Product Verification

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

UKAS accreditation praises performance of EPAT facility

The recent UKAS accreditation (calibration no. 0009) of NEL’s facilities highlighted the performance of the lab’s new Elevated Pressure and Temperature (EPAT) test facility.

“This was the first time the UKAS team had visited when the EPAT facility was operational over its full temperature and pressure range,” says Head of Test and Calibration, Phil Mark. “They spent a full day assessing the facility and were very impressed with its performance and its stability at the extremes of its operating range.”

The reassessment audit took place at the end of 2017 and looked at all aspects of NEL’s activity that fall under the ISO 17025 standard - the main ISO standard used by testing and calibration laboratories. The audit took four days and involved seven UKAS auditors.

“We have held accreditation to ISO 17025 for many years,” says Phil. “It is a fundamental requirement that underpins our work and allows us to deliver our services.  Our staff were available to help the UKAS team. In all, over 20 person-days went into the audit.”

The EPAT facility allows industry to match operating conditions that have been difficult to reproduce until now. The facility can calibrate flowmeters at temperatures between 20 °C and 80 °C, at flow rates between 0.5 – 100 l/s and at fluid pressures between 4 - 93 bar (g).

The facility is the first of its kind in the UK to offer meter calibrations at these elevated temperatures and pressures. It allows meter calibrations to take place at conditions that are close to those found in the field and so reduces metering uncertainties. It gives NEL’s industry clients confidence that the meters they have deployed in the field are reading accurately.

Since it was commissioned, the EPAT rig has been used for a wide variety work including the re-calibration of meters, product development work and research for the National Measurement System.

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the sole national accreditation body for the United Kingdom. UKAS is recognised by government, to assess organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services.

For more information, contact Phil Mark.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Meter tests highlight independence and impartiality

A recent project undertaken for a leading Middle East oil exploration and production company has highlighted NEL’s international credibility as an independent test facility. The company asked NEL to do a series of blind comparison tests on water cut meters sourced from several different manufacturers.

“They came to us because we are not linked to any commercial body and have the credibility to carry out tests impartially,” says Phil Mark, NEL’s Group Manager for Testing Services.

The tests were done using a test matrix developed by the client to mimic the harsh conditions its equipment experiences in use. The manufacturers of the meters under test were in attendance to set-up their equipment and provide technical support. To ensure that the test results were impartial, manufacturers were not aware of the composition of the fluids flowing through the test rig and were not allowed to adjust their meters while the tests were being run.

As part of the project, NEL was visited by the client’s Head of Production Measurement.  He was at NEL’s test facility in East Kilbride for a week and witnessed the whole test process.

“He was impressed by our capabilities to replicate extreme field conditions,” says Phil. “We also provided full flexibility in terms of the liquids used for the tests and were able to meet the client’s specific requirements for the water component of the test fluids.”

The client is now moving forward in partnership with NEL and is going to be trialing NEL’s MeterVue system. This allows clients to remotely view live video of calibrations and other projects.

For more details, contact Phil Mark.

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Friday, January 05, 2018

Engineering Doctorate research project makes breakthrough thanks to industry partnership

Research being carried out under the NEL/Coventry University EngD programme is developing a process that will improve the performance of Coriolis metering technology in real-world conditions. This breakthrough has been made possible thanks to an ongoing partnership with a leading meter manufacturer.

Over the past two years, Control Systems and Software Developer Gordon Lindsay has been researching how ambient air temperature fluctuations can distort the data output from Coriolis Flow Meters.

“Results obtained using our Very Low Flow single phase facility, have clearly shown significant drift in the calculated fluid density when a Coriolis meter is subjected to fluctuations in the temperature of surrounding ambient air,” Gordon says.

“Using the high-resolution data sets obtained from this test program, we’ve been developing a solution to live compensate for these ambient temperature effects,” he explains. “We have developed a set of intelligent temperature correction algorithms that account for a wide range of variables and work over a range of fluid types.”

According to Gordon, his link-up with an industrial partner has allowed him to gather significantly more data. “We were given access to the company’s meters and the internal calculations that underpin their operation,” he says. “This allowed us a deep understanding of the processes involved.”

