Tag Archives: Announcements

How Refreshingly Human! An Actual Person Talks to Me…

Service Center ExcellenceAutomated answering services run rampant across all businesses these days–large or small.  I guess these companies have better things to do than talk to customers.  However, in the complex process of specifying and servicing flowmeters, human to human “H2H” contact, although becoming extinct, is an absolute must.

With this in mind, a high level goal at Sierra is simply stated: “When you talk to Sierra, you talk to a person.”  Sometimes voice mail is needed, but when you call Sierra, a human always answers.    Taking this philosophy into account when service is needed on your flowmeter is key.  So, how do you assess the best calibration service center for your flow meters and controllers? The fact is, not all flow calibration service departments are created equal. To get the fast, expert, flow meter service and calibration you need, here are 5 important criteria to look for:

  1. Personal Touch. Think H2H. Great service starts with US caring about YOU, and a service organization should take the time to address your specific flow challenge.  There is nothing worse than having a question about your equipment, and getting either a recording or an uninterested person on the line. Personalized attention makes all the difference.
  2. Factory-Direct. There are many flow meter service companies across the country, but to get the most expert flow meter service, choose a service center that manufactures the product. But do this, only if they follow rule number one above first and care about your business.  Otherwise, there are many flow calibration houses out there that do.
  3. Primary Standard. We highly recommend your instrument is  calibrated on a primary standard, not transfer standard. We cannot stress how beneficial this is to YOU as the end user! The purpose of a flow meter or controller is to transport an excellent calibration to the field.  As a result, the accuracy of a flow instrument is only as good as its calibration. Learn more about primary standard.
  4. Automation to Manage Assets. We’re all busy, so fast, easy service is a must. Choose a service center with automation, online submission and status, and fast turnaround.
  5. Flow Expertise. If you choose factory direct, then you will most likely be choosing flow experts.  These are professionals who have the depth and breadth of knowledge about all things flow—like Sierra!

Our Technical Service Manager and Service Repair Manager explain just how committed our Service Department is to world-class service:

Find out more about Sierra’s Customer Support Department. We’re here for YOU!

The First Vortex Flow Meter with Apps Wins Innovation Award!


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 have recognized the InnovaMass as one of the most truly innovative products around.

What Makes InnovaMass iSeries Innovative?*

Simply put, it has Apps!  The InnovaMass 241i iSeries vortex flowmeter has been specifically designed for precise flow energy management to reduce costs and increase productivity in steam, compressed air, natural gas and water applications. The key innovation versus traditional vortex meters is Sierra’s Raptor II OS, which enables software Apps like Sierra’s FloPro and Dial-A-Fluid,
ValidCal Diagnostics, and Meter Tuning.

FloPro is used to improve point-velocity accuracy. Dial-A-Pipe and Dial-A-Fluid are used to change pipe size and fluids without loss of accuracy.  ValidCal Diagnostics makes field calibration and meter health validation easy, and Meter Tuning cancels out external noise to improve accuracy.

InnovaMassImagesOther key features include an insertion version for 2 inches (50.8 mm) up to 72 inches (2M); inline version to 8 inches (DN 200); Accuracy as god as 0.7 percent of reading; temperature to 392°F (200°C); pressure to 1500 psig (103 barg); volumetric or multivariable measurement of gases, liquids, and steam with a single pipe insertion point.

InnovaMass iSeries vortex flow meter measures up to five process variables with one process connection: volumetric flow rate, mass flow, density, pressure, and temperature, which is ideal for highly accurate steam flow measurement. By compensating for temperature and pressure variations, you get true mass flow to maximize your steam productivity and reduce cost-of-ownership.

Again, thanks to the readers of Flow Control for their vote and the confidence in Sierra.


*Official Flow Control Innovation Award write up from the September 2016 Flow Control issue.

Sierra Instruments Expands Its Team to Support Strong Sales

We are excited to welcome Jeff Gulla and Chris Gorman to the Sierra team. Chris A. Gorman joins as Sierra’s new Purchasing Manager, and Jeff Gulla joins us as Sierra’s new Sales Manager for the Scientific & MEMS Product Line.  Both new hires are part of Sierra’s strategy to support the booming Scientific product line and growing thermal line from sales to production and shipment-all with the goal to create the best experience possible for our customers.

