Buyer Guide: Endress+Hauser Micropilot FMR 10 and VEGAPULS WL S 61
This article will provide insights on the Micropilot FMR 10 and the VEGAPULS Wl S 61, two radar devices that use the time of flight (ToF) principle to operate. Let’s take a quick look at these devices separately, then send them to the ring to duke it out!
Endress+Hauser Micropilot FMR 10
Endress+Hauser has launched their latest bad boy: the Micropilot FMR 10, a radar transmitter that promises new tech at old-tech prices, mainly that of ultrasonics.
The FMR 10 claims to be the smallest radar with IP66 and IP68 protection ratings, and I believe it. IP66 rates as “dust tight” and protected against low pressure water jets and IP68 as “dust tight” and continuous/complete submersion in water. It has a range of eight meters and a precision of five millimeters.
From the economic side, its price tag attracts the attention of most cost-conscious consumers. Considering that radar offers more pluses than ultrasonic, the FMR 10 looks like a good replacement at the same price. It also has a compact design and color options, if you like that sort of thing.
It lacks wireless communication to connect with the control system, but it does have Bluetooth to access the device remotely. Yeah, maybe you had your mind set on a display. But do you really want to spend the extra bucks when you have the magic of Bluetooth?
You can even download the free SmartBlue app to test the device. A free app instantly triggers my download reflex! But who made the demo mode so technical? I didn’t like it, and it took a while to figure out how to switch it off. So two points off there. However, the app is a great idea.
So the Micropilot FMR 10, an all-new compact radar device, offers more at the same price as an ultrasonic! Very appealing!
VEGAPULS WL S 61
With the VEGAPULS WL S 61, VEGA aimed for an ideal solution for water and wastewater. Though it lacks the bells and whistles of some of its rivals, it comes with great functionality and effectiveness. Best of all, it costs little to buy and promises easy installation and maintenance, saving money now and in the future.
It has the same protection rating (IP68), range (eight meters), and precision (five millimeters) as the Micropilot FMR 10. Sadly, neither of these analog devices will integrate easily into a plant asset management (PAM) system.
The WL S 61 still holds one trick up its sleeve. You can configure it and check your process data through its built-in Bluetooth using your phone or laptop! Nice, huh?
Also, the VEGA Tools app will let you test the device with its demo mode. Unlike the FMR 10, this demo has some appeal. Too bad you can’t use both wireless communication and Bluetooth to set it up. Of course, I can’t stop you from experimenting, right?
Now that we covered the basics, let’s look at how these two compete against each other in various areas.
Design and specification
Not much to go on here. Both devices differ very little in their specs. The VEGAPULS WL S 61 is bigger, at 243 by 93 millimeters to the Micropilot FMR 10´s 140 and 75. Does it matter? Not really. Both use loop power and have a minimum voltage, 10V for the FMR 10 and 12V for the WL S 61. The FMR 10 overtakes the PULS in the next stage, though. It supports pressures up to 3 bar and emission temps of 12 degrees, while the WL S 61 only goes to 2 bar and 10 degrees. Point to the FMR 10 in this round!
Configuration and diagnostics
Both vendors used these devices to bring Bluetooth to the instrumentation world, a boon for users who want access through their phones. The SmartBlue from Endress+Hauser and the VEGA Tools from VEGA offer good functionality, but SmartBlue offers more speed and appeal than the VEGA Tools. If VEGA optimizes the app and makes it bug free, it might stand a chance.
VEGA has a stellar marketing crew that loves good campaigning, and the microsite for the WL S 61 has helped VEGA gain more customer approval.
On the other side, Endress+Hauser took the conventional route for its marketing strategy. The incomprehensible interface made it difficult to find information. Let’s not even talk about trying to use your phone or tablet. Yeesh.
Neither device comes with a display. You can buy one separately, though. Not sure how I feel about this, considering the Bluetooth, but there you go.
The VEGAPULS WL S 61 and the Micropilot FMR 10 are two low-cost devices that seem like good upgrades if you want to move beyond ultrasonics. And they come off pretty evenly matched against each other.
I suggest you dig a bit deeper and learn more about which would cater to your needs. You should keep local support a priority also. Even the best device can have issues, and bad support can knock you down!