Tank level monitoring technology is critical for a variety of industries, from chemical storage and manufacturing to oil and gas exploration and production. Due to the complexity and range of environments that tank level monitoring devices must operate in, tank owners often have to choose between two basic types: radar vs ultrasonic level measurements.
Although both technologies have their advantages and disadvantages, understanding the key differences between ultrasonic and radar tank level sensors will help you choose the best solution for monitoring your tank’s level and performance.
Ultrasonic Level Sensors for Tanks
Ultrasonic tank level sensors provide non-contact, precise measurements of liquid levels in tanks. Ultrasonic level sensors work by emitting sound waves that bounce off of the surface of the liquid, allowing the sensor to measure the level of the liquid in the tank and the contents of the tank without having to make physical contact with the liquid.
The biggest advantage of an ultrasonic tank level sensor is its accuracy. Ultrasonic sensors detect liquid level based on the time it takes for sound waves to travel from the sensor to the surface of the liquid and back again. This process is highly precise, and can provide reliable measurements without the risk of errors associated with manual methods.
In addition to their accuracy, ultrasonic level transmitters are ideal for large tanks and difficult to reach areas. The sensors can be installed in tanks with curved surfaces and can also work with non-uniform surfaces. This makes them ideal for fuel tanks, container tanks, and other large tanks.
Another advantage of ultrasonic tank level sensors is their low maintenance requirements. The sensors require little to no maintenance, and the portable units can be conveniently moved from site to site.
Despite the advantages, there are some drawbacks to using ultrasonic tank level sensors. The biggest issue with this technology is its cost. Ultrasonic sensors are typically more expensive than other methods of measurement. This high cost can make them cost-prohibitive for some businesses.
Another issue with ultrasonic tank level sensors is that they can be easily damaged by extreme temperatures or vibrations. If the tank level sensor is exposed to temperatures above 200°F or vibrations above 0.5g, it can fail. This makes them unreliable in some industrial applications.
In addition, ultrasonic tank level sensors are limited in their measurement range. They can only measure liquid level up to 25 feet. If the tank is deeper than this, the sensor will be unable to accurately determine its level.
Radar Tank Level Sensors
Radar tank level sensors use microwaves to measure the level of a liquid in a tank. The radar level transmitter sends radar signals or microwaves penetrate the surface of the liquid, and the radar level sensor measures changes in the signal strength as the level rises and falls.
The primary advantage of radar tank level sensors is their accuracy. Thanks to the high frequency emitted by the radar transmitters, these devices are able to achieve much high levels of accuracy than a traditional pressure transducer or float switch. This accuracy is especially beneficial when dealing with fluids of various densities or with tricky levels such as steam condensate.
Radar level measurements are also incredibly reliable. These devices operate well in harsh and wet environments, and they can even maintain their accuracy in the presence of electrostatic interference. This makes them ideal for environments where traditional sensors would not be able to cope.
Finally, radar tank level sensors are relatively inexpensive compared to traditional transducers or switches. This makes them an affordable option for measuring liquid levels, allowing for increased levels of accuracy and reliability without breaking the bank.
Radar tank level sensors do have some drawbacks, however. These devices are not suitable in corrosive environments, and they can be affected by meteorological phenomena such as thunderstorms and high-altitude winds.
Another issue is that radar tank level sensors require a line of sight to the tank in order to work effectively. This limits their use in certain applications, as they cannot be used around corners or curves.
Finally, specialized personnel are usually required to install and maintain radar tank level sensors. This can be costly compared to the installation of a traditional float switch or pressure transducer.
Overall, ultrasonic tank level sensors are generally the best choice if you need precise measurements, are looking for an easy-to-install solution, and want to measure levels of liquids that could potentially contain foam or emulsified elements. However, radar sensors are also reliable and provide a great option for measuring large tanks and tanks with complicated shapes.
Reign RMC offers the best tank level measurement solution for your company. The ViewPoint VTL is a budget-friendly tank monitoring solution that gives you 24/7 access to critical tank level data from anywhere in the world, making your monitoring efforts easier than ever before. Check out our monitoring system today, and give us a call!