There are good articles related to the most common topics in level measurement, and also the Q&A clarifying questions coming from your side. For us, it’s more than important to give you the entire information about the topics discussed here, and a list of the relevant players on the market is part of it.
Today, we’re gonna talk about free space radar sensors! A relevant remark here: this is not the same radar you can find in the space, but both have similar names! Too much, but we never know! Hahahaha. I mean, you can find different ways to call the non-contact radars, and I’ve decided to use for this articles the free space radar sensors.
A quick recap.
Let’s quickly recap the topics discussed here so far, alright? We began the level subject here, talking about the basic principle. It means the level measurement through differential pressure transmitters. You can find articles explaining the principle and the equation behind the solution. Later, we introduced the time of flight principle and the technologies based on this. Moreover, we dug deeper into the devices based on the time of flight principle, such as the non-contact radar, guided wave radar, ultrasonic and lasers radars.
Honestly, we don’t earn anything in order to list vendors here. However, in our point of view, this is a public service. For us, you can find out new brands and maybe pay less for the same level of product or even pay more to have fancy features available. It’s up to you, we’re gonna list the products and you are free to read more and draw the conclusion by yourself, and maybe our products reviews can be a good base for that.
Without further ado, let’s see the list of relevant vendors on the market with free space radar sensor on their portfolio! There is no special order in the list or relation among them, you can find apples and oranges here. Have a read and enjoy!
VEGA – VEGAPULS 64
The VEGAPULS 64 is an outstanding free space radar sensor. The device works with a frequency of 80 GHz. It means, you can fit the transmitter in tanks with mixers inside, and the beam angle is smaller avoiding problems with interferences.
You can apply the VEGAPULS 64 to level measurement up to 30 meters. Furthermore, the device supports a temperature from -40 to 200 degrees Celsius and a pressure of -1 to 20 bar. When we talk about the harsh environment, the devices has different housing material, wetted material and the majority of the certifications requested in this sort of application.
The website is not bad at all, and they have landing pages with a bunch of details about this sorts of free space radar sensors.
Siemens – SITRANS LR560
The first impression I got while reading the working band of the device was: Why don’t they launch a similar frequency as its competitors? You can think that device is worse cause works with 78 GHz rather than 80 GHz. However, this is a not a reality, you can fit this sort of device in most of the same applications, but it’s not the best marketing strategy at all.
The key application for the SITRANS LR560 is solid level measurement, this is a niche device. The free space radar sensor from Siemens brings a measurement range up to 100 meters, and the possibility to work in process temperature from -40 to 200 degrees Celsius, in a pressure range up to 3 bars.
The SITRANS LR560 also brings the advantage of having a narrow signal, allowing you to install the device in tanks with interference inside. Furthermore, you have different sort of housing material and wetter parts, different ways to integrate the field device into the control system. Honestly, the Siemens website and documentation are far to be good, but if you spend some time searching the information you’re gonna find somehow.
Emerson Automation Solutions – Rosemount 5400
Different from the others mentioned before, the Rosemount 5400 has the option to work with a frequency band of 6 or 26 GHz. The beam angle will be bigger than the 78-80 GHz radars, but the dudes from Emerson bring a message somehow against the high-frequency radars on their documentation.
Then, you need to scale out a new device and find out the best alternative on the market. On this side, you have a free space radar sensor that allows having a measurement range up to 35 meters. The 5400 can also work in harsh environments, such as process temperature from -40 to 150 degrees Celsius, and pressure range up to 16 bars.
Following the basic requirements on the market, you have a couple of options when it comes to housing material and wetted parts. On the outstanding side, the guys from Emerson have a really good website and documentation. Besides that, there are also blogs and other sorts of medias to give you the enough information on how to apply the device.
Krohne – OPTIWAVE 7500 C
Yo, the dudes from Krohne came to the party! For sure, the OPTIWAVE 7500 C is in the list of the outstanding products. Different from the dudes from Emerson, they believe in the high-frequency free space radar sensors. Therefore, the frequency band of the OPTIWAVE 7500 C is 80 GHz, and its beam spread and angles are smaller, allowing the implementation in different kind of tanks.
You can apply the 7500 C in a measurement range up to 100 meters, and the device can support a process temperature up to 150 degrees Celsius, and a pressure range up to 40 bars. You can apply the device in different liquid applications, with different housing material and wetted part as the majority of market options. However, there is a lack of protocol options here. At least you have the basic HART, but if you are looking for a different protocol, you must keep searching.
