NewsSFC3000 Flow Computer

What Makes A Flow Computer The Brains Of Your System?

What Makes A Flow Computer The Brains Of Your System?

The SFC3000 is a very versatile flow computer, capable of operating in a stand-alone single stream flow measurement system, or as part of a highly complex multi-stream system.

The flow computer should be considered the “brains” of the flow measurement system and as such, requires a number of peripheral components to take measurements.

What are the minimum hardware requirements of a flow measurement system?

In its simplest form, a flow measurement system will consist of:

  • an SFC3000 flow computer with 1 I/O option board
  • a flow meter (turbine, ultrasonic, differential pressure or Coriolis)
  • a pressure sensor (HART or 4-20mA)
  • a temperature sensor (Hart, 4-20mA or PT100 Platinum Resistance Thermometer).

However, pressure and temperature sensors are not needed with a Coriolis flow meter, and additional pressure sensors are required for a differential pressure meter.

Turbine, ultrasonic and Coriolis flow meters can be connected using a pulse input, either as a single or dual pulse train. Alternatively, ultrasonic and Coriolis flow meters can be connected via the RS232/485 serial port available on each of the IO option boards.

In this basic configuration, calculations would be performed using preset gas data.

Flow computer configuration

Expanding on a one stream flow computer system

From the minimal flow measurement system described above, additional functionality can be enabled with the addition of extra hardware. Logged data can be stored internally or in the optional SD card. A density measurement cell can be connected to a pulse or 4-20mA input.

As the description suggests, the optional I/O boards also have output functionality to allow the control of, or information to be passed to, other parts of the system via pulse or status digital outputs and 4-20mA outputs.

With the addition of a communication board, gas data can be obtained from a gas chromatograph or other source via the serial or ethernet ports. Flow measurement data can also be passed to other systems via the communication board ports, such printers or DCS.

Multi-stream flow computer systems

With additional I/O option boards, the number of streams can be increased up to 5. While it is possible to have multiple streams on a single I/O board, fiscal flow measurements require one stream per board. If more than 5 streams are required these can spread over more than one flow computer and the data collated together using the supervisor features in the SFC3000 flow computer.

Other features available include; master meter, valve control, provers (for oil), grab samplers, redundancy and much more.

What do you need to know before requesting a flow measurement quotation?

There is a choice of 4 I/O option boards, each with a different emphasis, and 2 communication boards, 3 serial RS232/485 and either 1 or 2 ethernet.

If help is required when specifying a flow computer for quotation the following details will help select which option boards are needed:

  • Number of streams
  • Meter and connection type
  • Sensor type
  • Other inputs
  • Outputs
  • Communications connections, serial and ethernet

For oil applications a prover may be required, this will require an additional I/O board, either a digital 3000-304 or analogue 3000-306.

While this is not an exhaustive list of decisions that will need to be made to specify a system, these points will help decide the flow computer hardware specification.

Get more information on the specification of each of the flow computer option boards here.

Flow computer parts

Flow Computer Accessories

Ex~I Flow produces a range of accessories that can make building the SFC3000 flow computer into your system easier. These include free ended cable with crimp termination and DIN rail mounted screw terminal breakout modules.

Discover more about our flow measurement accessories and spares. Or for further details about the functionality of the SFC 3000 flow computer, get in touch with a member of our team today.