Food Processing: Mapping & Visualization of Challenging Material

The Challenge
This food processor needed highly accurate volume measurements in order to know when to prepare to refll the bin, as the bin is almost always emptied completely before flling again to prevent damage to the material. The customer was seeking both accuracy and stability at batch empty rates of approximately one-half ton per minute, and was primarily interested  in headroom or distance to product from the top of the silo. The material is very dusty and prone to sidewall buildup and bridging with the material surface being characterized by highly uneven topography during the emptying process. The 3DLevelScanner was being evaluated against  radar systems from several different vendors.

The Solution
The MV model of the 3DLevelScanner was mounted on a 100 foot tall, 27 foot diameter, carbon steel silo containing granular rice. The device was mounted on an existing fange us-ing the BinMaster adapter plate and mounted one-sixth in from the silo diameter. The silo is a center fll, center discharge confguration and the internal bin environment is very dusty. However, the low frequency acoustics-based technology was able to penetrate the dust. Unlike the single-point measurement radar devices, the 3DLevel-Scanner MV model samples multiple measurements within a 70 degree beam angle inside the bin. Allowing material to settle in the bin and then visually mapping the contents helped the customer more closely manage inventory and schedule reflling at an optimal time and provided a more accurate estimate of bin volume. Based upon the success of the fIrst silo, 27 additional units were installed at the location.

The Benefts
Sampling measurements from multiple points when the material surface of the bin is uneven provides a more precise headroom measure-ment and bin volume than a single point measurement device. The advanced mapping and visualization software – available on the 3DLev-elScanner MV model – is helpful when used in material prone to sidewall buildup and bridging, where there are points in the bin that are lower or higher than the majority of the bin contents. Calculating volume after an empty or fll cycle, when there is a “cone down” or “cone up” can also be more accurate when multiple point measurement is used. Had a single measurement been taken, bin volume estimates could be signifcantly higher or lower than the actual volume.