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Powders or granules - level detection - Sensing Application

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Powdered and granular materials comprise multiple small particles separated by spaces which typically trap air pockets. Many materials are used in a granular state during some production processes and detection of their level or presence is often required in process control.

Capacitive sensors are suitable for detection of granules or powders and can look through sight glasses, non metallic windows or container walls to detect powders or granular material on the other side. This avoids the requirement for piercing containers and allows maintenance without creating a leak point in the container.

Sensatech create custom capacitive sensors for a number of powder or granular level detection applications where an OEM requirement exists.


In Plastic Moulding:
Raw materials for plastic moulding is often in granular form. To ensure material integrity granules are often processed through feeding systems including dehumidifying dryers and colour mixers. Conveyance is via vacuum conveyors to moulding machines where components are formed. The feeding process, especially where drying is included can involve a time delay, granules perhaps taking 20 minutes to pass through the dryer so it is vital for continual operation that levels are maintained in feeding hoppers. The use of capacitive sensors allows automated feeding of hoppers from bulk bins.

In Printing and Copying:
Modern photocopy machines use a fine powdered toner electrostatically transferred via a drum onto paper before being set by a heating process. As with the other examples it is important to maintain a feed of toner and warn users to replenish toner when it falls below a level.
Capacitive sensors are one of the most cost effective sensing techniques for this application where characteristics of the toner material can for example compromise optical techniques.

In Baking:
With increasing automation in baking, flour is required to be conveyed and fed into the baking process in a similar way to the example of plastic moulding. Capacitive sensing again provides a suitable and perhaps the most cost effective solution for this application.

Capacitive sensors are ideal to detect of toner in powder form.
Toner in Powder form
Other granular materials can be detected with capacitive techniques.
Larger granules
Granulated sugar

Pages in the Applications section:
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Electro-cardiography - Non contact
Environment - Hazardous
Environment - High temperature
Human anatomy - Foot gauge
Human anatomy - Light switch
Invasive, non-contact 3d mapping
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Liquid level detection
Micro machines
Moisture measurement
Powder or granule level detection
Proximity detection - Non contact
Proximity measurement - Analogue
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Small targets at high speeds
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