadraTherm’s four-sensor technology provides the critical inputs for iTherm’s living, learning algorithm set and gas library to accurately manage changes in gas and pipe selection, gas temperature, gas pressure, and outside temperature. Our revolutionary thermal mass flow meter with iTherm solves the First Law of Thermodynamics (for Thermal Dispersion Technology) in a fraction […]

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New QuadraTherm Thermal Flow Sensor Makes It Possible!


Nov 13, 2012
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

Patented QuadraTherm’s Four-Sensor Design A major thermal sensor breakthrough for Sierra occurred with QuadraTherm, as two new temperature sensors (T2 and T4—see figure below) were added to the existing two-sensor design (T3 temperature & T1 DrySense velocity) used in previous flowmeter models. The two additional sensors perform real-time correction for the heat lost to the outside environment due […]

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New QuadraTherm 640i / 780i: Accuracy Never Before Possible!


Nov 08, 2012
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

Innovative QuadraTherm Four-Sensor Design Traditional thermal sensors have two sensors—one temperature sensor and one velocity sensor, each in a separate probe sheath. QuadraTherm (the term “Quad” meaning “four”) introduces four sensors—three precision platinum temperature sensors and one patented DrySense mass velocity sensor. Performance improvements never before possible are gained as the QuadraTherm Technology isolates forced […]

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New QuadraTherm 640i / 780i: Introducing The World’s Most Accurate Thermal Mass Flow Meters


Nov 06, 2012
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

From Sierra’s beginning over forty years ago, we have been driven by the vision of supplying industrial customers with the world’s most accurate thermal mass flow meter. And, we knew it was a “sensor” game. The development of an industrialized metal-sheathed sensor in the early 80s was Sierra’s first big step, but we didn’t stop there.   Many successful innovations […]

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Under Pressure, Part 6: Size Matters with Flowmeters and Pressure Regulators


Oct 04, 2012
Morgan Zealear, Engineer
Written By:
Morgan Zealear, Engineer

In this final post on pressure regulation and flow meters, I’d like to present a case study. A customer was convinced that our unit intermittently lost control for given flow rates. It turns out that as they increased flow rate, the outlet pressure of the regulator (inlet to the mass flow controller) was drooping below […]

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Under Pressure, Part 5: Flowmeters on the Ragged Edge of Pressure Drop


Oct 02, 2012
Morgan Zealear, Engineer
Written By:
Morgan Zealear, Engineer

Think about it. It’s pretty much impossible to make a controlled pressure drop without burning up some energy as heat. Therefore, the outlet pressure and flow rate cannot be linearly proportional at 1:1, but rather, must have some positive loss of X:1, where X is greater than 1. So, for a given regulator setpoint, the outlet pressure […]

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Under Pressure, Part 4: More on Pressure Regulator Droop and Flowmeters


Sep 27, 2012
Morgan Zealear, Engineer
Written By:
Morgan Zealear, Engineer

If my previous post on droop, the least apparent pressure regulation issue, wasn’t enough of the low down for you, let me share some more about this common issue that arises with flowmeters. Droop is the difference between the outlet pressure at low inlet pressures and at high inlet pressures along the ‘operating range’ of the […]

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Under Pressure, Part 3: How to Avoid ‘Droop’ (Hysteresis) with Flowmeters


Sep 25, 2012
Morgan Zealear, Engineer
Written By:
Morgan Zealear, Engineer

If you’ve been reading my series on pressure regulation, you know my goal is to help you achieve the best possible gas mass flow control with your flowmeter. Previously, I’ve discussed undersizing and seat-drop lock. Now I want to move onto something that can really get you down – “droop.” Regulators may exhibit hysteresis, also known as droop. Droop is […]

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Under Pressure, Part 2: Don’t Run a Flowmeter Regulator into the Mud!


