Tank Level Monitoring – Tank Gauging System

Tank Level MonitoringMonitoring a tank  is pretty simple. These tanks can contain a variety of substances and correspond to the public and private sectors business. This process is used in various companies and refers to many different types of Monitoring a tank. It may refer to chemicals, petroleum gas, natural gas and propane, water systems and process concerns agriculture. This inventory management and safety standards to ensure they are meeting. Tracking and data acquisition ensures that these two key requirements met.In regarding Monitoring a tank, tank monitoring ensures that the levels are correct, that the desired amount is maintained. These data will provide information on the level and this in turn can be performed, if recharging is needed and when. Tank monitoring is key in inventory management because it prevents the depletion of production shortages, cuts, and improper filling. Tank monitoring will also enable the company to plan the management of inventory levels, such as fillers and forecasting methods.

Many tanks may contain toxic, corrosive or flammable materials. The information collected will ensure that these substances are complying with safety requirements and no threat. There have been many examples of leaks and explosions caused due to faulty data monitoring.Not tank are just these leaks or explosions or other very harmful accidents to the surrounding environment, and possibly surrounding communities, but can also be harmful to business. A business experienced a key holding tank accident may have trouble recouping losses and, in some cases, be completely unable to recover.

Monitoring a tank Technology

There are several companies providing supply tank technology and software, and some may run a company or specific industry while others have multiple uses and interconnected components and are applicable to a variety of industry.The company or sector to be exactly what their needs and options and work with suppliers of technology and software to ensure proper and optimum inventory management and that all safety requirements are met. Monitoring a tank is wireless data collection for substances stored in inaccessible environments and it is key in managing inventory for a product that can not easily see or physically monitored. Remote tank monitoring is important not only that maximizes the potential of business and profits, but adheres to safety standards to protect the public as well as business interests.

Advantis Monitoring System(AMS)

One System—Many Solutions.

How does Advantis provide cost effective, robust, and flexible Remote Monitoring and Control (RMC) systemsfor many devices, in many industries (including OEM),that can be accessed from many desktops or smartphones?

 

The solution is a result of 10 years of working in the remote monitoring and control world.  The old adage ‘a chain is only as strong as the weakest link’ is so true.  For example, the amount of technology and devices used to send a single command from a smartphone to turn on a pump and have confirmation that it is in fact running is incredible.   For that to work it is dependent upon the following chain of events for communication to occur:  smartphone > cell tower > Internet > Server > Internet> cell tower > field device> on/off switch and then back again to confirm operation.  So, it is a system of hardware and software all linked together.  It is really much more than just an application running on a desktop.  The solution touches all aspects of computers, the Internet, and microprocessors.

 

Obviously, in today’s environments, the average user expects all these things in the chain to just work, and they usually do.  It is the timewhen it does not work ‘just right’ that must be accounted and programmed for.  Advantis has done that and believes this gives the robustness it claims.  In the past ten years we have worked to toughen the system in these steps along the way.  This toughness allows the system to respond in a positive way to a problem and inform the user so corrective action can be taken.

 

The Advantis approach came after years of building remote systems for different tasks.  Much development and testing time was spent on new software and hardware.  Each product was unique. Although there was commonality across the products, they were not integrated and this resulted in toomuch programming and testing for each application.  Today we have a system that is 80 percent complete and only requires basic programming changes to produce a product/application.  This allows Advantis to focus on the end result the customer wants instead of all the links in the chain of events.

 

Advantis Philosophy of Design

Because of the chain of events as described above, Advantis wanted to design, program, and test each step along the way with a tough robust solution that could be used for many different applications and solutions.  That would mean the same design would handle a simple pump on/off command yet also allow for multiple events occurring at the same time while keeping the user informed.  Further, because of the ever expanding ‘wants/needs’ of industry to automate, the solution needed to have options to provide best operational ROI (Return on Investment).  In other words, striking a balance between technology, capability, and costs.

 

Hardware / Software Design Components

SM (Site Manager)

Advantis believes one of the major keys to our success is its device that is located in the field.  We call this an SM (Site Manager).  We are currently working on the 3rdgeneration SM thatfurther expands our capability and flexibility to meet customer needs.  The SM is designed and manufactured by Advantis and allows for the following:

 

Intrinsic Safety certification – This means the unit can be installed in most explosive-rated environments not requiring an intrinsically safe barrier.  For example, it could be used directly on top of a gasoline tank or it can be installed in a petro chemical refinery.  This one feature makes the Advantis product more flexible than most on the market.

