Flow Sensors use thermal dispersion technology.

Press Release Summary:

Series 180 Flow Sensors, with no moving parts, provide switching, alarming, rate metering, and totalizing of air, gases, or liquids. Line sizes from 0.25-6 in. are supported. Thermowell-mounted, platinum RTD sensors prevent contamination by process fluid. Mean time between failure exceeds 60,000 hr. Applications include fuel and air feed lines, additive dispensing control, oil and lubricant circulation, pump protection circuits, cooling system controls, and over/under flow limit switches.

Original Press Release:

New Advanced OEM Flow Sensor Family Offers Exceptional Range, Accuracy and Reliability in Air, Gas, or Liquids

Ideal For Boiler Systems, Burners & Industrial Furnaces, Chillers, Air & Gas Compressors, Blowers & Dryers, Co-Gen Power Generators and Much More

San Marcos, CA-March 4, 2004-Now designers of industrial machinery and equipment can improve flow and level sensing performance while gaining reliability and meeting product cost reduction goals with the new 180 Series OEM Flow Sensors from Fluid Components International (FCI). The 180 Series is a family of economical flow and level sensors that offers superior accuracy, fast response and long-term reliability using FCI's thermal dispersion sensor technology to fit a wide range of OEM applications.

Designed for use in equipment or machinery that requires flow or level sensing as part of its control system loop or as part of its operating system, the new-generation 180 Series OEM Flow Sensors provide switching, alarming, rate metering and totalizing of air, gases or liquids. These sensors are ideal for fuel and air feed lines, additive dispensing control, oil and lubricant circulation, pump protection circuits, cooling system controls, over/under flow limit switches and more.

Supporting line sizes from 0.25 to 6 inches (6 to 130 mm), the 180 Series OEM Flow Sensors are ideal when embedded in new product designs, offered as optional upgrades or as replacements to existing sensors. They feature FCI's precision thermal dispersion sensing technology, which has proven itself in hundreds-of-thousands of process and industrial end-user applications worldwide for over 40 years. These sensors combine wide flow and turndown ranges with high accuracy and repeatability to achieve dependable operation in a broad range of applications and conditions.

Unlike mechanical rotary, float or orifice plate sensors that frequently breakdown or clog, the180 Series features a no-moving parts, minimally invasive sensor design that is virtually maintenance-free. Its two platinum RTD sensors are mounted in miniature thermowells, which are fully sealed to avoid contamination by the process fluid.

With a mean time between failure (MTBF) rating calculated to exceed 60,000 hours of service, the 180 Series delivers unmatched reliability and long-life that will minimize maintenance costs and increase customer satisfaction.

Its miniature sensor design ensures both fast-response and superior repeatability under all process conditions. Additionally, because there is minimal pressure drop, 180 Series OEMs will save cost and increase their equipment's efficiency by not having to boost line pressure to achieve needed flow rates.

. Over 30 different standard designs are available or FCI will create custom designs to any OEM specifications.

FCI can engineer custom flow or level sensors to meet requirements for any process media, line size, installation environment, temperature, pressure, calibration and output signals. Various sensor designs comply with industry standards, including UL, CE, FM, ATEX, CSA and more. FCI is a registered and certified ISO9001 manufacturer.

FCI maintains its own world-class, NIST traceable, precision flow calibration facility that provides total accuracy and performance assurance for all of its products. This industry unique, extensive laboratory supports design validation testing as well as calibration of production products for virtually all gas and liquid media in pipe sizes from 0.25 to 36 inches. The systems accommodate flow rates from 0.01 to 3700 SCFM (0.02 to 6300 NCMH) over various pressures from 0 to 1000 psig (0 to 69 bar) and temperature conditions from -50 to 1000ºF (-46 to 538ºC). FCI's actual media calibration of its flow sensors ensures delivered products meet their accuracy and total product operation specifications.

Fluid Components International is a global company committed to meeting the needs of its customers through innovative solutions to the most challenging requirements for sensing, measuring and controlling air, gas, liquid, flow, level and temperature.

Product Information Contact: FCI: 1755 La Costa Meadows Dr, San Marcos, CA 92069 Web: www.fluidcomponents.com Tel: 800-863-8703 Tel: 760-744-6950 Fax: 760-736-6250

Flow Sensor Technology White Paper


The efficient operation of equipment in modern materials processing and discrete manufacturing plants often depends on the accurate flow sensing measurement of gases, liquids and slurries. Accurate air flow measurement, for example, in OEM equipment such as boilers and burners is not only critical to achieving the necessary temperatures for operation, but also to operate as efficiently as possible and reduce energy consumption, pollution and cost.

