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The Role of Pressure & Temperature Instruments in the Transportation Industry

By: James Nichol



What is the Transportation Industry?

Pressure gauges and thermometers are typical components in many different businesses and industries throughout the world. However, not all gauges are created equal or have similar capabilities for every scenario. In this article, we will be focusing on the transportation sector and how can pressure, and temperature instruments affect the daily operations and safety of workers and passengers in this industry.


The transportation sector is defined as any industry, business, or organization that transports people or products from one location to another by train, roadway, air, or water, as well as all activities and services associated with it. It is said that the transportation sector is the lifeblood of the global economy. Without this sector, travel, intercontinental trade, the bulk transport of raw materials, and the import/export of food and manufactured goods will not be possible. To understand how this broad industry functions, it's useful to review each of the four methods of transport individually.




This refers to general cargo ships, container ships, cruise ships and yachts, bulk carriers, and tankers.  General cargo ships, as the name says, transport a wide range of commodities, which are frequently carried on pallets. Container ships transport stacks of identical steel containers, each loaded with resources and goods. Cruise ships and yachts are passenger ships used mainly for vacationing. Bulk carriers generally transport bulk goods such as iron ore, coal, grain, and forest products. Tankers, on the other hand, transport crude oil, chemicals, and other liquid cargo, including non-crude petroleum products.



The rail industry transports products and people via regional and national train networks. This sector allows commodities to be transported in bulk on open railcars or guarded carriages. Intermodal transportation, in which specifically constructed containers are transported from one form of shipping to another, frequently without human interaction, is also facilitated by the rail industry.



Since the days of horse and wagon transport, road transportation has gone a long way. Truck transportation is suitable for sectors that demand swift, modest shipments right to the door of a business, warehouse, or customer, and it is suited to handle potential delays. The top three commodities in trans-border truck shipping are computers and computer parts, electrical machinery and vehicles, and motor parts. Truck freight is also used in the supermarket and retail industries, eCommerce, construction, and agriculture.



Air transport is the greatest option for quick, uncomplicated delivery. Air transport is available across much of the world and is perfect for items that must be carried rapidly over vast distances, especially internationally. Air transportation, like rail and ship freight, has a much larger reach since it is a growing business with thousands of airports and landing strips throughout the world.



Applicable pressure and temperature instruments in the transportation sector

These modes of transport have measuring and control instruments that are part of a system that makes the transport possible via air, land, or sea. These pressure and temperature-sensing instruments are small devices that send critical and accurate indications via direct or remote reading for the driver or engineer. Supplying this information about the ship, truck, or train, and its operation could be useful and leads to a safer journey.



The duplex gauge is also known as a dual pressure gauge, consisting of two independent bourdon tube systems with two independent pointers within one gauge. Various uses within the general industry are for reading differential pressures across filters, orifice plates, etc., and more commonly on rail transport braking systems. Duplex gauges can also be a big advantage when installed in panels due to the space-saving using only one gauge instead of two. Dials can be produced as a single scale, dual, or even with two different scale ranges, special markings such as colored bands, lines or sectors can also be offered. 

Digital pressure gauges are high-precision instruments designed for reading pressure or vacuum where precise measurement is needed with high resolution. They are often used as a reference gauge that enables easy viewing with a large digital display. Some advantages are small, portable, robust, and battery-powered. Through efficient measuring of cells, high accuracy can also be achieved. Many models can also store data that can be extracted and saved to the computer.

Diaphragm Seals also referred to as chemical seals, are used in applications where the pressure sensor requires isolation from the process media. These applications may be corrosive, high temp, clogging, or require a sanitary fluid to remain captured in the piping or vessel. Rather than the process of fluid interfacing with the pressure sensor, the pressure is exerted onto the flexible diaphragm and transmitted hydraulically to the instrument through the fill fluid. When properly mounted and filled a diaphragm seal assembly will have minimal effect on the instrument’s performance.

A pressure transmitter is an instrument connected to an application that measures and converts the expansive force of a liquid or gaseous media to an electrical signal that can be sent over a long distance to a digital display, PLC, or a DCS.

A pressure switch is a device that operates an electrical contact when preset fluid pressure is reached. The switch makes an electrical contact on either pressure rise or pressure fall from a certain preset pressure level.

Thermowells make it possible to remove a temperature instrument without dropping pressure or losing contents in the process. Thermowells also protect the instrument’s measuring element from damage by pressure or particles in the process media. Floyd Australia’s Thermowells are manufactured to the highest quality and precision, ensuring a durable product for even the most severe applications.

liquid-in-glass thermometer is the simplest and most employed type of temperature measurement device. It is one of the oldest thermometers available in the industry. It gives fairly accurate results within the temperature range of -200 to 600°C.

A gas-filled thermometer consists of a stem, capillary, and Bourdon tube that are combined to form a single unit. The entire measuring system is filled with an inert gas under pressure. Any change in temperature causes a change in internal pressure in the stem that deforms the measuring tube and creates a deflection that is transferred to the pointer and displays the temperature on the dial.

Safety pattern gauges are for high-pressure gases, air, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, acetylene, and others. Constructed with a solid front and full blow-out device in the rear of the case, safety pattern gauges safeguard users in the event of damage to the gauge internals. A baffle wall between the front of the gauge and the Bourdon tube system sends the released energy to the rear of the gauge, where the blow-out back of the safety case design drives any loose components or media to depart through the back of the gauge.

Differential pressure gauges are an instrument that acts as a visual indicator of the difference in pressure between two inputs. In aircraft, differential instruments compare ambient air pressure with ram air pressure to determine how fast the aircraft is moving through the air.


Importance of maintenance for transportation mediums

Since transporting and delivering goods is such a complex operation, the reality of maintenance on any aircraft, cargo, train, or truck can seem daunting. Some studies concluded that with regular checkups, repairs when needed, training crew members on proper operation techniques, and keeping track of travel hours, the lifetime of any transport medium can be extended exponentially. Given this information, we cannot hide the fact that the need to maintain these transport mediums is important because they can be very expensive to replace if damaged by accidents, overloaded, or due to natural disasters. Maintaining a truck, aircraft, ship, or train is required so it can safely continue to serve society in the future.



Get your next pressure and temperature instruments with Floyd Australia

For over 87 years, Floyd Australia has been leading the way for new temperature, pressure, and calibration innovations, making us the thermometer and pressure gauge specialist that provides a one-stop-shop solution for repair, customization, calibration, and product sales. Located in Melbourne, we are a well-known supplier of pressure gauges, thermometers, diaphragm seals, transmitters, switches, and accessories all around Australia. Contact us on how we can help you in safeguarding your people, operations, and revenues.