Level sensors can be classified in two basic ways – contact level sensors and non-contact level sensors. In other words, sensors that come into contact with the media, or those that do not. Contact sensors are very common, and typically include float switches, submersible level sensors, and level probes.
While these sensors are reliable means of level measurement, a non-contact equivalent often offers better options with improved performance. Non-contact sensors really include two main types: ultrasonic sensors and radar sensors. Despite the inherent advantages, many customers ask, “Why switch?” So we thought we’d tell you.
It always comes back to the application. Before we dive into the advantages of non-contact sensors, we want to remind everyone that it depends on what you’re measuring and what the surrounding environment is like. Budget is also a real concern, and whether or not non-contact sensors will save money depends on your particular circumstance.
However, for applications which suit non-contact sensors (which are many), there are three very good reasons why making the switch makes a whole lot of sense.
In dirty applications, build-up can affect the performance of a float, probe, or submersible. Ultrasonic sensors, for example, stay well above the mix, and require much less maintenance.
Non-contact sensors, such as an ultrasonic, avoid debris and turbulence. These can beat a sensor up and cause damage. Non-contact sensors simply do not have this problem.
Without the mechanical moving parts of floats and probes, non-contact sensors experience much less wear and tear from simple operation. In addition, only vaporous chemicals are capable of causing corrosion.
Contact sensors vary in size and weight. Some of them are quite difficult to ship and install. Level probes can be quite long, heavy, and require a lift just to install them on a tank. Non-contact sensors are relatively small and lightweight – typically fitting into an NPT fitting of 3 inches or less. This makes installation much easier and less expensive, speeding up implementation.
A Great Tool
These rather striking benefits have made non-contact sensors extremely popular for many applications. However, ultrasonic sensors and the like are just more tools in the instrumentation tool belt. When used properly, they can reduce installation, maintenance, and replacement costs while improving performance.
Have you been thinking about making the switch? Do you have any questions about using non-contact sensors? Tell us about your application! You can also give us a call and speak with our Measurement Experts at 888-525-7300.