top of page
Company Name (9).png



Incontrol publication intended to narrate cases in flow and level measurement

Responsible Journalist: Gildo Mazza (MT 17830)

The saga of the national flow converter for electromagnetic meters

Question: Can we use a flow converter in a tube from another manufacturer?

Before starting this work, it is worth remembering that in Brazil, Incontrol is the only manufacturer of complete electromagnetic flow meters, that is, meter “tube” (primary) and flow converter (secondary). The secondary is nothing more than a computer with dedicated software that performs all functions and calculations, in addition to indicating, totalizing and transmitting the flow. The primary is installed in the pipe and the secondary can be next to it or, more commonly, installed remotely in a protected location. A distance greater than 50 meters between primary and secondary is not advisable.


The big secret of the magnetic flow meter is in the secondary, so much so that companies like Krohne and Emerson, located in Brazil, manufacture only the primary, importing the secondary from their countries of origin. ABB, Endress+ Hauser, Yokogawa and Siemens bring both the primary and secondary from abroad. Others are already bringing them from China. Incontrol developed its technology in Brazil, always seeking to meet the needs of our country. It manufactures both the primary element and the secondary element in Brazil, which gives the user the peace of mind of a product with easy parameterization, more efficient after-sales, as well as faster maintenance, exchanges and spare parts.

Learning from the market

In our 25 years of contact with sanitation companies, we have learned a lot and brought many benefits from this learning. We noticed that one of the biggest problems in macromeasurement is the constant burning of the secondary (flow converter). In sanitation there is no standardization of products/manufacturers. In many cases, small areas only have three or four meters and each from a different manufacturer, which harms and complicates the loss control or distribution management system. Therefore, the solution of some large dealerships was to keep some secondary parts from each manufacturer in stock to quickly exchange in case of problems. However, it is an expensive solution and few have adopted it. As purchases from concessionaires are made through bidding, especially in new construction projects, construction companies install lower-cost equipment. The same occurs when the concessionaire has funds available and makes the purchase through auction or bidding, in which the lowest price is valid. As a result, the meter parks are very diverse, with meters from all manufacturers in the world, the most common being those from Emerson, Krohne and ABB. Loss control and management were hampered, as no matter how dedicated the dealership technicians were, replacement or repairs were expensive and time-consuming as they depended on imports. Generally the supplier said that the repair would cost almost the price of the new converter and the “helpless” customer was forced to buy a new converter. We heard a lot from one of these companies that the board was outdated and an “upgrade” should be done, that is, changing the converter.We noticed that this had become chronic. All dealerships in all parts of the country complained about the same problem.


Universal Converter

We then decided to develop a UNIVERSAL electronic module that would be friendly with any primary from all manufacturers. They had never thought about this, as they had control of the situation by selling large batches of meters, practically dominating the market rules and determining the options for their customers. After three or four years, when users needed replacements or repairs, these manufacturers came back to the surface, setting more rules and offering their products at abusive prices.For four years our engineers dedicated themselves to developing the UNIVERSAL converter. Each manufacturer uses a specific voltage level for excitation and must be compatible with the impedance of the coils, thus obtaining, through the electrodes, a certain electromotive force depending on the flow, which is interpreted by the converter (secondary element). Some manufacturers have different converter models for the same primary element, while others do not maintain the same excitation voltage for all primary diameters.We managed to tabulate all voltages and frequencies from eight manufacturers and exhaustive tests led us to a perfect electronic circuit and, after four years, we launched the universal converter model CEV-1000. We feel very proud to have developed a cheap, practical and easy to parameterize solution. And the best: demystifying retrograde rules that tube and converter should always be from the same manufacturer. For the dealerships, a financially wonderful scenario was revealed, as imported competitors who previously charged replacement converters in dollars and at the value they wanted, found themselves forced to lower their prices (for greater credibility of this article, take a survey of how much it was paid for a converter in 2006 and see if the price today isn't at least half as much). This reduction was only possible because there was an additional option on the market, our universal converter. Today, many dealerships, instead of having an electronic module from each manufacturer for emergencies, purchase our electronic modules, leaving them on the shelf, as “stock”. When they receive a malfunction report from a macro meter, they no longer worry about the model or manufacturer. The technicians leave with an Incontrol secondary in their trunk, arrive at the location, remove the original defective secondary and install the Incontrol CEV-1000. They carry out the parameterization and the problem is resolved in a short time. Many times the repair cost of the original electronic module would be greater than the price paid when purchasing the CEV-1000 electronic module from Incontrol.


