Commercial food and beverage product processing facilities will take raw food product such as peanuts or other grains and refine it into a usable baking product such as dough. In the refining process reagents and additives are combined with the raw food product. These reagents are stored in large stainless-steel holding tanks until they are ready to be added into the mixture.
Challenge: Each of these stainless-steel tanks needs a method to determine how much product is remaining. The tanks can be several meters tall and operators need a reliable and easy way to ensure they do not run out of product during the refining process. The sensors need to be comprised of food and beverage compliant materials and easily sanitized. Level sensors need to be able to handle the high temperature and high moisture that is present in these tanks and still provide a consistent level measurement.
Solution: Gems Non-Contact Radar Level Sensor
The Gems radar level sensor is a non-contact continuous level sensor. Radar technology works by sending out short microwave signals toward the liquid via the sensor. The microwave signal then hits the liquid surface and bounces back toward the sensor. The sensor utilizes the time-of-flight principle which uses the known speed of the microwave, and the time it took for the signal to return, divided by two (since it had to travel down to the liquid and then back up to the sensor) to determine the distance between the liquid level and the sensor. Since most level is based on the height of the liquid, not the height of the non-liquid (air), the air height is subtracted from the total tank depth to determine the liquid level!
Gems non-contact radar sensor is a great fit in Food and Beverage Processing Tanks for several reasons. With an Ingress Protection rating of 68, it can be installed on the top of these tanks and exposed to high moisture environments with no risk of moisture intrusion. If the tanks are located outdoors, the Gems radar sensor is not affected from harmful UV light exposure because it is constructed of PVDF which is naturally resistant to corrosion also. With a 2” NPT mounting it can easily be mounted in one of the ports found on top of these large processing tanks.
Due to the large size of these food and beverage processing tanks a float and stem-based design is not practical for this application. There is typically little head room above these tanks to allow for a large stem and float to be installed. In these high moisture environments, there is no issue with the microwave signal being affected, which happens easily with Ultrasonic sensors. The microwave signal is unaffected from moisture or small particles in the air. Gems radar non-contact level sensor does not need adjustment when used with different medias and its non-contact design eliminates the need to worry about chemical compatibility. With a maximum process temperature rating of 80 degrees Celsius and full vacuum to 43 PSI rating, it can withstand extreme applications.
Below are additional benefits of Gems Non-Contact Radar Level Sensor:
- Comes standard with Bluetooth® configuration/setup. This saves sourcing and inventory costs as it reduces inventory management from multiple specific transmitters for each different tank depth down to one!
- Compact design which helps reduce expensive shipping costs and transit times.
- Non-contact design means no media ever comes in contact with the Radar sensor. This eliminates the need to worry about material compatibility between the media and sensor components.
- The non-contact design is by default a no moving parts solution, which eliminates the potential for any mechanical failures from a float or probe-based sensor.
- The non-contact design also eliminates any surface area for bacteria to potentially grow on.
- Radar through the air technology is a very accurate sensing technology and can detect liquid level within 5mm, with no effect on its accuracy based on changes in temperature or pressure.
- Radar technology is not affected by condensation or dust in the air like ultra-sonic based sensors.
The above characteristics make Gems radar sensor an ideal solution to work in Food and Beverage Processing Tanks. With standard outputs including 4-20mA, and Modbus, it is compatible with almost any type of controller or display. Gems radar sensor also has built-in Bluetooth® capability for simple configuration. During setup it has the ability to sense obstructions within the beam angle and ignore them. This increases the potential installation areas as there is no need to work around tank obstructions like pipes or other sensors. This helps save countless installation man hours and eliminates the need to make costly tank modifications.
Gems Radar Level Sensor is an excellent match for Food and Beverage Processing Tanks.