Monitoring level of fuel and diesel oil in cylindrical tanks case study

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Courtesy of Solid Applied Technologies Ltd. (SolidAT)

SmartScan 50L delivers a reliable measurement solution for monitoring fuel and diesel oil in a municipal Central Post Office.

This Post Office provides postal services throughout the country. To provide its services around the clock, the office invests huge efforts in maintaining its building at the highest standards.

The problems

The Central Post Office uses fuel oil for its generator which supplies the building with electric power in the event of power failure. It uses also diesel oil to fuel the boilers of the building’s central heating system. These oils are stored underground, outside the building, in three cylindrical tanks. Each tank contains several tons of oil.

The post office engineers sought a solution to enable monitoring of the oil level in the tanks from the control desk since the tanks are located remotely and are difficult to access.

There are a number of problems affecting the accuracy of the measurement of fuel and diesel oils in ultrasonic measurement. The first difficulty arises from the tanks’ cylindrical shape and its conic ending. This conic ending may cause the ultrasonic beam to lose its target during the reading process, resulting in an echo loss.

In addition, the fuel oil must be heated to allow it to flow through the heating pipes, causing a rise in temperature inside the fuel oil tanks, thereby generating vapors. These vapors influence the tanks’ environment and the accuracy of the level measurement, especially when there is no ventilation system to diffuse the vapors and enable clean air inside the tank.

The solution

Three SmartScan 50L units were installed in the post office. The electronic units were installed in the wiring cabinet inside the machinery room where the generator and the heating boilers are located. The sensors were located on a high and narrow flange positioned on top of each tank. Due to the SmartScan sensor compact size and fast set-up time the installation was easy, with a minimum of hassle. The sensor glass-reinforced epoxy material enabled the SmartScan to cope in difficult environments, such as vapors and heat in the oil tanks. Furthermore, by utilizing its innovative algorithm the SmartScan overcomes noises inside the tanks generated by obstacles such as metal pipes and electric wires, while providing accurate and continuous readings. These readings are displayed both locally in the SmartScan electrical unit and via 4-20mA on the control desk.

Summary

The three SmartScan 50L units installed in the central post office provide accurate and constant reading of the oil level inside the tanks, thus enabling smooth and simple monitoring and a reliable and long lasting solution.

SmartScan 50L is a non-contact ultrasonic measuring gauge based on Solid AT's patented technology. Its measuring range is up to 12m (39ft) with 0.2% accuracy. It is equipped with 5 independent SPDT relays and provides both RS232/RS485 digital communication as well as 4-20mA analog communication.

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