Jeff Gulla- New Sales Manager- Scientific & MEMS Product Line

Jeff Gulla brings over a decade of scientific sales experience in the semiconductor, pharmaceutical, and industrial process markets to the Sierra team. As Sierra’s new Sales Manager for the MEMS & Scientific Product Line, Mr. Gulla will focus on market development and pre/post-sales support for the Sierra sales partners in North and South America.

Mr. Gulla has a degree from Gwynedd Mercy University in Business Administration/ Organizational Management (B.S) and is pursuing a Masters Degree in Business Administration/ Strategic Management and Leadership from the same university.


Chris A. Gorman – New Purchasing Manager


As Purchasing Manager, Mr. Gorman is responsible for leading all Sierra Instruments’ purchasing and sourcing of materials for Sierra.

Chris has 25 years of experience as either an Inventory or Purchasing Manager at a variety of businesses including Smith & Vandiver, Darby Dental Supply/SmartHealth, and PETsMART Corporate.  He has degrees from the Northern Illinois University in Business Management (B.S.) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA).  Chris holds certificates as a Certified Purchasing Manager and a Certified Purchasing Supply Manager.

“My goal is to create a productive environment that exceeds corporate objectives.  We will implement best practices to source the ideal quantity of quality product at the optimal price.  Additionally, foster a standard of high-quality service for internal customers, external constituents, and our supplier base with a strict focus on inventory accuracy, accountability, strategic cost reduction, relationship building, and continuous improvement,” says Mr. Gorman.

Please join us in welcoming both Mr. Gorman and Mr. Gulla to the team and wishing them well in their new roles.

Chemical Engineering Magazine Article By Sierra’s Founder

Chemical Engineering Flow Meters

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.

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

retractor-equation-2jpgAccurately 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 the meter. This is just not practical.

For many facilities, “shutting the steam down” for flow meter installation is cost prohibitive due to the loss of energy allocation or halting critical process.  One common practice to install steam flow meters into the active flow is to “hot tap” the flow meter into the pipe without shutting down at all.

As you can imagine, due to high temperatures and pressures hot tapping in large pipes is an application that very few flow measurement devices can handle.

Sierra’s insertion retractor for the InnovaMass Vortex Flow Meter, however, can be easily “hot tapped” into any size pipe with process connections from 150 lb. flange up to 600 lb. flange with its newly re-designed retractor.

Watch our “how-to” video demonstrating the newly designed, compact, ergonomic InnovaMass iSeries vortex flow meter insertion/retractor which makes hot tapping into large pipes easy, no matter the pipe orientation. It has a 180 degree rotation and works well in tight spaces. The video also shows how to install the retractor, how to find the centerline of the pipe, and how to actuate up and down. Use one retractor for multiple products!

Already have a 241i with a retractor? What are your thoughts?

Need additional information? Visit our guide to the InnovaMass 241i.

Best Practices for Mass Flow Controller Selection & Installation

Mass Flow Controller Best PracticesAs 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 equipment. Through our years of experience of specifying, installing, and servicing mass flow controllers, we have compiled a comprehensive list of best practices by users for the selection, safety, installation, and operation of their thermal mass flow meters and controllers are as follows:

Best Practices-Product Selection
1. Select only those mass flow meters and flow controllers where the manufacturer’s specifications meet the conditions of the application, such as maximum and minimum flow rate, pressure and temperature. Some manufacturers have software programs that recommend the instrument model best suited for your application.

2. To minimize pressure drop and flow non-uniformities, you should select the instrument with the largest inlet fittings compatible with the size of the process line. In the case of corrosive gases, the instrument selected should have materials of construction that provide protection against corrosion.

3. Size the instrument so it operates in the upper two-thirds of its full scale mass flow rate range.

Installation and Set-Up

4. Install the instrument only in process lines that meet the manufacture’s pressure and temperature ratings. A margin of safety should be provided if spikes and surges exist in the process. Proper pressure relief valves and burst plates should be installed in high pressure applications.

5. To avoid obstructions in the sensor tube and the narrow flow channels in the laminar flow element, you should install the instrument in process lines that have clean gases. Upstream particulate filters properly sized for the flow rate, with a minimum rating of 5 microns are recommended for all applications.

6. To avoid thermal siphoning (or, the so-called, “chimney effect”), you should install the instrument in the process line with the axis of the flow body oriented horizontally, not vertically. At zero flow, if the axis is vertical, the gas heated by the sensor tube rises upward through the sensor tube and creates a closed flow loop in the flow body that causes the instrument to read a flow rate when there is none. This effect is significant only in the very lowest portion of the full scale range. If system constraints require vertical mounting, then the instrument should be re-zeroed in the field. Vertical mounting requirements should be communicated to the manufacturer upon order so the instrument can be adjusted to meet these special requirements.

