Ware, UK A UK-based company has developed a sensor design that it hopes will make a major impact in the multimillion pound market for measuring liquid levels.
The Optical Level Sensor (OLS), developed by Product Innovation, measures liquid levels directly rather than interpreting an electronic signal as for example in capacitance, ultrasonic and magnetostrictive devices. It will accurately measure liquids regardless of dielectric, conductivity or temperature.
The OLS, which can be certified intrinsically safe, is available to manufacturers for licence, and will be particularly useful to the chemical, heating and ventilating, food and drink, oil, process and water industries.
Peter Frank, managing director of Product Innovation, said, “This huge industry is constantly expanding. The capacitance market In Europe alone is worth over $100m a year, but it needs a more accurate and reliable device that is attractively priced.”
The OLS uses the known optical principle of Total Internal Reflection. The patented technology allows this to work in a continuous probe and results in virtual analogue detection. The output is available in any of the standard formats, including digital. The electronics within the probe have the additional benefit of double checking the liquid level, giving a degree of data redundancy not previously available and allowing for self diagnosis features.
The OLS is designed in a modular form allowing customers to specify the length of probe required for their application. If appropriate, the LED/sensor pairs within the probe can be concentrated in regions of particular concern. The probe has a flat base, enabling liquid levels to be measured very close to the bottom of the tank. A resolution down to approx 1mm can be specified by the end user.