Caustic and flammable liquids such as acids, bases, and petroleum products are difficult to store and handle. Extra care and equipment are required to facilitate their storage and movement in any industrial facility.
These liquids while being harmful and dangerous are used as raw material or catalyst for several processes in various industries. Acids such as HCl and H2SO4 being one of the most common chemicals used in industries are used in developing batteries, leather, lubricants, and fertilizers. Bases on the other hand, such as NaOH and NH4OH, are used for the manufacturing of cleaning agents, detergents, and textiles.
Acids, bases, and other corrosive liquids with very high or low pH values destroy metals, organic compounds, and even living tissues with which they make contact. Petrol, diesel, and other petroleum products while being less corrosive than acids and bases, poses other issues in their end to end supply chain.
Crude oil and its products have very low ignition temperatures that make them susceptible to explode when exposed to an oxygen-rich environment. Handling them in O&Gās downstream segments is hence very difficult.
While monitoring the flow of these liquids in an industry is very important, their respective corrosive or explosive nature makes it very difficult to do so. A simple task such as manual level measurement can be cumbersome and dangerous for the operator.
Enters IoT based Automatic Level Measurement
Internet of Things with its advanced telemetric and remote monitoring features has led to the development of some breakthrough systems. One such system allows the monitoring of the level and volume of liquid stored in any tank, tote, or container without making any contact with the liquid.
This system can do so due to its stack of wireless sensors that measure the level of acids, bases, and other caustic liquids without making any contact with them. These battery-powered sensors use ultrasonic waves to measure the depth up to which the liquid is stored in a particular tank.
These sensors are installed either on the bottom of the tank or suspended in the air over the tank through an additional apparatus. In the former case, the ultrasonic waves penetrate through the tank and reflect to the bottom once they hit the top surface of the liquid stored in the tank. In the latter, the waves propagate through the air and reflect after they hit the liquid.
In both cases, the sensor measures the time taken by the wave to come back and translate it into distance measurement which is then converted into level indications. Furthermore, the level readings can also be used to calculate the amount of acid, petrol, or any other corrosive liquid stored in the tank.
Hence, the level and volume of the corrosive and explosive liquids can be measured in the tank without making any contact with the liquid. This contactless measurement not only enforces the safety of the workers handling these harmful liquids but also sustains the quality and composition of these liquids.
In industrial setup, these level measurement systems act as supervision systems that allow companies to ensure that they never run out of these fluids. Hence, companies can garner several benefits by installing these systems in their facilities other than optimizing safety measures.
1) Optimized On-Floor Activities:
It is not a good thing for a company if it needs to shut down its production lines every now or then just because their tanks run dry. Since acids and bases are a prime ingredient for the manufacturing of different products in many industries, replacing their tanks, totes, or containers can waste a lot of productive time. Workers will stand idle, revenue will be lost, and expenses will be wasted.
To smoothen and streamline the manufacturing process in industries using these caustic chemicals, level monitoring systems can be used to supervise the availability of liquids for different processes. The solution once implemented in the industrial premises can be used to stop unexpected and unnecessary interruptions associated with tank exhaustion or overfilling.
Since the entire system communicates wirelessly, instant alerts can be obtained by the workers about decreasing liquid levels in the tank, giving them ample time to swap them via forklifts as soon as the previous one empties. Hence, the system adapts to the manufacturing needs of the industry optimizing the entire on-floor activities.
2) End to end Supply Chain Visibility:
Level monitoring solution as an integral part of the supply chain allows companies to optimize all of their operations ranging from procurement to distribution. The regular readings acquired from the system can be used to track the amount of liquid utilized so far.
For instance, in oil refineries, the level monitoring system can tell about the amount of crude oil consumed and processed into subsequent petroleum products. This real-time information can be used to properly look into the stock levels and accordingly handle managerial tasks such as procurement, warehousing, and distribution.
This allows companies to gain clear-cut transparency in their supply chain allowing them to optimize their manufacturing process and leverage opportunities for new business.
With the help of the Internet of Things technology, the machine-dependent industries are becoming intelligent and automated. The level monitoring solution is one application of IoT technology that has enabled quick and safe measurement of corrosive and combustible liquid levels in any tank.
The implementation of these systems extends to several other applications as well. They can be used for monitoring liquid levels in flowing bodies, movable tanks, very large containers, dams, reservoirs, lakes, etc. Hence, this single stop solution can be used for any application.