Level sensors ? the agony of choice?

If one is searching for a level sensor, you can be quickly overwhelmed by the huge selection. A level sensor for limit level detection or continuous measurement could be ordered in a number of technologies and design variants. But how do you find the appropriate level sensor for my application?
If one wants to decide on a level sensor, the main selection criterion may be the electrical output function. If one wants to monitor a limit in a tank, e.g. dry running (empty) or overfilled (full), then the level sensor should actually be a level switch. However, if it’s important to monitor the contents of a tank at length (e.g. 0 ? 100 % fill level), then one needs continuous measurement (= level sensor).
The distinction between level sensor and level switch automatically leads to the exclusion of many technologies, if one is looking for the most economical solution. Although an even sensor with combined electronics can communicate both an analogue signal and switching signals, a pure level switch is always the cheaper solution, if the application is limit level measurement only.
The selection of the best option measurement technology
Continuous measurement with float
Level sensors typically feature continuous analogue output signals, such as for example 4 ? Tweaks or 0 ? 10 V, which let the accurate measurement of level and its variation. The sensors could be based on a variety of measurement technologies such as magnetostriction, reed-chain technology, hydrostatic, ultrasound, radar and more ? the choice which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Point measurement with optoelectronic level switch
Level switches in a traditional float switch design provide a mechanical switch contact or, in electronic version, generally a PNP or NPN transistor output. In neuro-scientific switches, there are also various measurement technologies such as for example reed contact technology, optoelectronics, conductivity, vibronic and many more.
Each one of these technologies has advantages and disadvantages, together with complex, application-specific limiting factors such as conductivity, dielectricity, density, contamination, colour, pressure strength, etc. A reliable statement as to which technology is the most suitable or can be utilized in a specific application environment can only just be produced after thorough assessment and often also your final test in the plant itself under real application parameters.
Note
WIKA offers you a very wide range of level measuring instruments. More info on optoelectronic level switches, hydrostatic level sensors, float switches and additional instruments are available on the WIKA website. You will discover videos on the functionality of the individual measuring principles on our YouTube channel. Your contact person will undoubtedly be pleased to help you on the selection of the most likely product solution.

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