Continuous Bin Level Measurement

“Bio-Massive” Solutions

Effectively managing and rotating inventories, ensuring employee safety and getting more work done with fewer people is the reality facing many biomass operations today. Continuous bin level management systems from BinMaster can help optimize inventory levels, virtually eliminate the need for employees to climb bins, and save valuable time by allowing bin measurements to be read from a personal computer or other centralized location.

When selecting an accurate, reliable device that is best for a particular application, one should take into account several variables, including how many bins need to be monitored, what level of accuracy is required, how frequently do measurements need to be taken, how important is headroom vs. bin volume, are level measurements needed during filling or emptying, is the environment extremely dusty and is noncontact technology required.

Multiple-Point 3D Measurement
The BinMaster 3DLevelScanner is a non-contact, dust-penetrating bin volume measurement system that uses patented, acoustics-based technology to measure bin contents at multiple points within the bin. It is proven to work in dusty environments, where technologies such as radar and ultrasonics have failed. Its accompanying 3D Level Manager software generates detailed log reports and automatically sends the reports to a personal computer for easy remote monitoring. It offers very low maintenance and is self-cleaning, making it ideal for high-dust environments.

The 3DLevelScanner technology uses a two dimensional array beam former that sends very low frequency acoustical pulses and receives echoes of the pulses from multiple points within the bin. Unlike standard ultrasonic, radar or cable based units that are measuring one point and determining a single distance; the 3DLevelScanner takes measurements from multiple points within the bin and uses these points to determine the volume of material in the bin.

Multiple-point measurement is helpful when used in materials prone to buildup and rat-holing, or where there are points in the bin that are lower or higher than the majority of the bin contents. By taking multiple measurements and then using an algorithm that assigns a “weight” or “strength of accuracy” to each point to determine the average volume and height or distance, the 3DLevelScanner can provide a very accurate estimation of bin volume.

There are three models of the 3DLevelScanner offered with ranging list prices. The base Model S 3DLevelScanner works by taking an average of all the numerous measurements within a 30 degree coverage window, and calculates the average volume from the measurements within that window. Models M and MV 3DLevelScanners sample points from a wider, 70 degree beam angle on the surface of the material in the bin. The Model MV also offers visualization software for highly specialized mapping applications.

The 3DLevelScanner provides the user a scaled 4-20 mA output that can represent either the product or headroom volume. Using an optional HART or RS-485 connection, the user can connect to the scanner using the 3D Level Manager software. This advanced software allows the user to view real-time data from the scanner and make configuration changes remotely from a personal computer.

SmartBob2 Cable-Based System
Many materials used in the biomass industry behave predictably and feature only slightly variable bin material surfaces. In many corn or soybean applications, operators require bin level measurements just a few times a day, but still desire a very reliable, repeatable, and easily understood measurement system. The SmartBob cable-based system is a lot like doing a manual measurement with a tape, but it is automated, precise, and without the risk of human error. When the SmartBob sensor is positioned properly on the bin and given correct parameters, calculated values from a SmartBob system are very accurate.

BinMaster’s SmartBob technology is simple in concept. When prompted, the cable drops and the weight comes into contact with the material surface and immediately retracts, taking a very precise measurement. These measurements are sent to a personal computer equipped with the Windows-based eBob software program, that displays data for up to 16 bins at one time, or a C-100 Control Console that can display and manage data from up to 120 SmartBob sensors. SmartBob2 sensors are very easy to install and do not require any calibration. The inside atmosphere of the tank has no effect on the measurement, so dust, temperature or humidity will not affect the sensor. SmartBob2 is autonomous to material characteristics and makes minimal contact with the stored material when taking a measurement.

The SmartBob2 sensor can be used into bins up to 180 degrees, while the SmartBob-TS1 sensor can be used in smaller bins up to 40’. Rugged and safe, the SmartBob2 sensor is completely sealed in a strong, lightweight molded polycarbonate enclosure, which is explosion proof and rated for Class II, Groups E, F & G certifications. Requiring no field calibration, SmartBob2 is easy to install, needs minimal wiring or can be used with the SmartBob wireless transceiver.