Insights from industry

Pressure-Based Liquid Level Sensors


Matt Virgillito, Sales Manager for BinMaster, talks to AZoSensors about the advantages and applications of pressure-based liquid level sensors.

Can you give us some background on BinMaster’s products and the markets you serve?

BinMaster is an ISO 9000:2008 certified manufacturer of inventory management systems and point level indicators for monitoring levels in all types of bins, tanks and silos for just about any industry that has a vessel that needs level measurement. We’re well known for the SmartBob2 inventory management system that includes level sensors that send data to a console, PC or email.  

We also design and manufacture rotary level indicators, pressure switches, capacitance probes, tilt switches and vibrating rod level sensors used to detect high and low levels to prevent overfilling or empty bin conditions. Since we’re “in the bin” we also offer aeration, dust detection, and flow detection devices, all designed to keep operations safe and running smoothly.

You recently launched a new range of liquid level sensors – what made you decide to expand into this area?

We wanted to expand our product offerings for tank monitoring and offer a more robust solution. We had been successful with ultrasonic and radar products for liquid level applications for almost 20 years, but were getting more requests for different types of solutions for other tank applications.

It made sense for us to expand into interface applications and other types of technology that excel in liquids. Today there is more demand for real-time monitoring across all different types of tanks, containing either liquids or solids, installed across an organization.

What technologies do your liquid level sensors use? Do they build on your existing product lines, or is it brand new technology for you?

The new ultrasonic sensors build upon our long success with ultrasonic technology with a wider variety of communications options including Modbus and web-enabled sensors. We now also have sensors for very small to very tall tanks or horizontal tanks that can be used with a cloud-based monitoring program.

Magnetostrictive and float sensors allow us to get into interface applications and rigorous environments that require a heavy duty sensor. Pressure transducers round out our offering with external and submersible models with hazardous locations approvals that can be used in extreme environments.

Many of the liquid level sensors are compatible with our BinView internet-based inventory monitoring system that help to manage inventory levels in tanks and silos containing either liquids or solids.

What are the advantages of your pressure-based sensors? What applications are they best suited for?

They are very rugged and have hazardous location approvals for use in demanding conditions in industries such as oil & gas and all types of wastewater from industries like municipalities to mining and fracking.

The stainless steel construction allows them to be used in many types of chemicals and industrial waste. The PT-500 submersible sensors are affordable and very versatile and have a low current draw, so they are economical to operate. may be operated using battery-power.

The protective cage can be re-used, saving customers money over the long term. Another great advantage of the PT-500 is its simple zero adjustment using a magnet, that can be performed in the field. Lightning protections is built in to help protect the sensor from damage and the need for replacement. They last a good, long time.

What applications favour externally mounted sensors as opposed to your internal/submersible products like the PT-500?

The externally mounted PT-400 sensor is great for harsh conditions and hazardous locations and performs in applications that involve high pressure, high vibration, and high-pressure spikes. Since it’s mounted outside of the tank, it’s also easy to install and always accessible.

It’s got hazardous location certifications including CSA Class 1, Div 1, ATEX, and IECEx, so it can be used in extreme locations just about anywhere around the globe. The PT-400 is also Modbus RTU output compatible with any Modbus PLC or controller, making it highly versatile and easily integrated into any operation using Modbus.

How have you customers responded your new liquid level sensors so far?

We expanded our liquid sensors offering because customers were asking for it. Many operations have tanks containing both solids and liquids on site, and it’s easier for customers to get all of their tank sensors from one source.

BinMaster has a very broad customer base in a variety of industries including agriculture, bioenergy, mining, plastics, concrete, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, power, pulp, paper & pellets and food processing. We’re really focused on offering the right product for the application and then servicing the customer for life.

What is the most interesting use of one of your sensors that you have heard of from a customer?

Let’s just say sometimes there’s a stinky job, but somebody’s sensor has to do it.

Do you have any plans for future development of this product line that you can tell us about?

We’re now in the process of launching an even more robust tank monitoring platform called BinView that allows operations to continuously monitor all of their solid, powder and liquid tanks in real-time. It’s accessible anywhere there’s internet access and can be used with PCs, tablets, and smartphones.

The user interface is very intuitive and easy to use. Plus, you can customize its appearance for how you want to manage your inventory. Any sensor that talks Modbus can be integrated into the system. It’s a platform that will allow companies of all sizes to affordably manage however many tanks they have from anywhere in the world with a single login.

About Matt Virgillito

Matt Virgillito

Matt Virgillito is a Sales Manager for BinMaster Level Controls located in Lincoln, Nebraska USA. As a Sales Manager at BinMaster, he has consulted with hundreds of the company’s customers on their most challenging bin inventory management needs. He is also a sales application specialist at BinMaster, working closely with product development and engineering teams to bring the latest technologies to market.

Matt can be found at about any type of facility that has a bin, tank or silo and travels the country working with ethanol, grain, seed, feed, food processing and fertilizer plants as well as cement, coal, limestone, chemical, pharmaceutical, power and plastics manufacturing plants. Matt works closely with plant personnel to understand the uniqueness of each application and to recommend a solution that best addresses their data, accuracy and budgetary needs.

Matt received his BSA in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Nebraska and has worked as a sales specialist in the agricultural equipment manufacturing industry. Matt has been with BinMaster and its parent company, Garner Industries for over 15 years.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.

Will Soutter

Written by

Will Soutter

Will has a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Durham, and a M.Sc. in Green Chemistry from the University of York. Naturally, Will is our resident Chemistry expert but, a love of science and the internet makes Will the all-rounder of the team. In his spare time Will likes to play the drums, cook and brew cider.

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