Easy Maintenance for Lubrication Oil Flow Meters and Systems

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Automated monitoring of circulating oil lubrication systems is popular in paper mills to help prevent process interruptions. 

Implementing these easy maintenance tips to optimize flow meter performance and longevity can add an extra measure of protection to your preventative maintenance programs.

This article will review the specific features that provide easy maintenance and optimal operation in individual oil flow meter designs and multi-tube configurations.  Refer to our previous article for an overview of metering solutions for circulating oil Lubrication Best Practices and to Greasing Solutions for tips on grease handling.

1. Single Inlet Design Advantages

In optimally designed multi-tube oil flow meters, a single inlet simplifies both installation and maintenance because one valve shuts off flow to the entire bank of meters.  Flow meters can be panel mounted or installed directly in-line with various fitting options.  Well-designed flow meters can be serviced in place without removing them from the wall, panel or piping.

2. Tube Cleaning and Replacement

Metering tubes can become damaged or contaminated with build-up over time, making the float difficult to see and even restricting float movement.  With single inlet design, to remove a flow tube for cleaning or replacement, follow these steps:

(1) close the supply valve, (2) unscrew and remove the top valve, and (3) replace the flow tube with a clean/new one in minutes.

Stocking spare flow tubes gets processes up and running even faster.

3. Readability Tips

Backlighting - in low light or other challenging conditions, lighting mounted behind the scale plate significantly improves visibility.

Front Cover - meter banks can also be furnished with a front cover to prevent dust getting in around the metering tubes and help protect against accidental tube breakage.

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4. O-Ring Life and Replacement 

O-rings don’t last forever.  Deterioration due to normal aging can cause leaks, usually appearing at the bottom of a meter.  The first step for O-ring longevity and reliability is choosing the right O-ring material.  Nitrile rubber works for standard oils and Viton is best for synthetic oils or oils with additives.  

O-rings can last several years but will gradually harden and become increasingly brittle over time so replacement every few years is good practice.  Disassembly, cleaning and other service can also cause seepage or leaks.  It’s also good practice to stock O-ring kits to make sure the right size and material O-rings are at the ready.  Refer to the manufacturer’s break-out diagrams to ensure that the right size and material O-rings are correctly installed during reassembly.

5. Alarm Options for NO Flow and LOW Flow

Bottom mounted “NO FLOW” inductive alarms can immediately signal flow interruptions.  Single and double meters can also be furnished with side mounted proximity sensors for alarms at specified flow levels.

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6. Relative Scales vs. Custom Scales

For changing oil conditions, relative 1-10 scales are the simplest solution.  With relative scales, flow rate is determined by recording the relative reading and using calibration curves to determine the correct flow volume.   Alternatively, custom scale plates for specific flow values (LPM, pints/min, GPM) can be ordered in the original build design and easily replaced if the oil or operating conditions are changed.

7. Adjusting Flow 

Easily increase or decrease flow through the flow meter with a hand knob or screwdriver adjustment.

8. Safety First

Remember, when performing maintenance, ALWAYS isolate the flow meter before attempting any servicing. 

The fluid in the lines may be hazardous, hot, and/or under pressure.  Consult the MSDS handling procedures and use cautions for the fluid being handled.


For more details and information on installation, servicing and reassembling variable area flow meters, get in touch with one of the experts at ESKO Pacific.  We are pleased to share further detailed tips on troubleshooting, tools and best practices for flow metering as well as offer factory refurbishing or replacement of every meter we’ve supplied since 1982.  

ESKO flow meters are built in North America so we have the full range of replacement parts in stock, ready to go.

More info on the Model EMO Multi-tube flow meter

Visit us online at www.eskopacific.com