A complete level measurement and alarm system solution for petroleum products

A family-owned petroleum product wholesaler in south-central Michigan has been growing their business for more than 80 years. For four generations, they’ve served businesses and residences by providing heat solutions, fuels, commercial oils, and industrial lubricants.

Moving and distributing their products across parts of Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio is a massive living machine with multiple moving parts. Transport trucks refill and move products from 18 bulk storage tanks located in three different locations while suppliers regularly restock the storage tanks to keep operations running.

Going above and beyond the safety requirements

VEGA helped set up and install each radar sensor and visualization cabinet.

Whenever any company works with petroleum products, safety is the number one priority. Spills are costly, not only because of lost product, but EPA cleanup regulations require additional time and resources.

To help ensure safe, smooth operations, this Michigan-based company installed high level limit switches on each of their bulk storage tanks. This solution worked – until it didn’t. One of their point level switches failed, resulting in lost product and an extensive cleanup effort.

Rather than simply replacing the failed switch, the company looked at the situation as an opportunity to improve their current setup. Instead of a point level measurement, they searched for a solution that could provide a continuous level measurement, visual indication, as well as visual and audible alarms. All of this and the ability to tie the system into their network for remote viewing went onto their wish list.

Working with level experts for a complete solution

The VCCS13e visualization cabinet displays the level in each tank and provides a high-level alarm.

The family-owned business began doing the research of finding the complete solution they wanted when they found VEGA. After a quick call, they were connected to their local VEGA seller who swiftly visited, listened to their needs, and provided an on-site demonstration of a potential solution.

After a few more conversations and a little more research, the petroleum product wholesaler chose non-contact 80 GHz radar paired with an inventory management and alarming system. More specifically, they ordered 18  VEGAPULS C 21 radar sensors and three VCCS13e central visualization cabinets – one for each site.

The VEGAPULS C 21 provides a non-contact, maintenance-free measurement because there’s never a need to remove the sensor for cleaning. Plus, this radar level sensor uses 80 GHz technology for an accurate, reliable measurement. The 80 GHz frequency gives the sensor a more focused beam angle, so users receive a stronger measurement return signal despite fluids with poor reflective properties.

The VCCS13e serves multiple purposes in inventory management applications, including the capability to serve as a power source for up to 30 connected devices. The large touchscreen shows a local visualization of level measurements for up to 10 vessels on a single display. Plus, VCCS13e uses an external alarm light and horn to notify users of up to four different alarm points per sensor.

A better setup and improved safety

A VCCS13e display cabinet sits in the foreground of petroleum product bulk storage tanks.

VEGA helped this family-owned petroleum wholesaler commission the radars and an inventory management and alarming system at each of their three sites. With the new and more reliable measurement system in place, the company’s operations are safer and more efficient. Plus, they managed to find a partner in VEGA for all their level measurement needs.

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