Flow control provides variable resistance to different types of matter flow through a particular passageway or route, often used to direct flow as well as maintain the desired velocity and flow level. Flow control related products are used to control both liquid and gas flow, and are most often used for flow rate control of air and water flow. For air flow control, some examples of pneumatic flow control equipment include fans, air filters and compressors, whereas for water flow control, hydraulic flow control systems such as valves and pumps are often used. Additional liquids requiring fluid flow control include chemicals such as lubricants and solvents, for processing and manufacturing industries that utilize pressure gauges, switches and transducers in order to monitor flow pressure and equipment such as flow meters and solenoid valves to monitor flow rates and levels. Some of the more common industries that utilize flow control related products include wastewater, heating and cooling, automotive, aviation, medical, industrial manufacturing and pharmaceutical.
Flow gauges are devices used to measure the rate at which a liquid or gas is flowing through a system. They then relay this information to the operator who can make adjustments based on the readings or choose to continue to monitor the situation. Flow gauges can be found in a wide range of applications and industries, as measuring the flow of fluid or gas can be a vital part of a lot of different products and systems. Some examples of the industries and applications flow gauges are commonly found in include the medical industry for monitoring medical treatments and the energy industry for measuring fuel usage. In addition to these applications, flow gauges are an essential part of a lot of manufacturing processes as being able to monitor exact material feed values is a required part of the system.
Flow indicators allow an operator to view the liquid as it moves through the pipes. These simple but important flow meters are often called sight flow indicators and are components of industrial process lines that require an instant and inside look of the flow inside the pipe. Unlike ultrasonic flow meters or vortex flow meters, flow indicators do not take calculations or measurements regarding mass or speed. Flow indicators are the type of flow meters that monitor fluid clarity, level and color through a glass or plastic observation window of varying size. The window can be horizontally or vertically oriented.
Flow meters are devices used to measure and monitor the flow of gases and liquids through various systems. These instruments are designed and manufactured for use in a multitude of different industries and applications. They can vary in construction, size, configuration, and measurement technique. Some flow meters have to be built to operate effectively while exposed to volatile liquids, others have to handle a much larger volume of fluids, and still others have to measure mass instead of volume. All of these different factors contribute to the huge diversity in flow meter design. Other important factors include cleanliness, pressure, and operating temperature.
Manufacturers across practically all industries understand the importance of flow meters in everyday industrial processes. They are used to maintain efficiency and to help better understand profit gains and losses. The automotive, petroleum, HVAC, food and beverage, utility services, chemical, and many other industries all utilize flow meters extensively to monitor their operations.
Flow switches are used to monitor fluid or gas flow while it is passing through its valve body, then to send an electrical control sign if the flow rate is too high or too low. The signal is sent as a safety measure to another device, such as a pump, that will respond accordingly or to a switching unit within the valve body. This is an important safety feature because many processes will only operate within a certain range of flow rate, halting or becoming compromised if the flow rate exceeds or falls under that range.