The research is now moving into its final stage, which will include a programme of blind-testing. This will be done over 2018.

The research is specific to one type of Coriolis meter, but it could be extrapolated to other sizes and variants. The algorithms Gordon is developing will give end users confidence that the fluid density reported by a meter is stable and that the performance of any system relying on such a meter (such as a PID control system) will not be adversely affected when the ambient air temperature surrounding the meter varies. The potential cost savings that will result from more efficient control and monitoring of fluid processes are considerable.

The four-year Engineering Doctorate (EngD) that Gordon is following is supported by expertise from Coventry University and NEL.

For more details, contact Gordon Lindsay

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Myres Hill provides ideal wind conditions for Italian turbine test

A new wind turbine design from Italian company Tozzi Green is being tested at NEL’s Myers Hill site near East Kilbride. The research, which started in October, will continue for at least six months. Tozzi Green hopes that the tests will help the company break into the Japanese renewable energy market, where interest in wind power is growing, following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“This is the first time we have tested an Italian turbine,” says Leon Youngs, Business Leader for Mobile Testing Services. “We are conducting a full I.E.C. (International Electrotechnical Commission) test programme, that will cover the turbine’s acoustic, power and safety performance and its durability. The client will get monthly reports charting progress with the testing schedule.  They will also receive reports as we complete each main part of the test.”

According to Leon, Tozzi Green chose NEL to conduct the tests because the Myres Hill test site is almost unique in Europe in terms of the range of challenging weather conditions it provides. This is vital as the turbine must experience sustained winds of various speeds and high peak levels. The site also offers excellent security.

“The client plans to take our test reports to Japan and obtain ClassNK certification,” explains Leon. “This will allow them to sell directly into the Japanese market.”

The turbine under test is a three-blade, 20 kW design, that is marketed under the name Victory 20. It is of a type that can take advantage of the highest level of Japan’s feed-in tariff for renewable energy. According to the manufacturers, it offers exceptional levels of safety and silent operation. The turbine has active pitch control which optimises turbine performance, even under the most extreme operating conditions, thus reducing wind load on the blades and acting as an emergency brake.

Tozzi Green is a company that specialises in the generation of energy from renewable sources. It is an offshoot of Tozzi, which works in the Oil & Gas, Petrochemical and Energy fields.

For more details, contact Leon Youngs.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Analysis for Innovators fund supporting work on business-focused flow measurement research

A new funding programme set up to enhance business competitiveness and productivity is supporting a wide range of research projects, including two that relate to flow measurement. NEL is one of the partners in the funding programme and is working with the companies behind the two successful flow projects to take their ideas forward.

“The Analysis for Innovators programme is all about helping businesses to improve their performance through the use of advanced analytical technologies,” says Project Manager, David Learmonth. “We were involved in the initial briefing events and helped applicants develop their proposals. We are now providing practical assistance and consultancy expertise.”

The first of the two flow projects relates to the testing and modelling of a drug delivery system which utilises the perfusion process. NEL is working with the company behind the system to help it develop an uncertainty model. This will give confidence that the system can deliver the correct amount of the drug to patients.

The second project is being carried out by a company that is developing an innovative low-cost clamp-on multiphase meter. The company is in the process of developing a prototype which they will bring to NEL for testing.

The Analysis for Innovators programme is a one-off scheme offering R&D, expertise and facilities (worth up to £6.5 million) to UK companies that want to solve an analysis or measurement problem from within their existing business. It is a government funded programme run by Innovate UK.

Alongside NEL, the other programme partners are the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and LGC (formerly the Laboratory of the Government Chemist). All of these organisations are making their facilities available to successful applicants.

Analysis for Innovators opened in January 2017, however Innovate UK and KTN (Knowledge Transfer Network) ran a special series of roadshow events around the UK in last two months of 2016 to publicise and explain the programme. Over 90 projects were submitted for funding.

