Systematic failure and measurement error can be disastrous for any metering pipeline, whether new or previously installed. While there are several approaches to reducing error within pipeline systems, they can generally be categorized into two factions: preventative and reactionary. Measurement error can result in over- or under-estimation of costs and supplies, potentially instigating a financial deficit for either the construction company or client. System failure can result in not only damaged materials but also safety hazards. This article intends to give a cursory overview of some of the possible approaches in the repair or fabrication of piping.
- Protection from Overpressure: Using calculations derived from maximum potential output pressure from a single mechanical failure, one can determine the grade of overpressure protection device necessary for the pipeline. However, if there is a monitor regulator installed in series with each run of pipe, overpressure protection is typically not necessary.
- Straighteners: Any long stretch of pipe is prone to some vorticity within its flow, which could cause measurement error, due to a non-perpendicular passing of any measurement devices. By installing a straightener, most of the turbulence within the flux is negated by passing it through several holed plates.
- Protection from Sound: Any high intensity sound over an extended period of time can cause damage to metering equipment. The recommended maximum is 110 dB. By installing a diffuser on a regulator and subsequently burying it, any sound pressure produced will be greatly reduced. In addition, piping is available with heavy walls and insulation to further protect from the danger of intense sound pressure.
- Protection from Pulsation: One of the most common sources of error in metering pipeline systems is fluid pulsation. Before any equipment is purchased or repaired, one should always compare the expected/given square-root error with the measured value of the same quantity. If the error isn't corrected after a metering recalibration, there are several types of devices available, such as the Dynamic Variable Orifice (DVO), Tunable Side Branch Absorber (TSBA), and Performance Augmentation Network (PAN), which all intend to either cancel out pulsations with their own pulsations of inverse amplitude, so the two waves cancel each other out or remove pulsation altogether by adjusting the device diameter accordingly.
- Shutdown Valves: Pneumatic controls should be installed at the pipeline connection so that, in case of major flow error or system failure, the fabricated pipeline in question can be shut down remotely. Vents can also be installed to reduce any sound pressure that the shutdown valve's pneumatic mechanism would normally release, preventing further error in other sections of the pipeline.
- Flow Conditioners: When there is serious error detected in a metering pipeline system due to turbulence or vorticity, flow conditioners can be installed, which calibrate to the level of spin in the flow, and send reverse vortices to cancel out any error-inducing fluid torque.
Measurement error is an unfortunate fact of life for pipeline systems, but simple suggestions such as these can go a long way for the prevention of error and failure for your next fabricated system.