Level measurement: BP depends on megnetostrictive sensors for flammable liquids

By Control Engineering Staff November 16, 2006

BP is the second largest pipeline company in the U.S., transporting 450 million barrels of refined fuels and other products daily over 30 states. With that much flammable material on the move, safety concerns are key and enforced by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation Office of Pipeline Safety. Given the wide deployment of BP’s pipelines, they have above-ground storage tanks, 45 to 60 ft tall, scattered all around their operating regions. Those tanks are equipped with MTS level sensors to provide critical condition monitoring in addition to accurate tank level measurements.

MTS Systems’ magnetostrictive sensors have reportedly proven particularly suited to this application. The sensor is mounted on the tank top with a pipe extending down into the liquid. A magnetic float moves along the pipe with the liquid level, and when the sensor calls for a measurement, it sends an electrical pulse down the length of the pipe to determine the float’s location. Additionally, digital temperature sensors located on the pipe monitor temperature inside the tank.

BP deployed MTS sensors based on their initial positive experiences. ‘We have used MTS sensors because their accuracy provides us with vital information that enables us to prevent accidents and keep detailed information on our inventory,’ says Ken Andreen, BP project manager.

‘BP has been a great partner to us over the years,’ says Adrian Totten, level products marketing manager for MTS. ‘The M-Series sensors are ideal for these types of applications because of their accuracy in level and temperature measurement for both underground and above-ground storage tank applications.’

Control Engineering Daily News Desk Peter Welander , process industries editor