Typical Applications

Air Compressors. Many manufacturing plants depend on compressed air for aeration mixing and powering pneumatic equipment in assembly processes. Thermal flow sensors embedded within a process control loop, at main distribution points and point-of-use help ensure the compressors provide only the necessary and optimum amount of air and trap leaks. These sensors provide both a highly reliable and consistent air flow while minimizing energy costs.

Gas Compressors. In food processing plants where liquid nitrogen is used in cooling systems, thermal sensors measure Nitrogen flow to ensure the right amount of gas is used to ensure process quality. Similar applications for flow sensors are found in large commercial ammonia refrigeration systems. In both applications, the wide turndown ratios (100:1), low flow sensitivity and negligible pressure drop, make thermal flow sensors an ideal solution.

Pump Protection Circuits. Pumps are expensive and can be maintenance intensive if they are allowed to run dry, causing excessive wear to the pump components. Thermal flow sensors added in a control loop or alarm system help ensure that pumps never run dry or achieve a graceful shutdown should the process media stop flowing for any reason. The sealed design of thermal flow sensors eliminates all contact with the process media to prevent contamination, and they are suitable for use in both liquids and slurries due to their no-clog sensor head.

Additive Dispensing Control. In pharmaceuticals processing, highly accurate thermal flow sensors within pumps support liquid additive dispensing. The precise measurement of additive flow helps ensure batch control quality essential in the pharmaceuticals industry. Designed to support line sizes down to 0.25 inches (6mm), these flow sensors are also suitable for prototyping and laboratory applications as well.

Thermal Flow Sensing

With their accuracy, excellent repeatability, and rugged construction, thermal dispersion flow sensors offer superior performance, reliability, long life, and low maintenance. They are simple to install and offer a lowest total cost and longest life-cycle solution in embedded OEM equipment flow sensor applications. In comparison to mechanical rotary, float or orifice plates, the no-moving parts design of FCI's thermal flow sensors eliminates clogging and sensor breakage requiring maintenance and replacement.

In comparison, FCI's thermal flow sensing element contains two thermowell-protected Resistance Temperature Detectors (platinum RTDs). One RTD is heated and the other RTD senses the gas or fluid temperature. The temperature difference between the two RTDs relates to the fluid flow rate. They provide a true mass flow analog output (without pressure or temperature transducers), as well as temperature, totalizing and alarm outputs. The result is high accuracy, with the sensors never coming into contact with the fluid being measured. These sensors are simple to install, making them minimally invasive, which reduces pressure-drop as well.

Background In Brief


With the introduction of FCI's first flow switch in 1964, the company set the industry standard in thermal mass flow sensing. FCI's instruments today support the full range of liquid, gas and slurry flow/level measurement needs within industries that include: aerospace, chemical processing, electric power generation, food/beverage, OEM equipment, oil/gas, pharmaceuticals, pulp/paper and water/waste treatment.

Engineering, Research and Development

FCI's extensive cache of patented flow sensing technologies and applications research have led it to a string of industry-leading breakthrough flow/level sensors, switches and meters. FCI's advanced sensors now include self-heated and discretely heated RTD's that operate on constant power, constant current, constant voltage and pulsing technologies.


FCI's modern manufacturing facilities include a wide range of sophisticated equipment and a highly trained work force. The company's fully equipped machine shop, for example, provides expert-welding personnel qualified in ASME Section 9 requirements. To ensure performance and reliability, all electronic circuitry undergoes an extended burn-in period, and each unit is tested at critical steps within the assembly process.


The company's quality systems meet MIL-STD-45662A, ANSI/NCSL Z-540 and ISO EN17025. Within FCI's onsite Flow Calibration Laboratory, sensor calibrations are performed by FCI technicians in liquids or gases utilizing only N.I.S.T. traceable equipment and instrumentation.

Sales, Training & Service

With sales and service representatives located worldwide, FCI offers 24-x-7 technical assistance and support. Headquartered in San Marcos, California, FCI is near San Diego's high-tech and biomedical industrial centers, with excellent airport, freeway and sea transportation. The company's Customer Product Knowledge Workshop Series provides advanced customer training in the application of flow instrumentation to meet their process and discrete equipment requirements

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