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African Petrochemicals May/June Edition 14_3 {2017}

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Even while coated with

Even while coated with buildup, this 80 GHz radar sensor delivered accurate readings of hydrated lime. Radar is not disturbed by dust Radar sensors emit electromagnetic radio waves that are unaffected by dust. Unlike with sound waves, dust does not inhibit a radar signal’s transmission or its propagation. In fact, it has no effect on any radar sensor, regardless of transmission frequency. This is due to wavelength. The diameter of dust particles is in the 0.5-to-1.0-micrometer range. 80 GHz radar sensors have the shortest wavelength on the market, and dust is about 1,000 times too small to affect these waves as they travel through the airspace. This means that inside an industrial plant, radar can accurately measure the level of bulk solids and powders when dust is rampant and/ or during a filling cycle. This is a major advantage in automated processes. Conclusion Anyone who invested in a radar sensor to measure powder, only to have the sensor fail has every right to hesitate to try it again. But 80 GHz transmission frequency changes everything. These sensors have the wavelength to detect smaller particles and the dynamic range to measure weak signals from low-dielectric products. Plus, all of radar’s established strengths apply. Non-contact measurement extends a sensor’s life and the presence of dust has no bearing on measurement accuracy. It’s time to reconsider radar level measurement for powder storage and handling. Author bio Gregory Tischler is a Product Manager at VEGA Americas responsible for radar and guided wave radar sensors. He has almost 20 years of experience in the Industrial Automation industry, all with VEGA Americas. He is a voting member of the ASME-BPE Process Instrumentation subcommittee responsible for writing instrumentation standards for Bioprocessing Equipment, and he was also an active member of the MCAA committee that was responsible for shaping new FCC rules for Tank Level Probing Radars (Section 15.256) that was released at the beginning of 2014. Learn more about VEGA radar sensors at 6

MICROCONTROLLER CONDITION MONITORING SYSTEM Monitran, locally represented by Instrotech, has on offer to industry their MTN/5000; a cost-effective and versatile microcontroller-based condition monitoring system, for application in vibration monitoring and logging of any sensor-based design, for example temperature, pressure, voltage/current/power. The MTN/5000 is housed in an extruded aluminium enclosure and features a 9cm TFT touch screen with a high performance ARM Cortex-M3 processor. It has an easy-to-navigate menu that enables users to set data sampling periods up to 1million/second, ranges and accuracy levels plus vibration threshold (alarm) levels on a channel-by-channel basis or across all 12 channels. In addition, the system has 12 digital I/O channels that can be used for multiple alarms or a communication channel for integration with other systems. As an optional extra, the system can be fitted with Modbus TCP/IP, for networking purposes or to enable multiple MTN/5000s to operate together within a larger monitoring or control system. The MTN/5000 system is made to order and, in addition to specifying how many input channels the MTN/5000 should have, the user can request front panel customisation, such as asset numbering. The system requires an input voltage of 24V DC and the enclosure dimensions, including glands are 372 x 250 x 200mm. The MTN/5000 has a production lead time of 4-5 weeks, however this may be longer if optional extras are required. For more information and a full specification on Monitran’s MTN/5000 contact Instrotech on 010 595 1831 or 7


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