Even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, WIKA was able to ramp up production of components for medical equipment and custom manufacture a 106-inch Venturi tube for a refinery customer.
In the first few months of the global pandemic, WIKA’s facilities saw significantly heavier activity as they manufactured all the additional components needed for life-saving ventilators and oxygen distribution systems. But even with these expedited orders, other customers still received personalized attention, including a job WIKA dubbed “the big boy.”
Challenge 1: Custom-engineering an oversized Venturi tube
A long-time refinery customer required a device to measure airflow at one of its hydrocracking units in western Russia. Since the instrument was to do the double duty of air intake as well as airflow measurement, it needed to be very large.
Our flow specialists surveyed the site and decided that the FLC-VT-WS Venturi tube was the best option for the job. This primary flow element usually has a diameter of 6 to 24 inches (15 to 61 cm), but in order to serve as the burner’s air intake supply, it needed to be 106 inches (270 cm) wide – more than four times the largest standard size.
This was not the first time WIKA has made such an enormous flow meter, though. In 2000, we manufactured one that was 120 inches in diameter for a refinery in Saudi Arabia.
Construction began in WIKA’s Cremona (Italy) facility, Euromisure, in late 2019. Manufacturing required welded sheets of 0.4″ (10 mm) carbon steel, and plenty of them. One challenge was to make sure the tube was perfectly symmetrical and rigid while minimizing its final weight.
Challenge 2: Manufacturing during a global pandemic
Several weeks into production, the pandemic spread across the globe, and Italy was one of the earliest and hardest-hit countries. Shortly afterwards, this facility received large orders of flow components for medical-gas equipment. To meet those urgent needs, as well as to finish the “big boy,” WIKA employees adjusted assembly lines and worked around the clock.
With everyone’s hard work and dedication, WIKA was able to fulfill both the medically urgent orders and this custom job, which was completed in April. After adding stiffening ribs and rings for extra durability and rigidity, the custom-built Venturi tube totaled about 13,250 pounds (6,000 kg) and measured 45 feet (13.6 m) in length. The delivery from northern Italy to western Russia took two weeks, and this enormous flow meter is now up and running perfectly in Tatarstan.
Standard and Custom Venturi Tubes by WIKA
A Venturi tube is an affordable and practical option for measuring flow at such large diameters because it has no moving or electrical parts; thus, no maintenance is necessary. The FLC-VT-WS also has the lowest pressure loss in the family of primary flow elements, and features long-term performance reliability. With an accuracy of ≤ ±0.5% of actual flow rate and a repeatability of 0.1%, this differential pressure flow meter was perfect instrument for the job.
WIKA is a world leader in the design and manufacturing of measuring instrumentation, and we go out of our way to satisfy clients with personalized service/products and on-time delivery. Our flow products are made in the U.S., Italy, or India, and then carefully transported to your facility after obtaining all the necessary permissions. For all your flow measurement and monitoring needs, contact the flow specialists at WIKA USA.
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