For more information, contact David Learmonth.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Case studies highlight how NEL is delivering direct benefits for industry

A portfolio of 30 new case studies will be uploaded over the next few weeks onto NEL’s website. These reviews are part of NEL’s ongoing knowledge transfer work and cover recent research and technical projects that has been undertaken in locations ranging from USA to UK to Australia.

“The case studies highlight the breadth of work our researchers and technicians have undertaken,” says Marketing Communications Executive, Marietta Hughes. “They show how the work delivers direct benefits to a diverse range of industries and how we help business, from multi-nationals to small-scale start-ups, enhance their performance and competitiveness. They also highlight the importance of NEL’s unique expertise and equipment, including our MeterVue web-based management system and our elevated pressure and temperature facility.”

The work covered by the case studies includes discrete one-off technical project as well as fundamental scientific research and standards development. For example, they detail how NEL has worked on behalf of industry to develop and evaluate innovative new technology and techniques, such as virtual metering and tomography-based multiphase flow visualisation.

The most ambitious work highlighted is NEL’s work to harmonise European multiphase laboratories, carried out with National Measurement Institutes, industry and academia. This is a multi-participant, multi-country initiative to establish a traceable measurement infrastructure that will underpin the future growth of multiphase flow measurement.

One key theme that links many of the case studies is the fact that NEL is helping companies to address the measurement challenges involved with the development of marginal and more complex oil fields. Projects in this area include research on the subsea measurement of produced water, wet gas sampling and the use of metering technology in heavy oil fields.

Many of the case studies cover work to assess, repair and upgrade existing metering systems and other equipment. These are projects that have helped companies reduce down-time, boost productivity and minimise their financial exposure. NEL has also provided assessment of new materials and entire process systems, including an energy-to-waste plant and a large water utilities network (for which NEL reduced measurement uncertainty levels by 25 million litres of water per day).

See the uploaded NEL case studies or for more details, contact Marietta Hughes.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Case studies highlight range of services and skills NEL brings to industry

A portfolio of 30 new case studies will be uploaded onto NEL’s website over the next few weeks. The reports, which form part of NEL’s ongoing knowledge transfer work, include a wide range of projects that the lab has conducted with companies in the UK and around the world.

“The case studies show how NEL delivers direct benefits to a diverse range of firms in a wide range of industries,” says Marketing Communications Executive Marietta Hughes. “They also show how we help business enhance their performance and competitiveness.”

The work covered by the case studies includes discrete one-off technical projects, such as factory acceptance testing, and the development and evaluation of innovative new technology, such as virtual metering and tomography-based multiphase flow visualisation.

“The projects highlight the importance of NEL’s unique expertise and equipment to the companies we work with,” says Marietta. “For example, they show how our MeterVue system saves companies money, as they do not have to send staff to witness testing, and that our new elevated pressure and temperature facility allows equipment to be tested at the extreme conditions they will experience in the field.”

One key theme that links many of the case studies, is the fact that NEL is helping companies to address the measurement challenges involved with the development of marginal and more complex oil fields. Projects in this area include research on the subsea measurement of produced water, wet gas sampling and the use of metering technology in heavy oil fields.

Many of the case studies show how NEL can quickly assess, repair and upgrade existing metering systems and other equipment. These are projects that have helped companies reduce down-time, boost productivity and minimise their financial exposure.

NEL has also provided assessment of new materials and entire process systems, including an energy-to-waste plant and a large water utilities network (for which NEL reduced measurement uncertainty levels by 25 million litres of water per day).

See the uploaded NEL Case Studies or for more details, contact Marietta Hughes.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The UK Measurement Strategy launched to support UK industry

The UK Measurement Strategy was launched by Lord Prior, Parliamentary under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), on a visit to Huddersfield where he met companies who have benefited from measurement support from the UK's National Measurement System (NMS).

Lord Prior said:  "The UK is a global leader in science and innovation which is why we've committed to placing the sector at the heart of our Industrial Strategy. We want to build on our existing strengths and get even better at commercialising British research, supporting the sector while creating high-skilled jobs up and down the country."

The UK Measurement Strategy strongly supports the UK Industrial Strategy Green Paper, as highly accurate measurement will provide the foundations on which the UK's future industrial success will be built.

