Pressure gauges are a crucial piece of the industrial puzzle, yet they are often not managed in the most efficient way. Similar to valves, if you don’t use them correctly, there can be costly consequences.
Gauges are used to measure pressure in industries such as brewing, food processing, petrochemical extraction and refining, scientific applications, and many others.
This week we will be covering some ideas for how to choose and manage pressure gauges effectively.
Vibration is the number one thing you should protect your pressure gauge against. It should be noted that we are not speaking about “Good Vibrations” in this discussion. Sorry, Beach Boys.
Vibrations caused by pumps, motors, and other rotating equipment can cause excess wear and tear on pressure gauges.
If there is significant vibration it can make it challenging to read the gauge accurately even if the gauge is working properly. Bad vibrations can also damage the pointer mechanism in such a way that it moves the pointer off of zero which would then show inaccurate readings.
Exposure to continuous vibration is one of the most common causes of pressure gauge failure.
If you are going to be using a pressure gauge in an environment with a significant amount of vibration, then a liquid-filled or oil-filled pressure gauge would be the right choice. The liquid (typically glycerin or silicone oil) helps the internals avoid the effects of vibration as it dampens the vibration.
Bonus tip: To reduce the effects of vibration you can put a remote mounting on a nearby stationary object and connect the gauge to the piping through a capillary line.
Another factor that can harm pressure gauges is temperature. If the conditions are too hot or too cold then this can produce loss of containment and can cause the components to erode or break down.
In typical scenarios if the gauge is too hot to touch with your hand then it should not be kept in that environment or you should employ a remote mounting with a capillary line.
Another possible solution would be to use a pigtail or coil siphon. The siphon protects gauges by allowing condensate to form inside the pigtail of the siphon which keeps the hot media from harming the gauge.
Be sure that at the outset you select a gauge that is made for the temperature level that it will be operating in.
Additionally, if you use your gauges around water there is a potential that the gauges could burst if exposed to frost or become foggy due to condensation.
Be wary of the temperatures where your gauges are being used.
Pulsation is another factor that can harm pressure gauges. Pulsation is when over-pressure spikes occur on a regular basis.
One solution for this problem is to use a pressure snubber. Snubbers arrest rapid pressure fluctuation and spikes by slowing the maximum speed a substance can travel.
Snubbers also make gauges measuring quickly oscillating media more readable and less likely to suffer damage.
Additionally, if you know that the gauge will be facing pulsation it would be best to use the liquid filled gauge as the liquid will help to dampen the spikes and effects of pulsation.
An up close view of the porous disc type of snubber shows the sintered disc that filters and slows fluids and gasses.
Regular Inspection Can Save You Time and Money
As with valves, you should frequently inspect your pressure gauges. How often you check your gauges will depend on how severe the conditions are and how mission-critical the gauge and accuracy are.
Depending on these variables you should determine how often you will inspect the gauges and then be consistent.
If your pointer is behaving erratically and giving suspect readings, obviously you should go ahead and inspect it.
Pressure gauges play a key role in accurately providing valuable measurements. It is important to select the appropriate gauges in the beginning and maintain them well so that you can get the most out of them. In many situations the liquid-filled pressure gauge will be the best option. Head over to our store to view the different kinds we have.
Feel free to reach out to us if you have any additional questions or concerns about how to properly choose and use pressure gauges.