The recent rise in oil and diesel prices has significantly increased the demand for reliable and accurate measurements of fuel consumption and hydraulic oil flow within the road transport and transportation sectors.
This is easier said than done; as a rule; fuel consumption and engine efficiency are rarely monitored, diesel engines are checked based on engine test data from the manufacturer, but are rarely re-checked. Vehicle manufacturers invest a lot of time and effort in estimating engine consumption data. These tests are usually conducted using expensive dynamometers and very advanced mobile settings, which is good for manufacturers but inappropriate and very expensive for general use. The in-vehicle fuel gauge will measure the remaining fuel in the tank, but not the engine fuel consumption.
Positive displacement flow measuring instruments, for example oval gear flow meters, offer a solution for accurate and cost-effective measurement of fuel consumption. Therefore, the results may differ due to the accuracy of the flow meter, and there is a possibility of inaccurate measurements caused by other factors. One such factor would be an increase in the return fuel temperature which will affect the density and viscosity of the diesel; in the case of poorly maintained engines, combustion gases or air may also be present. A small increase in temperature can make engines look extremely efficient as seemingly more fuel is returned to the tank and less is consumed. A change in density can cause a volume change of 1% if the return diesel in the region is 25 ° C higher than the fuel in the tank.
Choosing the right streaming computer is extremely important. It must have linearization of the flow meter on both channels and be able to carry out density corrections using predetermined physical properties of the fuel as well as flow temperature and fuel return readings. Ideally, flow sensors should be highly repeatable (better than ± 0.1%) of the flow shift model. Provided that the flow sensors have the required level of repeatability, integral temperature measurement, density and temperature correction of the flow meter – the operator will get an accurate result.
As already mentioned, if the engine is malfunctioning, the return line may contain a quantity of gas that would increase the apparent volume of the return flow. An installed and properly monitored engine flow measurement system can provide an effective indicator of engine failure or other fuel system malfunctions. Therefore, although the installation of a fuel flow measurement system is not an easy task, it is possible provided that the operator takes into account all flow parameters.
Virgin Atlantic Challenger II approached Titan Enterprises back in 1986 to find an instrument to measure their fuel consumption for an attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean Blue Riband. The level of allowable pressure drop was extremely limited if they wanted to maximize the performance of their engine. Their calculations showed that the venturi gauge would meet their needs in terms of pressure loss; however, the dynamic flow range would not be sufficient for the total fuel consumption of the engine. The Titan Enterprise’s solution was to insert one of its Pelton wheels to act effectively as an underwater wheel in the venturi opening; this clever idea gave the team an acceptable level of total pressure loss as well as superior linearity. The Virgin Atlantic Challenger II broke the record held by the SS United States overseas ship since 1952.
Back in 2014, the Formula 1 racing team asked Titan to design several custom flow meters. The first to enable them to obtain direct data on fuel and engine flow; for this Titan has developed an ultra-light oval gear gauge, which can be safely installed in a fuel tank immersed in fuel.
Formula 1 cars usually run without a cooling fan, so a flow meter with an accuracy of 200oC and without improvised pressure drops is required to obtain accurate oil flow data. Using the extremely low pressure drop of its oval gear design, Titan has managed to create a flow meter of 200 ° C, 50 L / minute with a pressure drop of less than 100 bar, using an oval gear adapted for this application. Despite the extreme conditions you would encounter in such a specialized application, both unique designs provided reliable and accurate data.
Titan prides itself on its extensive knowledge and experience that has enabled them to work with their OEMs to provide accurate results for all modes of transportation, from microwaves through trains to race cars.