What is a radar level transmitter? - TechStar

Posted by TechStar on Oct 11, 2022 1:24:00 AM

There are many industries and applications that require non-contact level measurement. A radar level transmitter is an ideal solution for situations where fluid needs to be measured but not touched by the measuring instrument. When accuracy, safety, and performance standards need to be met, it is important that professionals understand the available tools and make the best selection for their application. 

Let’s take a walk through the definition, working principle, benefits, and uses of radar level transmitters. 

What is a radar level transmitter?

A radar level transmitter continuously measures the level of liquids inside metal tanks or vessels with free-space radar sensors. 

A radar level transmitter is ideal for environments with extreme process conditions, including: 

  • A vacuum
  • A high-pressure environment
  • An extreme temperature environment
  • A setting with foam, vapor, or gasses that would interfere with other types of sensors such as ultrasonic sensors. 

A radar-level transmitter is ideal for use with corrosive or hygienic liquids, thick fluids, slurries, or other applications where direct contact is not desired. 

How does radar level measurement work?

Radar level measurement operates on the Time-of-Flight principle. The electronics in the radar level transmitter are controlled by a microprocessor that transmits an electromagnetic pulse to the surface of the fluid. The fluid reflects the signal and the Time-of-Flight, or the time it takes for the signal to return to the transmitter, is measured. The Time-of-Flight of the signal or radar pulse is proportional to the distance between the fluid and the transmitter. The tank geometry and Time-of-Flight are used to calculate the level and the measurement is then converted into an output signal. The output signal is then sent to a display, PLC, or other types of a control device. 

Benefits of Radar Level Transmitters

The design and working principle of radar level transmitters deliver notable benefits that include non-contact to process,  with no moving parts mean low maintenance measurement, wide adjustability, and since there is no contact with the measured media, non-contacting radar is good for corrosive and dirty applications along with the ability to operate in extreme heat. Listed below is a closer look at each of these advantages. 

Measurement Does Not Require Contact

A radar level transmitter uses electromagnetic pulses to measure medium levels inside vessels. The device that sends the electromagnetic pulses is located outside the vessel and does not need to be in contact with the medium to collect accurate measurements. In fact, the instrument is designed specifically for non-contact uses. 

Low to No Maintenance

One of the most common ways in which instruments corrode or decay is by exposure to mediums. Because radar level transmitters are not in contact with the medium, non-contacting radar transmitters can be used in corrosive and dirty applications.  In addition, with no moving parts, the instruments are virtually maintenance-free. 

Unaffected by Medium Properties 

The radar level measurement technology, materials, and construction allow the instrument to be unaffected by medium properties like density, conductivity, noise, and dust. This ensures the accuracy, reliability, and longevity of the instrument. 

Measuring Range is Long and Adjustable

There are a few different types of radar-level transmitters. Many have a long measurement range, and many have adjustable measurement ranges to suit a variety of useful applications. The long or adjustable measurement ranges ensure that the device is usable and reliable in settings with large vessels. 

Can be Used in High-Temperature Environments 

Many industries and applications involve high temperatures, but not every level transmitter can withstand or operate optimally within these conditions. Radar level transmitters are beneficial because they are commonly operable in temperatures up to +450°C/+842°F. 

Industries and Applications for Radar Level Transmitters


  • Deionization tanks
  • Mixing and blending systems
  • Neutralization
  • Lime slurry level

Crude Oil

  • Drilling fluid tanks
  • Process and field storage tanks
  • Production fluid storage
  • Vapor recovery

Petroleum Refining

  • Diesel fuel storage tanks
  • Catalysis vessels
  • Acid settling tanks
  • Crude Dewatering

Hydroelectric Generation

  • Intake, reservoir, and tailrace level monitoring
  • Surge tank level monitoring
  • Leak and flood detection
  • Dam seepage monitoring

Power Generation

  • Deionization tanks
  • Fuel oil storage
  • Water services
  •  Ammonia Storage 

Nuclear Power

  • Cooling tower intake and basin levels
  • Emergency coolant tanks
  • Liquid waste storage
  • Spent fuel pools 

Pulp and Paper

  • Mill water storage
  • Mixing and machine chests
  • Turpentine recovery
  • Digester blow tanks
  • Pulp digesters
  • Pulp washing systems
  • Source water and bar screens

Renewable Energy

  • Biofuel
  • Geothermal
  • Hydroelectric

Water and Wastewater

  • Carbon slurry level
  • Clarifier level
  • Digester level
  • Sludge level
  • Lift station pump control
  • Influent/effluent flow
  • Splitter box level
  • Water services
  • Water storage tanks

It is important to note that not every radar level transmitter is ideal for each of these solutions; however, there is at least one radar level transmitter that is optimal for each use case on the list. 

To acquire the optimal, high-quality radar level transmitter for your application, contact an expert at TechStar today. TechStar is your one-stop shop for all your instrumentation, automation, and analytical products, including service and training.

Topics: Magnetrol

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all