Level measurement is the determination of the linear vertical distance between a reference point (usually the base of a holding container) and the surface of a liquid, the top of a solid, or the interface of two liquids. Precise control of the level of liquid in a tank, reactor, or other vessel is important in many process applications. Level measurement is often used for inventory management. To provide good control, accurate measurement is essential and several devices and systems are available for measuring product level. Each is designed to provide accurate level measurement, although measurement precision and principles of operation vary among devices. All level measurements involve interaction between a sensing device, element, or system and a product inside a holding container.
The main reason for measuring level is to keep track of inventory in terms of volume or weight.
In many instances, the amount of material that is bought and sold (custody transfer) is based on a level measurement converted into volume or weight and its determination comes from mathematical equations or strapping tables, to show the exact amount being transferred (sold or purchased).
Accurate level measurement increases efficiency.
Level is also measured for safety reasons. Filling vessels above their capacities can cause safety hazards—spills (overflowing) in open vessels. If the vessels are holding caustic, reactive, hot, flammable, or hazardous materials, spills or overpressure could lead to catastrophic results. Monitoring levels in tanks to make sure they are not leaking is also important for the same types of hazardous materials. Preventing overfills and leak detection is also important for meeting environmental regulations.
Many processes require a steady supply of inputs and outputs. A consistent supply may be difficult to maintain if not measured and controlled correctly.
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