Tektronix Encore

Calibrate Pressure to Enhance Production

May 08, 2024

Pressure is a key parameter for the operation of many electrical, mechanical, and even medical devices and systems. It is basically the force applied by a liquid or gas onto a surface. Various pressure levels can be achieved in several ways, including with hydraulic and pneumatic pumps. The ambient atmospheric pressure is usually considered a zero level, with vacuums representing below-zero pressure levels. Pressure can be dangerous when excessive, but it can also provide many benefits towards the efficient operation and prolonged operating lifetimes of electromechanical equipment. Globally, many standards have been established for evaluating pressure throughout many applications, since pressure impacts many components within a pressurized system, including displays, sensors, and transmitters. Fortunately, pressure calibrators are tools available in many shapes and sizes for precisely measuring and monitoring pressure levels.


Measuring and calibrating pressure devices in manufacturing and production facilities contributes to the safety of those locations and the quality of their products. Pressure measurements often require a pressure source, traditionally a discrete pump. But newer, automated pressure test equipment is increasingly available with built-in pressure pumps. In general, pressure measurement equipment has followed a trend of providing increasing functionality in smaller packages, with some handheld units packing integrated pressure pumps for added flexibility. Pressure measurement equipment such as pressure calibrators are packing more functions into smaller sizes, although usually supported by a built-in microprocessor and a fair share of automation for ease of use, with less training required.


Pressure calibrators can provide accurate pressure measurements essential to many processes employed in major industries and military bases. Specifying a pressure calibrator for an application or for different tasks requires knowledge of the required pressure measurement ranges and conditions, such as whether measurements are being performed on site or in a laboratory. Modern pressure calibrators are often equipped with internal pressure sensors as well as the capability to operate with external sensor modules.


Pursuing Pressure


Many pressure calibrators provide multiple functions, such as electrical and thermal measurement capabilities. As an example, the model Fluke 719Pro Electric Pressure Calibrator, can characterize the many components within a system affected by pressure, such as gauges, switches, and transmitters, and also contains an accurate electrical loop calibrator to evaluate the milliampere (mA) electrical signals within the electrical control portions of a system or equipment under test from 0 to 24 mA with 0.001-mA resolution. In addition, this compact handheld unit features an integrated electric pump for generation of pressure to 300 psi (20 bar). With an optional resistance temperature detector (RTD) probe connected, the 719Pro can also detect and display temperature from -50 to +150°C. It works with a variety of additional pressure modules such as the model 700P03 Differential Pressure Module. The model 719Pro measures 9.5 × 4.4 × 2.8 in. 24.13 × 11.18 × 7 cm). It runs on eight standard AA batteries and provides +24-VDC power for pressure transmitters during testing.


Fluke also offers its model 718 Pressure Calibrator for use with the company’s 700 Series pressure modules. The pressure calibrator has an internal 100-psig pressure sensor and can generate pressure levels via a built-in hand pump. For energizing electronic pressure sensing components in equipment under test, the model 718 can measure mA current levels and includes a +24-VDC power supply.


As a potential foundation for laboratory pressure calibration, the Additel ADT761A pressure calibrator has a built-in pump for generation and measurement of pressure as high as 1000 psi (70 bar). But it is a portable unit and fully capable of in-field measurements, with standard full-span (FS) accuracy of 0.02%. It incorporates two removable internal pressure modules and can also read two externally connected pressure modules, such as the company’s model ADT-160A-05-DP50 pressure module. This module’s model number reveals several of its performance parameters, with ±0.05% FS full-span measurement accuracy across an operating temperature range of -10 to +50°C. The ADT761A is fully equipped with communications technologies, with Wi-Fi, LAN, Bluetooth, USB, and Ethernet ports, and supports field communications to the HART protocol.


Shrinking Size


Among the smallest pressure calibrators currently available, the Crystal Engineering IS33-36 is a Dual Sensor Pressure Calibrator with respective upper measurement limits of 36 and 3000 psi (200 bar). It combines the fine precision and the high-pressure capabilities of the two sensors in an easy-to-use, pocket-sized equipment that is a member of the company’s 30 Series Pressure Calibrators. Despite its small size, the equipment is reliable, protected by a rugged aluminum housing. 


It provides sharp readings of pressure in psi and current in mA on a front-panel LCD and is available with a choice of sensors for use within its wide pressure measurement ranges, with ±0.05% reading accuracy. The pressure calibrator, which is fully calibrated in an environmental chamber, includes an RS-232C port for computer connections, and can operate for as long as 90 hours in the field on a single 9-V battery.


For years, the Druck DPI610 portable pressure calibrator has been widely used by industry as a flexible, modular measurement solution. As it has gained capabilities and evolved into the model DPI611 handheld pressure calibrator, it becomes the fourth generation of the company’s DPI 600 series of pressure measurement units, indicating the trust that industry has placed on this compact tool’s accuracy and reliability. Smaller and lighter than the model 610, the model 611 pressure calibrator provides a pressure measurement range of -14.5 to 300 psig (-1 to 20 bar) and a built-in hand pump that can generate 0 to 300 psi pressure in less than 30 s as well as a 95% vacuum. The handheld pressure calibrator includes electrical connections for measuring mA and mV values with higher accuracy than the model 610.


For multifunction testing, the Druck DPI620G Genii Advanced Modular Calibration System features a modular architecture with compact base station and interchangeable modules (such as the PM620 series pressure modules) to generate pressure and measure pressure, frequency, electricity, and temperature. It is available with full HART/Fieldbus communications, USB port, and Bluetooth wireless communications. As a pressure calibrator, the model DPIG620G can generate pneumatic pressure to 1500 psi (100 bar) and hydraulic pressure to 15,000 psi (1000 bar). With a rechargeable battery, it weighs 2.4 lbs. and measures 7.2 × 4.5 × 2.2 in. (183 × 114 × 55 mm).


This is a glimpse of the measurement capabilities provided by these versatile pressure calibrators. Much like computers, they leverage their microprocessors to perform precise calculations and error corrections on measurements of a parameter—pressure—essential to many industrial processes and equipment. Additional information on pressure calibrators and additional pressure measurement equipment, such as pressure controllers, can be found by visiting the Axiom Test Equipment site or the Transcat Rentals site.

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