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Our History


Engineering Experiment Station: A Non-profit Organization (1951 - 1965)

Our company began operations in 1951 as the Engineering Experiment Station - a program of the College of Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Major funding was provided by the Naval Ordinance Test Station (China Lake, California) for research, development, and testing of small rocket nozzles. In addition the Station became the sole location for testing gas turbine meters as the military began to use these meters.

During the late 1950's and early 1960's, a succession of flow measurement systems were developed that eventually led to the design of several "primary standards"; these primary standards established a chain of traceability to the National Bureau of Standards (known today as NIST). During these early years, Professor Tom Arnberg of the Mechanical Engineering Department worked with several other organizations and developed some of the first high pressure gas flow standards in the world. In addition, the Engineering Experiment Station was heavily involved in research to prove that critical flow venturis (CFVs) could be used as an effective flow measurement device. Several CFVs developed during that time are still in use at CEESI today.

Continued Calibration and Research (1966 - 1986)

Eventually, the University of Colorado's interest waned, and in 1966, with the assistance of Dr. Arnberg, the non-profit organization separated from the university and moved to the present site - a surplus Atlas E nuclear missile site near Nunn, Colorado. The name was changed to Colorado Engineering Experiment Station, Inc. During the late 1960's and early 1970's, the facility became home to two new primary flow standards, identified as "Primary A" and "Primary B", which are still in use today. Primary A is a volumetric system and Primary B is a gravimetric system. These primary systems were involved in some of the first measurement comparison program tests-- a "measurement comparison program" uses a flow meter that is calibrated by multiple facilities to compare the performance of different primary systems with each other.

During the late 1970's and early 1980's the facility grew significantly as the water lab, high flow pad, and multiple secondary test systems were constructed. In the 1980's the balance of calibration workload shifted away from aerospace and towards the natural gas industry.

The corporation retained its non-profit status until 1986 when Walt Seidl (who had been president of the organization since 1975) and Steve Caldwell (who was heavily involved in designing and fabricating many of the facility test areas) purchased the facility. The company was renamed Colorado Engineering Experiment Station, Inc. (CEESI), which has operated as an independent commercial calibration facility ever since.

Major Facility & Services Expansion (1986 - 1999)

During this time, calibration operations continued to expand. Several additional test stands including the piston prover system (call the "Porter) and a high air flow test stand (called "R&D") were constructed. Also during this time, CEESI began offering flow measurement training courses on a variety of topics.

CEESI participated in several measurement comparison programs with other American calibration labs as well as with labs in Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Norway, Australia, Russia, China, and the Netherlands. These inter-comparisons provided a mechanism for maintaining the highest level of quality for calibration services.

CEESI assisted in the development of several meter types including turbine flowmeters and V-Cone testing with wet gas. In addition, CEESI performed extensive valve testing for a wide variety of aerospace and natural gas customers. Performance evaluations of electronic flow measurement systems under simulated field conditions were conducted for several companies, and CEESI has participated in the development of international orifice meter standards. Additional research included control valve noise investigations, flow conditioner performance, super critical carbon dioxide research, and oil effect studies on orifice measurement.

Iowa Natural Gas Calibration Facility Completed (1999)

In the 1990's the need for a natural gas facility in the United States was very apparent. Ultrasonic meter manufacturers and users did not have access to a calibration facility in the United States; these calibration needs could only be met in Europe at great expense. In addition, there was a desire by American ultrasonic meter manufacturers to have their meters traceable to standards in the United States. To address this need, CEESI entered into a partnership with the Northern Plains Natural Gas Company and several flow meter vendors to develop a high capacity, natural gas facility specifically the purpose of calibrating ultrasonic meters. After several years of planning and construction, the Iowa high flow calibration facility was completed in 1999. The facility was designed so that a fraction of the gas delivered to the custody transfer station is directed through a high pressure calibration loop.

Wet Gas Test Facility Completed (1999)

Several large energy companies participated in a Joint Industry Project in 1997 to fund research regarding wet gas metering. These companies, along with the Gas Research Institute, funded the project for three years. The Wet Gas Test Facility (WGTF) was built at CEESI's Colorado site in order to facilitate this and future research, and came online in 1999. This facility was specifically designed to quantify 2-phase flow measurement errors. Our WGTF is a closed loop system that circulates high pressure natural gas in a loop and injects hydrocarbon liquids and water into the gas stream. The combined multi-phase liquid and natural gas fluid travels past the meter being calibrated, called the Meter Under Test. By separately measuring the injected liquid flow rates and the dry natural gas flow rates before they combine, the over-registration/under-registration of the Meter Under Test can be accurately determined. This facility allows us to recreate a wide range of various flow conditions required for testing field equipment.

CEESI Begins Hosting the ISFFM (1999)

Starting in 1999, CEESI assumed the responsibility of secretariat of the International Symposium on Fluid Flow Measurement (ISFFM). In addition, every subsequent ISFFM has been hosted by CEESI including in 2002, 2006, 2009, and 2012. CEESI began hosting the symposium to provide a platform for corporations, universities, government laboratories, industrial research laboratories, and industrial field study teams to share information on a wide variety of research and technology topics associated with fluid flow measurement. In 2007, CEESI continued its efforts to expand the usefulness of research presented at the symposium by working with the North American Fluid Flow Measurement Council so that the proceedings would be available online. CEESI began posting ISFFM proceedings on the internet for free as part of the Flow Measurement Technical Library.

