Monitoring levels in tank farms? A California-based chemical and fertilizer company, AGRX, started remotely monitoring their tank levels with the solar-powered Valarm units you see in the photo above. Previously, to get an idea of the fluid level they’d send a person to look in a tank, use a dipstick, or smack the tank with a stick and listen! It was challenging to know how much product’s left in each tank and keep operations running smoothly.
Both time and money are saved on tank level readings + they’re more precise, accurate, and sensors take readings automatically at your custom time intervals. See below for more on how your business can use Valarm Industrial IoT applications and please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or your company needs any help with Industrial IoT.
These remote tank monitoring units are easy to build and rapidly deployable. The key components of the Valarm tank monitoring boxes are seen in the picture below.
Get your key components from Shop.Valarm.net:
The other components are standard and available from a lot of different sources. For the solar charge controller we’ve had great results using the Morningstar SunSaver SS-10-12v Charge Controller 10A 12V since it has a low voltage disconnect (LVD). The Yoctopuce wireless sensor hubs are configured to wake up for 1 minute each hour from 6am – 6pm to upload the latest tank level sensor data. The rest of the time the sensors and components are sleeping while the lead acid battery is charging via solar panels. Below you can see a photo of the blue Flowline ultrasonic / sonar level sensor as well as the Valarm monitoring box on top of a tank. Each box has 4 nearby tanks connected to it.
How does the remote monitoring data get to the cloud? Each sensor hub in the Valarm boxes is linked to Valarm Tools Cloud using the steps in this guided video tutorial. Once it’s there the 4-20mA tank level sensor data is converted to volume (e.g., gallons or liters) using linear scalers in Valarm Tools Cloud. At Tools.Valarm.net you and your team can easily map, graph, download, and forward your real-time sensor data via Valarm’s APIs.
Helpful notes worth sharing:
- Colored zip / cable ties are really handy for keeping track of which sensor cable comes from which tank
- Super helpful for safely getting up on the tanks are harnesses and a cherry picker / basket crane / elevated work platform
- Radar based level sensors will give you a more accurate tank volume reading with fluids that foam like acids
- Keep the level sensor’s default 4-20mA values for min and max levels so they’re all easily interchangeable between tanks. You can use Valarm Tools Cloud’s linear scalers to define what raw sensor readings mean in terms that are useful for you and your team.
- Using rugged, weatherproof Cat5 cable to go across the tops of the tanks saves money by eliminating the need cable trays and conduit
- Adding a weatherproof, outdoor WiFi antenna to an already existing, on-site internet connection makes Valarm a very cost-effective tank monitoring solution
Note that this article is a follow up to a previous remote tank monitoring blog post where you’ll find more photos and examples of Valarm monitoring tanks with Industrial IoT. You’ll find that story and more write-ups about remote monitoring solutions on our Industrial IoT customer stories page. There you’ll see how Valarm is used in a variety of industries like air quality / pollution, oil & gas, chemical cleaning companies, governments, water usage in water wells / water resources management, fluids, petroleum, industrial cleaning processes, agriculture, natural resources, and mobile fleet vehicles, trucks, and trailers with industrial equipment like pumps, vacuums, and tanks.
Also have a look at our Web-based Dashboards for Industrial IoT that show how these tanks and other asset information is available in real-time on any mobile device like a phone, tablet, or anything else with a web browser!
Does your business have tanks or something else you need to monitor remotely? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Info@valarm.net if you’ve got any questions, comments, or suggestions!