What is Tank Telemetry?

Beatriz Sanz Baños    23 October, 2014

Tank Telemetry is a wireless system for controlling liquid container data in remote unstaffed areas where it is too difficult or expensive to connect data lines.

Tank Telemetry is a wireless system for controlling liquid container data in remote unstaffed areas where it is too difficult or expensive to connect data lines.

A typical Tank Telemetry solution offers m2m cellular connectivity linking sensors installed in industrial vessels to measure content properties such as volume or temperature with a data backend that collects and displays data.

The main potential clients for this market are fuel, chemical, lubricant, propane or water treatment companies. The goal for tank telemetry is to save money, time and logistics to companies through a monitored system that collect metrics and keep companies informed about their tanks 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

So how does tank telemetry work?

Many solutions are almost plug and play add-ons requiring very little help to have them installed and operating in a matter of minutes. To set up a sensor (which normally works through ultrasound) we need to provide some information about the tank where the sensor is installed such as tank sidewall height, diameter, maximum capacity, and the level of the vessel when the sensor is installed.

The physical interface to connect a sensor to the tank is called the process control which is a bolt shaped opening with a gasket. The sensor seals the process control opening by screwing in.

Once installed the initial reading is performed based on the required parameters explained before connecting via a cellular connection when available. Solar or battery powered sensors (depending on their location) can relay information both in real time and in a scheduled manner.

If the sensor relies on a limited energy source it will also send alerts when battery is running low to have them replaced.

The solution relies on two ends that seamlessly connect. The vessel sensors relay varied information such as:

  • Basic Asset Tracking data
  • Location
  • Consumption monitoring and analysis
  • Tank level information for efficient route planning if refilling is required
  • Tank efficiency reports
  • Access to tank information 24/7.
  • Alerts and notifications (empty/full, temperature, etc.)
  • Real time accurate values for capacity and temperature

Building a case for tank telemetry is relatively easy as it impacts productivity optimization and cost savings in several ways avoiding unnecessary trips to fill tanks that have enough contents, avoiding costly run-outs that impact service, receiving immediate alerts when levels of liquid or batteries run below a certain threshold.

A well planned tank telemetry solution will offer a rapid return of investment as it allows for drastic cut- downs in terms of delivery miles and service downtime. Machinery breakdowns, leakages, theft, run-outs and safety breaches are quickly detected and handled.

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