Badger Meter won Gold in the Testing and Monitoring category for its Dynasonics® TFX-5000 ultrasonic clamp-on meter, which measures volumetric flow and heating/cooling energy rates in clean liquids, as well as those with small amounts of suspended solids or aeration, such as surface water or raw sewage. The TFX-5000 meter is designed for users who require a high level of applicability, functionality, economy, and performance, said Cheryl Ades Anspach, senior product manager for Dynasonics, Badger Meter.
“Research on this product started about two years before development,” she said. “Our research included visits to customer sites, as well as interviews with people experienced in installing and setting up clamp-on ultrasonic meters, in order to identify areas for improvement. Some ideas were relatively easy to implement, while others required extensive research and design. Essentially, it was a case of customer needs driving innovation and design.”
The TFX-5000 ultrasonic meter can clamp onto the outside of pipes that are 48 inches or smaller. It does not contact the internal liquid, and the meter is available in two versions. The first is a flow meter for water delivery, sewage, cooling water, water-glycol mixtures, alcohols, and chemicals, and the second is a heating/cooling energy flow meter used in conjunction with dual clamp-on resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), which is ideal for hydronic process and HVAC applications. As a flow or energy meter that clamps on the outside of the pipe, the TFX-5000 meter can be installed by one person without ever shutting down the system.
Harry Herron, general manager of Pittsburgh Controls in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, appreciates the flexibility and quality of the TFX-5000 meter.
“This ultrasonic meter seems to work in any application we use it in,” he said. “With other meters we’ve used previously, we’ve had problems getting an ultrasonic reading. With the TFX-5000 meter, that doesn’t seem to be a problem — it enables us to do our jobs efficiently and effectively, saving on labor, troubleshooting, and trying to figure out why a meter might not be working.”
As a flow meter that records flow measurements and conditions, and a TFX-5000 meter logs up to eight readings or alarm conditions, such as high- or low-flow rate alarms, with time-date stamp. Up to 8 GB of data can be logged to a micro SD card in a readable format for Microsoft Excel, and users can review logs to troubleshoot closed or open loop systems. The TFX-5000 meter also offers easier wiring and checkout, said Ades Anspach.
“Its cover can be hinged open or completely removed to allow easier access to wiring in tight spaces,” she said. “The TFX-5000 meter also features resistors integrated on the main board, which eliminates sourcing and the installation of external resistors, such as RS-485 terminating resistors. Test modes for current and digital outputs also ensure the signals get through to building automation systems. In addition, a technician can easily program or add options during or after installation.”
Winning Silver is the Sprint Pro Combustion Analyzer from Crowcon Detection Instruments Ltd. Available in five models, these are more than just analyzers, as they combine flue gas analysis, ambient air monitoring, gas escape leak detection, and more. The full-color screen makes interpreting results easier than ever, and the large multi-function keypad makes operation simple, even with work gloves on.
“The Sprint Pro streamlines the service call process for the heating engineer through user-friendly operation, multi-function capability, and simplified versatile reporting,” said Louise Laing, vice president of North American sales at Crowcon Detection Instruments. “Rugged construction and advanced water damage protection minimize downtime. This, along with quick calibration and service turnaround, free first-year calibration, and a four-year warranty, results in a low cost of ownership and increased time on the job.”
These analyzers minimize tool count by combining flue gas analysis with leak detection and ambient air testing. The three-stage water trap system minimizes downtime and delays caused by permanent or temporary sensor damage due to water intake, which is the No. 1 cause of combustion analyzer downtime. The external reservoir shows the engineer when it needs to be emptied, and the analyzer self-purges when the device is switched off. Flexible communications (USB, Bluetooth, and IR) simplify the testing process, allowing for easy creation and delivery of professional tests.
Claiming Bronze is REFCO Manufacturing US Inc., for its REFMATE digital manifold, which combines the latest technology with an intuitive and easy-to-use interface that makes it easy for technicians to quickly analyze any air conditioning or refrigeration system.
The REFMATE was three years in the making and is used to analyze target subcooling and superheat in order to maximize the efficiencies of air conditioning and refrigeration systems, said Steven Secord, vice president at REFCO. Further, it captures, processes, and evaluates all collected information and transfers it to the REFMESH app, where a comprehensive report can be produced and shared with customers as evidence for the work conducted.
“We used survey questions, focus groups, and email blasts to harvest data to use in the design and manufacture of the REFMATE,” he said. “As a result, the REFMATE features an easy-to-read color display that can be used both digitally and analog. That way, if technicians have a preference for how they like to read their gauges, they have the choice. Basically, the digital manifold has everything technicians need for analyzing the system right on its screen.”
Technicians do not need to use an app to be able to use the REFMATE, which acts as the center of communication with a number of ancillary devices (e.g., scale, vacuum gauge, temperature clamps). While the app is available if they choose to use it, all devices can also be used standalone. A flexible power supply, which includes either AA batteries or a USB, means that technicians should never have to worry about having power during use.