It is hard to overestimate the role of flow meters in modern industrial society; it has significantly increased recently due to the need for saving and rational use of continuously appreciating energy and water resources throughout the world. Flow meters enable automated process control and optimization of operating conditions in almost every industry. Contemporary requirements for flow meters include high precision of measurement, reliability, fast response, large measurement range (Qmax/Qmin), ability to measure under extreme conditions (within temperature range from –220 to 600 °C), readings stability, low power consumption, etc. These requirements are completely met by ultrasonic method, which has become widespread over the last years, due to the immanent physical measurement principle and specific features that allow to use ultrasound for non-contact measurements in corrosive and explosive environments. Another important advantage of ultrasonic flow meters over the other types is that they make it possible to obtain some additional information on the physical and chemical parameters of measurement medium and flow, through indirect calculations. The paper provides an example of practical implementation of built-in self-diagnostics system for UFG ultrasonic flow meter. This system is fully compliant with the requirements of GOST 8.611–2013, which includes monitoring the signal amplification level, signal quality, signal-to-noise ratio, monitoring the ratio between the gas velocity through acoustic channels to average gas velocity in flow transducer, as well as sound velocity. The diagnostic system has been repeatedly tested in actual operating conditions and has also other benefits, such as control of electronic unit status and flow properties (profile, symmetry, turbulence evaluation), informativeness, records archiving, and an intuitive user-friendly interface. Some perspective directions for the further development of ultrasonic flow meters are described. They include density and viscosity calculations and acoustic estimation of measurement medium composition, in order to obtain information on the energy value of energy carriers.
Keywords: ENERGY CARRIER, FLOW METER, ULTRASONIC METHOD, DIAGNOSTIC SYSTEM, SOUND VELOCITY, DENSITY, COMPOSITION.