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Radiometric instrumentation measuring unit

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article image A typical gamma application.

RADIOMETRIC ('gamma') instrumentation is used where conventional methods for measuring level and density fail.

For many decades gamma instruments have been trusted with the most difficult tasks in level limit detection, continuous level measurement, interface layer detection and density measurement in various chemical, petrochemical, oil and gas, mining, paper and pulp, and energy applications.

Radiometric measurement is completely non-invasive to the process, and thus completely isolated from it.

The measuring unit is mounted on the outside of the vessel and measures through the vessel wall - ensuring the highest degree of reliability and safety whatever the medium and its properties.

This makes radiometric measurement the solution for applications where the pressure, temperature and/or aggressiveness of the process prevent the introduction of devices into the vessels and pipes; where the process itself is exceptionally destructive (eg blocked chute detection in mining applications); or where cutting the vessel or pipe is not feasible (eg rubber-lined pipes carrying abrasive diamond/coal slurries).

Radiometric measurement is based on the principle that radiation is attenuated by the materials through which it passes. A very small gamma radiation source (either a caesium or cobalt isotope) is installed at one side of a process vessel or pipe, and a detector (scintillator) at the other.

The radiation received by the detector is determined by the level and density of the materials within the process. Once installed in its fixed position, the gamma radiation source is left undisturbed in its protective housing throughout its life - typically up to 30 years.

Over the past 40 years Endress+Hauser has installed more than 45,000 reliable and successful radiometric measuring points worldwide - always designed for maximum human safety.

The use of the latest scintillator technologies minimises the size of the gamma source in its new Gammapilot M radiometric instruments without any loss of performance.

Lack of understanding can lead gamma technology to be regarded as 'unsafe'. In fact, the Gammapilot M gamma source typically emits a dose rate of only 0.06μSv/h at 1m - which is minimal compared with the 6μSv/h dose of cosmic radiation to which airline passengers travelling at 12,000m above sea level are typically exposed; with the 11,000μSv dose of radiation (=30μSv/h) typically received by patients undergoing a medical X-ray of the torso; and with the massive 20,000μSv dose (=60μSv/h) typically received by patients undergoing CT scans.

Other Gammapilot M safety advantages include SIL 2, OH&S and EPA compliance, automatic self-monitoring, simple, intuitive interfaces with HART, Foundation Fieldbus and Profibus PA, and the world's first user-replaceable sensor material.

Gammapilot integrates level, interface layer and density measurement and limit detection within a single system with a uniquely compact design and exceptional flexibility, convenience and cost-effectiveness.

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