Showing posts with label severe service. Show all posts
Showing posts with label severe service. Show all posts

Magnetic Flowmeters for Fracing

Fracing illustration (USGS)
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracing, is the process of exploiting small fissures or cracks in rock layers deep under the earths surface, and increasing their number and size for the purpose of freeing up trapped natural gas. The process includes drilling horizontally in the bedrock and then forcing "frac fluid" into those cracks under very high pressure. The fracturing fluid is made up of water, a special type of sand (referred to as the proppant) and a mixture of chemicals.

Flow measurement is very important in fracing and requires instrumentation with long life and high accuracy.  Frac fluid is a very nasty slurry and it's flow measurement is challenging. Flow instruments are exposed to high pressures, erosive materials and corrosive chemicals.

FracingFrac sand is very erosive and the high pressure and corrosive chemicals complicate things exponentially. Any flowmeter used in fracing applications must not only be rugged enough to withstand these harsh conditions, but the flowmeter must also provide the accuracy required for reliable data reporting to supervisory agencies. Cost-effectively meeting accuracy and longevity requirements for these applications can be frustrating.

Magnetic flowmeters have always appealed to the fracing industry because of their unfettered flow path, availability of sizes and level of accuracy. Their downfall is their longevity. Standard, off-the-shelf magnetic flowmeters don't last in this environment and can't be considered an economically viable choice.

An excellent solution that provides all the the virtues of magnetic flowmeters, and overcomes the longevity and economics issues, are specialized magnetic flowmeters. Referred to as "severe service flowmeters" or "slurry flowmeters", they are designed with components matched specifically to withstand the mechanical and chemical abuse they will see.

Magnetic flowmeters, specialized for fracing, provide all of a "magmeters" desirable features with these critical enhancements:
  1. A ceramic sleeved liner made of magnesia partially stabilized zirconia. This ceramic can handle the abrasion and chemical attack with very little degradation.
  2. Highly polished, ultra-smooth Tungsten electrodes. The Tungsten provides outstanding wear resistance while the high-polish reduces electrical noise introduced in the electrode circuitry.
  3. Special coatings, or paints, to provide exterior protection.
Fracing flowmeterBy specifying magnetic flowmeters, specialized for fracing, not only do operators save money through increased uptime and decreased health, safety and environmental risk, but also through reduced costs related to flowmeter purchase and repair.

For more information on fracing magnetic flowmeters, contact Thompson Equipment Company (TECO) by calling 800-528-8997 or visit

Magnetic Flow Meters with Specialized Construction Still the Best Bet for Dredging Applications

Electromagnetic flow meters commonly measure slurry mixture flow on cutter suction dredgers and trailing suction hopper dredgers. These type of flow meters use exposed electrodes and non-conductive flow tubes. Ordinary magnetic flow meter flow tubes  are not designed to withstand the abrasive conditions prevalent in dredging. Standard magnetic flow meter electrodes  are prone to wear, breakage, and polarization requiring frequent re-adjustment. Standard electrode seals may also deteriorate and cause leaks and false readings.

dredgersAs an alternative, non-invasive (non-wetted) flow meters, such as clamp-on or Doppler ultrasonic flow meters, have long been proposed because of their  ease of installation and maintenance savings. However, testing of clamp-on or Doppler ultrasonic flow meters has never panned out in dredging applications. While there has been limited success on smaller sized diameters, there are few, if any, large diameter dredging pipe application success stories.

Dredging engineers always seek the simplest and most accurate method of measuring slurry flow. Considering this, there is convincing evidence that the use of customized electromagnetic flow meters, specifically designed to stand up to the rigors of dredging, look to be the best overall option.

Dredging flow meter
Dredging flow meter.
Dredging-specific flow meters provide wear solutions that can extend the life of equipment and keep systems at maximum operational levels. Some users report life span up to 10 years.

The dredging modifications include custom engineered ceramic brick or polyurethane liners, 3/4" stainless steel inlet and outlet protectors, independently sealed electrode wells, and field accessible Hastelloy B electrodes.

Thompson Equipment (TECO), a manufacturer of severe service magnetic flow meters located in New Orleans, will "remanufacture" any make or model of electromagnetic flow meter for dredging service. They have decades of experience servicing and remanufacturing instrumentation, and are leaders in building severe service flow meters.

Electromagnetic flow meters have always been appealing for dredging applications in terms of accuracy, resolution, and response time. Their performance problems, caused by the direct and continuous flow of abrasive slurries, are mitigated through specialized construction.  By applying electromagnetic flow meters specifically designed for the application, dredging engineers now achieve excellent reliability, long life and significant reduction in maintenance and operational costs.

Electromagnetic Flow Meters for Accurate Measurement of Flowing Conductive Fluids and Slurries

Badger Magnetic Flow Meter
Magnetic Flow Meter
(Badger Meter)
In general, magnetic flow meters are sturdy, reliable devices able to withstand hazardous environments while returning precise measurements to operators of a wide variety of processes. The magnetic flowmeter has no moving parts. Electromagnetic meters will measure virtually any conductive fluid or slurry. This includes process water and wastewater. They provide low pressure drop, high accuracy, high turndown ratio, and excellent repeatability.  It is however, necessary to fill the entire cross section of the pipe in order to derive useful volumetric flow measurements.

