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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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Now Measure All Flow Energy In Your Facility — One Solution — Three Metering Technologies


Jul 01, 2017
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

Facilities managers at large facilities often have the challenging task of managing all the flow energy in their facility with the mandate from upper management to save money on energy costs. To accomplish this goal, it’s critical to get accurate flow measurement data of the flow energy in your facility such as: natural gas, compressed air, steam, chilled […]

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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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Introducing Our New InnovaSonic 207i Ultrasonic Liquid Flow Meter


May 15, 2017
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

For Liquid Flow Metering, Optimized for Thermal Energy/ BTU Sierra is proud to announce the new InnovaSonic 207i ultrasonic liquid flow meter with thermal energy/BTU capability.  Designed, built and calibrated by Sierra in Monterey, California for non-intrusive liquid flow metering, and optimized for thermal energy/BTU measurement, the 207i transit-time ultrasonic flow meter is the ideal turnkey solution for […]

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Overcoming Natural Gas Sampling Challenges in Oil & Gas Applications


Mar 03, 2017
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

It is a fact that in order to comply with various government rules and regulations, oil and gas companies have to continually take natural gas samples to prove the gas composition and amount of gas flowing in their oil fields. The challenge comes in trying to actually take an adequate gas sample representative of the […]

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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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Flare Gas Measurement Innovation: Retain Flow Metering Accuracy Even if Gas Composition Changes


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

It’s a fact oil wells almost always produce natural gas along with the petroleum. Nine times out of ten, the excess gas (typically hydrocarbons) is flared off or simply vented as-is during upset conditions in the process. The environmental impacts of “flaring” this excess gas into our atmosphere has resulted in government regulations like 40 CFR […]

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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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The First Vortex Flow Meter with Apps Wins Innovation Award!


Oct 06, 2016
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

Thank you to the readers of industry publication, Flow Control Magazine, who voted for Sierra’s InnovaMass 240i/241i iSeries multivariable and volumetric vortex flow meters in Flow Control’s 2016 Innovation Awards. Sierra was awarded an honorable mention. Sierra’s tradition and spirit of innovation spanning over 40 years drives everything we do, we are happy that the readers of Flow Control […]

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Reducing Costs of Steam Flow Measurement


Aug 19, 2016
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

Traditionally, steam flow has been measured with a differential pressure device. This is typically an orifice plate. However, such devices are inherently volumetric flow measurements. As we have discussed in previous blog posts, changes in pressure and temperature will change the mass flow rate of steam. Even a “small” change of 10% in steam pressure […]

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InnovaMass iSeries Vortex Mass Flow Meter Nominated for Flow Control Innovation Award!


Jul 07, 2016
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

Sierra has a tradition of innovation spanning over 40 years and this spirit of innovation continues to drive our engineers each day!  We are delighted that Flow Control has noticed. Each year, Flow Control, a flow measurement industry magazine, selects fluid handling products they feel are worthy of being called the “Innovation of the Year” and […]

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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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Minute Flow Tip Video: Steam Measurement in Large Pipes—Hot Tapping


Mar 31, 2016
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

Learn more about the product featured in this video:  InnovaMass 241i Insertion Vortex Flow Meter Need more information on measuring steam? Learn more about maximizing steam productivity and reducing the overall cost of ownership for additional energy savings when measuring steam. A new “Minute Flow Tip” will be posted to our YouTube channel every month. […]

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Video Series Highlights One-Minute Flow Measurement Tips


Mar 30, 2016
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

At Sierra, we get very excited about flow measurement and control as you can imagine, and sometimes we want to spread the information we have quickly without a whole lot of fuss. That’s the spirit behind our video series called “Minute Flow Tips.”  In just a minute or so, we discuss a specific flow application […]

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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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It Has Apps! Our New Vortex Flow Meter Empowers You


Dec 10, 2015
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

Sierra’s next generation InnovaMass “iSeries” features a new hyper-fast microprocessor, robust software apps, and an automated state-of-the-art manufacturing and flow calibration facility to assure the highest level of quality and delivery. It Has Apps! The InnovaMass iSeries features flow management apps driven by our new Raptor II OS that will empower your process and save you time and money. ValidCal […]

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The New Vortex iSeries has Arrived!


