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Represented by: <a href=measur IT technologies An Introduction To Lasermeters The LASERMETER is an industrial instrument that measures the distance to solid objects or opaque liquids. Typical applications include level measurement in silos and bins and positioning of machinery such as overhead cranes, tipper cars and booms. The LASERMETER is an optical instrument. It needs a direct line of sight to ‘see’ the material. It is capable of measuring through light or medium dust. If the eye can see the material to be measured, the laser can too. For example, to measure the level of plastic pellets in a bin, the instrument sends out a signal to the top of the pellets. The receiver picks up the return signal and the round trip time is measured. The result is halved then the distance is determined. The difference in the technologies lies in the different forms of energy in the pulse. Ultrasonic uses pressure waves in the air (i.e. sound) to carry the energy. Laser and radar both use electromagnetic waves: Laser in the form of light and radar in the form of microwaves. The LASERMETER can be mounted in any orientation. A glass or plastic shield in front of the sensor can be used for aggressive or pressurised applications. It is because of these differences that each technology displays unique characteristics of performance. It is these There are a number of effects that the different energy The laser beam generated by the LASERMETER is 50mm in diameter and has virtually no divergence. There is no effect on performance due to nearby obstacles, movement of material, noise, vibration, oblique surfaces, target size or differences that will predict the future trends in the use of the instruments. forms cause. shape, vapour type or density. It is not affected by cone 1. The size of the wavelength of the pulse. This dictates the up or cone down of the material surface. The LASERMETER ability to confine and focus the beam. As well as reflection can even be programmed to reject momentary intrusions angle of the return pulse. by passing objects. 2. Variations in the speed of measurement. 3. The strength of the return pulse from different materials. WHY CHOOSE LASER? 4. Affects to the pulse of changes in the medium through which it travels. Commercial laser instruments are now available at prices that are competitive to conventional level sensing instruments in many applications. The issue that arises is whether or not this type of technology offers sufficient advantages to sway instrument users away from older, conventional technologies. The other technologies that offer non-contact, continuous level measurement include radar (for this discussion we are only considering pulse radar) and most commonly used at present, ultrasonic. All three technologies measure distance by emitting a pulse and timing the round trip of the pulse. This is then converted to distance, using the distance, time, and speed relationship. 1. The size of the wavelength of the pulse. A laser pulse has a wavelength of about 1-micrometer. In contrast the wavelength of the pulse used for radar is 1 to 5 cm. The wavelength of the pulse for ultrasonic is orders of magnitude greater than radar. The first effect of this is that laser instrumentation can easily be narrowly focused. The physics law that applies here is: Waves emitted from any small source can be focused into a narrow beam only by an element that is many wavelengths across. For most radar and ultrasonic instruments the emitted beam has a divergence of between ten and twenty 1 Measur IT Technologies Ltd. Craan, Craanford, Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland email: info@measur IT .com www.measur IT .com Phone: +353 (0) 53 942 8962 Fax: +353 (0) 53 942 8963 " id="pdf-obj-0-111" src="pdf-obj-0-111.jpg">
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<a href=Represented by: measur IT technologies degrees. This is achieved by a focusing element that is five to twenty wavelengths across, (about 5 - 20 cm). This large beam angle makes these technologies susceptible to objects near the direct path of transmission and also allows them to detect spurious return pulses from echoes well off the central axis of interest. Laser instruments for process control produce a 50-millimeter diameter beam by using a focusing element which is more than 5000 wavelengths across. The resulting beam angle is in the order of 0.1 degrees, which keeps the energy of the laser pulse tightly confined even over long distances. This is the primary reason for the long-range capability of laser. Furthermore, the receiving element has a field of view with a similar beam angle to the transmitted laser beam. In other words, the detector can only “see” along the projected laser