 

Wireless – The SM uses cellular (has satellite and radio options) to communicate to the main server. It can also communicate in the field with multiple other SM’s creating a field network.  Or, the radios can be used to communicate long distances for a private network.

 

Field connections – The SM needs to be able to communicate with varied instruments and other communication protocols.  Although it will work with standard things like Analog, Digital in/out, etc, it also needs to allow for communication with special instruments.  Hence a special daughter board to the main SM can be quickly developed without having to ‘re-invent the wheel.’

 

Energy efficient – The SM is built to handle situations that have AC power or DC battery power.  The SM has its own internal Lithium Ion battery and charging system.  It also has its own mini solar panel.  Everything is inside the same enclosure making installations simple.  However, if more energy is needed, an external solar panel can be used.The main processor hibernates and only wakes on scheduled times and then goes back to sleep.

 

Servers and Database

The main server(s) are located with Microsoft, a tier one company.  Advantis chose the Microsoft Azure platform and runs the Microsoft SQL database.  This hardware and software solution is infinitely scalable.  This allow for expansion of capability without having to re-write code or upgrade hardware.  This one factor significantly impacts Advantis’ ability to provide best service, lowest costs, and highest reliability.

 

Defined EndPoints

Another main component necessary for varied input and applications is a database designed specifically for the SM.  The design allows for defining an ‘endpoint’.  The endpoint points to any device or channel in the field or on the database.  Having this structure in place allows for minimal programming to achieve a task.  For example, endpoints could define several channels in the field that have input to a formula.  The output from the formula would be another defined endpoint to the database.  Basically any combination of endpoint and formulas can be defined.

 

Pressure Sensors

Although Advantis does not consider itself to be an instrument manufacturer, we have designed and now build our own low pressure sensors.  The driving force behind this was the need to meet Intrinsic Safety and keep costs low. However, through the process we now have a sensor that can be used in both explosive and harsh environments.  The sensor can be assembled using different materials based on the type chemical it will be used in.  This allows the sensor to work the same in all cases keeping development costs low with minimized testing.  So, the same sensor that works in dirty water can also work in varied percent levels of hydrochloric acid.

 

Events and Alarming

Events are any values (calculated or measured) that the SM or Web Application are monitoring that go outside of normal operation.  For example, these events typically are tank levels high or low, doors opened or closed, or temperatures above or below a certain point.  For a moving asset, the event could be movement beyond a certain established coordinate.  In these examples the customer establishes the points.

 

Alarming for these events lets a chosen person receive a text or email.  Further the alarm may require for someone to confirm they received the alarm.  This can be done with either a smartphone or a desktop computer.  All events can be viewed on screen as well as which users were notified and how they were notified.

 

Rapid development of tank monitoring and related tanks.

Advantis’ hardware and design concept allowed the company to rapidly innovate from a simple tank level monitoring (or tank gauging system as some call it) to also providing VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) monitoring and Thief Hatch monitoring of the tank.

 

Tank level monitoring is achieved using a pressure sensor that is either lowered to the bottom of a tank via a top opening or mounted externally by screwing it onto a pipe nipple at the bottom of the tank. An endpoint is created in the system (see above) to capture the data. A cable coming from the tank sensor then connects to an SM (Site Manager).  The SM can monitor up to 8 tanks.  However, the added benefit of the SM at the tank is its capability to provide VOC Monitoring and Thief Hatch Monitoring.

 

VOC monitoring is achieved by using an instrument that reads the same way the tank sensor reads.  A new endpoint is created.  After simple adjustments on the SM and Web Application a new application is developed almost overnight.

 

Likewise, Thief Hatch monitoring is accomplished much the same way.  This instrument too, reads the same way as the tank sensor.  Again, adding endpoints and making adjustments on the SM and Web Application results in another new application.

 

All three of these applications are uniquely different but were developed in days not weeks and months.  The best thing about the development process is not having to retest all the stops along the way in the chain of events.  With a focus on what the application can accomplish and not on the technology allows Advantis to provide these robust applications!

 

A specific applications using these concepts

Advantis developed an RMC (Remote Monitor and Control) system to turn on tornado warning sirens from a cell phone and/or radio.  This application requires 100% uptime and immediate notification of events and alarms.  About ten endpoints were used to monitor for simple things like battery power, AC power, and percent charge.  However, endpoints were also established to monitor if the siren was activated by police radio or by cellular, or for failed communication between the Site Monitor and the main server.

