Three Decades Strong

Dec. 3, 2012
Flow monitoring products provide accurate flow data for billing application
For nearly two decades, Elco Corporation has chosen innovative Marsh-McBirney open channel flow monitoring products to provide accurate flow data for its billing application. Today, it continues that tradition for another decade. For nearly two decades, the Elco Corp.'s Cleveland, Ohio, production facility has counted on Marsh-McBirney open channel flow meters to monitor their plants wastewater discharge. Flow data from the meter is used for the calculation of wastewater processing fees assessed by the local sewer authority, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD). NEORSD serves 53 suburban Ohio communities and the city of Cleveland. Today, that tradition continues for another decade with their recent 10-year contract for Hach's Data Delivery Services that utilizes the Marsh-McBirney Flo-Dar Web-enabled sensor. Read on to learn more about the progression of flow monitoring at Elco and their commitment to use innovative flow monitoring instrumentation and services to ensure the accuracy of their reported flow data. Founded in 1927, Elco is a custom producer and worldwide marketer of lubricant additives and high purity chemicals. Lubricant additive packages and components are used in industrial applications including hydraulics, gear oils, metalworking and grease. Elco'searly chemical division, known as Detrex Chemicals, produces high-purity hydrochloric acid used in the manufacture of high-speed computer chips. The hydrochloric acid is also used in numerous other industrial applications. In addition to the Cleveland facility, another Elco production facility is located in Ashtabula, Ohio. The Past In the early 90's, Elco purchased a then state-of the-art Marsh-McBirney flow meter that utilized a submerged style electromagnetic flow sensor. The meter was in service for over ten years and was considered the best solution available for open channel flow monitoring at the time. However, due to the harsh monitoring environment at the plant, the submerged sensor required frequent maintenance by plant personnel. According to Tom Phillips, Operations Manager, at Elco's Cleveland facility, "We were frustrated with the sensor fouling problem and had to go in the hole often to clean it." When Marsh-McBirney introduced a non-contact open channel flow meter in the late 1990's, local Hach flow representative Tim Carrig with Carrig & Associates, contacted Phillips feeling strongly that this would be the solution they had "wished for" in this difficult to instrument application. The Flo-Dar sensor would eliminate sensor fouling and associated maintenance experienced at Elco due to its remote sensor that monitored flow from above the fluid. The Flo-Dar sensor transmits a digital doppler radar beam that interacts with the fluid and reflects back signals at a different frequency than that which was transmitted. These reflected signals are compared with the transmitted frequency. The resulting frequency shift provides an accurate measure of the velocity and flow direction. Level is detected by ultrasonic pulse echo. Flow is then calculated based on the Continuity Equation: Q = V x A, Where Q = Flow, V = Average Velocity and A = Area. An order was placed in December 1999 for an AC powered version of the Flo-Dar flow meter. By simply replacing the submerged sensor type flow meter with Flo-Dar's 'above-the flow' sensor, Elco not only saved maintenance and confined space entry expenditures but more importantly eliminated the frustration level of personnel that were responsible for servicing the meter. Phillips adds, "The most important savings to me was the savings in aggravation!" With the frustration of fouled flow sensors now behind him, Phillips gladly adds, "We no longer have fouling problems. The Flo-Dar meter is very reliable. Flo-Dar's ability to monitor flow out of the stream itself was the main reason we chose the meter. After the initial installation we have had no need to go in the hole for cleaning." Although sensor fouling was eliminated for Elco, flow data still had to be collected from the meter as well as required periodic maintenance. Hach's DDS System includes the Hach FL900 Wireless Flow Logger, Marsh-McBirney Web-Enabled Flo-Dar Sensor and FSDATA for online flow data access 24/7via any web browser. Hach's DDS System includes the Hach FL900 Wireless Flow Logger, Marsh-McBirney Web-Enabled Flo-Dar Sensor and FSDATA for online flow data access 24/7via any web browser. The Present Late in 2010, flow meter rep Carrig introduced Elco to Hach's Data Delivery Services (DDS). Carrig adds, "The Flo-Dar has worked well over the years for Elco even in the low velocities and coating environment where it is located. However, when Hach launched DDS for customers that wanted a truly 'hands-off' approach to flow monitoring, I knew it was always what Elco wanted - just the flow data without any aggravation. It was a fantastic fit for their needs." With Data Delivery Services, Hach takes the drudgery out of flow monitoring to free personnel up for other tasks. DDS customers pay only for flow data without the need to purchase or maintain flow meters. The meters are installed and maintained by Hach certified personnel. For a fixed monthly fee, customers can easily access their unedited flow data 24/7 from any web browser via a password protected site with advanced data security. Professional data reporting is easily accomplished utilizing Hach's FSDATA software. Even for Elco's tough flow monitoring application, the non-contact Flo-Dar is a great solution. Shown with Hach's NEW FL900 Wireless Flow Logger for desktop delivery of flow data 24/7. After a demonstration of DDS features, Phillips was onboard with a 10-year contract through the year 2020. Additionally, a current Hach promotion that allows for the 'buy-back' of customer owned flow meters was utilized by Elco to help them get started with DDS. In closing, Phillips is pleased with the decision to go with Hach's Data Delivery Services. He does his own data analysis utilizing FSDATA and finds the capability of going to the website to analyze flow data 'beneficial'. He commented, "I don't have to worry about the flow meter itself anymore and most of all it is saving us aggravation."

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