Anyone who works with electronic instruments understands the problem. Manufacturers have a tendency to provide their devices for operation, start-up and maintenance with ever more keys, switches and menu levels, often at the expense of clarity and user friendliness. The operating principle chosen for Lutz flow meters shows that there is always another option.
Author Stefan Bartosch Marketing-Communication, Lutz Pumpen
Today’s flow meters are genuine all-rounders. In addition to precise measurement of the flow rate, extensive diagnostic and communication functions are top of every operator’s list of priorities. This diversity has its price, however. Some functions are embedded in complex menu structures while complicated shortcuts are required for certain settings. Even users who do not actually need this multifunctionality risk getting lost. Many devices cannot be operated at all, or only with severe restrictions, without consulting the manual.
Several years ago, the entire telecoms and IT market was revolutionised by smartphones and tablets with a touch screen and graphical user interface. It is no wonder that these technologies also had a big influence on the design of intuitive operating concepts in other industries.
The development of Lutz flow meters therefore focused on ease of use without compromising functionality. The concept behind the new flow meter generation was driven by an ongoing market watch as well as practical experience with the proven predecessor system. Particular importance was attached to eliminating typical problem areas without unduly limiting the range of functions and applications.
Modular system with touchscreen
The outcome is a modular flow meter system with a touch screen and intuitive operation where users are not overwhelmed either by an inflexible key layout or by an overloaded display. On the contrary, they have no difficulty keeping track of events and retaining control over the multilingual, menu-driven panel. The entire screen area is available, enabling a much better overview when entering commands or visualising information. Only those control and display elements actually necessary for the current task are represented virtually. If a flow meter is operated manually without a relay module, the data and keys visible on the display are different compared to automatic filling with a preset volume.
Plain-text dialogues guide the user through all the necessary steps and settings – in German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch or Russian. The intuitive navigation concept with instructions, system messages and help texts means the manual can normally be dispensed with while the equipment is operating. Due to the simple calibration procedure based on reference measurements, the flow meter is ready to measure the volume manually or fill automatically in next to no time.
Optional safety and monitoring functions, e.g. overrun correction, flow control or fault detection guarantee reliable operation and high measuring accuracy.
Flexible to install
The modular concept enables easy adaptation to a wide range of measuring tasks and installation conditions. Components such as the basic flow meter, operating unit, relay module or power supply unit can be freely combined similar to Lego bricks thanks to the new interconnection system. Manual operation is just as straightforward as automated filling with presets. Each component can be integrated into the system quickly without any complicated rewiring owing to the non-reversible plug connectors. If the modules are installed separately, the data connection is achieved using protective covers, data lines and pulse converters. Communication via the internal data bus guarantees safe and reliable operation up to a distance of 500 m. If the device is operated on the mains, the illuminated display is clearly legible even if the lighting conditions are poor.
The KM10 communication module with different interfaces for connecting external control and warning devices as well as external control systems – has just made its début. The signal which appears at analogue output varies between a defined minimum and maximum proportionally to the flow rate. This signal can be evaluated for external measurement and control purposes. Either a current (0/4 to 20 mA) or a voltage (0 to 10 V) signal is used here, depending on the setting. A digital pulse output supplies a pulse equivalent to the applied signal voltage to external analysers. A floating contact (pushbutton, relay) can be connected to the digital input to enable the filling process to be externally controlled. If an error occurs in the flow meter system, the alarm output switches an applied signal voltage to an external control unit or a visual/acoustic warning device on request.
The advantages of the flow meters can be summarised as follows:
- Touch screen display
- Multilingual menus
- Plain-text operation and visualisation
- Integrated help function
- Safety and monitoring functions
- Non-reversible plug connections
- Simple installation and start-up
- External control and data evaluation via standard interfaces
Wide range of applications
Lutz flow meters in a metal or plastic housing work according to the displacement principle and are suitable for measuring the flow rate of acids and alkalis, chemical solutions, mineral oil and petrochemical products, solvents and fuels, raw materials for foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. The nutating disc flow meters in the TS series are ideal for neutral, aggressive, inflammable or viscous media while the oval gear flow meters in the HDO series are also appropriate for highly viscous substances, high flow rates and high system pressures. All explosion-proof devices are tested and approved according to Atex 94/9/EC. The range of applications extends from mobile operation with a drum and container pump in non-stationary vessels to demanding measurement and control processes in stationary plants.
Hall 6, Booth 426