This unique dripper flow tester bench was developed by Drip Irrigation Systems, LLC. to measures dripline flow rates in real time. The device is mainly used for measuring dripper flow rates such as:
- Pressure Compensated drippers (PC dripper)
- No Drain Pressure Compensated drippers (PC-ND dripper)
- Conventional drippers (non-PC dripper)
Traditional flow testers measure dripper flow rate by collecting water over time. In these traditional flow testers, the dripper flow rate is calculated by dividing the volume or weight accumulated by the time it took to collect the water. This is especially slow when a low flow dripper is tested as it takes longer to accumulate the water. In addition, the number of test stations is limited by the physical size of the accumulating vessels and the cost associated with each vessel.
The FT-A10C test bench includes 10 stations and is based on a flow-meter that measures flow in real time. The flow-meter measures the individual dripper flow, records it, and then moves to the next dripper. The individual flow rate is read quickly without collecting the water, and the entire test takes a fraction of the time it takes a conventional system.
The FT-A10C Test Bench measures dripper flow rate with a highly accurate flow-meter with an accuracy of ±0.5% of reading. The device is an automatic, standalone, fully contained test bench that only requires connection to a 1-phase 220 or 110 VAC power source.
The flow tester includes an aluminum structure which holds the test bench and the touch screen User Interface. In addition, the structure houses a 3-phase VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) pump and a 100 liters (26 gallons) holding tank. The water used in the test is circulated; it is collected with a pan and directed back to the holding tank. The entire unit has a relatively very small footprint of 90 cm (35”) in length, 80 cm (31.5”) in depth and 150 cm (59”) in height.
The user interface is a 10” color touch screen through which the user operates the unit and receives all results.
The test bench is highly flexible as each test procedure is user defined. There are up to 8 different test-procedures that can be programmed and saved, each with a unique user-defined name. Each test procedure can be programmed from a very simple flow test to a highly involved configuration of the ISO 9261:2004. A test-procedure can be programmed to have up to 8 different “Conditioning Pressures” and their associated times, and up to 24 “Test Pressures”.
All dripper flow rate results are stored in the PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) and can be viewed in a table format through the screen. Since the ISO Standard requires that the sample size be 25 drippers, up to 3 complete tests results (10 drippers each) can be stored at the same time for a total of 30 drippers. The results can be directly communicated (real time) to an EXCEL spreadsheet running on a PC. In the spreadsheet, additional statistical calculations can be done and the results can be plotted on a graph and printed. These results can be then saved for record keeping.
The Flow Tester can be ordered with larger configuration of 10 or 20 individual test stations. Another possible configuration is 10 individual test stations with each station having 3 different connectors (e.g.16 mm, 18 mm, and 20 mm) thus allowing all pipe diameters to be tested without changing the connectors.