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Using a MFM and PC as an alternative to traditional pin gauge testing

Monday, January 23, 2023

In this article we explain the thoughts behind moving from pin gauge operations to instead using an Alicat M series mass flowmeter (MFM) and an Alicat electronic pressure controller (PC series).

Outlining the issue of the traditional pin gauge method

A client decided to research and develop a go and no-go system – testing the size of small holes. This system was specifically built for checking the space of female fittings and making sure they correctly engage with the intended male fitting.

Before considering the newer method of using a MFM and EPC, they were using the traditional method of pin gauges. The challenges with using the traditional method are that they are somewhat unreliable and slow. This provided a perfect application to test our said alternative.

How using a pressure controller and mass flow meter provides better accuracy

When engineering the solution, the team agreed that a gauge pressure controller paired with a MFM would be best suited to achieve this. The PC series is used to supply a steady pressure with a +/-0.08% of full scale repeatability, while the meter is used to confirm the mass flow rate.

With how this setup is, any changes to the internal space of the fittings is directly proportional to any changes to the flow rate measured. Meaning that if there was a 5% decrease in the internal space of the fitting then the flow rate would show a 5% decrease as well.

The tolerance test results met the criteria

Once the PC and MFM had been received, the client needed to test the set up to confirm that the Mass flow responded to the no-go and had acceptable tolerances of their products.

Once documented, and a few more tests ran to confirm that all parts were within specification and logging the results. And comparing these results with the results provided by the traditional pin gauge method – it was found the pass and fails shared the same tolerance.

They are now able to check the female and male fittings with better accuracy and faster than before.

View our product range of mass flow meters and pressure controllers

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If you have any questions about the above test or possibly a question more specific to your application, please contact our friendly team of engineers.