 

Another customer came to Advantis with the need to monitor and control all diesel moving through their organization.  The company has several locations across the United States. Each location has both stationary and mobile tanks.  They wanted to keep up with gallons of fuel from the time it was delivered by the distributor until it left their system by selling to the end user.  Maintaining both a total inventory as well as movement required the use of tank level monitoring as well as flow meters.

 

The company also wanted to put measures in to help prevent theft.  Advantis developed a simple system to allow users to turn on/off the pump using an encoded key-ring fob.  The action records each time the pump is turned on/off and also which users were using the pump.

 

Advantis was able to provide these features with all the electronics contained in the SM (Site Manger) enclosure.  The enclosure is weather proof allowing for inclement weather without having to worry about opening a door or top in order to activate the unit.

 

Because of the flexibility of the design, each unit operates the same no matter if on a tank that is moving around the yard or if in a fixed location supplying other mobile tanks.

 

The web application allows the customer to view movement of diesel fuel throughout the organization by tank, user, or location.  These features provide assurance for the company that ‘fuel in’ equals‘fuel out’ resulting in no lost revenue.

 

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) Applications

The Advantis design provides manufacturers of various equipment the ability to remotely monitor those assets – something they have only talked about but have no resources to accomplish the task.  Advantis presents the OEM’s logo on the web application so their customer senses that they have a modern up-to-date approach for the equipment they manufacture.  It saves the manufacturer tens of thousands of dollars and brings the ‘web feature’ to market quickly.  Again, all Advantis needs to know is what specific points in the field need to be monitored and the Site Manager is quickly changed to meet that need.

 

Summary

This rich development environment along with years of experience positions Advanits, LLC to provide robust and reliable service to our customers – directly or as an OEM service.  It compels companies to depend upon Advanits, LLC saving many thousands of dollars instead of trying to develop these technologies in-house.

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Salt Water & Oil Production - Tank Gauging System

Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) uses its own pressure sensor to measure liquid level to 1/8” resolution. The sensors can be lowered to the bottom of the tank through a 2” opening at the top or screwed onto a port at the bottom of the tank. Wires are terminated on the AMS unit.

The AMS unit has a self-contained battery/solar panel and can mount in a convenient location. A typical install for three tanks takes about two hours and can be done with general maintenance employees. There can be up to 8 tanks per AMS unit.

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Thief Hatch Monitoring & Internal Tank Pressure Monitoring

Thief Hatch Monitoring has become a major environmental concern. The Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) will monitor for Open, Closed, and Latched status. Installing AMS on a tank is done in less than an hour. The alarm is immediate so the local personnel can correct the issue before leaving the site. All events are recorded providing a full audit trail of Thief Hatch events.

Tanks can become over pressured causing the pop value on the Thief Hatch to allow vapors to exit the tank causing an environmental exception. AMS can just as easily monitor internal tank pressure as it does tank level. Tank pressure can be reported on a schedule and have an immediate alarm for over pressure. The sensor installs through a 2” opening on the top of the tank.

NOTE: Tank Thief Hatch Monitoring, Pressure, and Level can all be monitored using the same AMS unit.

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Support Tanks - Tank Level Monitoring

The support tanks can be monitored together with the compressor to notify the lubricant supplier to fill the tanks. The sensor can be installed internally through an opening on top of the tank or externally on a port at the bottom of the tank by maintenance personnel not requiring expensive electricians. Level has a resolution of 1/8”. Low cost leasing allows you to start using Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) today.

Combining monitoring of compressors and support tanks together (AMS System) can significantly reduce costs and also bring added benefits to the end customer.

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Compressors

Compressors are used to enhance production. If the compressor is down then production suffers. Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) can easily be installed on the compressor to notify when the compressor goes down. AMS can be setup to monitor and report from simple to complex.

Combining monitoring of compressors and support tanks together can significantly reduce costs and also bring added benefits to the end customer.

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Support Tanks - Tank Level Monitoring

Many wells have chemical tanks to inject chemicals to enhance production and reduce corrosion. Often methanol is injected into pipelines to reduce freezing. Injection pumps fail resulting in corrosion build up and thus effecting long term production. Monitoring and alarming will allow vendors to cost effectively deliver chemicals to the sites. Vendors can also give access to production companies to use the Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) Web App to look at daily usages. AMS can quickly install on the tank using maintenance employees without expensive electricians.

