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Level detection switches that reduce hazardous spills from Endress+Hauser

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It is critical that plant managers and engineers choose the right level detection switches as they can prevent the accidental discharge of toxic products into the environment. A well-selected, correctly-installed level switch will save companies the expense associated with treating and disposing of spilt material.

Moreover, it will safeguard companies against punitive fines in the event of an unavoidable accident.

Hazardous spillage often conjures up images of caustic ammonia liquid and fumes spewing out uncontrolled from large tanks. This is definitely dangerous but often, the dangers associated with spillage exist in innocuous and unlikely places. Like chicken processing plants and dairies, for example.

Unfortunately, such occurrences are common in Australia; however, they can be easily preventable. “In many cases, a simple detection switch is all that is needed to protect a company’s assets from the problems associated with spillage,” says John Immelman, managing director of Endress Hauser Australia.

Endress+Hauser Australia has been in the point level switching business for over fifty years and provides a wide range of level detection switches to suit virtually any industry and application. Each process application is unique and temperature, pressure, corrosion, abrasion and atmospheric conditions must be taken into account in selecting the appropriate level switch.

Also to be factored in are process connections, housing types, power supply type, outputs (relay or transistor) and chemical compatibility. Safety ratings are becoming increasingly critical and a host of new standards such as IEC 61 508 must be considered in selecting a level switch.

Managers of plants, both large and small, must first assess the risks associated with the equipment being controlled and then determine the necessary risk reduction needed. “It is imperative to determine the SIL rating of a plant prior to ordering the process instrumentation,” stresses Immelman.

SIL ratings 1, 2, 3, and 4 provide the probability of a dangerous failure over time and can be used to measure the range of risk reduction afforded by a piece of equipment. The higher the SIL level, the more reliable the device and Endress+Hauser provides level switches across all SIL ratings.

Endress+Hauser has also developed a radiometric detection switching gamma instrumentation for use where conventional methods for level detection switching in chemical, petrochemical, oil and gas, mining, paper and pulp and energy applications are inappropriate.

Radiometric measurement is completely non-invasive to the process. The externally mounted switching unit ensures a high degree of reliability and safety, making radiometric measurement the ideal solution for applications where the pressure, temperature and/or aggressiveness of the process prevent the introduction of measuring devices.

Endress+Hauser’s Gammapilot M is a radiometric level detection switch that complies with IEC 61 508 - SIL 2 rating.

Whether unloading an oil tanker or manufacturing cream cheese, spills can be hazardous to people, property, the environment and to a company’s bottom line. Fortunately, this is often an easy problem to fix and basically requires an understanding of SIL ratings and the installation of relatively low-cost level switches.

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