The company and the university work together to develop an innovative project that will improve the measurement of ultrasonic flow through pipes of different thickness.
A Tecfluid engineer participates in the Industrial Doctoral Plan to develop a R&D&I project together with the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). The objective of the research is to improve a non-invasive “clamp on” ultrasonic flowmeter, which will allow to measure in a much wider range of pipelines than the current one, improving the accuracy of the flow reading.
The starting point for the improvement project is the current CU series ultrasonic flowmeter for transit time – it only measures clean liquids – and a fixed version – which is connected to an external power source. The goal of the research is to generate a new range of improved products that will include two versions, a fixed and a portable one that will run on batteries.
The “clamp on” flowmeters measure the flow outside the pipeline, therefore the condition of the pipeline determines the difficulty in measuring. “The version in which we are working intends to increase the range of the dimensions of the pipes in which the instrument is able to measure,” explains the responsible person of R & D department of Tecfluid, Esteve Cusidó; “so that if nowadays we can only measure in pipes starting at 80 millimeters, with the new equipment it will be able to measure in a range from 15 millimeters“.
Acoustic map of the pipe with the difference of propagation times
3D map of radiation
In summary, what are the implications of the new flowmeter in respct of the current version?
The improved version of the ultrasonic flowmeter will allow to calculate by both the transit time and the Doppler effect, i.e., it will be able to correctly measure in installations containing liquids with or without the presence of suspended solids. In this way, it will be adapted to the state of the measurable flows and to the specific conditions of the installations. To achieve this, a range of specific transducers for each application will be designed.
Transmission and exchange of knowledge
The research project “Clamp on ultrasonic flowmeter” is part of the Industrial Doctoral Plan of the Generalitat of Catalonia and allows a Tecfluid engineer to carry out research in collaboration with the Politechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) which will culminate in a doctoral thesis and a subsequent commercialization of the product.
In this way, the industrial doctors act as bridges of knowledge transfer between the company and the university, so that the three actors involved – company, worker and university – obtain a profit.
Thanks to the technical resources and the collaboration with the UPC, Tecfluid will be able to have portable and fixed instruments with capacity for flow measurement by transit time and Doppler effect, with specific transducers to each application. A very specialized instrumentation that, combined with the knowledge of the company, makes possible the creation of an innovative product.
This industrial doctorate began in October 2014 and lasts for 3 years. Once the term has expired, Tecfluid will complete the design of the instrument until it is ready for commercialization.
Tecfluid consider the transfer of knowledge between the company and the university, very enriching, as well as the opportunity to work with the latest technologies that allow it to maintain its commitment to innovation and competitiveness.