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Efficient flow measurement of viscous products

The flow measurement of viscous media like glue has historically been a sticky subject. Magflow meters present one obvious option but are difficult to clean and prone to breakages. Coriolis meters are another option, albeit a costly, heavy and unwieldy one.

It can also generate large back pressures, which you don’t get with 8098 FLOWave as its just a tube. This is where Bürkert’s compact FLOWave flowmeter presents a uniquely more efficient and cost-effective viscosity measurement alternative. Mark Lilley, Field Segment Manager .hygienic – Food and Beverage at Bürkert explains the features and benefits that give FLOWave the edge over traditional flowmeters that would otherwise come unstuck.

Measurement of viscous products with the Bürkert FLOWave

With the Bürkert FLOWave flowmeter, nothing protrudes into the tube. It’s simply a stainless steel tube, which makes it very cleanable and hygienic. Because we’re not reliant on actual flow measurement of the product, we’re using the density factor and acoustic transmissioning to measure the flow. This means that you can put some very viscous materials through FLOWave and afterwards it’s still very cleanable.

It can also be used to measure the concentration of bubbles or solids in a fluid using the acoustic transmission factor

Glue is the most viscous thing that we have going through FLOWave for measuring. Typically, it’s difficult to measure the flow of viscous products like glue. Obviously, it tends to stick to things and you also have the problem of how to measure it. You could use a magflow meter but then some of these products have very low conductivity, so you then struggle to measure it with a magflow device. Also, how do clean something that has a magwheel in it, for example? You really can’t. If something’s too viscous, then the media can start pulling the magwheel off.

FLOWave removes all of these headaches in one incredibly innovative device. FLOWave is a relatively small device that provides accuracy, ease of cleaning, no pressure drop and quicker response, as well as better repeatability, reliability and robustness. Cost-wise, it is also very competitive – especially compared to a Coriolis flowmeter.

How to measure viscous products and carry out CIP cleaning

Typically, glue manufacturers would measure the weight of the glue because they wouldn’t be able to measure its flow. This is because they wouldn’t normally have another device that could perform this function. From that perspective FLOWave can be used in applications where you wouldn’t normally be able to use a flowmeter. It can also be used in applications requiring the top end of hygiene.

FLOWave is simply a piece of pipe that you can clean normally using CIP solution. So, when the next glue comes through, perhaps a different type, it won’t be contaminated by the previous product that went through there. Assuming they have a cleaning regime that cleans their pipes out, manufacturers can use it on the FLOWave with confidence.

Bürkert FLOWave presents compact alternative to Coriolis

Initially at launch, FLOWave featured an inlet pipe length of 40 DNs, which is 40 times the pipe diameter. That was impractical and is something that we’ve addressed with ensuing models. Now we’ve also developed a teaching device within FLOWave that allows you to change the K factor. This enables you to make calculations to take out any disturbances in the flow of the liquid coming in.

These things make it a lot more feasible to go out into other markets and applications. Whether it be on CIP skids, which are typically quite small and therefore you don’t have huge amounts of pipework on it, or into difficult situations. Plus, because it is a small device we can get it into locations that you just wouldn’t normally get a Coriolis machine into.

The size difference between FLOWave and a Coriolis flowmeter is also huge. FLOWave is probably a third of the size of a Coriolis flowmeter and at least a third of the weight. Plus, you get bends in the pipework with some Coriolis flowmeters, which means they’re not easily drainable and therefore difficult to clean. Again, with FLOWave’s straight pipe this isn’t an issue.

This is why we have seen a lot of interest in FLOWave and we expect this trend to continue as more and more manufacturers become aware of its benefits.

For more information about the FLOWave flowmeter, or to discuss your application requirements in more detail, please contact our sales team today on +44 (0) 1285 648 720 or email

Type 8098

FLOWave SAW flowmeter

Type 8098
  • No obstacles inside the measuring tube, compact, lightweight and low energy consumption
  • Conforms to hygienic requirements, CIP/SIP compatible
  • Ideal for liquids with low or no conductivity
  • Digital communication, parameterisation via Communicator, display
  • Optional: ATEX/IECEx certification, II 3G/D