... after not quite four years! Even the radar experts from the German Black Forest area themselves were surprised that the rather conservative market accepted the new technology so quickly. A look back and into the future.
Does the world of bulk materials really need a new radar level measuring device? That was the question when, in 2014, Vega launched a sensor onto the market with the Vegapuls 69 which operated with the high frequency of 80 GHz. The developers’ answer was a convinced “yes”. Because although the radar sensors available at that time were able to cover a large part of the bulk materials spectrum, there were and always will be applications in which better focussing or a greater dynamic range will lead to much better measuring results. The 80 GHz now made this possible — and an unprecedented success story began. Two years later, the Vegapuls 64 for liquids followed. This year, the Schiltach company is hoping to crack the magic mark: with the 100,000th application with the 80 GHz technology.
This terrific development surprised even Vega. The two Radar Product Managers, Jürgen Skowaisa and Clemens Hengstler, remember: “We were already aware what potential the 80 GHz technology had for bulk materials back in 2014. The Vegapuls 69 had been convincing in all the tests and we were sure that it would be successful.” However, the road to the Vegapuls 64 for liquids was still a long one. Although the level specialists sensed that the high frequency would also have advantages with liquids, “a lot of time and effort was still required before we were able to develop a sensor with the performance that the Vegapuls 64 offers today”, Hengstler tells us. And Skowaisa adds: “We never suspected that we could develop such a good sensor but we were certain that this technology would change something and that is why we put all our efforts into its development.”
What the technology changed and what challenges and problems of previous measuring technology could be solved thanks to the 80 GHz can be shown by selected application examples from various branches which we have summarized for you in table form on the next three pages.
The Key to Success ...
... for Vega from the very beginning was to arouse users’ enthusiasm for the technology. Skowaisa and Hengstler travelled all around the globe on this mission to carry the 80 GHz from the Black Forest out into the world. A tour de force in which the two Product Managers recorded countless miles in their travel logs.
“We toured all continents except for the Antarctic,” Skowaisa relates with a smile. “You stop counting after the first few trips but it was a lot of miles at the end of the day and every single one was worth it! We were able to inspire so many people with the 80 GHz technology — an incredible success in our view,” he says, looking back on many an exertion. His colleague, Hengstler, agrees: “It was strenuous and the hotel seminar room was on the agenda more than the beach and sight-seeing but it was also very enjoyable. Every trip was an experience. You don’t have such a convincing product to present every day.”
That and the enthusiasm Skowaisa and Hengstler were able to generate were reflected, among other things, in the fact that many participants took a selfie with the consultant and Vegapuls. “After that, we also received many photos of examples in which a Vegapuls 64 or 69 were being used in whole new applications,” Hengstler reminisces on trips of a special kind. One of his highlights: One customer had prepared a special surprise in an on-site seminar in the training room. One of the very first radar sensors, an approximately 25-year-old Vegapuls 64K, was standing on the desk. The customer had also brought along an old laptop with which he had operated the sensor. “So, we really could see the echo curve. It was tremendous to see the new sensor next to the older version: the progress from 6 to 80 GHz.”
And what’s next?
“We will be promoting the 80 GHz further this year”, Skowaisa leaves us in no doubt. The proportional growth for 80 GHz is to continue in 2018. “We did not have all the approvals for the world-wide market at the beginning of last year. That is just one reason why we will be pushing 80 GHz even more in 2018. Besides, we are always discovering new applications which had not previously been suitable for radar measuring technology.” Of course, Vega’s Achema 2018 presentation (Hall 11.1, Stand C63) also has the motto. “Anyone who is not convinced yet should come and visit our booth. There is a lot to see. Be prepared for a few surprises!”, Skowaisa promises.
Read on the following page an interview with Jürgen Skowaisa and Clemens Hengstler, Radar Product Managers at Vega. A picture gallery shows the advantages of the 80 GHz technology on the basis of various application examples.
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