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A simple, cost-effective way to measure fluid levels

28 February 2013

New technology from Cambridge Consultants is offering a cost-effective and accurate way to measure liquid levels for a wide variety of fluids.

Called FELT – or Fringe Effect Level Transducer – the technology is a novel approach to monitoring the level of a wide variety of fluids.

“We were surprised to discover there was still a need for innovation in this space for a device that was a relatively simple concept,” says Dr Temoc Rodriguez, principal engineer at Cambridge Consultants. “Through our work in a diverse range of industries, we see a significant demand for this type of adaptable technology – in everything from consumer appliances and medical instruments to agricultural and large-scale industrial containers.”

FELT has no moving parts and is immune to temperature change. It is robust and not affected by external interference such as metal objects, people or electrical noise. The device does not require calibration, and its design enables the probe to be immune to changes in fluid composition.

The technology can affordably and accurately eliminate a range of problems by continuously measuring liquid levels and setting an alert when they reach a certain mark. FELT is made up of three parallel low-cost, simple and customisable electrodes – one measurement electrode and two reference electrodes – with no direct contact between the electrodes and the fluid being measured. An electric field is applied to the electrodes to measure the ratio of the electric charge between the measurement and reference electrodes and, as a result, determine a continuously accurate liquid level. 

“We found that other fluid measurement technologies with similar accuracy use radar or ultrasonics and are very expensive, while cheaper devices have accuracy issues and use probes that require careful calibration,” says Dr Rodriguez. “FELT uses a novel approach to enable this new cost-effective, yet remarkably robust, sensor platform. We’re now keen to discuss with potential clients how FELT could be customised to solve all kinds of level sensing problems where existing techniques don’t work.”

Cambridge Consultants will be demonstrating FELT at the Hannover Messe, April 8-12, booth D58 in the Research and Technology Hall.

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