Oct 28, 2015
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

InnovaMass. Reinvented. I am proud to announce on behalf of our entire development team, our completely re-designed, next generation InnovaMass 240i and 241i vortex volumetric flow and multivariable mass flow meter product line. Learn more… The all new iSeries InnovaMass 240i inline and 241i insertion vortex flow meters are manufactured at our brand new assembly and calibration facility in […]

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Thermal Mass Flow Meters Offer Oil & Gas Companies Lowest Cost of Ownership


Aug 28, 2015
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that oil prices have hit a rock bottom $40 a barrel, the lowest since 2009. How does this affect the oil companies? Well, the consumer gets the benefit of the low pump price which does loosen discretionary spending, but the oil & gas companies are hurting-spending less money on capital investment […]

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Vote for Sierra!


Jul 27, 2015
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

qMix Gas Mixing Software Nominated for Flow Control’s 2015 Innovation Award! Sierra Instruments’ talented team of engineers has done it again, with yet another innovative solution to save you time and money. Sierra’s qMix gas mixing software has been nominated for Flow Control’s 2015 Innovation Awards. For the first time ever, you can use Sierra’s QuadraTherm […]

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Get Our New Full Line Flow Meter Product Catalog / Selection Guide


Jun 30, 2015
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

Find the Right Meter for Your Application—Instantly Let’s face it, specifying the best flow instrumentation for your application can be a daunting task. That’s why we created a new Full Line Flow Product Catalog with all Sierra’s products, key specifications, and application benefits in one, easy-to-use brochure. Quickly specify the right flow meter for your […]

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Everything You Need to Know About Sub-Metering Natural Gas


Jun 29, 2015
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

We’ve written quite a bit about the benefits of using thermal flow meters to sub-meter natural gas in large facilities. So much so, that we’ve decided to create one post that can be your go-to resource for finding information on the topic. Here you’ll find links to easily digestible content like infographics and SlideShare presentations, […]

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ACHEMA Show, Frankfurt, Germany: See qMix Gas Mixing Demo


Jun 15, 2015
Maurtis, Managing Director, Sierra Europe
Written By:
Maurtis, Managing Director, Sierra Europe

As the leading trade show for chemical engineering and the process industry, ACHEMA attracts the top manufacturers from around the world to showcase their innovative products and services. Sierra will once again exhibit at the Frankfurt, Germany, June 15-19. Location: Be sure to visit Sierra booth E2 in Hall 11.0 for a live demonstration of […]

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For the First Time, Field-Adjust For Gas Composition Changes, Retain Accuracy, Save Time and Money


Jun 05, 2015
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

For the first time, customers can adjust their gas composition in the field on thermal flow meters to solve EPA reporting challenges. When gas composition changes, typical thermal meters must be sent back to the factory to be re-calibrated in order to maintain required accuracy levels.  All of this is a costly, time consuming endevour. Imagine the time […]

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If gas composition changes, field-adjust to maintain flow meter accuracy?


Apr 13, 2015
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

Changes in gas composition cut into productivity in the field, exactly when you need accuracy in flow meter measurement the most. But what if you could retain that precision, even when those changes occur? Now you can do just that with qMix Software.  If your gas composition changes over time, you can now quickly field-adjust the QuadraTherm […]

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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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Sierra’s Top 10 Posts from 2014: What a Year for Flow Meters!


Jan 17, 2015
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

2104 was quite a year! Thanks to all our loyal customers for giving us inspiration for this year’s “Let’s Talk Flow” blog topics. Our vision is to write about topics that matter to you and make a difference in your job in handling flow metering application challenges.  Over our 40 years in business, we have learned a lot […]

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Take Charge of Your Facility’s Water Usage…


Oct 27, 2014
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

Water is a precious resource! Now, more than ever, businesses and facilities must take charge of their water usage to help with water conservation and lower water bills. Water conservation begins with knowing exactly how much water you are using in your process or facility. When you know how much water you are using, you can adjust […]

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Methods & Pitfalls of In-Situ Calibration Validation of Thermal Flowmeters


Oct 07, 2014
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

Driven by the need to meet quality standards like ISO 9001, reliability engineers for mid-to-large-sized facilities and campuses know the time consuming reality of assuring their flow meters are properly maintained and “in cal”. A unique and highly marketed benefit of Thermal Mass Flow Meter technology is “in-situ” or “in place” flow meter calibration.  This certainly sounds like […]

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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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The Secret to Slashing Your Facility’s Natural Gas Bills


Aug 26, 2014
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

Psst. We’ve got a secret. One that could save you money. How much, you ask? Thousands. That’s right. You could be saving thousands on your facility’s natural gas bill. Traditional diaphragm flow meters used for natural gas measurement can’t account for changes in gas composition, resulting in a utility bill that can be less than […]

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4 Keys to Great Portable Ultrasonic Flow Metering


Aug 18, 2014
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

The liquid measurement market is an extremely large market with many varied measurement requirements. To get the best bang for your buck, a portable ultrasonic flow meter is a practical solution. With a portable ultrasonic flow meter, you can use one liquid flow meter in several locations throughout your flow process. There are many portable […]

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How to Install Vortex Steam Flow Meters!


