Why Measure Level?

This addresses the most frequently asked questions about level measurement.

If you have any questions that aren't answered here, please get in touch!

1. 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 common-sense 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 serious incidents in many industries. But overfills do not occur randomly; they are predictable, and therefore they are preventable. This, coupled with the continued rise in safety expectations and associated legislation, means that having accurate and reliable level control remains an important consideration.

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

This 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 are seeing the benefits of more modern equipment. Some equipment has been proven to be completely unsuitable for certain applications. A quality equipment supplier will be able to assess the particular requirements of your application and recommend the appropriate solution.

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

Again, this will depend on your application and what (if any) information you require to be relayed to another point (for example a display panel or computer network). If you only require 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 certainly need a continuous probe, such as a radar or TDR device. Consideration must also be given to how and where this information is presented for staff to act upon. 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.

4. How do I install my level equipment?

Obviously, this 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 in order to achieve a median measurement - refer to Hycontrol's white paper for more information.
  • Do not mount the device where it can be impacted by product inflow.
  • Avoid placing near heaters or agitators.
  • Be aware of any internal tank geography that may interfere with the device’s signal, and 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!