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What is Level?

The LEVEL of a liquid is the position of the surface of the liquid

above or
below a fixed reference point, or datum line.

What is Datum Line?

The Datum Line is the zero point to which a measurement is referenced.

A zero point in level measurement is simply a starting point for making a
measurement. However, it does not necessarily mean that there is no
liquid in the tank or vessel.

Methods of Level Measurement:


INNAGE Type - The datum line is at the bottom of the tank or

vessel. The measurement is taken IN the liquid from the
bottom to the surface of the liquid.

Innage Method
Innage Gauging
Innage gauging (also referred to as bottom gauging or dip gauging)
the distance from the datum (strike) plate (or the bottom of the tank if
is no datum plate) to the surface of the product. An innage bob is used
for innage gauging.
Innage gauging is commonly used when:
1. tank contents are not viscous
2. the operator is able to lower the bob to the bottom of the tank

Advantage of innage gauging:

The height of the liquid in the tank is directly measured; the effects
of tank level may result in movement of the reference gauge point
and/or the datum plate
reference gauge point movements are therefore eliminated. Innage
is recommended whenever reference gauge point changes are
The operator can compare the tape reading at the reference gauge
with the reference gauge height each time a tank is gauged and
thus can
note any variances. (As a tank fills, the tank walls can expand; this
result in movement of the reference gauge point and/or the datum
Disadvantages of innage gauging:
The tape may be lowered too far, causing the bob to tilt Sedimentation
the tank bottom may prevent the gauge from actually reaching the
or may cause the bob to tilt In highly viscous products, the bob and tape
tilt the gauging tape is immersed in the liquid and must be thoroughly
while the tape is being reeled in. In addition to being a messy and time-
procedure, with corrosive or toxic products, cleaning the gauge tape
the operator to health or safety hazards


OUTAGE or ULLAGE Type - The datum line is at the top of the tank or

The measurement is taken OUT of the liquid from the top of the tank to
the surface of the liquid.
Outage gauging (also referred to as ullage gauging or top gauging)
of the tank less the gauge reading at the reference gauge point
the distance from the surface of the product in the tank to a reference
point on the gauge hatch at the top of the tank. An outage bob is used
for outage
gauging Outage gauging is commonly used when the contents are
corrosive or
toxic extremely viscous clear (such as water or gasoline)
The height of liquid must be calculated: height equals the reference
gauge height

Only the bob is immersed in the liquid and cleanup is quick
The height of the liquid in the tank is indirectly measured: the actual
must be calculated.
The operator cannot observe any reference gauge point variances.
(Reference gauge point variances can only be seen with innage
when the tape is lowered to the datum plate)

Outage gauging should only be used if the reference gauge

height does not vary with product level in the tank

Types of Level Measurement:

1. Continuous Level Measurement
2. Single-point Level Detection

Continuous Level Measurement:

Continuous Level Measurement provides continuous level
measurements and give a numerical reading
of level at all times. This allows for constant monitoring of liquids that are
important to plant operation.

Single-Point detection:
Single-Point Level Detection measures liquid level at a single point
only. It is used to& detect either high or low level and provide on -
off control for pumps and valves, signal alarms,
and initiate immediate corrective actions. They can also be used to
steps in an industrial process that occur repeatedly at given levels.

Magnetic Level Switches

Ultrasonic Level Switch

Contact ultrasonic level switches use ceramic discs called piezoelectric
crystals to
transmit and receive ultrasonic energy. A transmit crystal (T) is
positioned on one
side of a transducer gap and a receive crystal (R) is positioned on the
opposite side.
Tip sensitive style gaps can sense level to within 1 4" from the end of the
Types of Level Measuring Instruments:

Simple Instruments

1.Gauge Glasses
2. Manual Tank Gauging
3. Floats and Displacers
4. Sonic and Radar
Simple Instruments: Gauge Tape
Manual Tank Gauging
Gauge Tapes
Gauges consist of a bob attached to a steel gauging tape.
Gauging tapes are made of steel or corrosion-resistant material
wound onto
a reel with a crank and a handle. The free end of the tape is
equipped with
a snap hook for attachment of the bob. The graduations on gauging
are specific for either outage gauging or innage gauging. The
outage tape
ends at zero (at the point of contact between the snap hook and the
bob eye)
the innage tape does not end at zero, the tip of the innage bob is
the zero point.

Gage Glasses
The pressure that the liquid exerts in the tank forces the liquid in the
sight glass
to rise to the same level as the liquid in the tank.
Ball Float

A ball float attached to a rod, which in turn is connected to a rotating

shaft which indicates level on a calibrated scale.
If the liquid level changes, the float will follow and change the
position of the
pointer attached to the rotating shaft.

Float and tape operated Tank Gauge

Cone roof tank with Stilling Well
Floating Roof Tank and Floatwell
Sphere Tank
ATG flat hollow shell float Multi-sphere
Interface Float 6"

Servo Operated Displacer Level Gauge

The displacer is suspended from a strong and flexible measuring
wire wound on a
measuring drum. A transducer measures the apparent weight of the
displacer partly
immersed in liquid. When the level starts moving downwards, the
transducer will
sense the change in weight. The servo motor drives the measuring
drum to unwind
the measuring wire until the displacer is partly immersed in liquid.
When the
level rises, the servo motor drives the measuring drum to wind up
the measuring
wire until the displacer is again partly immersed in liquid
Servo Operated Level Gauge on a Spherical Tank

Ultrasonic / Sonic
The device measures the length of time it takes for the reflected
sound wave to return to the transducer.
A successful measurement depends on reflection from the process
material in a straight line back to the transducer.
The ultrasonic transmitter is designed to be
mounted above a liquid, and uses ultrasonic pulses to continuously
measure the distance to the surface of the liquid. The
microprocessor-controlled electronics calculates distance to the
liquid level from the time delay between the transmitting
and receiving of the signals

Good for interfaces, solids, slurries.

The main advantages of ultrasonic level instrumentation are that the
transducer does not come into contact with the process material.
They have no moving parts and a single top of vessel entry makes
leaks less probable than fully wetted techniques.


Things such as powders, heavy vapors, surface turbulence, foam

and even ambient
noise can affect the returning signal also utrasonic devices will not
operate on vacuum
or high pressure applications.

Practical Notes
Successful measurement depends on the transmitter being
mounted in the correct
position so that the internal structure of the vessel will not interfere
with the signal path

The transducer transmits a sound burst and the echo is recorded as

a signature of the tank. Any obstructions in the vessel will send
an echo and create a profile. Later on, this signature
or profile is locked into the ultrasonic units memory so it will not
respond to echoes
created by these obstructions.
Magnetic Level Indicator
Principle of Operation
Within the piping column of the Magnetic Level Indicator is a float

containing an internal group of magnets. In response to the level

movement the float moves up or down accordingly.

Clamped to the piping column in total isolation from the

process liquid is a visual indicator which contains an alignment
magnet which couples with the float magnets as the float moves up
or down within the piping column

The position of the visual indicator represents true level. Level is

indicated or read by the corresponding point on the measuring

This simple level measurement has a dip tube installed with the
open end close to the bottom of the process