Level Measurement & Control

Radar transmitter ensures efficiency at Australian mine

October 2021 Level Measurement & Control

Australia is home to some of the largest iron ore deposits in the world, mainly consumed by Chinese steel mills. Not long ago, one of the mining companies failed to meet its export targets, resulting in a supply shortage. As a result, the mine launched an investigation to identify and eliminate any bottlenecks. Every process was examined in detail – from blasting, the feed into the main plant, the set-up of the crushers, the operational parameters that were implemented in the area, to the loading of iron ore onto the trains that transport the raw material to the ports. A problem area the team discovered was unreliable level checking of the ore in the crushers.

Fast processes

VEGA Australia has been working at the plant for many years and has always provided the impetus to introduce a new technology. In 2004, the company introduced the first radar level sensor for bulk solids – the VEGAPULS 68. These instruments were installed in the entire site at that time. VEGA was also approached with the current requirements for process optimisation.

To find a solution to the problem, VEGA investigated the secondary and tertiary crushing processes. They found the sensor could not follow the level during fast filling and emptying processes. In addition, the wide opening angle of the existing sensors resulted in considerable interfering reflections, which repeatedly led to incorrect measurements. The customer was then shown the latest development in radar technology, the 80 GHz radar sensor, which was launched in 2016 promising a significant potential for improvement in these applications.

In radar technology, the width of the beam is determined by two factors: the operating frequency and the diameter of the horn antenna. The devices installed so far worked with 26 Gigahertz and had a horn diameter of 95 mm, which resulted in a beam angle of 8°. This repeatedly led to the situation where the crusher was being detected instead of the ore.

With the VEGAPULS 69, the transmission frequency is 80 Gigahertz. This allows a beam angle of 3,5°, an improvement of more than 50%. There are also improvements in the speed of response from the new instrument, allowing it to keep up with the fast-changing level of the ore inside the chamber. VEGA Australia initially supplied some test instruments and supported the customer during setup after installation.

Many measures led to the goal

The result was immediately apparent. Thanks to the new measuring device, more reliable level control was achieved. The more precise focusing led to a huge improvement and the false return echoes from the main chambers of the crusher were eliminated. The devices were tested and the results were compared with the originally installed devices, The VEGAPULS 69 performed superbly. Even though the units were replaced with the latest radar technology, an easy transition was achieved because the basics remained the same.

Conclusion and outlook

Upgrading the level sensor was not the only measure taken at the site to increase efficiency. Many other items of site equipment were also improved or replaced and other system components were fine-tuned and matched to each other. The result was impressive – an increase in production of over 700 tons per hour.

Since then, the Australian mining company has implemented these improvements in all its operations in the region. The VEGAPULS 69 has been instrumental not only in solving the specific problem, but also in improving operations generally.

For VEGA, these examples of customer requirements are at the core of its commitment to research and develop sensors to meet not only current application challenges but also implement features that will handle others as they become evident. As industries move into the future, suppliers such as VEGA need to respond with solutions to meet an ever growing and changing market.

For more information contact VEGA Controls SA, +27 11 795 3249, leandi.hendrikse@vega.com, www.vega.com


Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Continuous non-contact level measurement with radar technology
KROHNE Level Measurement & Control
Online teaser: A narrow beam angle of 4° for tank internals and long nozzles is combined with accuracy down to ±2 mm, even in processes with fast-changing levels and low dielectrics.

Sensors train many eyes on FMCGs
VEGA Controls SA Editor's Choice Sensors & Transducers
Profit margins on consumer goods are small, which makes it all the more important for producers to have smooth, efficient operating processes.

Plumb bob sensor for tanks and settling basins
Morton Controls Level Measurement & Control
Its precise sensitivity can be adjusted to slurries and solids in liquids, and can also be configured for use in corrosive media with increased resistance.

Level measurement – now with Bluetooth
WIKA Instruments Level Measurement & Control
The instrument’s description, TAG number, and 0% and 100% marks can be configured via an app on a smartphone or tablet.

Radar sensor keeps its cool
VEGA Controls SA Level Measurement & Control
The VEGAPULS C 21 delivers exact measuring results without effect from the medium, or the process and ambient conditions

PACTware further refines user interface
VEGA Controls SA IT in Manufacturing
Optimising a user interface for multiple sensor equipment manufacturers is possible in such a way that industrial users can use it similarly to everyday smart devices.

Load sensor for force measurement
Instrotech Level Measurement & Control Mass Measurement
The instrument provides a solution for non-intrusive level measurements of materials that are subject to uneven build-up, bridging or sidewall collection.

How’s our plant doing today?
VEGA Controls SA IT in Manufacturing
Three VEGA initiatives for secure and flexible process automation lead straight to Industry 4.0.

Diesel level sensing for rail engines
Instrotech Level Measurement & Control
Diesel fuel levels are measured, recorded and displayed, and kilowatt-hours are measured, using the Senix ToughSonic CHEM 10 ultrasonic sensor.

Radar level sensor with IO-Link interface
ifm - South Africa Level Measurement & Control
Its non-contact radar measuring principle prevents malfunctions or failures of the sensor caused by the adhesion of viscous media or damage from agitators.