How do you optimise a level sensor that already has the best focusing, highest accuracy, simplicity of operation, and universal communication? What sounds like an obvious question led VEGA to create a new radar sensor for the market.
When using the new VEGAPULS 6X, it’s not just the sensor that counts, but what can be achieved with it in the application, which according to Vega, is better processing.
Traditionally, the search for a suitable radar sensor begins with one question, which frequency would work best for this particular application? As well as thoughts about the properties of the media and the impact it would have on measurement as well as the specific installation environment.
Furthermore, the temperature range or the presence of aggressive chemicals may give cause for concern. Will a standard process fitting be sufficient, or would special materials that meet the highest requirements be the right choice, if only because the user is not completely sure and wants to be on the safe side?
And what else should be considered if the sensor is to measure great distances or be exposed to wind and weather all year round?
These and countless other questions make one thing clear: with such a wide choice, you also have to select the right one.
Customers must choose from the large variety of radar sensors that are currently on offer.
The buyer needs a good understanding of what the market is offering Because the areas of application are becoming more multi-faceted and the processes more complex.
Having the right knowledge is a great way to mitigate the risks of making the wrong decision and ending up with a costly, and incorrect, investment, and instead, having the right measuring system.
One for everything
Choosing an instrument used to be a tricky and time-consuming task and often involved a lot of questions and product research.
VEGA is now turning this process inside out with its new VEGAPULS 6X.
“Ultimately, it’s not the sensor that counts, but what the users can achieve with it in their individual applications,” said Florian Burgert, one of the product managers who has been closely involved in the development from the very beginning.
“Just knowing that they’ve chosen the best possible instrument solution, and that they’ll reach their goal faster with it, makes a big difference in their everyday operations.”
Selecting the right frequency or determining the DK value of the medium are no longer obstacles, because choosing the right sensor specifications has become easier. The new configurator asks for the type of application and then quickly determines which sensor version is required.
The entire procedure now consists of just a few mouse clicks. The result is a simplicity for users and a measurement solution that delivers perfect results independently of the media properties, process conditions, vessel shapes and internal installations.
Four-stage, all-round protection
VEGAPULS 6X also offers some new technical innovations such as being equipped with a comprehensive safety concept. Which means functional safety is guaranteed, as it conforms with all the requirements of Safety Integrity Level.
The certified sensor has SIL characteristics and provides the necessary operational safety to minimise risks in safety-related applications.
Another increasingly important focus is “cybersecurity”. In this regard the VEGAPULS 6X conforms to IEC 61511, which fulfils the strictest requirements for security of system access and communication control, creating extensive process security, right through to the control system.
An important third aspect of its extensive safety features is its self-diagnosis system. It continuously monitors the function of the sensor and recognises if it has been impaired in any way, thus contributing significantly to higher plant availability and sensor performance.
Central to these important features is a new, second generation radar chip directly from VEGA.
Because there was no chip available on the market that would have met all requirements, the research and development team set to work to design one themselves, from scratch.
“The result pretty much consolidates our entire radar experience from three decades”, said VEGA product manager Jürgen Skowaisa, praising this achievement.
“In its scope and functionality, the chip is unique in the whole world.
It is especially characterised by its low energy consumption, high sensitivity, scalable architecture, and universal applicability. The radar antenna system and the chip are connected directly to each other, without any cable, for maximum performance.”
New in a different way: Innovation of values
This new approach gave rise to the impulses that make VEGAPULS 6X different. By carefully considering the users and the process conditions of their applications, other points came into focus. These include the challenges in using measuring instruments, such as complicated adjustment procedures, the constant pressure to increase efficiency, and time constraints in general.
Focusing on the application
The actual task of level sensors is to help users and make it easier for them to monitor their industrial processes.
They often make processes more controllable and efficient, but even if they are basically easy to use, the process of selecting the right one for an application can still be difficult.
Skowaisa sums up in two words the strategy VEGA is pursuing with VEGAPULS 6X: ‘Maximum simplification’.
“Until now, there were many different sensors that could be used for an application, but today, with VEGAPULS 6X, there is one sensor for all applications,” said Skowaisa.
Even setup and commissioning, he says, has been reduced to a minimum, requiring now just a few clicks and the input of basic data.
“Our customers can even order a sensor that has been factory calibrated, customer-specific down to the last detail, that only has to be installed and connected. It doesn’t get any easier than that,” he added.
Radar made for people
With VEGAPULS 6X, VEGA has rounded out its radar measurement technology with four important innovations.
More safety and self-diagnosis, new radar chip technology, new application possibilities and simpler adjustment.
“Furthermore, our technology has reached such a high level today that reliable function is no longer the issue. The only risk now is choosing the wrong sensor,” said Skowaisa.
Thanks to the new approach with VEGAPULS 6X, VEGA now provides the tools to get right sensor version for the application in 99 per cent of all cases, while keeping experienced application engineers on standby to help with the special, more difficult applications.
“In the future, the user will no longer have to worry about the technology, frequency or instrument version – the measurement will simply work,” said Skowaisa.