VEGAPULS 64 delivers best measuring results with 80 GHz

VEGA Grieshaber KG offers the first radar level gauge for liquids that operates at a frequency of 80 GHz. With its amazingly small antenna system, the VEGAPULS 64 is ideal for use in vessels with small process connections, such as those used in the food, pharmaceutical and biotech industry. The new sensor is also particularly suitable for use in these industries due to its hygienic materials and design.

The focusing properties of a radar measuring instrument depends on the transmission frequency and the effective antenna surface. By using a transmission frequency over three times higher (26 GHz was common until now), the antennas can be three times smaller and still achieve nearly the same signal focusing. This allows considerably smaller process fittings with an antenna size of only ¾” – a significant advantage, especially for use in small vessels.

This frequency also considerably reduces interfering signals generated at close range. This is crucial for the industry, because the antenna size and blocking distance (the dead band, i.e. the minimum distance between the antenna and the liquid surface) of radar instruments was far too large for small containers. Now, the medium can be measured with much higher accuracy, both right up to the process fitting and down to the very bottom of the container.

Another plus for this highly regulated industry: since existing process connections can be used, the new sensor can be easily installed without costly equipment modifications. Aseptic process fittings will be available at the market launch – in these, only PTFE serves as the wetted material. These process fittings meet the requirements of 3A, FDA and EHEDG.

Since radar signals pass right through viewing windows and glass containers, the sensor can also be mounted outside the container in some cases. This method, too, has become much easier thanks to the higher transmission frequency – and this solution will be especially interesting for the pharmaceutical and food industry.


Food makers look to the future

Food and beverage makers who gathered in Sydney last week for a key industry seminar heard that, as we move further into the new century, new technologies and Industry 4.0 will become increasingly crucial to the success of their businesses.

Food Factories of the Future was held before a full room at the Novotel Darling Harbour in Sydney last Wednesday morning. The event complimented foodpro which was taking place at the same time at the nearby ICC Exhibition Centre.

The two keynote speakers on hand for the seminar were Peter K. Wienzek, Business Development Manager Systems, ifm efector and John Leadbetter Managing Director, VEGA Australia.

Presenting first, Wienzek pointed out that food makers in 2017 have access to data that simply was not available in the past. Today, he said, everything is online and globally accessible. While this represents a challenge for the industry, it also offers huge opportunities.

He said that, provided it is used correctly, data can help the food factories of the future cut costs while maintaining quality. It can deliver benefits in terms of energy savings, production efficiency, process optimization, condition based maintenance, and more.

Peter K Wienzek’s presentation can be viewed here.

Leadbetter devoted his presentation to the important topic of level control. He said that, whether they are dealing with beer, grain, sugar or milk, food manufacturers require level control technology to monitor their tanks, silos, and vessels. Depending on the application, they can choose between Level Transmitters, Level Switches and Pressure Transmitters to perform this task.

Leadbetter outlined latest developments in this area, including radar level transmitters, pressure transmitters and the use of Bluetooth communications. He said that these new technologies, coupled with a continued emphasis on hygiene, will help the factories of the future run efficiently and profitably.

John Leadbetter’s presentation can be viewed here.

Following the presentations, the speakers took part in a Q&A session. A sample of audience questions included: how big a challenge do Industry 4.0 changes represent for individual businesses; who within management structures needs to take ownership of these challenges; and the ins-and-outs of level control and compliance for food makers.

Food Factories of the Future was organised by Prime Creative Media, publisher of Food & Beverage Industry News. We would like to thank our two speakers, as well as all those present.

(Left to right) John Leadbetter, Peter K. Wienzek, and Matthew McDonald, Editor Food & Beverage Industry News.
(Left to right) John Leadbetter Managing Director, VEGA Australia; Peter K. Wienzek, Business Development Manager Systems, ifm efector; and Matthew McDonald, Editor Food & Beverage Industry News.


Test & measurement – HART vibrating fork level detector

Emerson Automation Solutions has launched the Rosemount 2140, the world’s first wired HART vibrating fork level detector. Offering enhanced ease-of-use, smart diagnostics, and remote proof-testing capability, the device provides reliable level detection while helping increase safety and efficiency of both plant and workers.

The vibrating fork level detector performs in applications with high temperatures and harsh conditions unsuitable for other level monitoring devices. It is easy to install and maintain as there are no moving parts. The device is virtually unaffected by flow, bubbles, turbulence, foam, vibration, sediments content, coating, liquid properties and product variations. It can be used to monitor not only liquids but also liquid-to-sand interface, which enables the build-up of sand or sludge deposits in a tank to be detected.

Compatible with the HART 5 and HART 7 hosts, the vibrating fork level detector enables operators to continuously monitor electronic and mechanical health. Frequency Profiling functionality immediately detects any build-up, fork blockage, or excessive corrosion, indicating maintenance may be required and allowing this to be scheduled during periods of downtime. In addition, Power Advisory functionality monitors voltage and current drawn over the device’s lifetime with a Process Alert for potential issues that could become a problem, such as corrosion.

