Storage tanks are essential equipment that plays a vital role especially in oil & gas, chemical, and water industry. The content of these tanks can vary from inflammable liquids like petrol to expensive fluids like mercury ($3,400 per gallon). Hence, monitoring the level of these tanks is important to ensure that their contents are safe.
Currently, different tank monitoring systems are being used to measure the level of fluid in them. They are broadly classified into two major categories: Wired and Wireless.
Even though wired tank level monitoring has been widely implemented, it does pose numerous complexities. Use of wires makes the system inflexible and immobile. Moreover, its initial cost of implementation increases for tanks that are located in remote areas.
Wireless tank level monitoring system, on the other hand, is way easier to install and manage. It incorporates the use of IoT technology that allows long-range connectivity and instant telematics. As long as the area of applicability is rich in high-speed internet, the system can perform efficiently in even harsh terrains. These systems also incorporate remote monitoring and analytics features that help authorities to manage their tankers from distant locations.
In any case, wireless systems offer unprecedented benefits for level monitoring that wired systems don’t. A detailed comparison between the capabilities of both the system has been listed in the table below.
Comparison between Wired and Wireless Water Tank Level Monitoring
|Scalability||Limited Scalability||Highly Scalable|
|Installation||Difficult to install||Easy to install|
|Maintenance Cost||High as wires get damaged easily||Low compared to the wired system|
|Possibility of Damage||Wires are prone to environmental and manual damage||Sensors are highly durable and thus the possibility of damage is less|
|Initial Cost of Implementation||Moderate||Lower than wired system|
|Mobility||Less mobile||Highly mobile|
Advantages of Wireless Network:
This system is much more efficient and manageable than a rigid wired system. It incorporates the use of ultrasonic sensors that at all times measures the level of fluid in the tank and transmit the data to a centralized dashboard. The wireless system doesn’t require a huge labor force for implementation and can easily be altered with a change in infrastructure.
Following are its biggest advantages over the wired system:
- Improved operational efficiency:
High operational efficiency is one of the biggest benefits offered by IoT infused level monitoring systems. Real-time monitoring of containers and silos allow authorities to keep track of fluid levels at all times. Staff members can plan necessary and strategic inspection operations according to the data obtained from remote monitoring. This eliminates unplanned manual site visits caused due to estimated forecasting.
In addition to the above application, the IoT alert system can also alarm concerned units in case of an emergency. The system will alert the authorities in case of fires, leaks, overfills, or theft and help them take required steps before the situation slips out of their hands. This, in turn, will reduce maintenance cost, elevate overall operational efficiency, and assist the manager to drive more performance-boosting actions.
- Easy to Install and Manage:
The biggest problem associated with a wired level monitoring system is its complexity related to installation and management. This system is a cost-effective and time-saving solution that requires minimal maintenance and calibration. Since the wireless system only use sensors and gateways as its tangible components, it is quite simple to set the system and manage it accordingly.
Unlike the wired system that can only be implemented in plain terrains, the connection based level measuring tool is highly scalable and can be used in locations where wires can’t reach. It is more flexible towards infrastructural changes and can be easily maintained with simple on the spot amendments. By connecting sensors to an existing gateway, it is easy to expand the reach of system to even more tankers.
- Adaptability to everchanging business needs:
Different industries have distinct requirements. Fuel Theft Solutions are required by refineries to ensure the safety of crude and other petroleum products. Similarly, chemical industry requires a level monitoring solution that is made up of unreactive components.
This system fails in this field, as it often has direct contact with the contents in the tankers. It can react with expensive chemicals and alter their molecular integrity and chemical properties. Moreover, the wires used in this system are often prone to get damaged due to continuous influence of changing weather and manual operations. The wires can catch fire that can spread to tanks resulting in catastrophic situation.
The level monitoring system can be implemented in moving tankers and silos too. This helps companies to monitor their containers while they are in a transit state. Scaling the wireless system to more containers is also possible in minimal time and with fewer labor commitments, that is not possible with a wired system.
`Wireless water tank monitoring system (applicable to other fluids too) is a reliable system for businesses as it can be enhanced for further applications. As this system use sensors and telematic for tracking and measuring operations, more attributes of a liquid substance associated with quality, consistency, and, purity can be measured. In this way, a business can explore its new fields of applicability based on its needs.
There is no doubt in the fact that different industrial applications have emerged due to the acceptance of emerging technologies like Internet of Things. Liquid/Water tank level monitoring is one such example that is helping industries in improving efficiency and exploring new fields of operations.
Sanjeev is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Biz4Intellia Inc, responsible for leading Biz4Intellia’s global business strategy and operations. Being an Internet of Things (IoT) enthusiastic from the beginning of its professional career, Sanjeev loves to read and write blog/articles related to the disruptive technologies that are trending.