Will SAW–Technology Become the Perfect Wave for Flow Measurement?
Research into SAW–waves was already underway at a number of institutes before Bürkert got wind of the subject. Could it also be possible to use the technology for flow measurement? Initial laboratory experiments gave some indication of the potential of the process but the real development work was only just beginning.
What to Keep in Mind When Developing Field Devices
“Success in the laboratory is a far cry from success in the field,” said Erbe, “because in order to work, a process needs to be robust and feasible for mass production. This added to our task in that we had to achieve the necessary reproducibility.” The development work was in full flow from about 2009 onwards, both at Bürkert’s French site in Triembach au Val and at the parent company in Ingelfingen. “Even today the work is still ongoing to fully optimise the development for production,” added the product manager.
Further, the sensitive electronics call for extra care in production — which is why the colleagues in Triembach insist on robots for the welding work because of the supreme precision and reproducibility which they offer.
SAW Development Makes Waves in Flow Measurement
The time to unveil the Flowave range came for Bürkert at the Hannover Messe 2014 trade fair — the first flow meter to use microacoustic surface waves to determine flow rate and temperature. The surface acoustic waves are induced by an interdigital piezoelectric transducer on a pipe surface. These waves are sent through the medium on a zigzag path in a similar way as with optical waveguides.
A pulse is sent from both sides of the measured section at the same time, allowing the delay time to be calculated and the flow speed to be deduced. The development certainly made waves, causing a stir in professional circles and beyond: the members of the jury at the world’s biggest industrial fair were so impressed that they nominated Flowave for the coveted Hannover Messe Hermes Award.