Choosing a portable flow meter

Choosing a portable flow meter

Alicat offers several types of portable mass flow meters to use for quick and easy flow validation, verification, and calibration in a variety of applications. Portable flow meter options include models from our standard differential pressure series, portable differential pressure liquid meters, and complete on-the-go calibration kits. Here we discuss these different portable meter solutions and outline use cases for each.

Portables comparison overview

All devices have measurement response times <10 ms, no warm-up time, rechargeable Li-ion batteries that last 18 hours, and a monochrome backlit LCD with integrated touchpad. They are additionally able to withstand drops.

MB MBS MWB MBQ LB FP-25
Non-corrosive gases
Corrosive gases
Liquids
Low pressure drop

 

MB-Series: Standard portable gas mass flow meter

The MB-Series is the portable version of the M-Series standard gas mass flow meter. These devices are often used for quick and easy process validation, verification, and calibration. Because the meter has no warm-up time, it can be rapidly moved from one part of a process to another. Fast readings with <10 ms response times are provided on the built-in display which shows all flow data (mass flow, volumetric flow, pressure, and temperature), eliminating the need for a computer or external screen. If desired, however, digital and analog outputs are also available. A battery status indicator warns when it is time to re-charge the device.

  • Full scale flow ranges: 0.5 SCCM to 5,000 SLPM
  • Compatible gases: 98+ preloaded selectable gas calibrations and 20 custom-defined mixtures
  • Flow measurement range: 0.01% – 100% of full scale
  • Accuracy: As good as ±0.5% of reading or ±0.1% of full scale (whichever is greater)
  • Min operating pressure: 11.5 PSIA; 1 PSID
  • Max operating pressure: 175 PSIA; 75 PSID

MB-Series portable flow meter

MBS-Series for corrosive gases

The MBS-Series is the anti-corrosive variant of the MB-Series meter. The flow body and sensor are 316L stainless steel and the wetted elastomer material is upgraded to FFKM to ensure compatibility with more aggressive gases including SO2, H2S, and NH3, expanding the total number of usable gases to 128-130.

  • Full scale flow ranges: 0.5 SCCM to 5,000 SLPM
  •  Compatible gases: 128+ preloaded selectable gas calibrations (including 32 pure corrosives and most refrigerants) and 20 custom-defined mixtures 
  • Flow measurement range: 1% – 100% of full scale
  • Accuracy: As good as ±(0.4% of reading + 0.2% of full scale)
  • Min operating pressure: 11.5 PSIA; 1 PSID
  • Max operating pressure: 175 PSIA; 75 PSID

MWB-Series for low pressure drops

The MWB-Series is a portable version of the MW-Series mass flow meter for pressure drops as low as 0.07 PSID. This feature makes the MWB a good choice for calibration and verification at near-atmospheric or low system pressures.

  • Full scale flow ranges: 0.5 SCCM to 1,000 SLPM
  • Compatible gases: 98+ preloaded selectable gas calibrations and 20 custom-defined mixtures
  • Flow measurement range: 0.01% – 100% of full scale
  • Accuracy: As good as ±0.6% of reading or ±0.1% of full scale (whichever is greater)
  •  Min operating pressure: 11.5 PSIA; 0.07 PSID 
  • Max operating pressure: 76.8 PSIA; 10 PSID

MWB portable flow meter

MBQ-Series for high pressures

The MBQ-Series is a portable version of the MQ-Series mass flow meter for high pressures, able to flow high pressure gases up to 320 PSIA. This makes the MBQ a good portable meter for applications with high operating pressures at mid to high flow rates.

  • Full scale flow ranges: 10 SCCM to 3,000 SLPM
  • Compatible gases: 98+ preloaded selectable gas calibrations and 20 custom-defined mixtures
  • Flow measurement range: 0.1% – 100% of full scale
  • Accuracy: ±0.6% of reading or ±0.1% of full scale (whichever is greater)
  • Min operating pressure: 11.5 PSIA; 1 PSID
  •  Max operating pressure: 320 PSIA; 75 PSID 

LB-Series for liquids

The LB-Series is the only Alicat portable flow meter usable with liquids. These instruments are specifically designed for calibration of water flow rates with NIST-traceable accuracy of 2% of full-scale, but can also be calibrated for use with methanol, iso-propanol, ethanol, and other low-viscosity process fluids.  Like the MB-Series, these portable meters can be used for leak testing and flow validation/calibration, but for liquids instead of gases.

  • Full scale flow ranges: 0.5 CCM to 10 LPM
  •  Liquid calibrations: Water (default); Methanol, iso–propanol, ethanol, ammonia, dimethylether, iso–pentane, thiophene, iso–octane, or heptane (upon request) 
  • Flow measurement range: 2% – 100% of full scale
  • Accuracy: ±2% of full scale
  • Min operating pressure: 11.5 PSIA; 2 PSID
  • Max operating pressure: 200 PSIA; 75 PSID

Alicat LB-series portable liquid flow meter

FP-25 calibrator kit for air quality monitoring

The FP-25 flow standard was developed specifically for outdoor air calibration use, using live readings of flow stream temperature, relative humidity, and pressure to continuously update the viscosity value of the gas being measured. These devices use multiple pressure sensors to capture both ambient barometric pressure and internal pressure of the flow stream, and take accurate measurements in environments ranging from -30 to 60°C with up to 95% relative humidity.

PCU portable calibration unit

Alicat PCU portable calibration unit

The portable calibration unit (PCU) combines three flow meters in a single case that can be powered by 4 AA batteries or an included AC cable. With three meters, the overlapping measurement ranges of a PCU (for example, 5 SCCM – 5000 SLPM) allow for NIST-traceable, high accuracy calibration across a dynamic range of up to 100,000:1. With the flow meters encased in one drop-resistant case, the PCU is ideal for quick on-the-go verification and calibration of processes containing multiple flow instruments or varying flow rates. The PCU can be configured with flow meters for high operating pressures, low pressure drops, and aggressive gases as well.

Discuss your process with an applications engineer