Sep 20, 2012
Morgan Zealear, Engineer
Written By:
Morgan Zealear, Engineer

Proper line regulation, be it supply pressure regulation, or back pressure regulation, is fundamentally key to a properly tuned flow system process. All instruments operate most accurately under steady-state conditions, so awareness of regulator behavior and proper tuning will save you time and money on avoiding waste during transient conditions. In my continuing tutorial on mass flow […]

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Pressure Regulation Can Be a Sticky Wicket with Flow Meters


Sep 17, 2012
Morgan Zealear, Engineer
Written By:
Morgan Zealear, Engineer

In the world of mass flow control, it sometimes surprises me how often issues with mass flowmeters can be attributed to improper sizing of pressure regulators. But given all the intangibles with mass flow, I do get it. So, if you are building a flow system that requires precision gas mass flow control, this is the […]

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How Biogas Generators Work with Air Flow Meters


Aug 28, 2012
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

For several years, Sierra has been working with the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility near Monterey, Calif., to improve the rate of biogas cogeneration. Santa Cruz produces energy – enough to power 3,000 homes – by blending digester gas (a by-product of its sewage decontamination) with natural gas. This type of biomass helps create electricity using […]

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Stop Getting Steamed (Part 2): Easy Vortex Flowmeter Retrofit


Jun 05, 2012
John, Chief Engineer
Written By:
John, Chief Engineer

In my last post, I outlined problems you may be facing if you need to measure superheated steam accurately, and I promised to share a success story about our Innova-Mass multivariable vortex flow meter. A district energy provider for a Midwest city had hot air problems. Their old shunt meters were wearing out and leading […]

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Economic OEM Mass Flow Controller for PVD Applications


Jun 01, 2012
Mark Blackbourn, Engineer
Written By:
Mark Blackbourn, Engineer

Those of you who work in the solar energy and semiconductor industry will be familiar with physical vapor deposition (PVD) or sputtering that is commonly used for creating films of material on a substrate in the solar energy and semiconductor industry. In the PVD process, a negatively charged electrode is slowly disintegrated by molecular bombardment. […]

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Live Help Online for Flow Meters? How Cool!


May 03, 2012
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

If you’ve made your way to our website to research flowmeters or to get information about specific products, such as advanced mass flow controllers or air flow sensors, you may have questions that need expert answers quickly. That’s why we’ve made Live Help available to you. When you click on the Live Help button, located at […]

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Flow Meter Do’s and Don’ts with Ammonia


Apr 25, 2012
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

At the recent Pittcon 2012 Tradeshow, we had many engineers and researchers stop by our booth wanting to measure and control ammonia. We’ve got a perfect product for the application, but there are a couple of precautions that you have to take. Some of the customers who have stopped by have run into the problem of ammonia […]

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Wireless Flow Metering: More Than Just No Wires


Feb 10, 2012
Kam Bansal, Dir. of Engineering
Written By:
Kam Bansal, Dir. of Engineering

In my last post, I described having your meters connected to a wired network, and the “remote” console wirelessly communicating with said meters. This time, I want to expand on this with introducing wireless meters into the mix. So, you now have 6 meters communicating on a wired network; and their data is being introspected by […]

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A Thermal Mass Flow Meter in Outer Space


Jan 30, 2012
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

North America’s #1 selling thermal mass flow meter offering (Flow Research, Yoder), our heavy-industrial thermal mass flow meters are designed for the most demanding industrial gas mass or air flow measurement applications. Early developments in the evolution of mass flow meters in the 1950’s were largely driven by the need for highly accurate gas mass flow […]

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Part 2: Capillary Thermal Flow Meters vs. Differential Pressure Devices


Jan 26, 2012
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

In my last post on capillary thermal flow meters, I talked about volumetric flow and how it must be temperature and pressure corrected to obtain mass flow. Wouldn’t the world be a simpler place if we could simply measure mass flow directly? In fact, we do! Capillary thermal is likely the most ideal technology for accurately and […]

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Part 1: Capillary Thermal Flow Meters vs. Differential Pressure Devices


Jan 24, 2012
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

The most common technology in use today for measuring flow is differential pressure “dP or ΔP” (orifice plates, pitot tubes, venturis and the like).  Indeed, that was the only flow measurement method I was taught in engineering school.  Well, things have come a long way in the 28 years since I picked up my degree. […]

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For Complex Applications, Have Your Mass Flow Controller Adjusted Remotely


Jan 12, 2012
Paul de Waal, Managing Dir., Sierra Europe
Written By:
Paul de Waal, Managing Dir., Sierra Europe

The days of simple analog mass flow meters with no variables but a zero pot are gone. Now you can get great flexibility with advanced digital mass flow controller technology like our Smart-Trak 100. But, because of this virtue, the flow meter also has many communication variables. We try to keep it simple by minimizing the need […]

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How to Achieve Vapor Mass Flow Control with a Thermal Mass Flow Controller


