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Manufacturer: Hawk Measurement America
Problem: Downtime and broken equipment due to unreliable level measurements
The inlets at pumping plants along the Central Arizona Project canal have destroyed expensive trash racks due to the heavy weed load that is being experienced at the sites.
A trash rack system is installed to prevent the heavy loads. The system is cycled using a signal from an ultrasonic level device. However, as the weed load on the trash rack increases, the ultrasonic level sensor fails due to the signal impedance caused by the weeds.
When the ultrasonic level sensor fails, the trash rack cycle is not initiated and the rack is destroyed. Furthermore, the CAP engineers are unable to have a reliable differential off the trash rack for alarms and shut down triggers which could result in a continued system failures.
After a thorough trial and test of many Ultrasonic sensors, CAP asked for a recommendation from Hawk. The application called for (6) 30 kHz sensors along the inlet wall (Figure 1) and (6) transmitters installed remotely in the control building (Figure 2).
The lower frequency and higher power signal coupled with the adaptive gain control allows the signal to be maintained even as the weeds are collected on the racks. This reliable measurement ensured protection from a high differential on the rack, saving maintenance and operations costs from failures (Figure 3).
The transmission of high powered acoustic waves ensures minimal losses through the environment where the sensor is located. Due to the high powered emitted pulse, any losses have far less effect than would be experienced by traditional ultrasonic devices. More energy is transmitted hence more energy is returned. Advanced receiver circuitry is designed to identify and monitor low level return signals even when noise levels are high.
Jeff Guy from CAP Engineering told us “We did not find any [ultrasonic sensors] that gave reliable enough measurements until we tried the Hawk acoustic level transmitter. We will be installing them on the next three downstream plants.”
Within a few months of the solution being installed, the sensors continued to provide reliable levels which aided in an alarm and prevented a major system failure. Jeff contacted us again and said, “Unit 1 tripped on a low suction pressure when the weeds hit. The photos are what floated to the surface after the unit shut down.”
Ryan Christian, Field Engineer – Arizona & Nevada [email protected]