First Ultrasonic Meter Seminar Hosted (2001)

In response to the need for education regarding ultrasonic meters, CEESI began hosting the Ultrasonic Meter Seminar in 2001. The annual seminar was designed to bring manufactures and users together to share information, and further the adoption of the ultrasonic meter as a highly accurate flow meter.

CEESI Earns NVLAP Accreditation (2004)

In 2004, CEESI expanded its quality assurance program and earned accreditation from NIST as part of the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP Lab Code: 200377-0). NVLAP is an independent organization that recognizes quality programs for compliance to national and international standards.

CEESI Technical Library Goes Online (2007)

Technicians, engineers, and researchers often have a difficult time performing literature studies on flow measurement topics. Papers are published by a wide variety of organizations and individuals; there had not been any concerted effort to collect them into a common tool that could be useful to the flow measurement industry. In response to this need, CEESI developed the Technical Library in 2007. This tool, which was renamed the Flow Measurement Technical Library after a collaboration with PRCI to expand the library. The library has continually been expanded and now incorporates documents from over a dozen major organizations within flow measurement industry. As of June 2012, the Flow Measurement Technical library had over 68,000 document references including over 14,000 downloadable PDF files.

Wet Gas Facility Upgrade (2007)

In 2007, CEESI upgraded the Wet Gas Test Facility to a full multiphase wet gas flow facility. The 4 inch system now has the very rare and highly sought after capability to flow light hydrocarbon liquid and/or water with natural gas flow.

CEESI Measurement Solutions (CMS) Division Created (2011)

In 2011, the Engineering Services division of CEESI combined staff with CPL & Associates to form CEESI Measurement Solutions, or CMS. The mission of this new company is to provide on-site/off-site analysis and measurement solutions including: Lost-And Unaccounted-For (LAUF) fluids, system balancing, meter station design, and meter troubleshooting.

Wet Gas/Multiphase Facility Upgrade (2011)

In 2011, CEESI upgraded the Wet Gas/Multiphase Facility to a nominally 8 inch multiphase wet natural gas flow test facility. The new system has an 8 inch and a 4 inch flow loop utilizing the same central gas/liquid separator, liquid/liquid separator and compression system.

Iowa Natural Gas Facility Low Flow Capabilities Extended (2012)

The facility in Iowa was upgraded to include extended low flow capability with multiple ultrasonic flowmeters, as transfer standards and check meters, to improve accuracy. In addition, the facility has added temperature control to the calibration building and increased lifting capacity to handle full measurement skids. With these new upgrades we can help "calibrate out" installation effects caused by inlet conditions and skid design.

CEESmaRT Incorporated (2012)

Staff from CEESI and RT Technical Solutions (which was recently purchased by W.E.S.T.) entered into a joint venture to create a new offering which would allow customers to remotely monitor their meters in the field. The new corporation is developing a monitoring solution called CEESmaRT. This new offering is a monitoring system comprised hardware and software which can verify the performance of ultrasonic meter stations. The performance of customer meters can be validated in real-time. CEESmaRT identifies and communicates measurement problems hourly alarming and reporting.

Water in Oil Test Area Built (2013)

At the start of 2013 CEESI was commissioned to build a water in oil test facility for testing static mixers used in oil sampling systems. This commission came about as a result of the changes in the quality of crude oil being produced in the world. CEESI has conducted tests on several types of flow meters, including turbine, cone and Coriolis meters. We have resulted in a proposed JIP to test the effect on the performance of Coriolis meters. The facility is being improved to give a better calibration uncertainty of both the measurement of flow and water cut.

Wet Gas/Multiphase Facility Upgrade to Handle Custom Liquids (2013)

Our Custom Liquids Wet Gas Test Facility was built as an extension to the wet gas/multiphase facility; it was commissioned in 2013. Injecting salt water, brine solutions, or waxy paraffin liquids into the existing facility would foul the piping and contaminate the next test set-up. Building separate test facilities for the vast number of liquids was economically impossible. The solution was to build an additional adaptable test facility that could inject an array of liquids over a wide range of flow rates into the gas stream, and then capture the injected liquids immediately after the Meter Under Test (MUT).

Liquid Hydrocarbon Flow Calibration Facility Built (2015)

The Liquid Hydrocarbon Flow Calibration Facility was built to provide large capacity hydrocarbon calibrations for meters requiring low uncertainty. The design is based around pragmatic known flow measurement standards, the prover and master meters. It is composed of two flow lines which can operate either independently or in series. Calibrations can be performed on customer meters using Shellsol, Drakeol 5, or Drakeol 32.

Steve Caldwell Retirement (2016)

Steve Caldwell retired in 2016 after 52 years of work in the measurement industry. He was with CEESI since the operation first moved to its present site in 1965. At the time of his retirement, his position was Chief Executive Officer of Western Energy Support & Technology, Inc. (WEST). Steve was a key member of the North American Fluid Flow Measurement Council and was involved with hosting the International Symposium on Fluid Flow Measurement from 1999 to 2016. He has was also an important figure in organizing CEESI's ultrasonic meter user workshops which began in 2001. Read more about his role at CEESI and retirement.

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