path. This combination gives laser excellent directionality and practically no susceptibility to objects near the transmission path. Secondly, laser will reflect back from a very oblique angle. The law of physics applicable here is: any wave will be reflected according to the rule “the angle of incidence = the angle of reflection” (also known as the law of reflection) by any surface with a roughness less than one wavelength but will be scattered (diffuse reflection) by any surface with a roughness greater than a few wavelengths. This means that for ultrasonic and radar most surfaces will result in the law of reflection coming into effect. This can be a serious hindrance to their operation because many surfaces will not be perpendicular to the direction of travel of the energy wave and will reflect the wave away from the desired return path. For example, both ultrasonic and radar instruments will operate well when placed over a smooth liquid surface provided that they are aimed perpendicular to this surface. In this case the energy pulse bounces off the liquid surface and returns directly to the instrument. If there is an angle between the surface and the energy path then the wave is reflected away from the instrument and may not be detected. The situation gets worse when measuring granular solids in a silo or hopper. The material in the silo will not lie flat but will be heaped either in a “cone up” attitude (after filling) or in a “cone down” attitude (after emptying). This cone will reflect the energy wave off to one side of the vessel and prevent the pulse from returning to the instrument. Thirdly, secondary reflections will occur off the walls of the silo that may return to the instrument and result in a false level reading. A simple test of this effect can be made by shouting down into a silo and listening to the echoes. In contrast, laser operates at a wavelength of about 1-micrometer (infrared) which is smaller than the surface roughness of solids encountered in process control. The law of reflection will apply only with a perfect mirror but diffuse reflection (scattering) will occur when measuring to solids. Scattering occurs in all directions and is not dependent on the angle of incidence between the laser pulse and the surface of the material. Scattering actually prevents reflections and echoes from taking place. As described earlier the detector ’looks’ along a narrow path and only sees the reflections returning directly to the laser. This scattering characteristic gives laser consistent performance on solids and total immunity to “cone up” and “cone down” variations in the material. 2. Variations in the speed of measurement. The different pulses used travel at different speeds. Ultrasonic measures at the speed of sound (330m/s). Whereas laser and radar measure at the speed of light (3x10^8m/s). This means that the laser and radar are measuring nearly one million times faster than ultrasonic. Laser and radar instrumentation can allow a number of software adaptations for analysing the information and still get a very rapid update time. 3. The strength of the return pulse from different material. Obviously different materials react differently to electromagnetic, sound or light waves. Laser will be affected by differences in the light reflection properties of the material. Dark materials such as coal give a weak return signal and a bright target like a reflector gives a strong return signal. Sound waves are affected by the acoustic properties of the material. Flat liquid surfaces give back a strong echo. Soft powdery materials will often absorb the signal to such an extent that no return pulse can be detected. Radar is affected by the dielectric properties of the material. Liquids that generally have a good conductivity give a very good return signal. Where as it is often very difficult to get a sufficient return signal from non-conductive materials. 4. Affects to the pulse in changes in the medium through which it travels. As mentioned earlier ultrasonic uses pressure waves in the air (sound) to transmit energy, whereas both laser and radar use electromagnetic waves. For ultrasonic, no air means no operation and variations in the speed of sound with air temperature and pressure (due to the changes of the air density) reduce the accuracy of the distance measurement. Other causes of speed change are variations in the vapour 2 Measur IT Technologies Ltd. Craan, Craanford, Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland email: info@measur IT .com www.measur IT .com Phone: +353 (0) 53 942 8962 Fax: +353 (0) 53 942 8963 " id="pdf-obj-1-51" src="pdf-obj-1-51.jpg">
