Level gauge measurement is essential whenever a production process uses liquids or small particulates. As technology advances, new types of measurement tools that use radar or ultrasonic frequencies have emerged, but in many cases, level gauge measurement systems are still the best option. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of relying on level gauge measurement systems over other industry options.
While non-contact measurement systems can be accurate, they often need recalibration to ensure they’re providing the correct information. Most level gauge measurement systems are straightforward — for example, float switches are nothing more than a float attached to an arm. It’s the same technology that controls your car’s fuel gauge. Other variables that could affect a non-contact reading, like foaming, don’t influence them. These simple devices can also provide accurate readings in many different substances, from liquids to solids or small particulates without any additional calibrations. That’s something not even guided wave radar sensors can do.
When two liquids of different densities are in the same tank, non-contact systems can’t measure them accurately. Interface sensors could tell you how much total liquid is in the tank, but don’t know where the two different fluids separate or the level gauge of the bottom liquid.
One of the best things about contact measurement systems is their simplicity. They usually don’t have a lot of moving parts, which means they require less maintenance and are infinitely more durable than non-contact systems. Their simplicity also means if an element does fail, it’s often easy to replace without having to empty the tank or interrupt the supply chain.
This feature is valuable in the process industry, especially if the materials stored in the tank are caustic, corrosive or otherwise too dangerous for human workers to enter to effect repairs. Many industries use acid in various concentrations for a variety of different tasks. Even when empty, an acid tank may be too dangerous for a maintenance worker to enter, even with the proper personal protective equipment.
Not all measurement systems are equal, but that isn’t a bad thing. Some level gauge measurement systems will only work for liquids, while others can work for liquids, particulate matter and slurries with equal accuracy. These measurement systems are easy to customize for different materials. Many contact measurement systems won’t work well for corrosive or sticky materials — an optical switch, for example, might not work well in oil because the sticky substance will cover the prism and prevent it from transmitting light.
This customization also makes it simpler to connect multiple different types of systems to a single readout so workers can monitor the level gauges remotely without having to make a trip to each tank. If you’ve got containers of oil, acid and water in the same facility, you don’t need to use the same system for each of them, but link them on one readout for ease of monitoring.
This article comes from controlglobal edit released