WO1982000710A1 - Material level detecting device - Google Patents

Material level detecting device Download PDF

Info

Publication number
WO1982000710A1
WO1982000710A1 PCT/US1980/001088 US8001088W WO8200710A1 WO 1982000710 A1 WO1982000710 A1 WO 1982000710A1 US 8001088 W US8001088 W US 8001088W WO 8200710 A1 WO8200710 A1 WO 8200710A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
level
level sensing
response
sensing
control
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US1980/001088
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
R Haegele
Original Assignee
R Haegele
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by R Haegele filed Critical R Haegele
Priority to PCT/US1980/001088 priority Critical patent/WO1982000710A1/en
Priority to WOUS80/01088800822 priority
Publication of WO1982000710A1 publication Critical patent/WO1982000710A1/en

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01FMEASURING VOLUME, VOLUME FLOW, MASS FLOW OR LIQUID LEVEL; METERING BY VOLUME
    • G01F23/00Indicating or measuring liquid level, or level of fluent solid material, e.g. indicating in terms of volume, indicating by means of an alarm
    • G01F23/04Indicating or measuring liquid level, or level of fluent solid material, e.g. indicating in terms of volume, indicating by means of an alarm by dip members, e.g. dip-sticks
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01FMEASURING VOLUME, VOLUME FLOW, MASS FLOW OR LIQUID LEVEL; METERING BY VOLUME
    • G01F23/00Indicating or measuring liquid level, or level of fluent solid material, e.g. indicating in terms of volume, indicating by means of an alarm
    • G01F23/0023Indicating or measuring liquid level, or level of fluent solid material, e.g. indicating in terms of volume, indicating by means of an alarm with a probe suspended by a wire or thread

Abstract

Apparatus (10) and an associated method are used to determine the level of a first material (14), such as sledge, forming a layer beneath a second material (18) in a settling tank (16). A level sensing member (26) is provided which is passable through the more liquid second material (18) in response to the force of gravity. The level sensing member (26) is supportable in the sludge owing to the sludge resisting such gravitational motion of the sensing member (26). Control apparatus (56) is signalled in response to movement of the sensing member (26) in order to perform desired work functions such as indicating when the tank (16) needs to be cleaned or for starting and stopping a pump in the tank (16). Such apparatus (10) largely overcomes problems associated with sensors dependent upon the physical properties of the material, such as ultrasonics, or submerged sensor, such as floats, upon which material buildup can impair the sensing functions.