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Diagram for Support Tanks
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Oil/Gas Production Site
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Oil/Gas Production Site Diagram
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IBC & IMO Containers

IBC and IMO containers are mobile tanks transported on trailers to different sites. Customers typically want to know ‘where is my tank?’ and ‘how much is in it?’ The Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) can report tank levels daily or hourly and send alarm notifications as needed. An AMS sensor can easily be installed internally through one of the opening at the top of the tank or to a port at the bottom of the tank. This can be done by maintenance personnel not requiring expense electricians. Installation is less than an hour.

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Diagram for IBC & IMO Containers
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Rail Car Tankers - Tank Level Monitoring

No more lost rail cars. No more debate about the level of liquid in the car. Rail car tankers are tanks “on wheels” which can be monitored by the AMS system with the added benefit of GPS. The system installs by maintenance personnel and does not require any welding or major tank modifications. A typical installation may have the location and tank level reported every day or every hour depending on need. The sensor is built with materials to withstand even the most harsh chemicals.

Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) can be deployed as a temporary monitoring system on rail cars that are used for temporary storage tanks in production/process. Simply remove the sensor when the rail car is empty and reinstall on the new rail car that is full. This can be done in minutes not hours.

Low cost leasing allows you to start using AMS today.

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Barge Tanks - Tank Gauging System

A barge is much like a floating tank terminal. Large volumes of liquids are moved by barge, thus a high value transport. Knowing where the barge is located as well as tank levels is critical to the owner/operator. Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) can report location and tank levels as scheduled by the owner.

The AMS sensor installs in each tank, up to 8 tanks per AMS unit, with the sensor cable terminated at the AMS unit. The AMS unit uses a Verizon modem (or satellite) to wirelessly communicate to the secure Web Application. Measures to 1/8” resolution.

SPECIAL NOTE: Many barges park at terminals that require expensive explosion proof equipment. AMS is Intrinsically Safe and permitted to operate with significantly less cost.

Low cost leasing allows you to start using AMS today.

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Saltwater Hauling

Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) tracks volume and location for each truck as it loads or unloads salt water. It easily installs on the tank trailer. When the trailer stops moving the system starts measuring the liquid level. This keeps up with both loading and unloading, allowing the operator to know where the trailer is located and also how much salt water it loaded or unloaded. Truck locations from the on-board GPS pinpoint where the water is coming from and where it is going. As environmental regulations for moving salt water increase, this cost effective solution will meet the demand.

Low cost leasing allows you to start using AMS today.

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Diagram for Oil & Salt Water Hauling
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Mobile Tanks
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Large Tanks

Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) tank monitoring works just as well on large floating top tanks as closed small tanks. Usually these tanks are located in a hazardous electrical area requiring Class I Div 1 or Class I Div 2 rated equipment. Because AMS is rated Intrinsically Safe it can be installed directly into the environment since the whole system is certified. Further, the battery/solar panel system supplies needed power. No expensive conduit or electrical installation is required.

AMS can provide a daily, hourly, or customer specific reporting frequency for tank levels resolving to 1/8”. Hi and Lo level alarms can be set by the customer. The secure AMS web application controls what users can view. AMS can also communicate locally using the secure radio system and interface with a larger DCS (Distributed Control System).

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Tank Farms - Tank Gauging System

Tanks can be local, such as at a terminal or warehouse where they are clustered together. Tanks can also be remote, where there may be one or many. In each case, the Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) designed for tanks is used. The system is energy efficient yet robust. It can alarm for high, low, and anywhere in between as well as report levels as often as desired. The levels are received by the host AMS Web Application, allowing secure viewing on a smart phone or computer.

Using highly sensitive pressure sensors that can be installed in the tank or on a port on the tank, AMS can provide up to 1/8 resolution. The system is also rated Intrinsically Safe (IS) allowing it to be installed in Class 1 Division 1 and Class 1 Division 2 environments with ease.

Installation can be done with maintenance personnel not requiring expensive electricians. Each AMS unit can monitor up to 8 tank levels.

Low cost leasing allows you to start using AMS today.

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Earthen Tanks

Earthen tanks are basically lakes or ponds. Typically these are used to build a large volume of water and then it is used for Frac jobs. Keeping up with the changes in water level is challenging at best. Anchoring a tank monitor sensor at the bottom allows for daily or hourly reporting of tank level.

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Fixed Tanks
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PumpScout - Lift/Pump Station Monitoring

PumpScout and the Web application that comes with it brings peace of mind to you, the wastewater or fresh water operator. It informs you immediately of any alarms (high level, breaker trip, pump failure, and loss of power to name a few) via text or email. It also sends to the web app operational information like pump run times, number of starts, and average amps for the motors. You can sign-in to the web app and access all information about each lift/pump station.