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<a href=Represented by: measur IT technologies composition. The speed of sound varies greatly from one vapour type to the next. Neither laser nor radar has this DIFFICULTIES WITH THE APPLICATION AND HOW LASER IS USED TO SOLVE THESE 1. Erratically behaving surface - the surface vibrates over problem since the speed of an electromagnetic wave through a gas medium is practically constant. INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS OF LASER TECHNOLOGY a large area from the crusher and the surface changes over the full range very rapidly and often. Using the rapid sampling time of the laser beam the instrument is able to convert a large number of erratic signals into a smooth interpretation of the actual level, without making the time constant lag too far out for the PLC to react to any changes. Typical applications for LASER TECHNOLOGY The output from the level controller is used for driving the (LASERMETERS) are divided into two broad categories: conveyor and hence must be a smooth, steady output 1. Level control signal. The LASERMETER overcomes these problems with 2. Positioning software programs in the microprocessor. Some of the difficulties of getting conventional technology to measure level in silos and bins include: - Material that cones up or down and does not give a flat surface for the return signal. In this instance the laser’s ability to measure off oblique angles means that this will not affect it. - Tall narrow silos or oddly shaped bins that cause spurious echo. These could also have gratings or steel grids covering the silo that interferes with the pulse. The narrow beam of a laser instrument ensures that it does not get any interference from surrounding objects, in particular the walls of the silo. It can also be focused narrowly through grids and grating. - Water sprays or material feeds from inlet chutes interfere with measurement especially if it falls in front of the beam. The rapid update rate of the LASERMETER allows for program parameters that will perform a “rock rejection“ function. This function allows the user to disregard or reject outlying signals caused by feeds. LEVEL CONTROL Specialised applications in level control include measuring the level in crushers and doing blockage detection in ore passes. APPLICATION : CRUSHERS The LASERMETER has successfully been used for controlling the level in both cone crushers and roller crusher chutes. In cone crushers the level in the bowl needs to be closely monitored and controlled within very narrow margins. This can be a vital part of the automation process. Bins that run empty can cause damage to the crushers and those that overfill would likewise be a problem. The other application that exhibits similar characteristics is controlling the level in the feed chute to a ball mill. 2. Interference from the feed where the inlet is around the whole area of the bowl or in the case of roller crushers where the feed falls through the whole chute. Also water sprays are positioned around the bowl of the crusher. The rock rejection is set to a maximum to allow it to ignore the feed material. 3. Vibration in the area. The vibration in the crushers would present a problem to any instrument. However because of the range and directionality that laser is capable of, it can be mounted a long way above the machine and the distance offset to give the full operating range over the 4-20mA output. APPLICATION : ORE PASSES Blockage detection in ore passes on gold mines. The use of laser technology has been successfully tested for detection of ore pass blockages up to 25m. This critical application in the mining process has always been virtually impossible to monitor. Knowing exactly when the pass blocks up is important since dumping into a blocked pass causes problems in the shaft and also causes downtime which costs the mine money. DIFFICULTIES WITH THE APPLICATION AND HOW LASER IS USED TO SOLVE THESE 1. The tremendous noise in the area when the rocks are tipped into the passes interferes with ultrasonic echo. However laser is immune to noise interference. 2. The uneven rock walls of the ore pass give interfering return signals to instruments that have a large beam divergence. Laser has a narrow beam that will not get interference from the walls of the ore pass; hence they can be any shape. 3. Once the ore passes block they fill up very quickly from the tons of rock that are poured in. Laser will give a rapid response to a level change. 3 Measur IT Technologies Ltd. Craan, Craanford, Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland email: info@measur IT .com www.measur IT .com Phone: +353 (0) 53 942 8962 Fax: +353 (0) 53 942 8963 " id="pdf-obj-2-122" src="pdf-obj-2-122.jpg">