Description

Description
Material Level Detecting Device
Technical Field
The invention relates to material level detection such as, for example, sludge level detectors in settling tanks. More particularly, the invention relates to apparatus and an associated method involving a level 'sensing device which detects the level of the sludge by gravitational movement through material in the tank.
Background Art
In industrial plants, for example, settling tanks are commonly used' to collect and separate solid or semi-solid material from reusable or recyclable liquids such as are used to cool material or machines or to clean parts or apparatus during and after a machining process. The liquid is directed into the tank where the material, or sludge, tends to settle to the bottom of the tank leaving the liquid layer above. Such tanks are cleaned and drained when the sludge reaches a prede¬ termined level in the tank.
In order to monitor the sludge level in such tanks, various sensing devices have been used. For example, conductivity, ultrasonic and light sensors have been used to determine the level at which the sludge is found. It will be appreciated, however, that such devices will be sensitive to the physical properties of the layers of material in the tank. Such properties can change continuously in such a system and therefore vary beyond acceptable ranges in which the sensors can provide sufficiently accurate readings of the sludge level. More direct methods of measuring the sludge level are also commonly employed. For example, floats, paddles, pressure sensitive diaphragms and other dis¬ placement type devices are partially or totally sub- merged in the tank to determine the sludge level.
However, material build-up on the submerged devices can create inaccurate data which seriously affects the reliability and longevity of the sensors.
The present invention is directed to over- coming one or more of the problems as set forth above.
Disclosure of Invention
In one aspect of the present invention, apparatus is provided for detecting a level of a first material forming a layer under a second material. The apparatus has a frame, a connecting element movably mounted to the frame and a level sensing member mounted on said connecting element. The level sensing member is passable through the second material in response to the force of gravity and supportable in the first material in response to the first material resisting motion of the level sensing member. Control means is signalled for selectively performing a work function at a pre¬ selected degree of movement of the level sensing member. In another aspect of the present invention, a method is disclosed for detecting the level of the first material forming a layer under the second material. The method involves steps of releasing the load sensing member and freeing it for movement through the second material in response to the force of gravity and sup- porting said level sensing member at said first material in response to said first material resisting the gravi¬ tational motion of the level sensing member. Control means is signalled relative to movement of the level sensing member for selectively performing a work function in response to the level of the first material.
__<_••-pι_ The apparatus and associated methods are used to detect the level of 'the first material, such as sludge, in a settling tank through which a liquid second material carrying the dissolved sludge is passed. Detecting the level of the sludge can be used to, for example, automatically determine when the tank needs to be cleaned or to activate a pump to move the liquid through the tank.
Brief Description of the Drawings Fig. 1 is a diagrammatic view in partial cross-section showing one embodiment of the present invention associated with a tank having two layers of material; and
Fig. 2 is a schematic representation of an electrical circuit which can be utilized with the embodiment of Fig. 1 for performing work functions relative to the level of material layers in the tank.
Best Mode for Carrying Out the Invention
Referring to Fig. 1, apparatus 10 for detect- ing a level 12 of a first material 14 is shown associ¬ ated with a tank 16 such as a settling tank. The first material, such as a solid or semi-solid material commonly called sludge, for example, forms a layer under a more liquid second material 18. The sludge as is known settles from a liquid pumped through the tank to separate the foreign material to provide a reuseable material such as a relatively clean liquid cleaning agent.
The level detecting apparatus 10 has a frame 20 and a connecting element 22, such as the rod shown, movably mounted to the frame. The rod can be mounted to the frame by the brackets 24, which have openings with bearing surfaces on which the rod can slide, or by other means as is known in the art. A level sensing member 26 is carried by the rod at a first end 28 of the rod. Said level sensing member is movable between a first, fully retracted position 30 (shown in outline) and a second, extended travel position 32 owing to translation of the rod.
Travel means 34, which includes a control cylinder 36 mounted on the frame 20, is provided for controllably freeing the level sensing member 26 for movement in response to the force of gravity. The control cylinder, such as the pneumatically operated cylinder shown, has a rod portion 38 connected through a member 41 to a second end 40 of the rod which carries the load sensing member. The rod portion is control¬ lably movable between first 42 (shown in outline) and second 44 positions to determine movement of the inter¬ connected level sensing member. In response to moving the rod portion from its second to its first position, the level sensing member is moved to its first, fully retracted position 30. The level sensing member is free for movement to its second, extended travel position 32 in response to moving the rod portion from its first to its second position. In other words, the rod is re- leasable from its first position, such as .by bleeding the air from the cylinder chamber (as will be explained) to be thereby freely movable as the force of gravity tends to cause the level sensing member to translate downwardly into the tank 16.
Movement of the control cylinder 36 is deter¬ mined by the position of a control valve 46 which con- trols pressurized air flow to the cylinder through a first supply line 48 from a pressurized air source (not shown) . In a first position of the control valve, pressurized air passes from the supply source through a second supply line 50 and into the cylinder to force a piston 52 of the cylinder upwardly. As a result, the
_0A.PI rod portion 38 moves towards its first position 42. In a second position (shown) of the valve, the pres¬ surized air is bled from the cylinder through the second supply line to a bleed line 54 to relieve the upward pressure on the piston in the cylinder.
Referring also now to Fig. 2, control means 56 is shown for selectively performing a work function in response to detecting the level of the sludge 14, as well as for controlling the function of the control cylinder 36. The control means includes a limit switch 58 (Fig. 1) mounted on the frame 20 and a signalling member 60 connected to and movable with the rod 22 carrying the level sensing member 26. The switch, which is a portion of an electrical circuit 61 (Fig. 2) , is actuatable in response to movement of the signalling member with the rod and across the switch as shown in Fig. 1.
