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Level Switches

How Level Switches with Built–In Diagnostics Reduce Maintenance Costs

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Enhanced Diagnostics Provide Additional Functions

Some devices offer enhanced diagnostics to detect conditions such as a damaged fork or sensor, media buildup on the fork, or excessive corrosion of the fork. In the event of a fault condition, the load is handled in a safe manner and the LED is pulsed at a special rate to show that a fault has been detected.

A recent innovation in vibrating-fork level sensors is the introduction of a fully integrated wireless level switch. The WirelessHART Rosemount 2160 from Emerson Process Management offers advanced diagnostics which continuously monitor the status of the device and perform instrument health diagnostics of the fork and sensor.

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Troubleshooting Level Switches Directly From the Control Room

The 2160 features HART diagnostics which can be accessed using Emerson’s AMS Suite predictive maintenance software. The diagnostics can be accessed directly, by connection to the HART communication terminals on the device, or in the control room and maintenance workshop using the WirelessHart network and AMS Suite.

AMS Suite enables users to troubleshoot WirelessHART devices like the 2160 directly from the maintenance workshop desktop. This eliminates unnecessary trips to the field, optimizes maintenance, and minimizes downtime by enabling users to identify faults and take action before potential problems impact productivity and quality.

User-Configurable Alerts

The 2160 features four user-configurable alerts: Output State (PV), Sensor Frequency (SV), Device Temperature (TV), and Supply Voltage (QV). These may be configured for a rising or falling value and a limit or threshold can be set to trigger the alert. There is also the provision to apply a dead band or hysteresis. For example, by monitoring the sensor frequency, problems with vibrating forks can be detected early. Detectable issues include external damage to the fork, internal damage to the sensor, media buildup, and excessive corrosion on the fork. In addition, the 2160 provides fail-safe operation for both high and low level applications.

Installing level measurement devices in remote locations has traditionally been a problem because of the need for power and data cabling. Digging trenches and running cabling is both costly and time-consuming. The introduction of wireless networks overcomes these issues, however, making it possible to install level instrumentation in locations where previously it would have been considered impractical or too expensive.

Wireless: The Obvious Alternative

Wireless communication presents an obvious alternative to instrumentation cabling, and self-organizing mesh networks based on the IEC 62591 (WirelessHART) standard are starting to make a significant impact in these remote monitoring applications. Wireless-enabled vibrating-fork level sensors with inbuilt wireless adaptors make connection to an existing wireless network quick and easy. The 2160 WirelessHART vibrating-fork liquid level switch has the same features as wired level switches, but without the complication and cost of wiring. ●

* Kevin Cullen is with Emerson Process Management.

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