Alicat instruments are built specifically for the conditions under which they will operate and the environments where they will be used, according to each customer’s needs. We work directly with customers to understand the stressors that will be placed on the instrument to ensure that every Alicat is up to the challenges they may experience in the field, lab or factory. Because the best repair is the one you never need, Alicat has a number of options to keep your process flowing smoothly.
In a precision test setting, it is unlikely that errant particulates, changes in ambient conditions or back flow of water will ever reach instrumentation. But Alicat instruments are often used far from the clean room. They are used to calibrate air monitors where the weather is a factor. They are used to maintain pressure and control gas mixtures in bioreactors, where cleaning means running the risk of splashing instruments. Some processes require the use of gases far more aggressive than air and other such nonreactive gases.
In ambient air monitoring applications, humidified air can make it difficult to achieve the required accuracy in the field, especially when it is hot and humid. That is why we developed the FP-25. This flow meter incorporates a live humidity sensor that ensures accuracy of measurement at any temperature and humidity.
Recently we worked with an air monitoring customer who needed to control the flow of ambient air in humid areas at a high level of accuracy. We developed a flow controller that uses the same internal relative humidity sensor and software to correct readings based on relative humidity that we use in the FP-25. This allows for accurate sampling of ambient air as temperature and humidity change.
Water outside the process line can cause issues as well. While some solutions might include creating some sort of protective box around process control instrumentation, or simply placing a plastic bag over the equipment and hoping for the best, we can build units to be rated up to IP66. Because our gas flow bodies are the same as our liquid flow bodies, a little water in the system won’t cause complete failure of the device, provided that it can be dried out later. Additionally, we have a conformal coating option to protect the interior electronics for situations where changes in temperature can cause condensation. Rain, back splash from a hose or conditions that might lead to condensation on the instrument are non-issues for Alicat instruments equipped with these options.
And if water or other damaging conditions are anticipated to a point where the electronics are at risk of damage greater than what can be protected with an IP66 rating or coating, we can build the device with the sensor and the electronics package as a separate remote option. This option is most frequently used in high heat environments, but can efficiently remove the more sensitive electronics away from wet conditions.
Some processes throw more at the device than the forces of Mother Nature, and not all gases are as gentle as air, nitrogen or other common gases. Many customer processes require corrosive gases like ammonia or sulfur dioxide that could cause damage to the instrument. Depending on the gas being used, we can use FFKM or EPDM elastomers and stainless steel components. For some applications, we can customize from there, too. Our S series instruments are built with 316L stainless steel sensors, and in many cases the flow bodies and valving also have 316L options.
For processes and environments that are potentially explosive, most Alicat instruments can be built with a CSA Class 1 Division 2/ATEX Zone 2 area certification. These instruments can be used in oil and gas applications where exposure to combustible gases is possible.
Your process can be messy, rough, jarring and abrasive. The last thing you want to worry about is your process control instrumentation being too delicate to handle the task. That’s why at Alicat we custom-build each unit with the customer’s process in mind. These Alicats are not just built to withstand tough process conditions; they can be configured to thrive in harsh ambient conditions as well. Backed by annual recalibrations and our limited lifetime warranty, an Alicat instrument will keep your process running smoothly, even in challenging environments, for years to come.
Your process, your project and the end results are what are most important. Spend your time on the things that matter, not worrying about your instrumentation.