Liquid-filled gauges are generally preferred over dry gauges for two reasons: performance and ROI. Liquid-filled gauges are filled with a liquid, usually glycerin or silicone oil and are designed to perform optimally in less-than-ideal conditions. While WIKA’s liquid-filled gauges are engineered to function in difficult environments, they’re also more economical from a long-term perspective: High heat, pulsation, or vibration lead to instrument breakdown, but WIKA’s liquid-filled gauges stand up to these harsh conditions.
Liquid Filled vs. Traditional Gauges
The primary reason for gauge failure is vibration. In traditional dry gauges, delicate links, pivots, and pinions are prone to damage from vibration, leading to inconsistent performance. In a liquid-filled gauge, the fluid fill effectively dampens system pulsation, making the gauge pointer easier to read.
Likewise, humidity and moisture pose problems for dry gauges. Condensation can make a gauge difficult to read or, in some cases, can cause failure due to icing. Liquid-filled gauges, though, are sealed to prevent internal condensation, and by keeping moisture out of the system, gauge movement is protected during icing conditions.
The choice of fill fluid is based on the application, but glycerin is typically used for room-temperature applications and silicone oil is commonly used for extreme temperature applications, especially when icing is a problem. An oil with insulating properties is ideal if the system has exposed electrical contacts.
Why Liquid Filled?
Liquid-filled pressure gauges offer a number of advantages over traditional, dry case pressure gauges:
- Liquid-filled gauges have longer lives than traditional (non-hermetically-sealed) gauges because of their viscous fluid filling. Over time, this design advantage results in costs savings due to lowered instrumentation costs as well as lessened unscheduled downtime.
- Internal liquids protect against severe temperature fluctuations and vibrations—major factors in the breakdown of regular gauges. Because they dampen temperature spikes and vibrations, WIKA’s liquid-filled gauges are easier to read, allowing for greater accuracy and process control.
- In traditional gauges, condensation build-up results in visibility issues. This can be a crucial (and costly) flaw in high-humidity environments—an unreadable gauge is a worthless gauge. A solution to the impact of high humidity situations, WIKA’s liquid-filled gauges are designed to prevent moisture from entering not only the body casing but also the inside of the case lens.
- Because they are sealed and constructed to meet rugged specifications, liquid-filled gauges are commonly used in highly corrosive chemical processes or in manufacturing or refining processes, and where products must be transported, stored, or handled in extreme temperature conditions.
Liquid-filled Gauges from WIKA
While some customers are concerned about the cost of liquid filling for a pressure gauge, the long-term payoff is clear: Better protection against vibration, pulsation, corrosion, and moisture makes for a long-lasting, reliable instrument. WIKA’s liquid-filled gauges are highly durable, meaning less cost and better accuracy over time, and our line includes a number of customizable process gauges, including gauges built for the demanding conditions of the oil and gas industry.