Jan 09, 2012
Mark Blackbourn, Engineer
Written By:
Mark Blackbourn, Engineer

I often get asked to describe the most challenging flow meter applications that Sierra has successfully handled. One that comes to mind is how we used a capillary thermal mass flow controller (designed to measure gas) to accurately control a liquid used in the semiconductor industry at extremely low pressure differentials of about 10 Torr. […]

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Measure Natural Gas Energy Accurately with Thermal Flowmeters


Dec 07, 2011
John, Chief Engineer
Written By:
John, Chief Engineer

It is well known that thermal mass flow meters are effected by gas composition.  Because thermal mass flow meters are effected by gas composition, many customers are concerned about how composition changes effect overall system accuracy. Through many years of experience with gas mixtures, we have seen that in many cases, a thermal mass flow […]

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Suspended Animation: Perfect Gas Flow Measurement Required!


Nov 28, 2011
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

Over the years I’ve worked at Sierra Instruments, I’ve had the opportunity to chat with many R&D professionals, including several who focus on medical research – a field that’s becoming more complex and sensitive all the time. Medical researchers who need to control the gas flow rate during experiments continue to demand higher and higher […]

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Three Easy Steps to Leak Testing with a Gas Mass Flow Meter


Nov 15, 2011
Mark Blackbourn, Engineer
Written By:
Mark Blackbourn, Engineer

Leak detection can be easy, but in the “good old days” (which some of us may still be living in today), leaks were time consuming to find and fix. Let’s compare how to find a leak the hard way, and then I’ll show you how easy it can be to automate the process with a mass flow meter. Fixing a […]

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Precision Gas Flow Control is Key to R&D Instrumentation


Nov 11, 2011
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

If you’re a scientific researcher, few things are as important as your ability to accurately control experimental research variables. Data – more specifically, precise data – is king! When you need gas flow rate measurement and control instrumentation, the ability to derive statistically sound and repeatable data is the key driver. Over the past several […]

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Upgrades to Food Processing Boilers Worth Their Salt: a Steam Flowmeter Case Study


Nov 08, 2011
John, Chief Engineer
Written By:
John, Chief Engineer

When the operations staff at a large food processing plant wanted to reduce utility costs and better analyze boiler performance, they chose to retrofit their 35-year-old boilers with new electronic controls, as well as several of our Innova-Mass® Model 241 immersible multivariable mass vortex flow meters to accurately measure steam discharge. Previously run by old pneumatic […]

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Industrial Thermal Mass Flow, The Heat is On…


Nov 03, 2011
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

One of the more interesting stories I have been told about Sierra is the genesis of the company’s flagship product, our model 640S Steel -Mass ® Immersible Thermal Mass Flow Meter.  In the mid 60’s, our founder, Dr. John Olin, was working on his PhD at Stanford.  One aspect of his research involved studying the fluid […]

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Gas Mixing & Blending: A Focus on Dilution


Oct 21, 2011
Paul de Waal, Managing Dir., Sierra Europe
Written By:
Paul de Waal, Managing Dir., Sierra Europe

Dilution is a special application in the world of gas mixing.  Basically, you are diluting a concentration of gas in an already existing gas mixture. Let’s say you have a gas mixture of 10% Ar/90% N2 and you really need 5 Ar/95% N2 for your application. The solution is to add more N2 to the the mix, […]

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Accuracy in Gas Mixing & Blending


Sep 13, 2011
Paul de Waal, Managing Dir., Sierra Europe
Written By:
Paul de Waal, Managing Dir., Sierra Europe

In my last post, I discussed the important question of Mass or Volume flow measurement.   Today, I will discuss accuracy and the need to size your mass flow controller properly to assure the highest quality gas mixing and blending. Mass flow controllers are devices that have an accuracy of % of full scale (%FS).  That means […]

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Wireless Networks for the Digital Flow Meter, Part 1


Sep 06, 2011
Kam Bansal, Dir. of Engineering
Written By:
Kam Bansal, Dir. of Engineering

Last time I wrote about unified communications, which is the ability to use discrete communications protocols within a protocol network. This time I want to expand on the physical aspects of the network as it relates to flowmeters, including mass air, oxygen, pipe, water and other types. Let’s assume you’ve just purchased another five flow […]

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Understand Your Flow Profile for Real-World Flow Meter Accuracy