It will support the UK's regulatory environment; improve the UK's measurement skills that can increase productivity and provide the confidence to innovate or invest; and respond to the challenge of the data revolution through confidence in data provenance, storage, transmission and inter-operability that measurement can bring.

On the Strategy, Lord Prior said:

"The pioneering Measurement Strategy will revolutionise the way we live, capitalise on our expertise in setting measurement standards and provide opportunities to develop solutions to modern day challenges both in the UK and around the world."

The strategy sets out major priorities to deliver impact and states:

  • To contribute to the UK's rich tradition of knowledge creation, we will continue to invest in a world-leading measurement infrastructure that will put the UK in the most advantageous position, both economically and to ensure quality of life for our citizens.
  • To enable wealth creation, we will ensure the appropriate measurement infrastructure to: support policy, standards and regulatory environment; get better connected to our end-users to deliver impact; lead the improvement of the UK's measurement skills that will support increased productivity and innovation; and respond to the challenge of data revolution through confidence in data provenance, storage, transmission and inter-operability that measurement can bring.

Through measurement and standardised protocols, we want to bring confidence to invest, to trade, to innovate, and to deliver national services in the UK that ensure our citizens are healthy and secure within a sustainable environment.

To deliver our vision we have identified five strategic themes:

  1. Ensure a national approach to measurement capabilities that drives effective investment in the UK measurement laboratories in partnership with the UK science base and business to deliver a world-leading measurement infrastructure.
  2. Champion measurement across government to ensure good policy, standards, and regulation.
  3. Work smarter and get better connected to end users to increase awareness, access, and uptake of best practice measurement.
  4. Improve the UK's measurement skills across all sectors of the UK to accelerate new technology uptake and fully exploit the benefits of a high tech economy.
  5. Bring together the diverse communities to understand the new capabilities in data science and develop a framework to deliver confidence in the intelligent and effective use of data based on measurement traceability and uncertainty analysis.

The UK Measurement Strategy will be delivered by the UK national measurement laboratories:

  • NPL (National Physical Laboratory) – the UK's National Measurement Institute
  • LGC (formerly Laboratory of the Government Chemist) – designated for chemical and biometrology
  • NEL (National Engineering Laboratory) – designated for fluid flow metrology
  • BEIS - Regulatory Delivery – designated for legal metrology
  • NGML (National Gear Metrology Laboratory) – designated for gear metrology
  • NIBSC (National Institute for Biological Standards and Control) – designated for bioactivity metrology

Article republished from NPL Weekly Bulletin 31st March 2017

For more info, contact Marietta Hughes.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Knowledge transfer work moving ahead in 2017

Knowledge transfer sharing has got off to a good start in 2017 with NEL submitting abstracts on a wide range of topics to conferences in countries as diverse as Norway and Oman.

“NEL is always looking to share expertise from its research and its experience working in partnership with industry,” says Group Manager, Andrew Fisher. “Knowledge transfer is a key part of our remit as one of the UK’s national measurement institutes. We aim to reach out to as wide a range of people and countries as possible with a view to finding new collaborative partners and customers.”

Andrew highlights a number of conference papers including one that focuses on NEL’s new elevated pressure and temperature (EPAT) liquid flow facility, which will allow meters to be calibrated at close-to-service conditions. The paper has been submitted to the North Sea Flow Measurement Workshop in Norway (in October) and to the European Flow Measurement Workshop (EFMW) which will be held in Noordwijk, Netherlands in April.

Another paper that has been submitted to the EFMW workshop describes two tests of the ISO/TR 11583 standard outside its range of applicability. ISO/TR 11583 covers two-phase wet-gas flow through Venturi tubes and orifice plates.

NEL will also be reporting on tests that have been undertaken on four produced water quality measurement sensors. This presentation will be given to the 2nd Middle East Oilfield Produced Water Management Conference & Exhibition that is due to take place in Oman in February.