An optional integral LCD display shows switch output states and diagnostics so an operator can inspect the device locally. Also, selectable Media Density and Media Learn functions help configure appropriate density settings to calculate and maintain optimum and consistent switching points in fluids of unknown properties so the device always switches with the highest degree of reliability.

For safety-critical applications, a dedicated version of the Rosemount 2140 certified to IEC61508 is available with a 97 per cent safe failure fraction and 96 per cent diagnostics coverage, making it one of the safest devices in the current SIL2 market.

For installations within safety instrumented systems, a fully-integrated remote proof-testing capability eliminates the need to access the top of the vessel for extracting the device from the process. This saves time and increases process availability, worker safety and efficiency.



When it comes to level measurement, size matters

The latest radar level sensor from Vega is the first such product that operates at a frequency of 80 GHz. And, according to its makers, it is just what food and beverage makers have been asking for. Matthew McDonald writes.

Food and beverage processing, like the rest of the manufacturing sector, continues to demand ever improving efficiency. Any product that speeds things up, decreases downtime, or makes life simpler on the factory floor is always welcome.

For example, food makers who need to do processing and mixing in vessels and need to be able to measure tank levels, want devices that are simple to use, versatile, intuitive, easy to clean, safe and reliable.

In particular these days, businesses want sensors that can work well with small vessels. Vega has released such a product, the VEGAPULS 64.

“About two years ago we released our solids radar development [the VEGAPULS 69] which is a radar level transmitter used predominantly for measuring solids material, so your grains, your flours, your mixtures like that,” John Leadbetter, Managing Director of Vega Australia told Food & Beverage Industry News.

“And then with the success of that particular unit, we brought forward by three years the development of the VEGAPULS 64 which is the liquid version of that particular development.”

Leadbetter explained that the unit is the first of its kind to use an ultra-high frequency of 80Hz. “This gives us some refined improvements such as narrower beam angles, faster updates and more resilience to things such as build up sprays – things like that which are normally present in the food industry,” he said.

In other words, it provides accurate level measurement even in poorly reflective liquids and in in vessels with internal installations such as heating coils and agitators.

In addition, the sensor has the smallest antenna of any such product and can function accurately with small storage vessels.

Small vessels

Leadbetter explained the use of small vessels is very much an industry trend. “We develop due to industry feedback and the industry was telling us that they need smaller devices, they need smaller fittings. They need to adapt to narrower vessels.”

Pet foods, dairies, biscuit makers, and so forth are making vessels in smaller sizes these days and know that, when it comes to fittings, bigger equals more expensive.

As such, the VEGAPULS 64 has a thread that measures just ¾ inch.

To demonstrate just how small a vessel it can be used with, the company connected the sensor to a 300ml bottle of water and successfully measured its contents.

“No other radar on the market can do that,” Leadbetter said.

“It’ll still work in larger vessels but it’s specifically been targeted at the smaller end of the market.”

Asked about cleaning procedures, Leadbetter explained that normal industry procedures should be followed.

“Most applications in the food industry using cleaning in place with caustics, so we’ll all fully approved, we have temperature ratings and everything for that. Realistically in the food industry you’re going to have no little gaps or anything like that so it’s going to be a smooth finish.”

The level sensor is suitable for use in areas other than the food and beverage sector.

“When developing a product, we look at all markets then make changes in options to adapt to the different markets,” said Leadbetter.

The product is suitable for use with any type of conductive fluid including water, bitumen, chemicals and so forth. Where the model for the food sector differs from models for other industries is that has received all relevant food approvals.

“We will change fittings or change approvals to adapt to the industry we are going into…it’s just the adaption and the fitting that are changed,” said Leadbetter.

The future

According to Leadbetter, the market for level measurement sensors is changing.

“A lot of the technologies of the past which were traditionally used such as capacitance and ultrasonic pressure and things like that are going to become less and less effective (or used) and these more developed products like 80 GHz radar will start replacing those older technologies for size, for convenience and for adaptability,” he said.

Still, the business of level measurement is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Vega makes other devices such as tuning fork point level switches which are used where it is only necessary to know when a material has reached a particular point; and pressure transmitters which are suitable for applications where there are no fittings on top of the vessels to use things like radar level transmitters.

It is a horses-for-courses approach and Leadbetter often returns to the theme of responding to industry demand.

“It’s [about] helping the customer streamline and improve their processes and responses and things like that,” Leadbetter said.

“In most cases we’re able to. In some cases, it’s a little bit far-fetched. We don’t believe we’ve reached the end of radar development and we think there’s a lot more to go yet but this is certainly along the path the food industry is taking us.”

“Other industries have different criteria so we adapt to their types of requirements for their industries – high temperatures, fumes, larger vessels, faster filling, things like that. We try to adapt to all things as much as possible.”


Vega Australia

02 9542 6662