Thursday, 3 September 2009

Radar level

Overspill protection
Helping customers to go environmentally friendly.

Apollo Adhesives is at the forefront of advanced adhesive technology in Britain. Its bonding solutions extend across vastly different market sectors from abrasive pads and hi-tech aerospace components through to lingerie. Its core products are a range of solvent-based adhesives, the main constituents of which are synthetic rubbers and resins.

The company was encountering problems in the measurement of the very low dielectric range of mixed and chlorinated solvents that are stored underground in vessels. The existing manual method of measurement was time-consuming and not precise enough. They required an accurate and reliable automated measurement system that would provide ‘real time’ data and give high level alerts to avoid overspill as well as low level alerts to avoid running out of stock. The low level alarms were particularly important as Apollo wanted to ensure that raw materials were always readily available to meet customer demand and that multi-compartment delivery drops from suppliers were facilitated in order to reduce delivery costs by ordering in bulk. High level alarms were necessary to eliminate the risk of overspill, which would help protected the environment and employees from the associated dangers. Last but not least, the equipment was to be installed in an explosive area, so it had to be electrically suitable for zoned areas.

By working in close cooperation, Apollo Adhesives and Endress+Hauser engineered a complete measurement and inventory monitoring solution that was fit for purpose and completely satisfied all requirements. Endress+Hauser supplied Apollo Adhesives with eight Levelflex M FMP40 coaxial guided radar devices that accurately measured low dielectric materials and also complied with the electrical requirements for hazardous areas. Additionally, they installed eight RIA261 loop-powered field displays in the hazardous area to be used by the tanker drivers during the filling process. A separate panel was also designed and built to be installed next to the hazardous area and incorporated all the hardware that would generate the high and low level alarms as well as an audible and visual siren once the high level was reached. The signals from this panel were then redirected to an additional one, situated inside the main office building, which uses a Fieldgate web browser as a gateway to view the contents of the solvent vessels at any time.

This entire system provided Apollo Adhesives with direct access to ‘real time’ data about the level of raw materials and enabled the company to ensure that when low levels were reached, there was enough time to replenish stocks.

As a result, the company now saves on transportation costs by avoiding repeatable delivery drops by their suppliers. They also saved in terms of labour costs by abandoning their previous method of manual measurement. More importantly, they reduced the risk of running low on stock or running out of stock completely, which would mean manufacturing downtime incurring great costs.

In short, they not only installed a ‘real time’ stock monitoring system, but also a system that would protect the environment from a potential solvent overspill. Apollo Adhesives has invested a great deal of time and money in protecting the environment and even went as far as to install a vapour recovery system to ensure that vapours from the solvents were never released to the atmosphere during the tanks’ filling process.

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