Discussing the Functioning and Applications of IoT in Reading Liquid Levels


Internet of Things has been a major technological advancement that has uplifted numerous industrial verticals with its advanced telemetry, analytics, and monitoring capabilities. By using intuitive hardware pieces, industries collect essential supervisory data from their assets and process it to boost their decision-making processes.

Since each industry faces specific sets of problems and have distinct needs, the way IoT is leveraged may vary from sector to sector. Industries use this technology to either automate their processes, improve overall efficiency, or reduce operational costs. IoT solutions have been developed for every industrial requirement that are empowering companies to elevate their operations and achieve excellence.

One such IoT solution that is quite beneficial especially for oil & gas, water, beverage, and chemical industry is the level monitoring solution. It allows a user to monitor the level of liquid stored in an open or closed container located in any corner of the world in real-time. This IoT solution may seem quite redundant at first, but its applications in both industrial and non-industrial segments are quite exemplary.

However, before we discuss the applications it would be better if we see how this solution works.

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How does a Level Detecting Solution work?

To detect the level of fluid, this solution makes use of a high-tech ultrasonic sensor embedded on the lid of the tank. The sensor identifies the distance between itself and the fluid stored in the tank.

This information is shared via gateways, modems, or routers to a cloud system. The data is then accessed and processed into useful information via a platform operable on both mobile phones and desktops. Based on the raw data collected from end sensors, the level of the fluid in a tanker can be calculated via the following simple formula in real-time.

“Liquid level in tank = Height of Tank – Distance between sensor and liquid”

Moreover, the level of liquid in the tank is calculated instantly, allowing a user to monitor and supervise the contents in the tank at all times.

Why is Level Monitoring So Important?

Without an IoT system for level identification in a tank, a company will have to depend on its workforce to take manual readings. Howbeit, there are many challenges associated with this process.

Firstly, manual reading procedures may also cause manual errors that can result in the wrong entry of data resulting in more negative outcomes. Secondly, a lot of time is consumed to take manual readings and at last, the cost associated with manual level measurement is too high.

Let us consider this with an example:

Suppose that in an oil depot, manual level measurement of 1 fuel tank takes at least 10 minutes. Moreover, the readings are required to be taken multiple times to reduce errors. For sake of simplicity let us consider that two readings are taken to reduce error possibilities. Additionally, at a labor rate of 20 USD per hour, two readings will cost $6.66.

Daily monitoring of 10 tanks located in a single location will take $66.6.

Yearly monitoring of these tanks will amount to a price of $24,333.

Hence, an oil depot depending on manual liquid level measurement can waste more than 25k dollars per year. On the contrary, a level monitoring solution for a similar scale will only cost $4,880, which will give ROI in 3 months and a yearly saving of more than $19k.

Additional Features of a Level Monitoring Solution:

1) Monitoring Features:

The level of liquid stored in tanks can be remotely monitored in real-time. This helps companies to ensure the safety of expensive liquids like petroleum products until they are not ready for distribution.

2) Calculative Features:

The level of liquid in tanks obtained from IoT monitoring solution can also be used to calculate the volume of liquid stored in the tank; provided the shape, size, and dimension of the tank is already known.

3) Analytical Features:

By using analytics and data processing algorithms; trends, patterns, charts, and visuals representing the increase and decrease in water levels can be identified. This information can then be used to ascertain the causes that result in fluctuations of liquid levels.

4) Managerial Features:

Through IoT solutions, not only the liquid level in tanks can be monitored but the people managing these tanks can also be tracked. The company head can hence manage his subordinates under him and supervise the actions taken by them. Moreover, other parameters like hardware’s battery life and performance can also be managed remotely.

Applications of Level Monitoring Solution:

The IoT solution for liquid level detection is highly beneficial for industries that deal with liquid products. Let us look at some of the applications of level monitoring solution:

1) Tank Level Monitoring:

As we discussed in some examples above, the prime application of a level monitoring solution is to identify the level of liquid stored in tanks. Let it be any fluid substance like crude, chemicals, beverage, water, petroleum products, or compressed gas, this monitoring system can be used to effectively manage tank contents. This application is especially beneficial for companies associated with oil & gas, water, and chemical sector, as it helps them to manage their substances efficiently.

2) Sewage Monitoring:

Problems associated with sewage or wastewater management are quite prevalent in many developing and even developed countries. Level monitoring in such cases can be used as a precautionary method to obtain alerts, whenever the level of the sewage crosses the feasible range. This helps municipalities to take proactive measures to control the level of sewage rising unexpectedly and prevent overfilling of sewer lines and clogging of manholes.

3) Flood Monitoring:

Floods are a common occurrence in many tropical and sub-tropical countries. They are commonly affected by floods caused due to heavy rainfall, cyclones, or tsunamis. In order to prevent damage caused by floods and protect the most vulnerable areas, level monitoring solutions can be used along with weather forecasting & reporting systems. The real-time data will generate statistics, patterns, and trends pertaining to floods that will enable the development of effective protection and prevention strategies.

The Power of Internet of Things:

The level monitoring solution is one perfect example of the potential of IoT technology. Its capability boosts even further when integrated and installed with other breakthrough IoT solutions. In any industrial, commercial, or residential system; this amalgamation of solutions can be used to identify inefficiencies, understand market demand, and boost operational methodologies.

Clearly, IoT is one of the most groundbreaking technological development in the modern realm. Let us see how the features and benefits of this technology will be utilized in the time to come.