Aug 31, 2011
John, Chief Engineer
Written By:
John, Chief Engineer

As explained in my last post on flow conditioning, distorted flow profile is a common problem in “real world” flowmeter applications. In some cases, customers can live with a distorted flow profile because they are using flow meters for a relative measurement of flow, rather than an absolute measurement of flow. In cases where the customer is looking […]

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Ultrasonics, Water Flow Measurement: Part 2


Aug 25, 2011
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

In my last post, I discussed Sierra’s decision to enter the giant water flow measurement market due to our intimate and successful history in the waste water treatment industry measuring air flow with our thermal mass flow meters. At that time, almost a decade ago, we looked at ways to measure water flow and narrowed it […]

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Ultrasonics, Water Flow Measurement: Part 1


Aug 15, 2011
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

Since Sierra is a leading supplier of immersible thermal mass flow meters, I find myself heavily involved in the waste water treatment industry, where Sierra’s model 640S Steel-Trak® is the instrument of choice for measuring the low pressure air fed to the flocculation tanks, where oxygen-loving (aerobic) bacteria happily munch on the wastes. Over time, […]

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Gas Mixing & Blending: Mass or Volume?


Jul 29, 2011
Paul de Waal, Managing Dir., Sierra Europe
Written By:
Paul de Waal, Managing Dir., Sierra Europe

Mass or Volume: Important question! In my first blog post on gas mixing and blending, we saw that combustion is an important gas mix application. Combustion or burning is a chemical process, a reaction between molecules. To quantify the gas used we should count these gas molecules and not the space between these gas molecules. […]

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Capillary Thermal, How Exactly Does it Work?


Jul 20, 2011
Mark Blackbourn, Engineer
Written By:
Mark Blackbourn, Engineer

I get many questions from customers about how a Capillary Thermal Mass Flow Meter, like our Smart-Trak 100, works. So, I decided to do a brief overview of the principle of operation to accompany the video below. https:// The total flow through a tube or piping system enters the CTFM where it passes through a Laminar Flow Element […]

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Beautiful fluid dynamics images on an earthly scale!


Jun 29, 2011
Morgan Zealear, Engineer
Written By:
Morgan Zealear, Engineer

I am always struck by the often beautiful world of flow measurement. Even though we design and manufacture precision flow meters and controllers for nearly any gas, liquid or steam flow application, the images linked below explain why there are so many different measurement technology solutions (Vortex, Thermal, Ultrasonic, Magnetic, Coriolis…etc.) to handle the variety of fluid flow applications […]

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Very Low Pressure Drop, High Flows: This Beast Has Wings!


May 05, 2011
Morgan Zealear, Engineer
Written By:
Morgan Zealear, Engineer

Meet the MFC we proudly call “Hammer-Trak”… What if you require very low pressure drop across your mass flow controller and need to control higher flows? Case in point: I had a customer asked me to design an MFC to handle medium-to-high flows (100-500 slpm Air), with at MOST 1.0 PSIG delta across the unit.  To solve this difficult probelm […]

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Digital, Unified Communication for Flow Meters


May 05, 2011
Kam Bansal, Dir. of Engineering
Written By:
Kam Bansal, Dir. of Engineering

You’ve purchased your new flow meters and installed them. They’re all running and providing high quality flow data. You’ve decided, rightly so, that you need to connect the meters together so you can get information from a centralized console and possibly even adjust these meters from that same console. The days of walking to each […]

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Understanding Flow Profile in the Real World


May 05, 2011
John, Chief Engineer
Written By:
John, Chief Engineer

From my experience in the field, I have seen widespread misunderstanding of the physical phenomenon of “flow profile.”  Since our industrial flow meters actually measure flow at one point, an understanding of flow profile is critical.  The average user imagines that the flow in a pipe is uniform.  This is a flawed thought, and never […]

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Gas Mixing & Blending: Why Do It?


Apr 27, 2011
Paul de Waal, Managing Dir., Sierra Europe
Written By:
Paul de Waal, Managing Dir., Sierra Europe

Gas Mixing & Blending: Who, what and why? I am passionate about helping my customers obtain perfect gas mixing and blending!  I have been helping customers do this for over 25-years.  In this six part blog,  I want to discuss many of my experiences and aspects of gas mixing related to thermal mass flow controller technology. I want this blog to be […]

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