The circuit 61 has an electrical potential across first and second lines 62,64. A sequential timer 66 actuatable at preselected intervals receives its power supply from the lines and acts upon first, second and third timer switches 68,70,72 associated in series with a solenoid control relay coil 74 , a latching relay coil 76 and an alarm 78, respectively. Each of said series combinations is connected in parallel across the first and second lines. A control relay contact 80 and a solenoid coil 82 (Figs. 1 and 2) , which are actuated in response to energizing the solenoid control relay coil, are also positioned serially across the first and second lines. A latching relay contact 83 serially positioned between the third timer switch and the alarm is closed in response to energizing the latching relay coil. An unlatching relay coil 84 is positioned in series with the limit switch between the first and second lines and actuatable in response to closing said limit switch in order to open the latching relay contact.
O.V.PI - It should be understood that the configura¬ tions of the travel means 34, control means 56 and other elements of the level detecting apparatus are shown for the purpose of illustration only and can be of other configurations as is known in the art without departing from the invention.
Industrial Applicability
Using the level detecting apparatus involves releasing the level sensing member 26 from its first, fully retracted position 30 to free it for downward movement into the tank 16 to find the level 16 of the sludge 14. Such operation is initiated by the sequen¬ tial timer 66 at preselected intervals which can be pre¬ determined by the frequency at which it is estimated the settling of the sludge will require cleaning of the tank. The timer also initiates other conditions in the electrical circuit 61 for performing work functions associated with detection of a certain sludge level.
Normally, the sensing member 26 is held in its retracted position 30 and at selected intervals, such as each hour of operation, the sequential timer 66 initiates release of the level sensing member 26 at the prede¬ termined time by self-activating to hold the first timer switch 68 in a closed position from its normally open position. At this point in the sequence of operations to be performed, the timer also holds the second timer switch 70 in a closed position from its normally open position. The third timer switch 72 and the limit switch 58 initially remain in their normally open positions. Holding said first and second timer switches closed energizes the associated solenoid control coil 74 and the latching relay coil 76 to acutate the control relay 80 and to latch the latching relay 83 in a closed position, respectively.
_C"PI The solenoid coil 82 is actuated in response to energizing the control relay 80 and moves the control valve 46 from its first or air supplying position to its second or vented position (shown) to release the air pressure in the control cylinder 36 acting to maintain the rod portion 38 in its extended position 42. The rod portion 38 is thus free to move downwardly toward a second, retracted position such as is illustrated at 44. Correspondingly, the level sensing member 26 freely moves downwardly from its first position 30 to an extended travel position, such as illustrated at 32, in response to the force of gravity exerted on the rod 22 and the level sensing member.
In moving downwardly, the level sensing member 26 comes first into contact with the more liquid second material or cleaning agent.18. The level sensing member has a preselected mass or buoyancy relative to such cleaning agent so that in response to the force of gravity it is passable through the liquid and to the underlying sludge layer. Said level sensing member is supportable in or at the sludge 14 in that it is blocked by am essentially solid layer or is buoyed up or floats in a semi-solid layer. In other words, the sludge resists the gravitational motion of the level sensing member through said sludge as predetermined by the configuration or construction of the level sensing member relative to the sludge composition.
Supporting the level sensing member 26 at the sludge level 12 determines the resultant signalling in the electrical circuit 61, and thus the work function to be selectively performed, according to the corresponding degree of movement of the level sensing member. For example, in Fig. 1, the sludge 14 is shown below a maximum desirable level at which cleaning the tank 16 would be necessary. At such a level, the preselected degree of movement of the level sensing member results in the signalling member 60 closing and actuating the limit switch 58 (as shown) for signalling purposes. The unlatching relay coil 84 is thus energized and unlatches the latching relay 83 to prevent actuation of the alarm 78 when the sequential timer 66 subsequently closes the third timer switch 72. To complete its cycle, the timer will open the timer switches 68,70,72 and deactivate the solenoid coil 82 to move the control valve 46 to its second or air supply position. Air supplied to the cylinder 36 will tend to extend the rod portion 38 to return the level sensing member 26 to its preselected starting point for repeating the cycle. Preferably, returning to such a starting point results in positioning the level sensing member above a preselected or maximum fill level of the liquid 18 (such as shown at position 30) to prevent build up of foreign matter on the member or other possible deterioration.
If the sludge 14 has reached its maximum desirable level, the limit switch 58 is not actuated in that the level sensing member 26 contacts the sludge prior to the signalling member 60 reaching the switch. The unlatching relay 84 is thus never engaged and the latching relay 83 remains latched. Under such condi- tions, when the sequential timer 66 closes the third timer switch 72 the alarm 78 will be actuated to signal the necessity of cleaning the tank 16. The cycle will then be completed to return the level sensing member to its starting point as above described. Alternately releasing the level sensing member 26 and returning it at preselected intervals provides a simple method of detecting the sludge level 12 in the tank 16. Use of such a retractable load sensing member does not depend upon the properties of the materials in the tank, such as would ultrasonic or
_p pι optical sensors. Also, removing the load sensing member from the materials prevents its deterioration in the materials as is typical of conventional float or paddle devices. It will be further appreciated by those skilled in the art that the disclosed control means 56 utilizing the electrical circuit 61 is a simple one which can be designed to perform a vast variety of functions relative to detecting the sludge level. For example, additional switches could be used for progres- sive signalling as the signalling member 60 moves different distances with the level sensing member. Pumps could also be automatically actuated to clean the settling tank 16.
Other aspects, objects and advantages will become apparent from a study of the specification, drawings and appended claims.
_ Q' -Pl

