How tough is an Alicat?

Tough environments call for tougher instruments

Case study: Alicat vs. truck
Alicat mass flow meter with screen shatteredIt isn’t every day an Alicat flow meter takes on a truck approximately 10,000 times its size. During a delivery mishap, an Alicat was literally run over by a delivery truck – see photographic evidence to the right. This incident led to a cracked screen, bent case, and deformed circuit boards.

Surprisingly, the unit maintained functionality! It was still able to communicate via RS-232 and performed normally on analog control checks.

Perhaps most surprisingly, the unit still measured flow accurately. After a few tweaks, we compared current performance to the factory calibration, and measurements were within normal limits.

While we still wouldn’t recommend putting this unit directly back into service, it goes to show that an Alicat mass flow meter can take a LOT of punishment and still ensure that your process stays under control.

Images and information are courtesy of our UK representative, Premier Control Technologies, Ltd

Harsh process conditions require tough, durable mass flow instrumentation

Each Alicat instrument is custom built to handle specific process requirements, with minimal need for repairs and replacements. Devices can be built with the following:

  • High temperature electronics
  • IP67 ingress protection rating
  • Conformal coating
  • Humidity resistance
  • Corrosion resistance
  • CSA/ATEX certifications for hazardous environments
  • Drop resistance

High temperature electronics

Standard devices can flow gases up to 60°C. For higher operating temperatures, high temperature (HT) electronics can be used instead of the standard circuitry. These devices can flow gases up to 100°C and operate at ambient temperatures up to 85°C.

It is important to note that our integrated displays are incompatible with high temperatures. An HT device is therefore only available with a remote display or no display.

IP67 ingress protection rating

Most instruments can be built with ingress protection up to a rating of IP67. This means if a little water gets into the system, the device will not immediately fail and can be dried out later.

Conformal coating

Frequent temperature shifts can lead to condensation which can interfere with some instruments. For applications where this may be a problem, a conformal coating can be applied to the internal electronics to protect the device.

Humidity resistance

FP-25 flow meters are IP67 rated and contain internal sensors that are accurate from -30°C to +60°C and up to 95% relative humidity. These devices are specifically tailored for ambient air monitoring applications, where measurements must often be taken in hot and humid air.

Corrosion resistance

For processes flowing corrosive gases such as ammonia or sulfur dioxide, many of our instruments can be made with FFKM or EPDM elastomers and stainless steel components. These devices are able to flow 130 gases (98 standard gases + 32 corrosive gases). Anticorrosive instruments can be customized to include 316L stainless steel sensors, flow bodies, and/or valves.

Hazardous environments – CSA/ATEX certification

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. CSA/ATEX certified devices feature locking industrial connectors for power and communications.

Drop resistance

Alicat devices are made to resist impact and drops, an important consideration especially when using portable meters. Our instruments are able to take a hit, and continue to flow with the same accuracy.

In the demonstration, we drop tested a portable mass flow meter from progressively higher heights onto concrete. Even after falling from heights of 3 feet (typical carrying height) to 12 feet, the measurements remain within 0.6% of reading.

discuss your process requirements with an applications engineer