Level sensors ? the agony of preference?

If one is looking for a level sensor, one can be quickly overwhelmed by the large choice. A level sensor for limit level detection or continuous measurement can be ordered in a number of technologies and design variants. But how do I find the right level sensor for my application?
If one really wants to decide on a level sensor, the most crucial selection criterion is the electrical output function. If one wants to monitor a limit in a tank, e.g. dry running (empty) or overfilled (full), then the level sensor should actually be a level switch. However, if it is vital that you monitor the contents of a tank in detail (e.g. 0 ? 100 % fill level), the other needs continuous measurement (= level sensor).
The distinction between level sensor and level switch automatically leads to the exclusion of several technologies, if one is looking for the most economical solution. Although an even sensor with combined electronics can communicate both an analogue signal and switching signals, a pure level switch is always the cheaper solution, if the application form is limit level measurement only.
The selection of the most suitable measurement technology
Continuous measurement with float
Level sensors typically feature continuous analogue output signals, such as 4 ? 20 mA or 0 ? 10 V, which permit the accurate measurement of level and its own variation. The sensors can be based on a range of measurement technologies such as magnetostriction, reed-chain technology, hydrostatic, ultrasound, radar and more ? the choice which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Wounded with optoelectronic level switch
Level switches in a normal float switch design offer a mechanical switch contact or, in electronic version, generally a PNP or NPN transistor output. In the field of switches, there are also many different measurement technologies such as reed contact technology, optoelectronics, conductivity, vibronic and many more.
Each one of these technologies has benefits and drawbacks, and complex, application-specific limiting factors such as conductivity, dielectricity, density, contamination, colour, pressure strength, etc. A trusted statement as to which technology is most suitable or can be used in a specific application environment can only just be produced after thorough assessment and often also your final test in the plant itself under real application parameters.
Note
WIKA offers you a very wide range of level measuring instruments. More info on optoelectronic level switches, hydrostatic level sensors, float switches and further instruments are available on the WIKA website. You can get videos on the functionality of the average person measuring principles on our YouTube channel. Your contact person will undoubtedly be pleased to help you on the selection of the most likely product solution.

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