Claims

Claims
1. Apparatus (10) for detecting a level (12) of a first material (14) forming a layer under a more liquid second material (18) , comprising: a frame (20) ; a connecting element (22) movably mounted to said frame (20) ; a level sensing member (26) carried by said connecting element (22) and being passable through said more liquid second material (18) in response to the force of gravity and supportable in said first material (14) in response to said first material (14) resisting gravitational motion of said level sensing member (26) ; travel means (34) for controllably freeing said level sensing member (26) for movement in response to the force of gravity; and control means (56) for selectively performing a work function in response to the level (12) of said first material (14) , said control means (56) being signalled at a preselected degree of movement of said level sensing member (26) .
2. The apparatus (10) , as set forth in claim 1, wherein said level sensing member (26) is movable between a first, retracted position (30) and a second, extended travel position (32) and said travel means (34) includes a control cylinder (36) connected to said connecting element (22) and movable between first and second positions (42,44) , said level sensing member (26) being moved to its first, retracted position (30) in response to moving said control cylinder (36) from its second (44) to its first (42) position and being free for movement to its second, extended travel position (32) in response to moving said control cylinder (36) from its first (42") to its second (44) position.
3. The apparatus (10), as set forth in claim
1, wherein said control means (56) includes a signalling member (60) connected to and movable with said con¬ necting element (22) and a switch (58) actuatable in response to movement of said signalling member (60) with said connecting element (22) and across said switch (58).
4. The apparatus (10) , as set forth in claim
2, including a tank (16) and wherein said first and second materials (14,18) are positioned in said tank
(16) with said second material (18) having a preselected fill level and said load sensing member (26) is posi¬ tioned above said preselected fill level at said first, retracted position (30) .
5. A method for detecting a level (12) of a
-.-- first material (14) forming a layer under a more liquid second material (18) , comprising the steps of: releasing a level sensing member (26) and freeing said level sensing member (26) for movement through said more liquid second material (18) toward said first material (14) in response to the force of. gravity; supporting said level sensing member (26) at said first material (14) in response to said first material (14) resisting said gravitational motion of said level sensing member (26) through said first material (14) ; and signalling, at a preselected degree of move¬ ment of said level sensing member (26) , control means (56) for selectively performing a work function in response to the level of said first material (14) .
6. The method, as set forth in claim 5, wherein said first material (14) has a maximum desirable level and including the step of signalling said control means (56) at said maximum desirable level.
7. The method, as set forth in claim 5, wherein the step of signalling said control means (56) includes actuating a switch (58) in response to movement of the level sensing member (26) .
8. The method, as set forth in claim 5, including the step of returning said level sensing member (26) to a preselected starting point following the step of signalling said control means (56) .
9. The method, as set forth in claim 8, wherein the step of returning said level sensing member (26) includes removing said level sensing member (26) from said first and second materials (14,18).
10. The method, as set forth in claim 8, wherein the steps of releasing said level sensing member
(26) and returning said level sensing member (26) are alternately performed at preselected intervals.
PCT/US1980/001088 1980-08-22 1980-08-22 Material level detecting device WO1982000710A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
PCT/US1980/001088 WO1982000710A1 (en) 1980-08-22 1980-08-22 Material level detecting device
WOUS80/01088800822 1980-08-22

