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Introducing the PiloTREK WP-200: A Breakthrough in Microwave Level Transmitters

The newest addition to NIVELCO’s product range is the PiloTREK WP-200, an 80 GHz microwave level transmitter family. Despite being on the market for less than a year, it has already faced and overcome several interesting challenges.

One significant application of the PiloTREK WP-200 is in one of Hungary's largest food and beverage manufacturing companies. This company processes molasses, a by-product of sugar production, during alcohol production. After the sugar is extracted, the remaining substance, known as vinasse, contains valuable substances and trace elements and is sold as organic fertilizer. Vinasse is concentrated during production and delivered to customers with a dry matter content of 45%.

Vinasse has two primary uses: as an organic fertilizer applied to the soil and as a raw material for biogas power plants. It is a brownish substance with a characteristic odor and a slightly acidic chemical effect. Its components include:

Dry matter content of 40-45% by weight

Crude protein content of 25-30% by weight

Approximately 50% inorganic material

Approximately 50% organic matter

The pH of vinasse varies between 5.4 and 5.9. The finished vinasse, stored at temperatures of +65 to +80 °C (+149 to +176 °F), is kept in a tank approximately 8.5 meters (~27.8 feet) high, with a significant vapor cloud above the medium that is highly oxidizing.

Overcoming Measurement Challenges with PiloTREK WP-200

Previously, hydrostatic measurement was used for vinasse, but it faced severe limitations due to siltation. Fortunately, a hole in the tank allowed the vinasse vapor to evaporate, and the PiloTREK WPA-224-4 microwave level transmitter was installed there. After commissioning in December, the device performed well, unaffected by harsh conditions, much to the satisfaction of the users.

However, during the cold weather in January, a new difficulty arose. Dense vinasse droplets began to form every 5-7 days on the conical end of the device, interfering with the measurement. To address this, two solutions were tried: continuous air blowing onto the tip and surrounding the emitting part with a perforated pneumatic tube equipped with knife nozzles for variable blowing strength and intermittent control. Unfortunately, both methods failed to prevent droplet accumulation over time.

The breakthrough came when the user sprayed the conical surface with water-repellent silicone, successfully preventing droplet formation. This solution highlighted that commercially available silicone and nanotech coatings can effectively solve precipitation problems during the measurement of various challenging substances.

Ajax Solutions and NIVELCO: Partnering for Innovation

At Ajax Solutions, we are proud partners of NIVELCO and excited to offer the innovative PiloTREK WP-200 to our clients. This example of overcoming challenges in vinasse measurement demonstrates the device's robustness and adaptability, ensuring reliable performance in even the harshest conditions. Contact us at Ajax Solutions to learn more about how the PiloTREK WP-200 can meet your level measurement needs.

PiloTREK WP-200 microwave level transmitter installed in a vinasse tank, showcasing its application in a food and beverage manufacturing environment
Photo of PiloTREK WP-200 in the tank

Old tank previously used for vinasse storage before the installation of the PiloTREK WP-200 level transmitter, highlighting the outdated hydrostatic measurement method
Photo of the old tank

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