Pressure monitoring devices represent a fundamental component of key media transport processes, including gas and liquid systems in refineries, electrical plants, industrial facilities, and more. While fulfilling a basic requirement — the measurement of gas or liquid flow through industrial machinery — pressure monitoring is a critical tool in better ensuring that these processes are occurring to spec at the required rate.
As industrial equipment has advanced, even the relatively simple process of pressure monitoring has kept pace. Analog and digital options for pressure measurement are available, each with benefits and optimal applications. In this piece, we will explore the characteristics of analog and digital pressure monitoring devices, along with the pros and cons of each, and when each might be more suitable for the task at hand.
Analog and Digital Pressure Monitoring Devices
Digital and analog pressure monitoring devices remain in frequent use among refinery, electrical and many other industrial applications, such as measuring room differential pressures in cleanrooms. First, we will explore the details of each type of monitor.
Analog Pressure Monitoring Devices
Analog pressure monitors are fully mechanical devices that directly convert a pressure reading into a dial display, using a diaphragm, gears, and other moving parts. A Magnehelic ®pressure gauge is one of the most common types of analog pressure monitors, relying on pressure differential measurements to provide an accurate reading.
What is an analog gauge used for? These types of gauges are most typically found in applications such as blower pressure, HVAC measurements, air velocity and more. Analog pressure monitoring devices do not require a power source and deliver a direct, real-time reading of pressure or pressure differential.
Digital Pressure Monitoring Devices
Digital pressure monitors use transducers to relay pressure readings from mechanical components to a digital readout. These gauges can be set to display pressure measurements in different units. They are considered more durable than analog gauges, since they feature fewer moving parts.
Pros and Cons of Each Measuring Device
Digital measuring devices and analog measuring devices each feature unique strengths and advantages for different applications. Optimal use cases for each type of monitor include:
Analog monitoring devices:
- Require no power source
- Have a direct mechanical connection to pressure readings
- Respond more directly to fluctuations in pressure
- Are more subject to wear and tear as well as failure due to mechanical construction
- Can provide inaccurate readings as mechanical equipment falls out of spec
- Can be more difficult to read due to parallax errors
Digital monitoring devices:
- Less wear and tear due to fewer moving parts
- Can be set to display in a variety of units and measurements, including custom measurements
- Are considered more accurate
- Can be calibrated with software rather than mechanically, yielding greater accuracy
- Require a power source
- May require certification
Each type of gauge is ideal for different situations. With this information, you are equipped to determine which is the best type of monitor for your needs. To learn more about measurement options, contact Technical Safety Services today.
(Magnehelic ®is a registered trademark of Dwyer Instruments, Inc.)