NEL’s innovative research is also being highlighted, including a new calibration method to improve the accuracy of differential pressure meters. A paper will be presented on this innovation at the South East Asia Flow Measurement Conference (in March) and has also been submitted to the SPE Offshore Europe Conference, due to take place in Aberdeen in September.

Contact Andrew to discuss our knowledge transfer activities.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

FMI workshop highlights industry research needs

A January workshop organised by the Flow Measurement Institute (FMI) and EURAMET TC-Flow brought together representatives from business, academia and the National Measurement Institutes to develop research projects that will deliver real benefits to industry. NEL was heavily involved, with Group Manager Lynn Hunter chairing two discussion sessions.

“The excellent mix of people at the event meant that participants were able to focus on tangible industry needs,” said Anne Farr of the FMI secretariat, who facilitated a number of the discussion sessions at the event. “Participants identified a range of potential projects that could deliver substantial financial benefits across a number of European countries.”

Workshop participants looked at a wide range of issues including drivers for change, industry research priorities and the current state of the art. This provided a direct evidence base for discussions about Potential Research Topics (PRTs) for the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR).

“Participants identified a range of potential research topics in fields that included multiphase flow measurement, diagnostics and sensors and the measurement of waste water and effluent flows,” says Anne. “We got support in principle for collaborations on a number of the proposed PRTs. The topics are now being written up and submissions will be made to the EMPIR Industry Call or other appropriate funding programmes.”

Over 65 people from all over Europe attended the event which took place at Coventry University’s Faculty of Engineering, Environment & Computing on the 10th January 2017.

EMPIR is a metrology-focused European programme of coordinated R&D that facilitates closer integration of national research programmes. The FMI was founded by Coventry University and NEL. It provides leadership and acts as the voice of the flow measurement industry.

For more information, please contact Lynn Hunter.

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NEL’s annual ISO 17025 accreditation provides positive feedback

The annual audit to assess NEL’s accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 was carried out in November. The standard specifies the general requirements that laboratories must meet to show they have the competence to carry out tests and/or calibrations.

“I’m pleased to say that it was probably the most positive ‘closeout’ meeting I’ve ever attended,” says Group Manager, Dr. Phil Mark. “The assessors were delighted with the progress we’d made over the previous twelve months.”

Meeting the strict criteria demanded by the standard requires a considerable investment of both staff time and money and underlines NEL’s commitment to the highest levels of quality.

“Accreditation to this standard gives our customers the knowledge that an independent third party has checked our facilities and that the claims we make in terms of measurements uncertainties are valid,” says Phil. “It means that they can have full confidence in the delivery of our services right from the receipt of orders through to production of the calibration certificate.”

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the body that carried out the review. During the assessors’ visit they looked at NEL’s new Elevated Pressure and Temperature (EPAT) test facility. This makes it the only facility of its type in the country to be UKAS-accredited [Calibration Laboratory No. 0009].

“I’d like to thank Wai Kong Lee and Alun Thomas for their tireless efforts in this important part of our business,” Phil adds.

For more information, contact Dr. Phil Mark.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Technical advice from NEL helps focus R&D funding in Northern Ireland

Assistance is being provided to an ongoing funding programme that is focused on the development of technology to help businesses in Northern Ireland. The Invest NI programme supports innovation, research and development across a wide range of sectors.

“This programme provides funding that totals several million pounds,” says Joanne Wilkinson, NEL’s Programme Management Business Leader, who coordinates NEL’s involvement in the programme. “We help them by carrying out technical due diligence on funding applications that fall under our area of expertise.”

The assessment work is carried out by NEL Consultant, Dr. Alun Thomas, and a number of NEL Associates. These experts assess each funding application to see how well it fits in with Invest NI’s strategic objectives. They review issues such as innovation, technical validity, risks, market potential, IPR and costs.

The objective of much of the funding is to encourage and support the pre-commercialisation of leading-edge technologies emerging from universities, research institutes and NHS Boards.

As Northern Ireland’s regional business development agency, Invest NI's role is to grow the local economy. It does this by helping new and existing businesses to compete internationally, and by attracting new investment to Northern Ireland.

