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Impact Flow Meters and Bulk Slide Systems: What’s the Difference?

Impact flow meters and BulkSlide systems both record measurements in the vertical plane to continuously monitor bulk material flow. As much as these measurement systems have in common, it is important to note some key differences as well. Impact flow meters have been a popular choice to measure bulk material flow rates for decades. Sometimes called target plate weighing, these systems use impact force measurements to determine the amount of product traveling against the plate.More recently, a new flow meter style has gained popularity. Using a curved plate to guide the falling product, these systems measure the centripetal force of the impact to continuously monitor material flow. This is how Rice Lake’s BulkSlide flow meter measures material flow. While there are many similarities between impact flow meters and BulkSlide systems, there are also quite a few differences.

Impact Flow Meters

In an impact flow meter, product hits the force measurement plate while traveling through a guided chute. A load cell measures the force of falling material and a digital controller displays this force as kilograms or tons per hour.

Changes in material hardness and overall bulk weight can cause extreme deviations, resulting in inaccurate weight readings. These systems are best for measuring the flow rate of material with consistent size and hardness.

In general, a somewhat sticky material can be measured with an impact flow meter because it can help keep the impact area of the plate clean.

BulkSlide Systems

BulkSlide systems guide material through a chute that ensures product is traveling at the same speed as it impacts a curved plate. The centripetal force of material on the impact plate is measured to determine the flow rate in kilograms or tons per hour.

To be precisely measured, material measured in a BulkSlide must be free-flowing and not sticky. Changing material hardness and variable bulk weight has less influence on the measurement accuracy.

Bulk slide systems are low maintenance systems with very low power consumption. They are compact systems with relatively small installation dimensions and a simple calibration method. Material impacts the force plate at a low speed, resulting in minimal product wear. Finally, BulkSlides also have a stable zero point and are very precise (± 0.5%).

If a BlukSlide system is being used to measure abrasive substances, the plate should be made of Hardox® or coated with polyurethane or ceramic.

Choosing an Impact Flow Meter or a BulkSlide

While impact flow meters and BulkSlide systems are different, they work in a similar way and can be designed to be dustproof. Choosing the right system for your application can feel challenging but Rice Lake’s experts are available to help you understand what system is best for your needs.

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