Jul 27, 2014
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

A few weeks back  Glen Coblentz, Vice President of North American sales, spent three days in New York City. Unfortunately, he was not able to enjoy the sites of NYC. Instead, he was working 45-feet underground in 120 F degree heat in New York City’s steam tunnels.  For over five hours, Glen worked with Sierra Representative, North East Technical, commissioning […]

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45-feet Under Ground in the Steam Tunnels of New York City


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

Glen Coblentz, VP of Sales for  North America, lives a really interesting life!  Now you can find out more about it because we’re taking our social media to the streets! Or, maybe we should say, to the steam tunnels, oil and gas wells, research laboratories and many other locations that use Sierra’s mass flow meters and controllers every day. Take […]

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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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Part 3: Accurately Measuring Flare Gas — Managing Gas Mix Changes, Retaining Accuracy, Reducing Cost of Ownership


Mar 17, 2014
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

In my last post, I compared the pros and cons of the various flow meters available for measurement of flare gas. Ultimately, all but one has limitations that will impede your ability to accurately measure excess burn off from the hydraulic fracturing process. In this week’s post, I’ll share a new generation thermal mass flow […]

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Part 2: Accurately Measuring Flare Gas — Innovations Promise More Economical Choices


Mar 03, 2014
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

In my last post on flare gas flow measurement, I shared how the rise in hydraulic fracturing has led to more stringent state and national mandates to regulate the measurement of waste and excess gases that are produced as a result of this process. If you’re affiliated with an oil or gas company, you know […]

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Part 1: Accurately Measuring Flare Gas — Challenges, Solutions, and Opportunities


Feb 25, 2014
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

If your company is involved with hydraulic fracturing to increase oil and gas production, you’re familiar with the fact that state and national regulations are becoming increasingly stringent. In particular, flare gas now requires the installation of mass flow measurement instruments to measure waste and excess gases burned off as a result of the hydraulic […]

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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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Talking Biogas Production In Europe


Feb 03, 2014
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

Europe is quickly becoming a hotspot for the biogas industry, and Sierra and our local French distributor Alto Instruments took advantage of that fact by exhibiting at BiogazEurope in France. Attendees learned about the entire biomass process, from the bio side of things (mass) to the energy side (electricity). Some trending applications featured at the […]

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Innovation @ Sierra


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

We recently had the honor of hosting Flow Control Magazine Publisher Mike Christian, who made the trip to Sierra headquarters in Monterey, Calif., to present our 10th Flow Control Innovation Award in person. Pictured right is me, Mike and our President, Matthew Olin holding the crystal award.  We are standing in the lobby of corporate […]

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In Search of the Perfect Sensor: Thermal Flow Meter History & Trends


Dec 09, 2013
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

What do you do when you have an entrepreneurial bent and a revolutionary idea for flow meter advancement? You start your own company, of course. That’s exactly what our founder, John G. Olin, Ph.D., did in 1973 when he founded Sierra Instruments in Minnesota subsequently moving it west to California. It’s that entrepreneurial spirit, as well […]

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Part 2: Challenges with Submetering Natural Gas


Nov 11, 2013
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

I previously shared a post on how mid-to-large size facilities can save money by taking the initiative to submeter natural gas usage. The traditional diaphragm meters used by utility companies rely on fixed compensation variables that can lead to inaccuracies and overcharging. While this can affect residential customers, it comes as no surprise that it […]

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Innovation Winner-Precision Gas-Ratio Control Applications


Nov 04, 2013
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

Thanks Flow Control Magazine for recognizing Sierra’s QuadraTherm 640i/780i four-sensor thermal mass meter as this year’s Innovation Award winner. We are honored. The recently published case study in Flow Control magazine this month, explores how the QuadraTherm 780i provides a fiberglass manufacturing company with precise gas-ratio control to increase production capacity and gas consumption efficiency. […]

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Part 1: Challenges with Submetering Natural Gas


