Air Flow Measurement Instruments for Industrial Harsh Conditions

Air flow measurement instruments play a critical role in various industrial applications, including managing compressed air systems, ensuring process efficiency, and maintaining optimal flow rates. These devices measure the flow of air in ducts, pipes, and other conduits, enabling it industries to control essential operations.

However, harsh industrial environments can present unique challenges that demand specialized, ruggedized instruments capable of withstand extreme conditions. Let us see how we can choose the right instrument.

Air flow measurement instruments

Importance of Air Flow Measurement

Monitoring air duct flow in industrial processes is super important for a variety of reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of keeping an eye on air flow in your facility:

Optimizing performance: When you’re on top of your air duct flow, you can be sure that your equipment is working at its best. This means you’re getting the most bang for your buck, and who doesn’t want that?

Avoiding nasty surprises: Nobody likes unexpected problems, especially in an industrial setting. By monitoring air duct flow, you can spot issues before they become big headaches and fix them before they cause costly downtime.

Energy efficiency: Keeping track of air flow helps you use energy more efficiently, reducing waste and lowering those energy bills. It’s a win-win!

Process efficiency: Measuring air flow helps to detect any changes or issues early on, making it easier to fine-tune processes and avoid costly downtime.

Energy savings: By keeping an eye on air flow rates, you can optimize energy usage and minimize waste. This not only saves you money on energy bills, but also contributes to a more sustainable and eco-friendly operation.

Safety first: In any workplace, the safety of your team is the top priority. Monitoring air duct flow can help prevent accidents and ensure a healthier work environment by making sure there’s proper ventilation and that air quality stays in check.

Regulatory compliance: Industrial facilities often need to follow strict rules when it comes to emissions and air quality. Staying on top of your air duct flow means you’re in a better position to meet those regulations and avoid any penalties.

So, Keep an eye on that air flow, and your facility will be in great shape.

But this process of monitoring is not always easy. We will always encounter some special working conditions.

Harsh Industrial Conditions

Dealing with harsh industrial conditions can be a real challenge. These tough environments can put a lot of stress on your equipment, including air flow measurement instruments. Let’s break down some of the most common harsh conditions you might face:

Extreme temperatures:

Many air flow measurement instruments are designed to operate within a temperature range of -40 to 100°C.

However, in some industrial settings, temperatures can fall outside this range, demanding specialized solutions.

For example, when measuring high-temperature air at 500°C, you’ll need instruments specifically designed to withstand such extreme heat.

High humidity:

Humidity levels can vary greatly depending on the environment, with relative humidity often ranging from 20% to 90%.

Some air flow measurement instruments are designed to operate in high humidity conditions, but it’s important to check the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure they can handle the moisture levels in your particular setting.

High pressure:

Pressure ranges can vary significantly in industrial applications, with some processes requiring the measurement of air flow at pressures as high as 40 bar or even higher.

It’s crucial to choose instruments rated for the specific pressure conditions in your facility to ensure reliable and accurate measurements.

Dusty and corrosive environments:

Dust concentrations and corrosion levels can differ widely depending on the industry and environment.

For instance, dust levels in coal mines can reach 2 mg/m³ or higher, while chemical plants may have highly corrosive substances in the air.

It’s essential to select air flow measurement instruments designed to handle these specific challenges, with features like dustproof enclosures or corrosion-resistant materials.

By considering these figures and the specific conditions in your industrial setting, you can make informed decisions when selecting air flow measurement instruments that are up to the task. Remember, the right instruments will ensure accurate measurements and reliable performance, even in the most demanding environments.

Types of Air Flow Measurement Instruments

These handy gadgets measure air flow by detecting how fast the air is moving. You’ll find two main types: hot-wire anemometers that measure air speed based on heat transfer, and vane anemometers that use a spinning fan to determine air velocity.

But Anemometers are not suitable for harsh industrial measurement environments.

Annubar flow meter also known as flute-shaped constant velocity tube flow meter and Toba tube flow meter. Annubar flow meter is a differential pressure flow meter.

Annubar Flow Meter is a no-equal solution with a patented, averaging pitot tube that delivers superior measurement accuracy over a wide flow range. This flow meter can measure multiple variables and is engineered with an integrated thermowell for temperature measurement. Its patented T-shaped sensor is capable of obtaining measurements via a single pipe penetration while maintaining a small profile in the pipe to reduce permanent pressure loss and increase energy savings.

  • Suitable for measuring the flow of liquids, gases, and steam.
  • The maximum working temperature of 1300 ° C (with appropriate materials and mounting parts).
  • The highest working pressure up to 400Bar (40MPa)

Therefore, in the case of high temperature and high pressure, or large-diameter pipelines, we recommend considering Annubar differential pressure flowmeters.