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<a href=Represented by: measur IT technologies POSITIONING APPLICATIONS Positioning applications include all areas where the distance to a piece of machinery needs to be measured. This is easy enough to do with a contact switch. But in many instances non-contact measurement instruments are necessary and prove more cost effective. In the case of non-contact measurement a number of difficulties arise. The main problem experienced by other technologies is the effect of spurious echo signals from surrounding super structure and machinery. This becomes worse over long distances as the beam spreads. The LASERMETER instruments are immune to this type of interference because of the narrow beam. Even measuring over a few hundred meters, the only issue is line of sight within the confines of the 50mm beam spot. Another problem that can arise is the speed of response of the instrument. In some positioning applications the movement of the machinery is rapid and it is critical to track the movement with a reasonable response time. Once again this is not a problem for laser instruments. The LASERMETER will give a response time of 12 times per second over the full scale. Some of the applications already in use include positioning of rail car tipplers, conveyor trippers, overhead cranes and stacker/ reclaimers. With increasing automation in the controlling of industrial processes it is now vital to know where machinery is placed so that the process can run continuously and smoothly. APPLICATION : STACKER / RECLAIMERS As well as the determination of the stacker / reclaimers position on the rails, there is also a need for proximity sensing to position the boom. If the LASERMETER is placed on the tip of the boom looking down at the stockpile it can be used for keeping the boom at the correct distance for feeding the material. DIFFICULTIES WITH THE APPLICATION AND HOW LASER IS USED TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS 1. The surface does not change smoothly, but it can instantaneously change over the full range, such as when there is a cliff in the material. The laser overcomes this because it has no “lock-in“ tracking but will measure instantaneous and discrete readings. 2. The boom can move rapidly. The LASERMETER has an update that is sufficiently fast enough to measure from the moving boom. LASER SAFETY All of our LASERMETERS have class 1 safety for the visible and invisible laser. This is according to BS EN 6085 legislation of 1984, including amendment 1 of 1990. All laser products are graded or rated in 4 classes, with class 1 being completely safe and class 4 being extremely dangerous. Each class has very specific safety requirements. In most cases these are strictly policed. 4 aspects of the laser determine the safety rating: · The time the laser is on · The power of the laser · The degree to which the laser beam is focussed · The wavelength The strongest factor that makes the lasers in the lasermeter safe is that pulsed lasers are used. This means that they are not left on continuously while in operation, but pulse on and off with each “on” being only between 20 and 30 nanoseconds long. The lasermeters use lasers that range from 7 to 60 watts. The laser beam is focussed to 50mm. The wavelength of the invisible lasers in the lasermeter is 905 nanometers, which is in the invisible, infrared range. Visible lasers fall in the 400 to 700 nanometer range. At the shorter end of the scale, up to 400 nanometers, the ultraviolet wavelengths are the shortest and most dangerous. What does this mean in practical terms? Although fairly high-powered lasers are used in our lasermeters, the fact that they are only on for a fraction of time at any given moment, and that they fall into the longer wavelength range, makes them harmless. In addition, the lasers are focussed to 50mm. In laser terms this is a wide beam. If the beam were focussed to a minute spot the laser would be dangerous. A class 1 safety rating means that the instruments are completely eye safe. No damage can be caused to the eyes. No special safety precautions such as safety glasses or protective clothing are required. For more information please contact MeasurIT Technologies at + 353 (0)53 942 8962, email: info@measur IT .com or sales@measur IT .com , www.measur IT .com . 4 Measur IT Technologies Ltd. Craan, Craanford, Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland email: info@measur IT .com www.measur IT .com Phone: +353 (0) 53 942 8962 Fax: +353 (0) 53 942 8963 " id="pdf-obj-3-71" src="pdf-obj-3-71.jpg">
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Level in bins & silos Level control in Roller crusher Blockage detection In ore passes Positioning
Level in bins & silos
Level control in
Roller crusher
Blockage detection
In ore passes
Proximity sensing for
Overhead crane
Stackers &


