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VEGAPULS 64 ushers in a new age of radar measurement technology for liquids

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

In 2014, VEGA successfully launched the VEGAPULS 69, a new sensor for the continuous measurement of bulk solids. A sensor with a transmission frequency three times higher than its competitors, the VEGAPULS 69 made an immediate impact, accurately measuring media with poor reflective properties, effectively performing in production shafts up to 394 ft deep, and seamlessly operating in silos with numerous internal installations that generate strong false echoes. Across multiple industries, the VEGAPULS 69 set new standards in the level measurement of bulk solids.

Less than two years later, VEGA is introducing the VEGAPULS 64, the world’s first 80 GHz radar sensor for level measurement of liquids. The VEGAPULS 64 will follow in the footsteps of the VEGAPULS 69 by setting a bold new standard in liquid level measurement. VEGA’s radar revolution begins with high dynamics and superior focusing.

Thanks to large dynamic range, the VEGAPULS 64 measures media with poor reflective qualities — including those with low dielectric constant (dK) — with greater accuracy than any radar instrument that preceded it. This is especially beneficial to the chemical and petrochemical industries, where low dK liquids are often the norm. Large dynamic range also ensures measurement certainty in processes that produce foam or other surface turbulences.

The 80 GHz transmission frequency of the VEGAPULS 64 will appeal to manufacturers in multiple industries. Operating at such a high frequency allows for optimised signal processing, so the sensor emits a narrow radar beam that misses vessel installations like agitators, heating coils, and other internal fixtures. Additionally, the instrument’s incredible focus means it can measure down to the bottom of a tank. But that’s not the only cross-industry problem the VEGAPULS 64 solves.

Condensation is a common menace to process automation. In the food and beverage industry, for example, beet juice is thickened by using a vacuum and heat for the purposes of evaporation. The evaporator boils liquid so violently that it forms copious amounts of condensation, presenting a serious challenge to accurate level measurement. Chemical manufacturers are also quite familiar with the trouble condensation causes. Solvents and intermediate carrier materials, for instance, have to be first prepared before they can proceed to the next step of a process. This preparation typically takes place in vessels enclosed with a steam heating jacket that regulates the temperature inside the mixing process. Condensation runs rampant in this application, and it is a serious detriment to level detection.

Whether in liquid or vapor form, condensation reflects radar signals, creating false echoes that distort the level output. In most cases, it prevents users from taking advantage of the entire capacity of their process vessels, an inefficiency that proves costly over time. Moreover, heavy vapors and liquid condensate can penetrate and damage radar antennas. Instrument repair and maintenance is expensive, and in the most extreme cases, the harm done to level devices could force a process shutdown. Condensate on the sensor, however, is not an issue for the innovative VEGAPULS 64.

Each VEGAPULS 64 comes equipped with special software algorithms that filter out interference and deliver a clear measurement signal even through buildup, vapors and condensation. The large dynamic range of the product also minimises the effect of sensor contamination by compensating for signal attenuation caused by product deposits. The interior of the VEGAPULS 64 is designed to defend it from condensation, and its exterior matches this commitment to protection.

The antenna system of VEGAPULS 64 is encapsulated in PTFE or PEEK, so there are no cavities or crevices in which product can accumulate. This means operators do not need to worry about condensation or buildup creeping into the instrument and forcing a stoppage. The VEGAPULS 64 is durable and thrives in extreme conditions that overwhelm other radar sensors.

Ultimately, the VEGAPULS 64 represents a giant leap forward for liquid level measurement. The 80 GHz radar sensor does what was previously thought impossible in many industries. The innovative new device offers unrivalled focusing, allowing for accurate measurement in vessels where space is limited. It features large dynamic range that makes it easier than ever before to measure precisely difficult liquids in harsh environments. Plus, the VEGAPULS 64 defeats condensation from the inside out. The sensor’s software is intelligent enough to ignore signal interference from condensation, and its antenna is strong enough to resist damage from vapor or liquid. Non-contact and maintenance-free, the VEGAPULS 64 is the total package, functioning excellently, even in applications where heavy deposits and condensation are present. This new generation of radar technology for liquid level measurement is simply world class.

Written by Tom Brewer, Marketing Content Specialist, VEGA Americas Inc.

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