Oct 28, 2013
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

In an article for Gases & Instrumentation magazine, I explored energy management as it relates to the natural gas industry. Natural gas exists in abundance in this country, with production expected to increase 44 percent by 2040. With such unprecedented growth in production of this natural resource, utility companies must focus on providing the most accurate gas […]

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Part 2: Emerging Trends of Thermal Flow Meters


Oct 21, 2013
Jesse Yoder
Written By:
Jesse Yoder

Last week in the first part of my guest post, I shared some of the reasons why the Coriolis flow meter has cornered such a large part of the flowmeter measurement market. Accuracy is the main reason why this type of flowmeter has been so commonly used in industrial applications up to this point. But […]

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Part 1: Emerging Trends of Thermal Flowmeters


Oct 09, 2013
Jesse Yoder
Written By:
Jesse Yoder

In this guest post, I’ll be comparing the Coriolis and Thermal flowmeter markets, an interesting undertaking when you consider some of the facts. Both technologies were introduced about the same time, in the mid-1970s. But the worldwide Coriolis meter market has grown to exceed $1 billion, while the Thermal flowmeter market is valued at less […]

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Totalize Multiple Gases Independently: Watch Video!


Sep 26, 2013
Brian Estep, Software Engineer
Written By:
Brian Estep, Software Engineer

The need to measure, totalize, and monetize gas flow is not going away. In fact, the requirement to accurately totalize and monetize gas is becoming even more critical with our boom in natural gas and other industrial processes. Almost all mass flow meter companies have the ability to totalize one gas being measured. This is pretty standard […]

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Break from the Shackles-Mid-to-Large Size Facilities Verify Utility Company Billing


Sep 20, 2013
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

As we have all been hearing in the news, natural gas is becoming a very valuable and abundant natural resource. Almost all of this increase is due to the projected growth in shale gas production which will grow to 16.7 trillion cubic feet in 2040. Now comes the big question: how are utility companies going […]

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Part 3: Biogas Flow Meter Measurement-The Solution


Sep 16, 2013
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

In recent weeks, I’ve shared some exciting advancements in the biogas industry in regards to renewable energy management. From harnessing biogas energy from landfills to the digester gas produced at wastewater treatment plants, one thing is paramount: Adjusting for changing gas composition is critical to obtaining accurate flow meter measurement for optimal biogas energy collection.  […]

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Part 2: Biogas Mass Flow Measurement–The Challenge


Sep 05, 2013
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

In my previous posts, I shared the focus on the growing need for renewable energy sources in the United States, with biogas becoming a hot commodity. Common sources include harnessing biogas from landfills, as well as digester gas produced at wastewater treatment plants.  One of the major flow measurement challenges in biogas applications is the fact […]

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Market Drivers: Thermal Flow Meters Gain Share Through Innovation


Aug 29, 2013
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

Flow measurement requirements are not going away. If anything, market drivers like renewable energy, hydraulic fracturing of natural gas, and stricter emissions requirements are prompting a growing amount of industrial customers to find the best flow measurement solution for their application. In The History & Evolution of Thermal Flowmeters, author, Jesse Yoder states, “While the […]

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Innovation Recognized!


Aug 22, 2013
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

We’re honored that Flow Control Magazine has recognized Sierra once again with its Innovation Award.  And we’re also proud that we have been a winner of  Flow Control’s Innovation award for nine straight years. What drives innovation? It’s the desire to push into uncharted territory and discover.  Innovation is what drives Sierra’s engineering team—the excitement of  […]

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4 Things to Look for in an Online Industrial Flow Meter Store


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

As the e-commerce business model grows to include the mass flow meter market, there are some online players that have emerged. Over the last decade, companies like Instrumart, Omega, and others have entered the light and heavy industrial e-commerce game. Tech savvy 30-somethings are coming of age and embracing online buying as the norm rather […]

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Biogas Flow Meter Measurement: The Flooded Market


Jul 31, 2013
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

In my recently published article in Biomass Products & Technology , Precise Biogas Flow Measurement: Overcoming the Challenges of Changing Gas Composition, I highlight the nationwide search for alternative energy sources.  In the article, I note that this search has led to increased interest in sources of biogas energy specifically. Many flow meter companies have jumped into […]

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For Improved Accuracy in Industrial Applications: Clean & Test Your Mass Air Flow Sensor


Jul 10, 2013
Freynold Usi, Software Engineer
Written By:
Freynold Usi, Software Engineer

In today’s dirty heavy industrial applications, engineers and operators are often faced with an inherent challenge which affects mass flow accuracy: How do I know if the sensor of my mass flow meter is clean? and How do I clean the sensor without shutting down the system? Because accurate mass flow readings are often critical for running an efficient […]

