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SiloPatrol® Provides Cost Savings Through Better Inventory Control

Most companies are looking for ways to cut costs. One way is through better management of materials in storage silos. Many companies still use just point level sensors, like a “paddle unit”, to let them know when the material in the silo is high or low. Besides detecting high and low levels, a continuous level sensor, like the SiloPatrol® SE cable-based level sensor, can actually help cut costs and even increase personnel safety by automating inventory control. Although a continuous level inventory measurement system sounds like a good idea, the inclination may be that “a point level works ok, no need to spend any money to upgrade or change.” So how does one justify the extra initial cost of a continuous level system?SiloPatrol

A company in Northern Illinois with 13 silos who provides pre-blended masonry products and automated mixing stations to construction sites was looking for a way to better control the inventory levels of their raw materials instead of having to do a “visual”. They are very proactive in trying to find ways to make themselves more cost-efficient and effective on all levels of operation. After some research they decided to go with the SiloPatrol® cable-based smart sensor (SMU) with the SiloTrack inventory management software from Monitor Technologies. Even though the system cost more than they initially were willing to spend, they were able to justify the expenditure because of the added benefits of time saved to manually measure the material levels and for the personnel safety reasons. Now with automatic or on-demand readings, they have better control of when they need to re-order raw materials and when the silos are getting full during refilling to prevent the downtime and clean-up costs of an over-filled silo. Plus, personnel make a lot fewer trips up the silos.

Their initial purchase was for 6 SMU’s and the SiloTrack software. Once they realized the value of the continuous level measurement system, they were able to justify the purchase of additional SMU’s for more of their silos.

Other features that they have come to appreciate about the SiloPatrol is the simplicity of installation (including wiring and set-up) for the sensor and the software, that the software works with the current PC on their desk, the sensor’s compartmental isolation of the electrical and mechanical components which eliminates much of the dust from going into the electrical area, and the ability to replace the sensor’s wiper and brush that cleans the cable without having to actually cut the cable for servicing. They also mentioned that technical support has been very responsive. They once had a computer board issue that caused software re-installation problems and technical support spent the time to talk them through the issue and shared knowledge for future prevention.

The SiloPatrol SE inventory management system is the second edition of the industry-leading cable-based smart sensor system that is designed to handle some of the harshest and most dynamic conditions imaginable. The SiloPatrol SE system incorporates state-of-the-art sensors with a wide choice of operator interfaces to fit all types of situations.

More Information on SiloPatrol® SE Inventory Monitoring System

Hogg Fuel & Supply Uses Flexar® Continuous Level Systems
to Provide Accurate, Real-time Measurements on Cement Powder and GGBS (Slag)

Hogg Fuel & Supply operates concrete batch plants in Ontario, Canada.  Hogg Fuel has been a quality supplier of ready mix concrete for over thirty (30) years.  They use a blend of Portland cement and slag.  The “slag” is actually GGBS or ground granulated blastfurnace slag.  GGBS is sometimes used as an additive to concrete to provide benefits in the areas of durability, quality, strength and finish.  Typical batches include about 10-15% slag but this can vary depending on the need of their customer.

Maintenance Supervisor Bob Knarr was looking to replace the older weight & cable units installed on their 20ft (6.1m) cement and slag storage silos.  Although the weight & cable based technology provided accurate distance measurements, they required maintenance several times per year.  Bob and Hogg Fuel wanted a measurement system that would be would not require maintenance, would provide true continuous readout, provide the accuracy they require, while retrofitting into the existing mounting portals on top of their silos.

This plant was designed as an auxiliary plant to their main facility and therefore was built with smaller capacity silos than their main plant.  However, this auxiliary plant has become increasingly busier in recent years. This makes tracking the level critical as loads are required more frequently than in the past. 

Flexar has met all of their expectations and system requirements.  As with all complete systems, Hogg Fuel has a rotary paddle point level unit top mounted with a two foot extension for indication of high level to alert the cement delivery to shut down when the vessel is full.  As an added bonus, Flexar provides the batcher in the control room the ability to track the progression of the fill cycle right to its completion!  The Flexar sensors were installed in late April 2006.

Flexar is a guided wave radar continuous level sensor.  Distance/level is measured by the time-of-flight of the reflection of a microwave signal (transmitted down the wave-guide, which is a heavy-duty 0.3” SS cable with 3.9 ton tensile strength) off the material surface.  Cement and GGBS slag both have relatively low dielectric constants and Flexar’s direct measuring mode was successful in providing real-time continuous updates of the material level during filling and draw-down.

More Information on Flexar® Guided Wave Radar

Mass Flow Measurement Systems
The QuantiMass in-line mass flow sensor measures the flow of quantities in pneumatic conveying & free-falling processes. The sensor is based on the latest Microwave Doppler Effect technology and provides fast, in-line / on-line measuring without the use of weight scales.
The sturdy, non-intrusive design of the sensor minimizes maintenance. In addition, the compact size of the sensor makes for easy installation into existing processes. Suitable for powders, dust, pellets, and granular up to 0.75 inch (2cm).

Ultra Series-Includes controller
PRO Series-Includes transmitter

A practical application for the QuantiMass would be to monitor material flow rates to verify blending mixture ratios.

Principle of Operation:
The QuantiMass Mass Flow Measurement Sensor / Meter is designed with the latest microwave technology and is used to continuously quantify the flow of powders & solids being conveyed in metallic pipes. The QuantiMass is based on technology that has been developed and proven over several years. The measurement process of the sensor is centered on the Doppler effect. The mass flow-rate is determined by evaluating the frequency and amplitude changes during the measurement process. Particles at rest, such as deposits, do not influence the measurement. All powders, dust, pellets and granules can be measured reproducibly, up to the size of 0.75 inch (2cm). The QuantiMass sensor is suitable for continuous in-line / on-line measurements in pneumatic conveying or in free-fall pipelines.

Click here for more information on the QuantiMass
or contact Monitor Technologies LLC at
Tel.: 800-601-6319 in the USA and
Tel.: 630-365-9403 worldwide.
>>Download QuantiMass Ultra Bulletin

>>Download QuantiMass PRO Bulletin

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