For more details, contact Joanne Wilkinson.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Innovate UK A4I funding competition launches in Scotland

A new funding competition run by Innovate UK, supported by up to £6.5m of funding, was launched in Scotland in early November with a roadshow at Strathclyde University’s Technology & Innovation Centre. The competition, called Analysis for Innovators (A4I), is bringing together NEL with the other National Measurement Institutes (NPL, STFC and LGC) to provide companies with access to some of the best research facilities in the UK.

“A4I should be of interest to every business that has experienced measurement problems that have affected its productivity and efficiency,” says Lynn Hunter, Group Manager at NEL, who took part in the roadshow event. “It has been developed to target competitiveness and productivity head on.”

The scheme will offer cutting-edge R&D, expertise and facilities to UK companies that want to solve an analysis or measurement problem from within their existing business. Such problems could include an issue of precision or accuracy of measurement on a production line. Businesses of any size, facing any type of measurement or analysis problem, can apply. Innovate UK expects the programme to particularly appeal to manufacturing companies, especially those whose work involves complex supply chains.

Innovate UK is running more roadshows around the UK to advertise and explain the scheme. These will run until early December. A4I will open for applications in January 2017. Applicants will first be required to describe the problem they want to tackle.

For more information on the A4I competition and to register for one of the roadshows, please click Analysis for Innovators.

For more details, contact Lynn Hunter.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Korean smart grid researchers visit Myers Hill wind turbine test & research site

A group of Korean senior engineers and researchers recently visited the Myers Hill wind turbine research & test site near East Kilbride to find out about the capabilities of the site and to discuss potential research collaboration.

“The aim of the visit was to see if Myers Hill is suitable for research relating to the development of Smart Grid technology,” says Project Engineer Dr Wai Kong Lee, who recently showed the delegation from the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) around the site.

“The Koreans are interested in Myers Hill because it is an established facility which provides high-quality data,” explains Wai Kong. “We log all the performance data coming from technologies at Myers Hill and transmit it to our lab via satellite. This means that it is easy to access the data for research.”

A smart grid is one in which information monitoring and processing technology is used to optimise energy generation and usage. For example, meteorological data can be used to manage back-up generation in a grid that has a high percentage of renewable energy, while energy monitoring data can be used to shut down wind turbines when a grid is saturated in order to reduce turbine fatigue and maintenance.

There has also been interest in the Myers Hill site from another Korean organisation investigating energy storage.

NEL has operated a wind turbine test & research site at Myers Hill, 10 km from its offices in East Kilbride, Glasgow, UK since the early 1980s.

For more information, contact Dr Wai Kong Lee.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Flow Measurement Advice Helpline

Discuss your flow measurement challenge with an NEL expert!

Many flow metrology issues can be resolved through a short discussion with a relevant expert.  A free service allows you up to 30 minutes of consultancy with one of NEL’s flow measurement experts. The Helpline is supported by the National Measurement Institute (NMI) for flow measurement.

NEL offers a comprehensive range of consultancy services to help you choose, develop and maintain flow measurement systems. These services include:

  • Designing efficient and accurate systems
  • Expert Guidance on technology selection – purchasing the right equipment first time
  • Auditing and inspections of existing infrastructure to improve accuracy and performance
  • Modelling of systems or problems to understand where flow measurement can be improved
  • Bespoke software solutions such as Uncertainty and Allocation calculations
  • Produced water treatment system reviews
  • Industry certified training on key measurement requirements
  • Expert Interpretation of standards
  • Testing and Calibration at a wide range of temperatures, pressures and flow rates

If your problem is likely to take longer than 30 minutes to resolve, NEL experts will advise on the cost of a more detailed solution to the problem.

To take advantage of this service call + 44 (0) 1355 593741 or email measurementadvice@tuv-sud.co.uk to book an appointment.

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About

NEL is a world class provider of technical consulting, research, measurement, testing and programme management services to clients across many industries including oil & gas, renewable and sustainable energy, process and government.

NEL also holds the UK National Standards for flow measurement and has an international reputation in key engineering areas such as flow measurement, computational fluid dynamics, environmental and thermal engineering.

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