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Tradition meets modern production | Reliable level measurement thanks to precise focussing

Admittedly, the focus of winegrowers is first and foremost on their vines and their wine. At the same time, however, they have to remain open to new technologies. One place where tradition and technology meet is the tank farm. Here, the special taste of great wines must be preserved, while still meeting the requirements of modern logistics. Radar level transmitters are to provide the important measurement data that enables a continuous and reliable overview of the tank farm inventory.
Trentino is a special place in Italy where the most diverse climatic zones in Europe meet. On one side there is the alpine climate, on the other the sub-Mediterranean climatic zone and in between, a continental climate. The landscape also has its charms, among them the over 300 breathtakingly gorgeous lakes. The most important thing, however, at least according to the owners of Mezzacorona, is the soil, which is just as varied as the climatic zones there. The company has exploited this special feature for its wines. The big advantage: There is a perfect spot for every variety of grape. For that reason, Mezzacorona only grows the different grape varieties where each can best develop its unique character: Teroldego in the Rotaliana plain, Müller Thurgau in the Cembra valley, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay in the Etsch valley and Merlot and Cabernet in the Valle dei Laghi and on the hillsides of Lake Garda. Each wine produced is an expression of a piece of Trentino.

Reliable level measurement thanks to precise focussing

VEGA sensors have had an active role in the company’s wine production for more than a year. The most important task of the newly installed  VEGAPULS 64  is measuring the contents in three enormous storage tanks. 

The most important task of the newly installed VEGAPULS 64 is measuring the contents in the three enormous storage tanks.

Previously, an external level indicator was used, which functioned – more or less – via interconnecting tubes. The inaccurate and often unreliable measurements were caused mainly by temperature fluctuations – even in idyllic Trentino, temperatures can sometimes drop below 0 °C. In addition, the system was cumbersome to operate and difficult to maintain.  Due to all this, the company wanted to upgrade to a continuous level measuring system with a high level of accuracy. Since the wine is kept in an aseptic environment, it didn’t take long to decide that the only option would be to deploy a non-contact measuring instrument that fulfilled the hygienic requirements.
Martino Mischi, the highly-engaged service technician at VEGA Italy, had high hopes for the radar level measuring instrument VEGAPULS 64 , which at the time was relatively new on the market.  Its superior focusing was to prove useful in the special measurement setup. The sensor itself was installed on the tank on a tubular access nozzle with a height of 50 cm and a diameter of 40 cm. Thanks to its narrow measuring beam, the sensor can measure within this installation tube with no difficulty. But there was another challenge inside the tank – an agitator, which serves to prevent heat stratification effects within the stored product. Normally, such internal installations tend to cause false echoes to reflective devices, but the focused measuring beam of VEGAPULS 64 simply does not see them, and is totally unaffected.

The sensor was installed on the tank on a flue-like structure with a height of 50 cm and a diameter of 40 cm.

VEGAPULS 64 is also ideal from a hygienic point of view. Radar level transmitters are perfect for such applications, because they are accurate and utilise a contactless level measurement, which ensures optimal hygienic conditions. Just as importantly, their flush-mounted antenna makes them easy to clean and they are highly resistant to the extreme conditions during SIP and CIP processes. Additionally, the instrument has no moving parts and doesn’t require any further maintenance.

The measured values from VEGAPULS 64 are recorded by a VEGAMET 391 signal conditioning instrument , which can also provide various control and regulation tasks.

Another advantage of the sensor is that it can measure from top to bottom over the entire tank height, i.e. from very close to the tank lid as well as the tank floor. This means that the entire tank volume can be utilized. The measured values from VEGAPULS 64 are recorded by the VEGAMET 391 signal conditioning instrument . This device is well-equipped for a variety of control tasks such as level, gauge and process pressure measurement, as well as stocktaking, VMI (Vendor Managed Inventory) and remote enquiry.
Even setup and commissioning was easy, notwithstanding that it was the first time the company had worked with VEGA instruments. As usual, the display and adjustment module PLICSCOM  was used for setting up and operating the sensors as well as displaying the measured values on site. This display and adjustment module can be inserted into any sensor and removed again, without having to interrupt the power supply.

For the first time, continuous measurement of the tank contents is now possible.

In combination with Bluetooth , the user can set up and monitor VEGA plics® sensors from a safe distance with asmartphone or tablet, regardless of whether it is an Apple or Android device. Display and diagnostic functions are also at the user's disposal. In this way, measured values can be called up at any time, no matter where the oenologist (wine maker) or production manager happens to be. This ensures reliable stocktaking, as well as fast reaction and high flexibility with regard to the stock level in the storage tanks. This leaves more time to concentrate on the actual task of producing good wine.

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