Após esta conquista nos deparamos com o maior de todos os problemas e um novo desafio: “RAIOS”. Somos sem dúvida alguma o país dos raios e constatamos que a queima dos secundários importados na maioria das vezes acontece pela grande incidência de descargas atmosféricas.Os europeus, americanos e orientais não conhecem o país em que vivemos. Eles não sabem que moramos sobre uma grande chapa de aço entre o Equador e o trópico de Capricórnio. Eles desenvolveram projetos para atender às necessidades deles... Muitas vezes vemos especificações com temperaturas de -30º, -40º. Pelo menos nesta era nunca acontecerá em nosso país, mas com certeza 50º, 55º positivos em determinados estados pode ser possível. Portanto, raios são um problema nosso, do nosso país. Para as multinacionais é ótimo quando queima, pois o cliente compra outro para substituir o queimado. Mas para nós a situação era mais grave, pois fazemos parte desse povo e constatamos que nosso equipamento também era suscetível ao fenômeno da natureza.


We felt obliged to find a solution, as only a national, capable company with Brazilian technology and accustomed to listening to the needs of its customers could seek solutions for this. After a few months of analysis and a lot of discussion, we came up with a strategy: dividing the problem into parts and attacking them distinctly:1 - installation, 2 - reliability, 3 - portability, 4 - protection.


1- Installation:It is known that the reference of the electromagnetic flow meter is ground and without it the equipment is unstable and measuring with error. Ground is essential for a good measurement. We consider that without it the meter is not installed properly. When we refer to “earth”, we are talking about the entire grounding system, which includes both the rods installed in accordance with the standard and also the way in which the cable reaches the meter. We found that other manufacturers were not very concerned with this aspect, as they (multinational competitors), although they mentioned grounding in manuals and catalogues, had never delved into the topic in depth. For them, it burns out, buy a new one. Although our manuals guided users on the correct way to ground our converter, the practice combined with the custom of grounding imported converters ended up making our module much more vulnerable.Sometimes our converters even burned out without there being a lightning strike. They only burned due to the way they were connected.


2- Reliability: Competitors, threatened by the national product, took advantage of this moment and began to denigrate our image, even saying that we were adventurers, that we did not have technology and that we would soon leave our customers without service. There was no point in looking for people to blame or trying to change the way dealership professionals work, who had dedicated a large part of their lives to their companies. We had to find ways to quickly resolve this aggravating factor. Firstly, we seek to find out on our electronic circuit board which points are most vulnerable to atmospheric discharges. As the electronic components on our converter board are found in any electronic components store, we decided as a palliative measure to guide our customers to carry out “repairs” on the boards of our UNIVERSAL converter.


3- Supportability: Once again we worked hard for two more years in a row, with all the difficulties of a small private equity company. We are looking for lightning experts and scholars across the country. We met an engineer specializing in this segment who worked for 20 years in this area at IPT (Institute for Technological Research) studying the phenomenon. This guided us to develop a supportability project for the electronic board. We made several prototypes, which were installed in places where the incidence of lightning was greater.


4- Protection: Finally, we developed an electronic circuit design with a high degree of supportability. We also developed a specific surge protector for our electronic circuit.


New IncoMag converter

We launched the IncoMag universal electronic module on the market, with greater protection against lightning (the use of a surge protector is essential). The vulnerability of other imported electronic modules made us look for the best solution for the customer. During development, we took advantage of and included some facilities for better interpretation by the operator, such as a permanent self-check that informs if something wrong is happening.As an example, a light signal indicates a failure in the switching source; another indicates processor failure through continuous scanning and, finally, the “watch dog”, a monitoring system with automatic anti-lock reset of the microcontroller.


We don't stop there... We set up a system where the Inco-Mag's electronic boards, after operating tests, remain switched on for 720 hours so that all their resources can be checked.And all of this was developed by people like us, Brazilians who studied at Senai's and Etec's, attended normal colleges like anyone else.


And more. Unlike everyone else, we are marketing our IncoMag converter to manufacturers in China. It is Brazilian technology conquering the Asian Dragon.We are closely monitored by large foreign companies and we constantly find ourselves harassed by Americans, Europeans and Chinese, who visit us admiring our boldness, persistence and our technology.Our mission will never end. As long as there are people in our country who believe in our work, we will continue to improve our products more and more, because we believe in the future.We are sure that our small contribution has already brought great benefits to Brazil. We have developed and will continue to develop solutions to our problems so that no company becomes dependent on solutions from abroad, as happened with imported converters.

bottom of page