Sensors

Flow sensors expanded with thermal flow switch

18th February 2020
Alex Lynn

SICK has extended its portfolio of industrial instruments with the SICK T-Easic FTS, a thermal flow switch designed as an easy, cost-saving answer to detecting liquid flow in pipes, for example in pumps, machine tool lubrication or industrial cleaning systems.

Combining both flow and temperature measurement in one IO-Link enabled sensor, the SICK T-Easic is available in a choice of IP67 industrial or IP69 hygienic stainless-steel versions. Ideal for use with water or oil-based liquids, the T-Easic can be set up to work with almost any media and is suitable for use with process temperatures between -40 and +150°C and pressures up to 100 bar.

It is therefore a versatile instrument that can be put to work monitoring coolants and lubricants in machine tools, for oil management in hydraulic systems, or for run protection of pumps. It is also ideal for use with Clean-in-Place and Sterilise-in-Place systems in food processing, bottling and pharmaceutical industries.

With probe lengths of 60mm, 100mm and 200mm, the SICK T-Easic can be inserted in pipes from 25mm right up to 400mm in diameter. Unlike many other thermal flow switches, the industrial version with robust VISTAL housing features a clear OLED 180° rotatable display, making it easy to read when mounted vertically in a pipe or vessel.

“The new SICK T-Easic combines economy and ease of use for essential liquid flow detection and measurement duties, such as protecting pumps from running dry, which could otherwise cause costly damage and downtime to pump and process machinery,” said Darren Pratt, SICK’s UK Product Manager for Industrial Instrumentation.

“The sensor’s compression mounting adapter; reduced wiring thanks to IO-Link; easy set-up, and a low-maintenance, wear-free design, all combine to make the T-Easic an economical choice for new machinery or as a versatile replacement device to reduce inventories.”

With two digital outputs, the sensor monitors measured flow and temperature values and sends a signal to the higher-level machine control when either the high or low switch points are exceeded. On the industrial version the switch points can be adjusted via the onboard display. The measured flow rate and temperature values, as well as diagnostic data are available via the IO-Link interface. 

The sensors are easy to set up with a PC or HMI via IO-Link or using SICK’s SOPAS engineering tool. While factory calibrated values are pre-set for water and oil-based media, nearly any liquid can be taught-in quickly and easily, and device replacement is simple.

The SICK T-Easic FTS thermal flow switch measures flow and temperature using the calorimetric measurement principle. The T-Easic probe is heated and when liquid flows past the probe, it cools more quickly or slowly depending on the flow speed. 

In order to restore the temperature difference between the probe and the liquid, a temperature sensor in the probe automatically adjusts the power provided to the heating element. The required heating power is proportional to the flow, therefore providing the measured value.

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