Traditionally, the search for a suitable level sensor begins by thinking about things like: what solution would be best for my application? How can I ensure I choose the correct and most reliable device for a successful outcome on my project? Of course non-contact radar offers great answers for all of these questions.

This is often followed by thoughts and investigations about the properties of the product to be measured, could it influence a sensor, as well as the installation and operating environment. Furthermore, process conditions like: temperature, pressure, the presence of abrasive, aggressive materials, corrosive chemicals, or dusty conditions and build up in bulk solids, may also give cause for concern. Many of these details are often well known to the user. What they can be less sure about is, “Which model is best?”. Sometimes differences can be subtle. Would the highest specification option, perhaps with exotic materials, be the right choice to be on the safe side? Or a basic design, that seems to fit the job, but what if it’s not up to the performance needed?

These and other questions make one thing clear: with such wide ranges, selecting the right one can be difficult. Customers have to match up their application conditions to the large variety of radar sensors, models, antennas and frequencies on offer. A user needs a good understanding of the market, but they are often the first to admit they are not experts. It takes know-how, experience and time, to avoid making bad investments and get a reliable measuring system.

“One for everything”

So its time to challenge this laborious, stressful and time-consuming process. It’s being turned on its head with a new radar sensor generation. Florian Burgert, one of the closely involved radar product managers says. “We now offer one radar level sensor for all applications, regardless of liquids or bulk solids: it’s called a VEGAPULS 6X. The sensor selection is simpler than ever, in a few mouse clicks and key strokes, your selection is selected and tailored to suit. Of course a radar specialist is on hand for advice and consultation; online, by phone or in person.” This new way of selection makes it easier for the customer and specialist to collaborate, too.

At the heart is not just the first, but a second-generation in-house radar chip designed specifically for level measurement. “The result consolidates three decades of radar experience”, says VEGA product manager Jürgen Skowaisa, “In scope and functionality, this chip is unique. With low energy consumption, super-high sensitivity, universal applicability, as well as a direct connection of chip and antenna system, this delivers maximum performance.”

All-round protection

For safety, VEGAPULS 6X offers SIL 2/3 with class-leading functional safety characteristics to IEC 61511. It also offers a first in “cybersecurity”, meeting IEC 62443-4-2 standard for system security, but at the sensor level. The continuous, internal self-diagnosis system is one of the most comprehensive in the market, delivering higher plant availability, and also better sensor performance.

Focusing on the application

Jürgen sums up: “It’s about maximum simplification. Until now, there were many different sensor models for an application. With the VEGAPULS 6X, there is just one sensor for all.” Even setup and commissioning, is reduced to a minimum. “Our customers can even order a sensor ready calibrated and pre-set for the application. Which means it just needs installing and connection.” adds Skowaisa. “It doesn’t get any easier than that.”

A proven platform

This brand new radar still maintains its roots in the well-established plics® platform, with compatibility and close affinity to all existing process devices from the manufacturer. This offers benefits of familiarity and commonality, and future cross-platform developments, perfectly demonstrated with the Bluetooth option brought out in 2018, which was instantly compatible to all plics® transmitters from 2002.

A radar made for people

This latest radar level technology features five main innovations: higher (cyber and process) safety, better self-diagnosis, new dedicated radar chip technology with wider application capabilities for simpler selection and adjustment. Jürgen Skowaisa summarises; “Our technology has reached such a high level today that reliable measurement is no longer the issue. With VEGAPULS 6X, you get the right sensor for the application, but we still pride ourselves that our engineers are always there for customer support, partnership and collaboration.” Jurgen concludes, “Now, the user no longer has to worry about model numbers or technology – with 6X the measurement will simply work.”

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