Level Measurement with 80-GHz Radar Optimizes Plant Availability

Sensors for highest safety standards,suitable for the wide variety of media in the chemical industry

Level measurement with 80-GHz radar optimizes plant availability

Effective production facilities require highly efficient measurement technology. When measuring levels with radar, it‘s the dynamic range that leads to significantly greater efficiency. The larger the dynamic range, the wider the range of possible applications and the higher the measurement certainty. With their enormous 120-dB range, 80-GHz radar sensors from VEGA are able to measure even the tiniest reflections.
And for that reason they make a significant contribution to the stability and reliability of production facilities in the process industry – in companies and applications of all sizes.

Optimized dynamic range makes the difference

If the key to greater plant availability is precise control, the key to precise control is high-performance measurement technology. It must be extremely robust, have minimum measuring tolerances and be flexible and easily integrable into any system. The different reflective properties of different media have been a real challenge for radar up to now, but the new 80-GHz radar sensors have no problem in this area, delivering a convincing performance with reliable measured values. It’s the unique dynamic range of VEGA instruments together with their strong signal focusing that makes the difference here.

As a result – thanks to optimized dynamics and a high signal frequency of 80 GHz – the dielectric constant of the medium is no longer a limiting factor in liquid applications. And in the case of bulk solids with good reflective properties, such as fertilizers or salts, measurement certainty and reliability get even better with 80-GHz radar. But even bulk solids with poor reflective properties, including plastic powder or light colour pigments, can be measured, and that with considerably higher quality than ever before.

Reliable level measurement even under difficult conditions

But good radar focusing can do more. It delivers reliable measurements under extremely difficult conditions, e.g. in vessels with heating coils or other complex internals and even in reactors with multi-stage agitators. 80-GHz sensors are also non-sensitive to turbulent product surfaces, condensate or buildup on the antenna. They measure liquids with an accuracy of +/-1 millimetre and bulk solids over measuring ranges of up to 120 metres with exceptionally high reliability.

And when it comes to robustness, they’re also in the lead: the 80-GHz units operate largely independently of density, pressure and temperature and their process fittings allow optimal CIP and SIP cleaning. Due to the higher signal frequency, very small process fittings can be used, which makes it easier to retrofit the sensors in many applications.

Wireless operation: Level sensors with Bluetooth for more efficiency and intelligence

The efficiency of production facilities can be decisively optimized in all phases of their life cycle. Chemical plants are not static, unchanging entities, as one might suppose in view of the complex processes, immense reactor vessels or extensive pipelines they encompass. Instead, they are in a constant process of modernisation.

Attractive also for older plants

Bluetooth is one of several ways VEGA makes extended communication available for almost its entire instrument portfolio. The option of wireless communication with sensors is integrated in the universal, modular display and adjustment module PLICSCOM. VEGA is now optimising older plants with the new Bluetooth option: the modular PLICSCOM display with integrated Bluetooth function is downward compatible with most of the VEGA sensors already in the field that currently operate without Bluetooth. In fact, downward compatible all the way back to sensors manufactured in 2002.

Chemical companies can achieve tangible added value with the help of wireless communication. Wireless operation makes life easier for people who control and monitor manufacturing processes: e.g. when measurement has to be carried out in inaccessible places or over large distances, like on top of high silos, or in harsh industrial environments or Ex areas. The optional feature allows a sensor to be parameterized wirelessly from a distance of up to 25 meters.

Secure data transmission

Focusing on process security and reliability, VEGA offers a Bluetooth function based on a multi-level concept that implements even the highest safety requirements flexibly and appropriately to the situation at hand. For those who do not want or need wireless, the adjustment module PLICSCOM is still available without Bluetooth. But even when using the Bluetooth module, the wireless function can be temporarily or permanently deactivated as required. Or digital encryption can be used, which also provides security against attempts to eavesdrop or copy data. For Bluetooth, this corresponds to the high "Bluetooth standards"; for networks, to the TLS/PSK protocols.

In order to develop sensible communication scenarios based on Industry 4.0, it is important to know exactly what the individual strengths and requirements of a company are. The best data networking solution is different for every process. Encrypted data transmission via wireless is ideal for some processes, whereas for others a VEGA solution with heterogeneous networks, wireless HART or classic parallel wiring may be the right choice.

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    Level Measurement with 80-GHz Radar Optimizes Plant Availability

    Level measurement with 80-GHz radar optimizes plant availability Effective production facilities require highly efficient measurement technology. When measuring levels with radar, it‘s the dynamic range that leads to significantly greater efficiency. The larger the dynamic range, the wider ... more

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    VEGA Grieshaber KG

    VEGA is an international manufacturer of sensors that measure level, limit level and pressure in process automation. Together with its subsidiaries and distribution partners, VEGA customers in over 80 countries profit from customer proximity and market competence for demanding measurement t ... more