Read more about: Working principle of Annubar flow meter

Imagine a flat plate with a hole in the middle – that’s an orifice plate! By placing it in a pipe or duct, you create a pressure drop as the air flows through the hole. This pressure difference can be used to work out the flow rate. Read more about: What Is Integral Orifice Plate?

Venturi flow meter is a flow measurement method based on the principle of differential pressure. Commonly used to measure the flow of fluids such as air, natural gas, coal gas, and water. In the standard throttling device, the upstream and downstream straight pipe sections required by it are short. The lasting pressure loss is small, the performance is stable, and the maintenance is convenient.

Read more about: Classic venturi flowmeter structure

As air flows past a small obstruction, it creates swirling vortices. These meters measure the frequency of the vortices, which is directly related to the flow rate.

The vortex flowmeter is a volume flow meter that measures the volume flow of gas, steam, or liquid, the volume flow of standard conditions, or the mass flow of gas, steam, or liquid-based on the Karman vortex principle. When the fluid flows through the dust collector rod of the vortex flowmeter, a vortex is formed. The frequency of vortex shedding is proportional to the fluid velocity. Temperature and pressure compensation can be configured.

Read More about: Vortex Flow Meter Working Principle

These high-tech devices measure air flow based on heat transfer. By heating an element and measuring how much heat is carried away by the air flow, these meters can accurately determine the flow rate.

Read more about: Thermal mass flow meter advantages and disadvantages

Case Studies

One of our old customers needs to measure the hot air flow of 2500mm large-diameter pipes. The key is that the temperature is around 800°C. Therefore, under comprehensive consideration, we configured an Annubar flowmeter for him.

Type: Annubar

  • Insert installation
  • 316 stainless steel
  • With three valve block;
  • Hot air from the kiln
  • Air composition and proportions: gaseous carbon dioxide, gaseous sulphur and arsenic
  • Working pressure range: <10bar
  • Nominal pressure: about 4bar
  • Maximum flow range: 0-80000 m³/h
  • Temperature: 800°C
  • Pipe diameter: 2500mm
  • 4~20mA output

At the same time, a high-temperature differential pressure transmitter and a flow totalizer are configured.

And high temperature pressure transmitters for pressure monitoring of air pipelines.

SI-2088 High Temperature Pressure Sensor

  • Pressure Range: -1bar to 10bar.
  • Temperature: 800℃
  • M20*1.5
  • 4-20mA output


There are several instruments that can measure air flow, including anemometers, Pitot tubes, orifice plates, Venturi tubes, flow nozzles, vortex flow meters, and thermal mass flow meters. Each instrument has its own unique method for measuring air flow and is suitable for different applications and conditions.

To measure air flow rate, you can use one of the air flow measurement instruments mentioned above. The choice of instrument depends on the specific requirements of your application, such as accuracy, range, sensitivity, and environmental conditions. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation, calibration, and use to ensure accurate and reliable measurements.

In a duct, common instruments used to measure air flow include anemometers, Pitot tubes, and thermal mass flow meters. Anemometers are widely used due to their versatility and ease of use, while Pitot tubes and thermal mass flow meters offer more specialized solutions for certain applications. The choice of instrument will depend on factors like accuracy, response time, and the environmental conditions in your facility.

Anemometers, especially vane anemometers, are commonly used to measure air flow in terms of cubic feet per minute (CFM). These devices measure air velocity, which can then be multiplied by the cross-sectional area of the duct or pipe to calculate the air flow in CFM. Other instruments like Pitot tubes, orifice plates, and Venturi tubes can also be used to measure CFM, depending on the specific application and conditions.

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In conclusion, accurate and reliable air flow measurement is crucial for maintaining process efficiency, energy savings, environmental compliance, and ensuring the health and safety of workers in industrial settings. With a variety of air flow measurement instruments available, it’s essential to select the right one based on your specific needs and the environmental conditions of your facility.

If you’re looking for a professional flow meter supplier with years of experience, look no further than Sino-Inst. As a trusted provider of high-quality flow measurement solutions, they have the expertise and product range to help you find the perfect instrument for your application. Whether it’s an anemometer, Pitot tube, or one of their other innovative flow meters, you can rely on Sino-Inst to deliver reliable, accurate, and long-lasting solutions for your air flow measurement needs. Make the smart choice for your industrial air flow measurement with Sino-Inst today!

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About KimGuo11

Wu Peng, born in 1980, is a highly respected and accomplished male engineer with extensive experience in the field of automation. With over 20 years of industry experience, Wu has made significant contributions to both academia and engineering projects. Throughout his career, Wu Peng has participated in numerous national and international engineering projects. Some of his most notable projects include the development of an intelligent control system for oil refineries, the design of a cutting-edge distributed control system for petrochemical plants, and the optimization of control algorithms for natural gas pipelines.