High-frequency radar level technology on the rise
The introduction of VEGAPULS 64 begins a new age in radar measurement technology for liquids
VEGAPULS 64, the world's first radar level sensor for liquids, operating at a frequency of 80 GHz, has instigated a radical new era in radar level measurement technology.
Eighteen months ago a new sensor for the continuous measurement of bulk solids, VEGAPULS 69, was introduced with great success. This sensor also operates with a transmission frequency 3 times higher than the widely used 26 GHz frequency. "The market has shown that this technology is the thing of the future – since the market launch, over 10,000 VEGAPULS 69 level sensors have already been installed," says Jürgen Skowaisa, product manager of radar instrumentation at VEGA Grieshaber KG, describing the success story of these increased frequency sensors. These instruments have proven their worth, especially on media with poor reflective properties, in production shafts up to 120 m deep, or in silos with numerous internal installations that generate strong false echoes.
VEGAPULS 64 for liquid applications will follow this leap, also setting a milestone in measurement technology with its high dynamics and superior focusing. "Media with poor reflective properties, i.e. low dielectric constant, can now be measured significantly better than with previous radar sensors," continues Skowaisa. Thanks to the vastly better focusing, the beam simply passes by internal tank installations or buildup. Interfering signals, which previously had to be filtered out with false signal suppression, now play hardly any role in the measurement process.
"Moreover, it is now possible to use a much smaller antenna. Today we have process fittings with an antenna diameter of only ¾" – equivalent to the size of a 1-euro coin." The new technology also allows precise measurement of the level very close to the tank bottom. This opens up new perspectives in determining the level in small containers used in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, as well as determining the amount of fuel left at the bottom of large fuel tanks. Measurement accuracy is +/-2 mm, even with a working range up to 30 m.
The great success of bulk solids radar sensor VEGAPULS 69 and the current market launch of VEGAPULS 64 for liquids are setting the agenda for the future technological development of radar level measurement. "Today, there is no way to surpass the performance of radar measurement based on an operating frequency of 80 GHz," says Skowaisa with conviction.