7. To avoid stress on the springs in the control valve, particularly in medium- and high-flow mass flow controllers, you should install the instrument in the process line with the axis of the flow body oriented horizontally as required above and, additionally, with the control valve located on top of the flow body, not on the bottom or the side. If system constraints require a different instrument orientation, you should communicate this requirement to the manufacturer upon order so that adjustments can be made.

8. After turning on the instrument, you should allow the instrument to warm up for the time period specified by the manufacturer. A warm-up time of about 10 to 30 minutes typically is required for the instrument to reach full accuracy.

9. Be sure to zero your mass flow meters and controllers prior to first use and periodically afterward on a schedule based on the manufacturer’s recommendations or your own experience. The zero flow output signal should be averaged over a sufficient time interval. Preferably, zeroing should be performed with the actual gas to be measured at the same pressure and temperature of the application, or close to it. If there is a change of gas, the instrument should be flushed with the new gas before being zeroed. Obviously, for proper zeroing, the flow rate must be zero. This is best accomplished, in the case of controllers, by commanding the control valve to be shut, and, in the case of both mass flow meters and controllers, by closing shut-off valves installed just upstream and downstream of the instrument. In the absence of these valves, the process line must have other means to insure that the flow is zero.

Following these best practices are sure to result in the most accurate measurement outcome with your new mass flow meter or controller. Have any other tips we didn’t mention or questions about mass flow control? Please leave them in the comments section below.

Sierra’s Biggest Stories from 2016


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 new initiatives we started in 2016 that will continue to grow in 2017.

Minute Flow Tip YouTube Videos

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 the “Minute Flow Tips” video series we launched in 2016.  We cover a variety of flow measurement control tips to help you strengthen your flow measurement capability to improve your overall process quality.

Application Tech Notes

Sometimes you need quick information about a specific application, that’s where our new Tech Notes come in. You can quickly and easily learn about the challenges of an application and which flow meter or controller will help overcome this and provide precise measurement. You can currently download Tech Notes on Upstream Oil & Gas, Burner Control in Manufacturing and Beverage Manufacturing Applications with more applications coming in 2017.

Sierra on Instagram

In 2016 we expanded our social media presence to Instagram. You can now follow us to get an inside glimpse at what happens at Sierra and view photos of flow meter applications from around the globe. Have a photo of a Sierra flow meter in action? Send it to us and you may just see your name and photo in our feed!

Most Popular Blog Posts from 2016

Our Let’s Talk Flow Blog gives us an opportunity to share with you the latest happenings at Sierra, product news and flow meter education. Here are the top three articles our readers found most interesting in 2016. If you missed one, click through and catch up!

boilermactlogo-3Tuning Your Boiler for EPA Boiler MACT Compliance

Compliance with the EPA’s Boiler MACT regulations was a hot topic in 2016 with the three-year grace period on Major Source Boiler MACT coming to an end. In this article, we discuss the regulations, three ways to tune a boiler for compliance with the regulations and how flow meters can be used to help companies comply.

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

innovamass-landing-page-slideMost 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. In this article, we discuss the challenges of steam flow management and which type of flow meter is most accurate and maximizes steam productivity best.


sierra flare gas solutionsHow to Reduce Methane Emissions with Thermal Mass Flow Meters

Meeting EPA CFR 40 standards for methane emissions in the oil and gas industries continues to be a hot topic. In this blog post, we discuss how flow meters can help companies comply and Sierra’s solutions.

Oldies, but Goodies

We publish a lot of new content each year but there is some content from previous years that continues in popularity and helps customers. Here’s a look at the top three articles from previous years that are still popular with readers.

Flow Meter Do’s and Don’ts with Ammonia

Flashback to Pitcon 2012 for the inspiration for this blog post. There were many engineers and researchers stopping by our booth that year in need of a solution for ammonia flow measurement. Find out the precautions you need to take when using a flow meter in an ammonia application.

Insertion Flow Meter Straight Run Requirements

This instructional post continues to be a helpful resource for those deciding on the most optimal placement of their industrial thermal insertion mass flow meter. Jim Oswald, Sierra’s Technical Support Manager, shares his technical expertise and tribal knowledge to help you find the best point of insertion.

Wireless Networks for the Digital Flow Meter, Part 1

Need to improve network speed to flow meters that are wired into your infrastructure? Wireless communication continues to be a popular topic and this post provides an example of how you can use wireless technology as a solution to this problem.

