This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

In praise of non-contact radar sensors

08 July 2022

Food Processing spoke to Felix Johansson, level associate solutions manager at Emerson about the adoption of ‘smart’ sensing solutions in food production applications. 

Q: Why should specifiers be looking at purchasing (possibly more costly) smart flow and level sensors?
A broad range of technologies can be used to provide either continuous level measurement or point-level detection in modern food and beverage production. These include guided wave radar transmitters, pressure transmitters, ultrasonic transmitters, load cells, capacitance switches and vibrating fork level switches. 

However, it is non-contacting radar transmitters that best meet the industry’s requirement for measurement accuracy and hygienic components, while providing users with a wide range of further benefits – these devices are top-mounted, which reduces the risk of leakage, and their measurement accuracy is unaffected by process conditions such as density, viscosity, conductivity, coating, corrosiveness, vapours, and changing pressure and temperature. In addition, because they provide continuous level measurements without touching the material surface, this results in low maintenance requirements and helps ensure long-term reliability.”
Non-contacting radar transmitters have traditionally been used in very large tanks or vessels typically found in the oil, gas and petrochemical industry, to accurately monitor levels in safety-critical applications. These devices have also been applied in food and beverage production facilities, but are often considered to be too costly, large and bulky, and some do not have a full range of hygienic approvals and process connections. However, the latest non-contacting radar level sensors – which use single-chip technology rather than a separate circuit board – have been designed specifically for continuous level measurement in hygienic applications. These compact and cost-effective devices can provide many benefits.

Q: What short- and long-term benefits might these non-contacting sensors offer? And how might they help increase productivity?
First and foremost, the device must accurately and reliably measure the level of the material contained in the various storage, holding and buffer tanks utilised. Precise level measurements help to ensure consistent product quality, increase safety by protecting against both overfills and dry-running pumps, prevent product loss and optimise inventory management and stock availability.

To encourage adoption, it is important that level measurement devices are as easy as possible to install and integrate into an automation system. The latest devices have been designed to simplify implementation, operation and maintenance, with a broad range of process connections and communication options, simple-to-follow installation steps, user-friendly interfaces and minimal maintenance requirements that help to reduce complexity for manufacturers.”

It is important for food and beverage manufacturers to maximise production capacity to increase revenue, lower costs and ensure they can keep up with customer demands. The latest radar technology enables level sensors to perform accurate measurements all the way up to the top of the tank, with no dead zone. Eliminating dead zones makes the best use of the tank, while also ensuring the vessel is not overfilled, thereby helping to maximise production capacity and reduce both product loss and costs.”

Q: What sort of ROI might they provide?
Non-contacting radar transmitters can help to remove manual rounds by automating plant processes. This increases worker safety, reduces the need for operator intervention and frees up labour to focus on other important tasks. In terms of return-on-investment, if a tank requires two checks per day, with each check taking about five minutes to complete and labour costing £15 an hour, that totals almost £1,000 a year for each tank.”

The latest radar technology can also help to increase production by maximising tank utilisation. For example, if a tank volume per year was previously 45,000 litres, but radar technology enables a 20% increase in tank utilisation, a profit of £0.10 a litre on finished product would translate to an annual increase in profit of £900 a year.”

Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page