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Electronic Design to Control and Measure Fluid Flow

At Heber, clients often present us with challenges regarding the effective measurement and control of fluids. Depending on the nature of the client product, this might range from simply checking if a fluid is flowing or static, to accurately measuring the dynamic flow rate and reacting to changes as quickly as possible. Longer term measurement and analysis to identify tiny anomalies may also be required.

Our long specialisation in the control of bathroom and kitchen applications, including showers, digital taps and domestic appliances, has enabled us to develop design capability and product solutions for other areas that rely on measurement and control of water flow.

For example, in the care market, accurate and fast flow measurement is critical to operations. Here we have higher requirements on the deviation of temperatures for the user as defined in care standards. For instantaneous showering or bathing applications the temperature may need to be accurate to 0.5 Degrees C and only deviate outside of the set value for a few seconds, even when water pressure fluctuates or the incoming water supply changes in temperature or flow rate.

Our capability and experience also allows us to measure flow, level or capacity of a fluid – often in a non-invasive manner – a key specialism at Heber. Non-invasive measurement can have significant benefits for appliances and products that have plastic containers for fluid storage, where it is not possible to have physical sensors or where holes in the container are not advisable.

Measuring flow or movement of fluids with non-invasive technologies can make fitting and use easier, both for end users and during the product manufacturing process. Being able to clip on a sensor to a fluid pipe without the need to cut or modify the existing install can reduce the chances of failure or down-time. Traditional flow meters often use a mechanical propeller inside the fluid to detect flow. With a non-invasive sensing method and no moving parts, reliability can be improved and sensing of very small micro-flow movements of the fluid can also be achieved. For example, Heber has recently used a non-invasive sensor for the detection of micro water leaks in a domestic plumbing system. This product was designed for consumer use, so needed to be easy to install by clipping it onto the incoming water pipe in the home. It also had to be capable of distinguishing between normal use and a small leak in the plumbing system, which can cause damage to the fabric of a building.

Handheld measurement, analysis and data logging is another growing area for portable device design and development. Heber’s experience in designing battery operated devices that can use low power levels to maintain a long life without the need to recharge or replace batteries is invaluable in this area. Custom sensing devices for fluids, temperature, magnetic levels, along with gas and other specialist analysis are all possible as a hand-held device, even as a module to plug-in to your Smartphone or tablet PC.

Heber’s capability and experience in design with multiple sensor types including flow, temperature, humidity, touch, ultrasonic, audio, tilt, gas and many more give us a unique insight into how to best solve your measurement and flow control issues.