Measurement Innovation

Measurement Innovation

The world is full of new technologies. Some overtly affect the lives of almost every one of us – think smartphones and tablets; others perform vital tasks but are not considered by many people even though they have a profound effect on so many aspects of their lives. Level measurement is one such technology which many people, if they are even aware of its existence, would not even consider as impacting their lives. However, relatively recent developments in this space have enormous benefits for the companies that require and utilize this technology with a flow-on effect to all of us.

If you eat, drive, take public transport, walk, use electricity, or write your life has been touched by an industry that relies on volume measurement. Most people don’t even realize this as volume measurement is an integral part of industries such as cement and aggregates, chemical processing, food processing, power – coal and fly ash, grain, seed and feed, plastics manufacturing, pulp and paper, and petrochemicals, to name but a few; highly specialized industries that impact billions of lives yet are little understood by those outside those specific industries.

Stock is an important part of any business as it is the lifeblood of any business. The material inputs in the industries mentioned above are usually quite costly and are required in vast quantities. Consequently, poor estimation of stock quantities can have profound effects on cost estimates and business performance as well as the bottom line due to the use of opening and closing stock (inventory) numbers in the calculation of profit and loss as well as an asset on the balance sheet.

In the past measurement of stock was a cumbersome process involving the dreaded physical stocktake. A 3DLevelScanner takes the guesswork out of level measurement. The 3DLevelScanner is an unobtrusive, easy to install, and easy to operate unit that provides real-time, accurate measurement of powders or bulk solids contained in bins, silos, or other storage containers, irrespective of the size of the container or the amount of dust in the storage environment.

Three antennas mounted on the storage container emit low frequency pulses into the container. The pulses returned from the inventory enable the 3DLevelScanner to calculate the accurate measurement of the volume, mass, and level of the stored contents. A 3D picture of the load and its distribution can be displayed remotely and assists with other stock management issues.

Although the intended purpose when inventing the 3DLevelScanner was accurate volume measurement, the 3D graphic generated has a very important function that cannot be monetized – it has the potential to save lives. Build-up loads in steel grain bins can now be monitored and dealt with in real-time. Consequently, uneven sidewall loading, which can potentially result in the collapse of the bin can be recognized and before it causes damage to the bin or damage to individuals.

The 3DLevelScanner has found strong acceptance by giants of industry in industries that are traditionally very conservative in adopting new technologies. This is not surprising as, together with its other benefits, it also easily integrates with their existing ERP systems, allowing the real-time benefits derived from the instrument to be utilized by all relevant parts of the business. It just goes to show that the words of the great American poet, lecturer, and essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson, are as true today as they were when he penned them approximately one hundred and fifty years ago, that if you “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” He could have even added to his quote, “irrespective of how conservative the industry.”