Represented by: <a href=measur IT technologies Level in bins & silos Level control in Roller crusher Blockage detection In ore passes Positioning Proximity sensing for Overhead crane Stackers & reclaimers Positioning Site Application Operation Reasons for use Furnace Control of electrode in an arch furnace 3-39 ft / 1-12m on the electrode Narrow beam for small aperture Sugar Mill Sugar Silo 3-49 ft. / 1-15m on sugar Irregular surface. Build up on the walls of the silo Process Plant Sodium Bicarbonate silo 3-65 ft. / 1-20m on sodium bicarb Tall, narrow silos. Powdery crystals absorb sound Crane positioning 3-49 ft. / 1-15m to a crane Surrounding super-structure Pet Food Plant Stock taking in dog food silos 3-98 ft. / 1-30m on dog food chunks Irregular material can be meas- ured with a portable LASERME- TER. Plastic Pellet Polypropylene pellets 6-65 ft. / 2-20m on white Narrow silos. Laser ignores feed Plant Polypropylene pellets material that crosses the beam Salt Tank 32-39 ft. / 10-12m on molten salt at 750 F / 400 C Laser is offset away from the heat Polystyrene Polystyrene chips 3-39 ft. / 1-12m Narrow silo Plant Food Plant Level control in a molasses tank 1.5-20 ft. / 0.5-6m on molasses Grain Silos Portable LASERMETER for stock taking 3-98 ft. / 1-30m on grain and wheat Portable LASERMETER can be aimed directly down a silo Rail Track Pole Detection Detecting the position of poles from a moving train 5-6.5 ft. / 1.5-2m @ 10milliseconds LASERMETER can update very rapidly Camera System Distance measuring from the camera to objects and build- ings‘ 3-98 ft. / 1-30m Direct aiming to target Helicopter Distance measurement to the 3-260 ft. / 1-80m Rapid update, Direct aiming Altimeter ground from a helicopter 5 Measur IT Technologies Ltd. Craan, Craanford, Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland email: info@measur IT .com www.measur IT .com Phone: +353 (0) 53 942 8962 Fax: +353 (0) 53 942 8963 " id="pdf-obj-4-199" src="pdf-obj-4-199.jpg">
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Represented by: <a href=measur IT technologies Site Application Operation Reasons for use Coal Terminal Coal stacker / reclaimer 1.5-65 ft. / 0.5-20m on coal Direct aiming, Long range Rail car tippler interlock into hopper 13-30 ft./ 4-9m on coal Moving machinery in the area Coal Mine End of the boom on a fully automated coal stacker 1.5-65 ft. / 0.5-20m on coal Fast update rate for control loop Coal silo 3-23 ft. / 1-7m on coal Rapid update rate Positioning of a linear stacker 32-1312 ft. / 10-400m Narrow beam for long distance Coal Mine Level control in coal bins 1.5-65 ft. / 0.5-20m on coal Irregular shaped bins with un- - underground even heaped material which does not affect the LASERMETER Gold Mine Ore bin 3-32 ft. / 1-10m on ore Slope variation of material surface Gold Mine Ore pass blockage detection up to 260 ft./ 80m on gold ore No noise interference. Rock rejec- - underground tion facility. Irregular shaped ore pass Positioning of locomotives 3-650 ft. / 1-200m on a rail car Narrow beam for long distance, rapid update Chrome plant Stack level on chrome 1-65 ft. / .3-20m Narrow Beam Mineral handling Overhead crane positioning 6.5-360 ft. / 2-110m on a crane Direct aiming, Long range facility exterior Harbour Anti-collision on the overhead cranes 3-98 ft. / 1-30m to a reflector Direct beam, Rapid update Diamond Mine Crusher feed chute to the secondary roller crusher 3-23 ft. / 1-7m on gravel size ore Fast update rate, Narrow chute, Rock rejection Conveyor tripper car position- ing 3-65 ft. / 1-20m to a moving car Long range, Instant reading with no “lock-in” delay In the bowl of the tertiary cone crusher 1.5-5 ft. / 0.5-1.5m on ore Surface very irregular & erratic. Confined space Into the jaws of the primary jaw crusher 3-32 ft. / 1-10m on large ore Narrow beam to aim into the center of the crusher. Software to ignore feed from the conveyor falling in the way of the laser beam Positioning of a linear stacker 32-1475 ft. / 10-450m on a reflector Narrow beam for long range DMS flotation tanks 1.5-32 ft. / 0.5-10m on silicate sludge Confined space. Laser is offset so the material does not splash onto the instrument Positioning a “crawler” stock piling boom 3-65 ft. / 1-20m to waste ore Narrow beam provides good directionality Concentrate bins in the sort- ing house 1-49 ft. / 0.3-15m on final concentrate Irregular material in a narrow bin Platinum Mine Blockage detection on the feed chute to the ball mills 6.5-13 . / 2-4m Narrow aperture. Erratic and uneven surfaces Platinum Mine Level control in the ore passes 3-260 ft. / 1-80m Uneven and irregular walls - underground 6 Measur IT Technologies Ltd. Craan, Craanford, Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland email: info@measur IT .com www.measur IT .com Phone: +353 (0) 53 942 8962 Fax: +353 (0) 53 942 8963 " id="pdf-obj-5-290" src="pdf-obj-5-290.jpg">