PumpScout comes in three levels: Cub, Explorer, and Eagle (See Features Comparison Table). The Cub is entry level whereas the Eagle has a large feature set including remote control. PumpScout uses a combination of current sensors and relays to capture large amounts of information about how your pump station is performing. PumpScout communicates via satellite or cellular (Verizon).

Download a PumpScout Brochure.

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GeneratorScout - Generator Monitoring

The Generator Scout is another reliable product from the PumpScout family. It uses the same proven hardware and web application but is programmed specifically to meet the needs for Generator Monitoring. It is simple to install yet has flexibility for the user to choose what alarms are important to them. Alarms are immediate and can be sent to email and text on phone. Daily reports capture operational information like run time. The unit is standard with 6 Digital in and 3 Analog in.

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Emergency Siren Monitor

This monitoring system brings new life to the old manual or radio controlled emergency siren or warning systems. Within two hours of installation, sirens can be turned on/off using a cell phone. The Web application captures all alarms as well as operational information. Alarms such as 'loss of power' go directly to your cell phone.

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Municipal
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VOC Monitoring

VOC Monitoring of Carbon bed filters prevent releases of VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) from holding tank vapors into the environment. Typically the filters are checked daily by personnel and instruments. Once the filter fails and ‘breaks thru’ the carbon bed is changed. This monitoring process is labor intensive and thus costly. It is also in-efficient. The filter could fail 1 hour after inspection and thus release VOC into the environment for 23 hours before being checked again and correction made under emergency maintenance.

Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) solves this problem using a sensor and can send an immediate alarm upon failure. Further, AMS can ‘sense’ hourly and report (not just once a day). The report can generate a trend and the filter could be replaced before failure under normally scheduled maintenance.

AMS is wireless and rated Intrinsically Safe so it is easy to install and can be installed in most process environments. The battery/solar cell is very efficient and is maintenance free. AMS can report locally to a company database or use the secure AMS App in the Cloud.

Contact Advantis today to automate your VOC Monitoring.

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Refineries

Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) is rated Intrinsically Safe and is the perfect choice to operate inside of hazard electrical rated areas. Not requiring an Intrinsically Safe Barrier or even AC power, the unit can be installed quickly. The internal battery and solar cell provide enough energy to allow the system to operate without maintenance.

The system can be installed using radios that allow units to communicate with each other and to relay messages back to the main Access Point. The access point can feed information to the plant DCS (Distributed Control Systems). Or, the units can use the Verizon cellular network to communicate to the secure AMS cloud app as well. This is most useful for monitoring equipment at the edge of property to document environmental requirements.

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Water Well Pump

Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) can be used to monitor the water table height for irrigation wells making sure the pump does not get burned up. The system can also monitor and help chart draw down as well as time to re-coup back to normal levels.

It is easy to install. Simply lower the sensor down into the well thru the vent hole on the casing to the proper depth. Terminate the wires to AMS and turn on the unit. The self-contained battery and solar cell provide the power. No additional wiring required.

The system communicates to the secure AMS app in the cloud via Verizon. Users can access the data and view reports via smartphone or computer.

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Salt Water & Oil Production

Advantis uses its own pressure sensor to measure liquid level to 1/8” resolution. The sensors can be lowered to the bottom of the tank through a 2” opening at the top or screwed onto a port at the bottom of the tank. Wires are terminated on the AMS unit.

The Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) unit has a self-contained battery/solar panel and can mount in a convenient location. A typical install for three tanks is about two hours and can be done with general maintenance employees. There can be up to 8 tanks per AMS unit.

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Diagram for Salt Water & Oil Production
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Thief Hatch Monitoring & Internal Tank Pressure Monitoring

The Thief Hatch Monitoring has become a major environmental concern. Advantis Monitoring System (AMS) will monitor for Open, Closed, and Latched status. Installing AMS on a tank is done in less than an hour. The alarm is immediate so the local personnel can correct the issue before leaving the site. All events are recorded providing a full audit trail of Thief Hatch events.

Tanks can become over pressured causing the pop value on the Thief Hatch to allow vapors to exit the tank causing an environmental exception. AMS can just as easily monitor internal tank pressure as it does tank level. Tank pressure can be reported on a schedule and have an immediate alarm for over pressure. The sensor installs through a 2” opening on the top of the tank.

NOTE: Thief Hatch Monitoring, Pressure, and Level can all be monitored using the same AMS unit.

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Environment, Refineries, Agriculture
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Environment, Refinery, Ag Diagram