Electromagnetic flow meters employ Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction, whereby voltage is induced when a conductor moves through a magnetic field. The liquid acts as the conductor, with energized coils outside the flow tube creating the magnetic field. The produced voltage is directly proportional to the flow rate. Magnetic flow meter technology is not affected by temperature, pressure, or density of the subject fluid.

Electromagnetic flow meters tend to be heavy in larger sizes and may be prohibitively expensive for some purposes. However, irrespective of price and size, there are multiple reasons why magnetic flow meters are the instrument of choice for certain applications. They are resistant to corrosion and their ability to accurately measure dirty fluids makes them very suitable for wastewater measurement. As mentioned, there are no moving parts in a magnetic flow meter, keeping maintenance to a minimum. Power requirements are also low. Electromagnetic flow meters are available in a wide range of configurations, sizes, and construction materials to accommodate various process installation

Severe service flow meter
Severe service flow meter.
Severe application magnetic flow meters provide erosion and abrasion resistant designs, capable of withstanding a variety of highly erosive applications and corrosive slurries. These special-purpose  electromagnetic flow meters utilize liners made from specialty materials like magnesia stabilized zirconia ceramic or aluminum oxide ceramic, have electrodes made of exotic metals such as Hastalloy B/C, titanium, platinum, or tungsten carbide, and include specialized coatings.

Contact Thompson Equipment Company (TECO) with any magnetic flow meter requirement. Their decades of applying, repairing, re-manufacturing, and designing magnetic flow meters will assure a successful implementation.

Severe Service Flowmeters by TECO

For flow measurement of extremely abrasive slurries in Mining, Dredging, Fracing, and Oil and Gas Exploration.

Capabilities include:
  • Liners: magnesia stabilized zirconia ceramic, aluminum oxide ceramic, polyurethane rubber, neoprene rubber, Linatex, Teflon (PTFE), rotationally molded Tefzel (ETFE), PFA, and others. 
  • Electrodes: SS, Hastelloy C (C-276), Hastelloy B, zirconium, titanium, platinum/iridium, solid tungsten carbide, tungsten carbide coating, etc. 
  • Exotic tube constructions available (100% titanium).
  • Specialty Coatings: epoxy paints, powder coat, custom colors, etc.

Severe Service Magmeters for Fracing Operations

Proven in the heat of a West Texas summer, and the cold of an Alberta winter, this TECO magmeter is designed from the ground up to withstand corrosive slurries, acids, bases and solvents.

Severe Application Meter
Severe Application Meter (TECO)
Magnetic flow meters (magmeters) installed on blender trucks are of particular concern. The application involves accurately measuring the flow of an extremely erosive slurry comprised of sand and “frac water” (a mixture of water and harsh chemicals). Replacing failed magmeters can take up to 4 hours, and requires the shutting down of the entire frac spread.

Calling upon sixty-plus years experience in magmeter application, failure analysis, repair, and design, TECO developed several innovative magmeter features intended to improve longevity in fracing operations.

FRAC Trucks
FRAC Trucks
First, TECO developed a ceramic sleeved liner made of “magnesia partially stabilized zirconia”, a very tough ceramic used in severe-service applications that provides corrosion resistance and durability.

Second, TECO developed electrodes built from a solid tungsten carbide billet, which afford unparalleled wear resistance. Given the sand density in the frac fluid, noise reduction is critically important; so, the tungsten carbide is polished leaving a hard, smooth finish that significantly reduces noise in the electrode circuit.

Erosive sand tears up
other magmeters. 
Finally, TECO designed the magmeter as a drop-in replacement. It operates with a variety of secondaries and matches the “lay length” of the meter being replaced. There is no need for a new transmitter and no need for repiping, allowing for simple retrofit in existing installations.

Internal view of TECO SAM after 500,000,000 pounds of sand
Internal view of SAM after 500,000,000
pounds of sand flowed though the core.
Upon inspection, the customer found the
flow tube to be looking “brand new”.
In 2017 TECO introduced the SAM (Severe Application Meter) magmeter as a flow meter designed specifically for hydraulic fracturing operations. By specifying SAM, operators save money through increased uptime; decreased health, safety and environmental risk; and reduced costs related to magmeter purchase and repair.

Download the PDF version of this article here.

Contact TECO by visiting of call 800-528-8997 for more information.

Flow Meter Designed for Corrosive Slurries, Acids, Bases & Solvents

TECO Severe Applications Meter (SAM)

A patent pending magnetic flowmeter with abrasion resistant ceramic trim that exceeds the capabilities of Alumina or Yttria Zirconia. Capable of withstanding a variety of corrosive slurries, acids, bases, and solvents.


Severe Service Flow Meters by TECO