In my line of work we use flow sensors and meters constantly. That is the reason I am taking this course actually. I work at a natural gas storage facility. We store natural gas in the ground until it is needed by different companies, such as an electric power plant. When they need the gas we pull it out of the well in the ground and send it down a pipeline to the facility. In doing this, we use several different types of flowmeters and sensors. I don’t know the names of them yet but will try to get that information and reply with it. One of the devices that we use is called a Pro-Flow. It is a flow meter that is connected to our compressors and monitors the amount of lubricating oil needed. Attached to it is a flow sensor. If the sensor detects that not enough oil is being supplied it will shut down the compressor to prevent a catastrophic engine failure. We have several other flow meters as well. We have one at each well that tells us how many cubic feet of gas is coming out of, or going into the well. Those meters and sensors are sent by radio to the control room where I monitor the activity ensuring that pressures don’t get too high and that the well is operating properly. We also have different flow meters downstream going to the customer that calculates the amount of gas delivered and received. Every piece of equipment we have has a flow sensor attached so that if flow stops the machinery stops as well, or an alarm will be triggered notifying me of the problem. Most of these sensors are different makes and models due to their location and use. Almost all of them are heavy duty as they are outside exposed to the Texas elements all the time. These sensors also have to be very accurate because if they aren’t the company loses money and equipment could fail. Some more than others. The ones monitoring the flow of gas doesn’t need to be as accurate as the ones that control the lube oil for a compressor. If a compressor loses lube oil it could damage valves or worse, it could destroy the crank shaft. the crank shaft for one of our compressors cost approximately $250,000.00.
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