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Ultra-High Pressure 5000 psig (345 barg) Gas Mass Flow Control…No Easy Task!

Sep 22, 2014

Overall, Sierra wants better accuracy and control of high pressure gas mass flows across industry in general, leading to better efficiency, and vastly reducing gas losses to save time and money for our customers.  But, how is it possible to accurately measure and control gas mass flow rates at pressures up to 5000 psig (345 barg)?

This is certainly no easy task. In fact, there are only a handful of mass flow meter and controller manufacturers who compete in this ultra-high pressure space due to the inherent challenges of this application. Sierra is proud to be a part of this elite group to manufacture ultra-high pressure flow meters and controllers.  Our solution is the SmartTrak 100HP. 100.HP.screen.capture.9.17.14

To embark on this ultra-high pressure journey, we have been pushed to add robust features to the mechanical design of our flagship SmartTrak 100 series and build an in house high-pressure flow calibration facility. Here are a few critical questions that needed to be answered to make our 100HP such a success.

Q: What is the market need for high pressure mass flow meters and controllers?  

A: There are a great number of potential applications requiring measurement and control of high pressure flows. It’s an ever-increasing market. When storing and transporting large amounts of gas, it is generally compressed to allow for greater ease in transport. Using the 100HP to control gas directly from the container it was shipped in, will yield greater accuracy and eliminate costly gas losses associated with inaccurate control.

Another application the 100HP is perfectly suited for is in the construction of pilot plants from a variety of industries. These much smaller, scaled down pilot plants operate under higher pressures than the intended application in order to increase the rate of chemical interactions to better match what the full-sized plant will experience. In many locations, the atmospheric composition of the air varies greatly from day to day. To eliminate this variation, many companies will re-create atmospheric air, directly from high-pressure gas cylinders. The 100HP provides high accuracy mass flow control of this gas, which allows both accurate and consistent air compositions that would otherwise be impossible.

Q: What separates Sierra’s high pressure mass flow controllers and meters in the market?

A: Because high pressure is an emerging market, the product lines of high pressure controllers and meters are similarly young. Our 100HP builds off of the proven and highly developed 100 Series product line that has been one of the most popular units at Sierra for over a decade. We’ve beefed up the mechanical features of our existing 100 product line to withstand far greater pressures, while leaving the working designs from the 100 series alone. This assures precision high performance as we build upon an existing proven core technology platform.

100.accumulator.v.2.Q: What was the inspiration for building our own high pressure flow calibration facility?  What advantages does that give Sierra owning their own high pressure calibration system?

A: Having our own facility assures shortened lead times and impeccable quality.  Our inspiration to build a high pressure calibration facility was mainly based on demand. Every month Sierra would gets inquiries for meters and controllers operating at pressures that are extremely challenging to match for calibration. We performed calculations and were confident that our existing flow-body could withstand the elevated pressures. Logically, the next step was to build a flow calibration facility and that’s exactly what we did.

The advantages to having an in-house high pressure flow calibration facility are innumerable. Primarily it allows us to offer meters and controllers that are rated to far greater pressures than before. It allows us to promise and deliver on a level of cleanliness that wouldn’t be possible if the facility wasn’t under our roof or control. It allows us to experiment and further develop the product line, because we can generate and ‘play’ with these high pressures.

Q: What does the future look like for Sierra’s high pressure line?  Your vision?

A: After assuring high quality of gas mass flow measurement and control, the vision for Sierra’s high pressure product line is to lead the market in ease-of use, accuracy, control, and price. By doing so, my hope is that customers will either begin using or convert to using Sierra’s 100 HP mass flow controllers and meters for all their high pressure gas control needs. Overall, Sierra wants better accuracy and control of high pressure gas flows across industry in general, leading to better efficiency, and vastly reducing gas losses to save time and money for our customers.  Let us know your high-pressure flow metering or control application challenges.

Check-out our SmartTrak 100HP product!

Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Sierra Instruments

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