Why Measure Level?

This section addresses the most frequently asked basic questions about level measurement.

If you cannot find the answer to your question here, please get in touch! With over 35 years of experience, we're bound to be able to help you.

1. Help! Where do I start?
Don't panic! Even if it is day one on your new job and you're suddenly confronting the risk of spillages, or you can't be sure how much you have in that hopper, you're in the right place. Hycontrol has been specifying equipment and solving businesses' measurement problems for over 35 years now, and we have built our reputation on precision engineering solutions for our clients. We are a UK-based manufacturer with an international outlook.

?At the bottom of this page are our contact details - get in touch. We're here to help.

Remember, you can visit our Applications section to see some examples of the work we have done in your industry and others, and you can explore our full range of technology in the Products section.

2. Why measure level?

There are multiple reasons to measure the level of liquid or solids products: for inventory monitoring, for safety, for re-ordering, and so on. It is a sensible thing to do and conforms to general health and safety guidance.

One vital function of level measurement is the prevention of overfilling. It is sensible to be concerned about the potential for storage vessel overfills; there are hundreds of tank spills of hazardous materials every day. Overfills have long been a leading cause of severe incidents in many industries. But overfills do not occur randomly; they are predictable, and therefore they are preventable. This fact, coupled with the continued rise in safety expectations and associated legislation, means that having accurate and reliable level control remains an important consideration.


3. What is the correct level measurement technology to use?

Choosing the right tool for the job is where things get more complex. There is a vast array of level/contents monitoring equipment on the market, ranging from the basic, simple equipment that has been in service for decades, to the most cutting-edge technology. By and large, they all have their place.

Some technologies are effectively obsolete but remain in use due to their low initial costs, but increasingly users see the benefits of more modern equipment. Some equipment is proven to be utterly unsuitable for certain applications. A quality equipment supplier will be able to assess the particular requirements of your application and recommend the appropriate solution to you.


4. Should I use a point switch or continuous measurement?

Again, this will depend on your application and what (if any) information you need to relay to another point. For example, if you are connecting a level device to a display panel or computer network. If you only need a high- or low-level alarm, then a point switch, such as a vibrating or capacitance probe, is an effective solution when paired with a simple alarm. Applications where users require real-time level updates will undoubtedly need a continuous probe, such as a radar or TDR device. One must also consider how and where staff members will access this information. In some cases, it may be possible to automate reaction to a level alarm.

As above, an experienced and knowledgable level measurement supplier should be able to advise on the best solution for your specific application.


5. How do I install my level equipment?

Set-up will vary from device to device, but some useful rules of thumb include:

  • If using an existing process connection port, make sure when ordering that the device's process connection is the same size (you'd be surprised how often this is incorrect!).
  • When measuring solid product that may form peaks or troughs, calculate the best position to place your probe to achieve a median measurement - refer to Hycontrol's white paper for more information.
  • Do not mount the device where the inflow of the product can hit or damage it. Even the most sturdy level probe will rapidly succumb to such constant wear.
  • For similar reasons, avoid placing your probe near heaters or agitators.
  • Be aware of any internal tank geography that may interfere with the device's signal; if such architecture is unavoidable, try to choose equipment that compensates for this or is unaffected by it.


A quality level equipment supplier will also be able to consult on installation issues and offer specific advice. Some may even offer to install and set up your system for you!