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
PCT/US1980/001088 WO1982000710A1 (en) 1980-08-22 1980-08-22 Material level detecting device

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Publication Number Publication Date
WO1982000710A1 true WO1982000710A1 (en) 1982-03-04

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Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO1989000546A1 (en) * 1987-07-17 1989-01-26 Societe Nationale Elf Aquitaine (Production) System for treating water by chlorination
DE3824076A1 (en) * 1988-07-15 1990-01-18 Degussa Method for the regulation of the filling level
FR2731272A1 (en) * 1995-03-03 1996-09-06 Eparco Sa DEVICE FOR LOCATING THE SEPARATION POSITION BETWEEN TWO MEDIA, RECEPTACLE AND DETECTION METHOD USING THE DEVICE
US6401868B1 (en) 1999-08-02 2002-06-11 Roy F. Senior, Jr. Device and method for removing oil used to lubricate vertical turbine pumps
CN101561344B (en) * 2009-05-26 2010-10-20 长江水利委员会长江科学院 Experimental water tank without tail-gate for hydraulics and mud and sand dynamics

Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2463304A (en) * 1946-06-20 1949-03-01 Permutit Co Salt level indicator for brine tanks
GB1312244A (en) * 1969-03-25 1973-04-04 Serck Industries Ltd Liquid level detection apparatus

Patent Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2463304A (en) * 1946-06-20 1949-03-01 Permutit Co Salt level indicator for brine tanks
GB1312244A (en) * 1969-03-25 1973-04-04 Serck Industries Ltd Liquid level detection apparatus

Cited By (8)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO1989000546A1 (en) * 1987-07-17 1989-01-26 Societe Nationale Elf Aquitaine (Production) System for treating water by chlorination
US4986902A (en) * 1987-07-17 1991-01-22 Societe Nationale Elf Aquitaine (Production) Chlorination system for a water to be treated
DE3824076A1 (en) * 1988-07-15 1990-01-18 Degussa Method for the regulation of the filling level
FR2731272A1 (en) * 1995-03-03 1996-09-06 Eparco Sa DEVICE FOR LOCATING THE SEPARATION POSITION BETWEEN TWO MEDIA, RECEPTACLE AND DETECTION METHOD USING THE DEVICE
EP0731341A1 (en) * 1995-03-03 1996-09-11 Eparco Device for indicating the position of an interface between two septic media and detecting method using this device
US5698775A (en) * 1995-03-03 1997-12-16 Philip; Herve Device for locating the position of the separation between two mediums, and a receptacle and a detection process employing the device
US6401868B1 (en) 1999-08-02 2002-06-11 Roy F. Senior, Jr. Device and method for removing oil used to lubricate vertical turbine pumps
CN101561344B (en) * 2009-05-26 2010-10-20 长江水利委员会长江科学院 Experimental water tank without tail-gate for hydraulics and mud and sand dynamics

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