2017 Preview

This year, as we do every year, we have big plans to make your experience with Sierra even better and more engaging.  Keep an eye out for our increasing library of Application Tech Notes, Infographics, and videos to both inform and help guide you in flowmeter choice and selection. In addition, we have some very exciting product launches and improvements that we know you will love. As always, Sierra will continue to serve our community through outreach programs and focus on employee and customer training programs.

Stay tuned in 2017 – It’s going to be a great year!

Precision in Formula 1 Testing

Not many of our flow meter customers know we have been active in the automotive test industry since the early 1990s. Like Sierra’s Flowmeter Division, our Automotive Test Division is passionate about precision measurement and control.

There is a lot of flow measurement needed in automotive testing, but Sierra’s capabilities in this area spread well beyond flow into high-speed data acquisition, automation control, facility design and turnkey project management. In 2013, the challenge for Honda technical partner Mugen Euro was daunting. To support Honda’s return to Formula 1 in 2015, they needed to build a test facility capable of precision tuning engines that exceed 15,000 rpm at 130 decibels—in a facility not initially built for testing. And all of this had to be done in under eight months!

Today, Mugen Euro’s test facility in Milton Keynes in the UK accommodates a wide variety of racing engines. Sierra’s Cadet V14 automation software manages the engine test as it simulates the race track of choice, and Combustion Air Handling Units (CAHU) on the facility’s roof feed race track-simulated temperature, pressure, humidity and air to the engine. Sierra’s FuelTrak measures transient fuel flow, all engine fluids are conditioned to precise levels, and a thermal mass flow intake air meter monitors intake air.

To see Sierra’s equipment and processes in action, watch the video above, which highlights the design, development, and construction of the high-performance engine test facility for World Touring Car, Le Mans and Formula 1.

Introducing Our New InnovaSonic 207i Ultrasonic Liquid Flow Meter

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 building and district metering, and submetering.

The 207i is the first transit-time ultrasonic flow meter to come with a comprehensive software app package. Use apps for easy setup, field upgrades, and validation of hardware and firmware.  Watch video for more information.

Experience InnovaSonic® 207i Innovation

  • High Accuracy: Real-time dynamic density and heat capacity calculation as liquid temperature changes
  • Ease-of-use and installation with software apps
  • Clamp-on or insertion/optional RTDs for Thermal Energy/BTU
  • Entire system calibrated as a package
  • Flow range from 0.16 to 40 feet/sec (0.05 to 12 meters/sec)
  • Pipe sizes from 2 to 236 inches (50 to 6000 mm)

With the launch of the InnovaSonic 207i ultrasonic today, Sierra is now only USA company to design and manufacture what we call the BIG-3 flow measurement technologies– Immersible Thermal, Vortex Shedding, and Transit-Time Ultrasonic.

Stay tuned, in the weeks to come, there will be more Sierra BIG-3 news to share.

Get to know our new InnovaSonic 207i today.

Sierra’s Auto Test Division Is Growing with Lansing Facility Expansion

Sierra-CP Auto Test Division Lansing, MIWe’re revving our engines and expanding to support our growing automotive test division. Sierra-CP has been providing the automotive industry with reliable engine and vehicle testing hardware and software solutions with precision accuracy for over 30 years. As demand for these high-quality products and services increases, we are expanding to provide better service and support to our customers.

This past year ground was broken on a completely new diesel engine test and certification facility in Ohio. Now we are expanding Sierra’s Michigan facility located in Lansing. The facility was opened in January 2012 with the mission of providing the highest level of local support to customers in the region. It houses design and engineering staff, a customer support center and an inventory of spare parts. The facility is ideally located to provide rapid response service to customers.

With over 5 acres and an approved future expansion of a 20,000-square-foot facility, the Lansing facilities offer plenty of room for future growth to better service our customers. Lansing facility Operations Manager Kirk Pier says it best, “We can be on site fast and oversee projects very conveniently. Build-outs and fabrication can be done in Lansing and put into the Sierra trailer for delivery to the customer.”

In addition to the physical expansion of the facility, the Lansing location is also experiencing staffing growth. Most recently with the addition of engineer Mike Brown. He brings to Sierra a wealth of experience in the automotive industry and is managing business development in the region. Mike has hit the ground running with visits to many of our customers.

Watch for additional articles on our blog about Sierra’s Automotive Test Division as it continues to grow and expand.