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Bluetooth Wireless Portable Liquid Flow Measurement Made Possible


Jun 25, 2013
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

As you might have guessed, Sierra has a passion for flow measurement and we are always striving for ways to improve our flow meters and processes to give you the best accuracy possible for your application. Today, we are pleased to announce the release of our new InnovaSonic 210 Portable with Bluetooth Wireless Android Tablet […]

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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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Innovation on the Rise! QuadraTherm is a Gold Winner of the 2013 Golden Gas Award


Mar 13, 2013
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

Our engineering team has worked tirelessly to bring to fruition a mass flow meter that provides you, our customers, with greater accuracy and increased efficiency, and our new QuadraTherm 640i/780i thermal mass flow meter is the result. You can imagine how pleased our team was to learn that the Quadratherm flowmeter has been named a […]

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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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Part 2: Cold Weather and Mass Air Flow Meter Accuracy (Stem Conduction)


Mar 01, 2013
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

Part 2: Cold Weather and Mass Air Flow Meter Accuracy-Effects of Stem Conduction In Part One, we looked at the effects of cold weather on mass air flow meters like Sierra’s Steel-Mass® Model 640S and our new QuadraTherm™ Model 640i. As discussed, cold weather typically doesn’t cause any physical damage to the flow meter, but it […]

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Cold Weather and Your Mass Flow Sensor


Feb 22, 2013
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

Baby It’s Cold Outside Sierra is a global company, so we sell our mass air flow sensors into some pretty extreme cold weather environments.   Indeed, we are seeing more and more applications in the far North, where immersible thermal flow meters like Sierra’s Steel-Mass® Model 640S and our new QuadraTherm™ Model 640i are used in […]

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Flare Gas Metering Solutions


Feb 04, 2013
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

Waste gases must be flared in numerous industries ranging from oil refineries, well drilling operations (like shale gas fracking) to waste water treatment plants and landfills. Due to government regulations, flares are subject to stringent regulations requiring accurate measurement. Requirements to monitor the flow rate and consumption of flare gas involves measurement at points within a […]

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Fit for the King: Flow Meters & CO2 at Budweiser


Jan 11, 2013
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

When the King of Beers calls, we listen. As the #1 imported beer in China, Budweiser needed better control of its carbon dioxide (CO2) gas mass flow measurement at its Fujian Province plant. After trying several other, non-direct mass flow measurement technologies, engineers chose Sierra’s immersible SteelMass® 640S thermal mass flow meter. The reason behind their choice was that […]

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Mass Vortex


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

how it works

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Cash Flow! Reduce Operations & Maintenance Costs for Improved Profits.


Dec 20, 2012
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

It all starts with measurement, then you can manage costs efficiently.  Only use as much natural gas, water and steam as your process needs and improve inefficient sub-processes.  Fluid flow is expensive; precision measurement improves the bottom line profit of your business.  Here are a few examples of flowmeters commonly used in industry to reduce operations […]

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QuadraTherm Flowmeter Puts New Spin on Fiberglass [Case Study]


Dec 04, 2012
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

What a waste! That’s what I thought when I learned how much material is rejected and how much gas is consumed during the fiberglass insulation manufacturing process. The biggest losses occur during the melting, spinning and subsequent cooling of silica, a key ingredient in fiberglass. For those who work in this industry, it’s a never-ending […]

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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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Buy Flow & Level Switches Instantly Online


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

Sierra’s InnovaSwitch™ flow and level switches represent the state-of-the-art in gaseous and liquid flow switching or liquid level control.  The InnovaSwitch is easy to install and adjust, giving reliable, low maintenance performance in the most demanding applications.  Now, our InnovaSwitch can be specified and purchased online for the ultimate in convienence. Learn more…  

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Sierra Brings World-Class Flowmeter Calibration to China


Jul 05, 2012
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

If you are a researcher, manufacturer or industrial manager in China or another Asia-Pacific region, you can now access today’s most advanced flow meter calibration services faster than ever before. That’s because we’ve opened a new flow calibration laboratory in Shanghai, Pudong. Called the Sierra Flow Center of Excellence, this cutting-edge facility joins our other certified calibration […]

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Out in the Cold: Mass Vortex Flowmeter Conquers Cryogenic Fluid


