Oil tank farms are typically comprised of numerous large tanks that store oil, fuel, and other petrochemical products. The tank farms are typically located near oil terminals which are located at ports as oil is most easily transported from tanker ships. Tank farms can also be located more inland when the oil is transported by pipelines or rail. The tanks that comprise these tank farms can be as small as 10 feet and upwards of over 70 feet tall! They are normally cylindrical in shape with a cone roof to help shed water. With diameters of the tanks surpassing over 100 feet, these tanks can contain thousands of barrels of oil. With the sheer capacity of volume these tanks can contain, it’s crucial to monitor the level of these tanks accurately and consistently!
As the tanks are filled one important reason for accurate level measurement is the need to prevent overfilling the tanks. Since many of these tank farms are located near water, it’s important that they are not overfilled and spill into the local waterways, causing an ecological catastrophe. In addition, not only is overfilling important, but determining if there is a leak is also crucial. Accurate level measurement is important to verify that oil is not leaking from the tanks. The level is continuously monitored and any unplanned drop in level can alert personnel to investigate for any potential tank failures.
Challenge: Finding a cost-effective, easily configurable non-contact level sensor that can handle a large sensing range, and not be affected by the hydrocarbon vapors within the oil tanks.
Solution: Gems Non-Contact Radar Level Sensor
The Gems radar level sensor is a non-contact continuous level transmitter. 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 Oil Tank Farms for several reasons. With an Ingress Protection rating of 68, it can be installed on the exterior of these tanks that are exposed to the elements with no risk of moisture intrusion. The Gems radar sensor is constructed of PVDF which is resistant to corrosion and is not affected from harmful UV light exposure. With a 2” NPT mounting it can easily be mounted in one of the ports found on top of these large oil tanks.
Due to the large size of the Oil Tanks a float and stem-based design is not practical for this application. In addition, with a submersible pressure sensor you need to worry about chemical compatibility of the cable and sensor head. These also require calibration adjustments between different oil specific gravities. Gems’ non-contact radar 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!
- Gems radar sensor is a compact design which helps reduce expensive shipping costs and transit times. This also helps make installation easier.
- 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.
- 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 Oil Tank Farms. With standard outputs including 4-20mA, and Modbus, it is compatible with almost any type of controller or display. Gems non-contact 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 Oil Tank Farms.