The website and documentation from Krohne keep the low level of user experience from most of the vendors. On the positive side, after some minutes you’re gonna be able to navigate through the website, using your laptop! Forget about the phone and tablet.
Honeywell – SmartLine RM Series
The guys from Honeywell also have a free space radar sensor! Of course, they have, haven’t them? The RM Series is part of the process solution from Honeywell, and you can fit in a measurement range up to 80 meters. The reference accuracy is not the best at all, but at least it’s not that bad, around +-3 millimeters.
The RM Series works in K-band, which means the frequency is around 24 to 26 GHz. Here we have dudes on the same ship of Emerson’s dudes. As the majority devices mentioned in this article, you have different options to housing material and wetted parts. Then, probably you’re gonna find a material giving you a good lifetime perspective somehow, otherwise, you can find others solutions on the market as well.
The Honeywell device can be implemented in a process temperature up to 200 degrees Celsius, and a pressure up to 40 bars. The Honeywell’s website it’s not bad at all, and their documentation keeps the same level of the others.
Magnetrol – PULSAR R86
The PULSAR R86 is a sort of free space radar sensor working in K-band, more specifically with 26 GHz. Furthermore, the R86 can measures up to 40 meters, in a process temperature up to 400 degrees Celsius and a pressure up to 160 bars. If you compare with most of the others, the R86 is supporting a wide range of temperature and pressure.
The fancy design, or simply different one, takes apart the cable connections and access to the display. I was reading the technical documentation, and I didn’t find a reference for accuracy. Maybe you need to scale out to find out, but this kinda reference helps a lot! Just saying.
On one hand, they also have housing material, wetter parts and certification to fit in the different harsh environments. On the other hand, they lack protocol options to a real seamless integration. At least, you have HART and Foundation Fieldbus. If you want a PROFIBUS, keep seeking or buy a converter.
The website and documentation are not the best at user experience. But somehow you can find most of the information needed.
Valcom – KRG Series
Have you already heard about them? To be honest, I’ve never heard about them either. However, I found them searching for options to share with you guys. Even though we don’t know if they manufacture their own devices. Therefore, if you have experiences with this vendor, please share in the comments with us.
The KRG works at 26 GHz, and the measurement range is up to 30 meters. You can apply this device in a process temperature from -40 to 150 degrees Celsius, and the maximum pressure is 150 bars. They lack housing material, wetted part, and digital protocol. Although they look like to be a low-cost device, you can scale out and find out by yourself.
The KRG has a reference accuracy of +- 2 millimeters, and this is not bad at all. The website and documentation are really difficult to manage, and they need to improve in this area as soon as possible.
Endress+Hauser – Micropilot FMR62
Yo, the clan from Endress+Hauser is here as well. For sure, they know a lot about level measurement, don’t they? The Micropilot FMR62 is the newest free space radar sensor from Endress+Hauser working with a frequency band of 80 GHz. Different from Emerson and others dudes mentioned here, they are on the 80GHz’s team, following the guys from Vega.
The FMR62 is able to be implemented in a measurement range up to 80 meters. The reference accuracy informed by E+H is exciting, around 1 millimeters. This device can support process temperatures from -40 to 200 degrees Celsius, and a maximum pressure up to 25 bars. Of course, they offer different housing material and wetted parts!
The Endress+Hauser’s website doesn’t have a good user experience on a laptop. The same goes for the zooming in and out experience through phone and tablet! Yep, forget about it. However, there is a good level microsite in which you can have the basic information about their level portfolio. The documentation is average, and you will find most of the answer there.
Find more about the device and buy the Micropilot FMR62
Monitor Technologies LLC – Series 200
Last but not least, we have the guys from Monitor Technologies! Who are they? Dunno, but we’re gonna find out. This could be a good low-cost option, and they popped up here during my search, so I read about the device and the company as well.
The Series 200 is a free space radar sensor able to do measure up to 30 meters, and the reference accuracy is +- 3 millimeters. You can install the device in a maximum process temperature of 130 degrees Celsius, and a maximum pressure of 10 bars.
The website looks like 90’s, and it’s really hard to find the information here. At least, they have an “ask monitor” where you can ask for more information, this button should’ve been called “Help me”.
There is not the best level transmitter, you have a wide list of options on the market. You just need to scale out and find out the performance depending on your process requirements. Furthermore, the local support, price, and a good user experience are the key in this cases.