The level measuring system at the Cleansing Service Group (CSG) waste oil facility in Middlesbrough, U.K., is vital to its process. Waste oil is constantly being transferred to and from the tanks, so the system must be accurate and reliable, working with high level alarms to avoid over-filling.

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Dual sensors are connected to a designated alarm panel, activating visual and audible alarms for “belt and braces” security if anything affects readings from the level-measurement system.

Recently, the facility installed a multipoint level-measurement system for waste oil transfer from Hycontrol after its aging pressure sensors had become unstable, delivering unreliable results. Based on new microwave-based Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) technology, the system monitors seven tanks ranging from 50,000 to 120,000 liters in capacity. The Reflex VF03 TDR sensors deliver individual tank level readings within an accuracy of ±5 millimeters. In addition, a large custom-built display panel of readings is mounted adjacent to the fill points.

The devices can also be applied to measuring other liquids, powders and granules. Originally used to detect breaks in subsea cables, the time domain reflectometry uses pulses of low power microwaves sent along the conducting probes. Where waves meet the air-product interface, the product reflects them back along the probe. The measured time between emission and reception back at the sensor head is proportional to the distance. This information is then converted to a measured tank level.

The measuring principle is unaffected by pressure, temperature, viscosity, vacuum, foam, dust, product buildup or changes in dielectric constant. The durable probes allow a narrow measuring profile up to a maximum range of 24 meters, which is particularly useful for measurements in tanks that have internal structural supports.

Spillages caused by tank overfilling are expensive and can cause major environmental problems. Although the level measurement includes an early warning high level alarm, an independent high level alarm system based on tuning fork sensors is also mounted at the top of each tank.

PR_0216_Hycontrol sidebar, waste oil tranfer“The overfill alarm system gives us added piece of mind,” said CSG Site Manager Craig Dufferwiel.

Both sets of sensors are connected to a designated alarm panel, activating visual and audible alarms if levels in any tank rise above a predetermined level. This hard-wired backup delivers “belt and braces” security, if anything affects readings from the level-measurement system.

The robust sensors are easy to install and available in a range of flanges and fittings. For CSG’s application the wetted parts are fabricated of 316 stainless steel. Special versions are available for corrosive environments.

CSG sees reliable results from the new TDR system and plans to use similar equipment in the future.

“The system was installed with minimum disruption to our operation, and we now have full confidence in the level measurement results,” Dufferwiel said. “To meet increased demand for our services, we are currently looking to expand the Middlesbrough facility by adding up to 10 further tanks. We expect these will also be fitted with Hycontrol instrumentation.”

Waste solution specialists Cleansing Service Group offers services including collection and final disposal of waste streams. It services customers throughout the U.K. including the Ministry of Defense, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), major local authorities and utility companies.

Hycontrol has been specifying pressure, level and flow instrumentation since 1977. Its technologies include a simple float and a dual-output multi-interface level sensor detector. Capabilities encompass complete project management including the supply, installation and commissioning of turnkey projects.