The fundamental level sensors technologies which currently exist to measure level existed with the same standards of developments 10 to 15 years ago. The advancements recently started emerging in making these technologies more reliable. Products survive longer in harsh environments with breakthroughs in materials, electronics, and manufacturing methods, and are easier to set up. Powerful, low-cost microcontrollers and other configurable electronic components enable sensors to adapt for more efficient operation to the environment in which they are working.
All about level sensors: what are they and what importance do they hold across different industries?
A level sensor is a tool for measuring the volume or quantity of fluids, liquids, or other substances that flow through an open system. There are two measurement types, called the continuous and point level measurements. Continuous level sensors are used to measure levels at a specific threshold; however, accurate results are provided by them.
The advent of advanced electronic control systems has provided users of sensors with continuous improvements in sensor accuracy, reliability, response time, robustness, miniaturization, communications capacity and performance. This has stimulated research and development in the sensors industry, which in turn creates incentives for advances in technology that will open up new sensor applications.
Support for the application holds the key to developing new technologies. A liquid level sensor, for example, can be used in industrial sectors spanning across chemical, pulp, paper, petroleum and food and beverage. Different applications in these industries may include the use of sensors in refrigeration towers, fuel storage containers, fermentation vessels, blending and solvent level monitoring vessels.
Level sensors applications across different industry verticals:
The persistent need for improving and decreasing wastage in the manufacturing industry has been quite prominent. This is also known as lean production or lean manufacturing, which has been defined within a manufacturing system as a systematic method of minimizing waste without sacrificing productivity and eliminating overload and uneven workload. In other terms, the main goal of lean manufacturing is to add value to a system or product while reducing producer and end-user costs, resources, and time. This is where the level sensors technology swoops in.
Increased use of smart sensors will affect the use of level sensors in the food & beverage industry, which will in turn increase market growth. These sensors can be used to measure viscosity in food & beverage for different applications such as semi-solid, liquid, and others. Level detection in the food and beverage industry plays a crucial role and level sensor is used in various applications that include level estimation, presence of food and beverage, and so on. Due to the increase in smart devices, which are furnished with microprocessors, the food & beverage level sensors industry is receiving substantial attention.
The oil sensors and analyzers are used for gathering or transmitting valuable information in automotive and industrial applications. They can range from a simple oil level indicator of the float type to a complex, in-line laser particle counter and all in between. The mechanical sensor is the level sensor which is the simplest and most commonly used.
The concept behind magnetic, mechanical, cable and other float level sensors is that a mechanical switch is opened or closed, either by direct contact with the switch or by magnetic operation of a reed. Fluid state sensors, which can track a range of fluid condition metrics–including conductivity, viscosity, and dielectric constant–offer the continuous monitoring capabilities necessary to ensure uninterrupted equipment operation.
Precision in level measurement is a big challenge in drug manufacturing. Ensuring that the end product adheres to the tolerances specified has historically not been easy. Level measurement in the pharmaceutical industry is conflated with disparate challenges like the need for repetitive level measurements to avoid catastrophes, alignment with bioprocess standards, ISO/FDA calibration verification, and system reliability in the face of changing process conditions.
This industry encompasses the use of mixers, bioreactors, fermenters, and preparation tanks. These containers experience mass, temperature, and pressure changes. Accuracy in level measurement is, therefore, a challenging task. Many containers have built-in nozzles and agitators, which cause problems with the application of certain types of mechanical level measuring instruments. Another challenge is that testing of the level measurement transmitter configuration is mandatory. Removing the container from the process line for the 'wet calibration procedure' is necessary for this.
Latest strategies implemented by the leading industry shapers
Growth and development of compact technology have improved the function of the level sensors. The sophisticated sensors are incorporated for various operations along with ensuring greater precision and accuracy. Additionally, the incorporation of IoT and machine learning in level sensors has accelerated its demand in various industries and is helping the level sensor market to grow globally.
Sensor technology has advanced in the electronics line and is rolling out new developments every day for superior products. Sensors are being used everywhere in medical, manufacturing, educational and other uses and there is no single sensor-dominated technology sector. This is why the impactful industry participants are introducing novel technologies and implementing different business strategies to increase their foothold in the industry.
The level sensors market is likely to witness healthy growth in the coming years owing to its extensive adoption in different industry verticals, along with an increased demand for compact-sized smart instruments. The materials will continue to improve in this field, which will provide greater product compatibility at much more affordable rates. Signal processing would also keep improving so that more information from a single sensor will be accessible.
Digital interfaces are designed to replace analog interfaces. This provides a way to get more information from one single sensor. The digital signal gives a reading of the oil level, a reading of the water level and a reading of the temperature from one single probe. With advancements in the sensor interface, less power, and more real-time data will be available. A single sensor will help supply more information about an application. Likewise, accuracy and repeatability will continue to improve. In the coming years, wireless sensor interfaces will increase by providing cost savings in installation costs.