Jun 13, 2012
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

Cryogenic fluids are key in a variety of industries with very low temperature applications, including medical, large-scale frozen food processing and electric power transmission. However, these fluids must be handled – and measured – with great care, which can be a challenge if you’re using a traditional turbine meter or other tools to assess various fluid […]

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Buy Insertion Thermal Mass Flow Meters Online; Next Day Delivery


Jun 07, 2012
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

Thermal Mass Flow Meters Increase Boiler & Heater Efficiency The BoilerTrak™ 620s-BT is in stock and available to buy online and ready to fulfill urgent delivery requirements.  BoilerTrak was designed to provide an economical and easy to install solution for precise natural gas measurement to heaters and boilers to increase efficiency. The instrument is also suited for compliance […]

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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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Ultrasonic Flow Meter Reduces Water Company’s Drain [Case Study]


May 23, 2012
John, Chief Engineer
Written By:
John, Chief Engineer

The Carmel Riviera Mutual Water Company believed it was losing big. Historical estimates indicated that more than 30% of this small, independent water company’s production was going down the drain through leaks, waste, evaporation and other types of loss. The company budgeted almost $60,000 per year in initiatives to reduce these leaks, including labor and materials […]

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Stop Getting Steamed (part 1): Vortex Flow Meters Make Cents


May 08, 2012
John, Chief Engineer
Written By:
John, Chief Engineer

If you’re a provider of superheated steam – commonly used to heat water and buildings in large cities in the northeastern United States – then you may be watching your revenue go up in smoke. As you know, steam is not free. Normally, it’s produced at a central facility and piped to customers. Like all other forms […]

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Part 2: For Steam Flow, Mass Vortex Flow Meters Are Ideal!


Apr 18, 2012
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

In my last post, I discussed the problem of density errors creeping into steam flow measurements. When steam is superheated, you can determine density by the steam tables. But, as the vapor cools in a pipe, things aren’t so simple. I said the answer to the conundrum is actually “blowing in the wind” – that a […]

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For Steam Flow, Mass Vortex Flow Meters Are Ideal!


Apr 12, 2012
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

I want to discuss a special form of gas flow measurement – water vapor – otherwise known as steam flow. Traditionally, steam has been measured with orifice plates. The steam was typically saturated or had a known superheat, so the density could be obtained from the steam tables. However, steam naturally cools as it goes down the […]

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Customize Your Flow Meters


Apr 04, 2012
Kam Bansal, Dir. of Engineering
Written By:
Kam Bansal, Dir. of Engineering

Did you know Sierra has a special team called OEM & Custom Solutions Group?  This team of engineers and technicians is dedicated to meeting the need for custom products. By utilizing nearly 40 years of  flow meter design experience, we modify any existing product to meet original equipment manufacturer (OEM), private label or general customer special […]

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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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Natural Gas Measurement: 3 Reasons Thermal Mass Flow Meters Are Ideal


Feb 08, 2012
John, Chief Engineer
Written By:
John, Chief Engineer

When it comes to metering natural gas, you’ve got several flow meter options.  However, thermal mass flow meters offer three distinct advantages over more traditional flow meters: No moving parts. As you can probably guess, moving parts can cause problems over time due to wear, lubrication and coating sensitivity. For example, turbine meters offer excellent […]

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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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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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Trends in Flow Meter Electronics


Nov 17, 2011
Mark Blackbourn, Engineer
Written By:
Mark Blackbourn, Engineer

I often get asked, what are the trends in Flow Instrumentation Electronics? The answer is that some of the trends are going towards having multi-parameter outputs, more feature richness, and more and more digital communication options available while still being able to perform the basic functions. This is accomplished by making more modular and configurable […]

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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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Transit-Time Ultrasonic Flow Meters Don’t Need to be Expensive


Sep 28, 2011
Mark Blackbourn, Engineer
Written By:
Mark Blackbourn, Engineer

When you think about clamp-on, transit-time ultrasonic flowmeters, the first thought that usually comes to mind is the value that stems from the convienence and accuracy for liquid flow measurment–no pipe cutting, very high accuracy and reliability, no hassles.  But, that value does come at a price, and it is worth it if you take into account […]

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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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Air May Be Free, But Compressed Air Isn’t! (Part 2 of 2)


Jul 17, 2011
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

In my last post early last month (June 9th), Mr. Carlisle of  Air Compressor Supply was looking for compressed air flow meters to measure compressed air.  As I explained to him,  our Steel-Trak®   Model 640S is ideal for compressed air applications.  The 640S immersible thermal mass flow meter delivers the 1.0% accuracy and highly repeatable direct mass […]

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