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IoT and Sensor Selection

IoT and Sensor Selection
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IoT and Sensor Selection

As industries move data from sensors to cloud-based databases, better decisions on everything from inventory use, ordering, and accounting are paying benefits. Worldwide organizations continue to increase move to IoT (Internet of Things) where sensors connect data to the cloud. Spending on IoT will reach $1.1 trillion by 2023, according to Statista. Binmaster technology falls into the IoT world with sensors and cloud software monitoring bulk products like grain, plastic pellets, and aggregates stored in bins, silos, and other storage vessels.

IoT inventorysensors and software:
• Provide insights for data-driven decisions to increase efficiency and drive down costs
• Shorten lead times for production
• Reduce carrying costs and last-minute purchases
• Reduce waste on bulk inventory that could spoil
• Feed accurate inventory data to Enterprise Resource Planning systems
• Streamline transportation and timely ordering

From a business standpoint, inventory management serves a great purpose for inventory balancing, planning, and control. For balance, it’s important to have the right amount of inventory to avoid lost orders and money tied up in safety stock. Selecting sensors is critical for success. Consider the pros and cons of each.

SmartBob Weight and Cable Sensor

Pros
• Not affected by dust or other adverse process conditions
• Not affected by material buildup on the sensor
• Can be used in extremely light, signal-absorbing materials
• Measures bins up to 150 feet
• Not affected by material characteristics such as low dielectric constant or angle of repose
• Remote sensor requires no calibration
• High-temperature models available up to 500°F
• Very simple setup and installation
• Consistent, repeatable, and accurate measurements
• Compatible with Binventory® and BinCloud® apps
• A variety of digital and analog outputs are available
• Cable replacement, and wireless communications available
• Hazardous location approvals available
Cons
• On-demand system, does not provide an instantaneous response to change in the material level
• Seasonal maintenance may be required to clean out a mechanical cavity in very dusty conditions if air-purge is not used
• Not recommended in high-pressure bins
• Minimal contact with stored material

Guided Wave Radar 

Pros
• Continuous level measurement in powders, granules, bulk solids, and liquids
• Measuring distance up to 100 feet
• For light to heavy bulk solids
• 4-20 mA and Modbus RTU communications
• Performs in vessels prone to high dust
• Suitable for vessels of almost any shape or diameter, including narrow tanks
• Immune to condensation
• Virtually maintenance free
• Reliable accuracy within 0.08”
• Hazardous location approvals
• BinDisc simple setup and configuration
• Compatible with eBob software
• Very simple setup and installation
• Cable replacement, and wireless communications available

Cons
• Sensing probe is in constant contact with the material
• Minimum dielectric constant of material must be above 1.3
• Material like a large rock may damage the probe and be difficult to sense

3DLevelScanner

Pros
• Continuous level measurement
• Non-intrusive, non-contact design
• Measures uneven powder or solid material surfaces
• Detects cone up, cone down, and sidewall buildup
• Provides minimum, maximum, and average distances
• Performs in extreme levels of dust
• Calculates highly accurate bin volume due to mapping the surface of the material with multiple measuring points.
• Measuring range up to 200 feet
• Self-cleaning with minimal maintenance
• High-temperature applications up to 365°F
• Automatic compensation for temperature changes
• Analog and digital communication options
• Leading-edge 3D MultiVision networkable PC software available for multiple vessel monitoring
• Can generate a 3D image of material surface
• Cable-replacing, wireless interfaces available
• Approved for hazardous locations
• Not affected by material characteristics or low dielectric constants
• RL model compatible with eBob software
Cons
• The 3DLevelScanner is an acoustic device and elevated background noise can have an effect on its performance.
• Setup requires care in mounting the sensor in the proper location and mapping the vessel
• Time required to process multiple pulse echoes limits the sample rate
• Not recommended for liquid applications
• Corrugation on small vessels can cause false echoes
• Not recommended for materials with a bulk density under 11 lb./cu. ft. due to absorbing the acoustic pulse

Ultrasonic Sensor
Pros
• Measures in a very tight 1° beam with no beam divergence
• Accuracy of +/- 1 inch with a range up to 160 feet
• Can track during fill in low dust environments
• Ideal for very narrow vessels or constrained spaces
• Unaffected by corrugated bin walls
• Can be precisely targeted to avoid structure inside a vessel
• Use for plugged chute detection or monitoring sidewall buildup
• Versatile for bulk solids, pellets, granular materials, and opaque liquids
• Can be used in almost any dielectric material
• Unaffected by heavy vapors and pressure
• Adjustable 10° mounting flange for precise aiming
• Integrated dust protection for minimal maintenance
• Easily configured in the field using a USB port
• Configuration can be performed without filling or emptying the vessel
Cons

• Single point measurement will not take into account material topography
• Laser will penetrate clear liquids
• Dusty environments will diminish performance
• Air purge may be required to keep lenses clean in dusty environments


NCR-80 Non-Contact Radar for Solids

Pros

• Powerful 80 GHz radar significantly outperforms old 26 GHz technology
• 4° versus 10° beam angle for better precision and targeting
• Substantial 393-foot measuring range
• Same sensor technology used by self-driving cars
• Strong signal performs well in dust
• Fast reaction/update time tracks filling or emptying activity
• Versatile for use in solids, liquids, and slurries
• Signal not affected by corrugation
• Loop power capability
• Compatible with eBob software
• 4 - 20 mA and Modbus RTU communications

Cons

• Single point measurement will not take into account material topography
• Minimum dielectric constant of material must be above 1.3

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