Fluid Switch Blog

market growth chart

New Report Highlights Continued Growth for Float Switch, Level Sensor Market

Float switches play an important role in the accurate measure, response and function of various applications, across numerous industries. Demand continues to grow as more devices are controlled remotely and as reliability and waste elimination requirements also increase.

According to a new report from Fact.MR, which analyzed the trends and forecasts in the space from 2017-2027, positive growth is predicted for the period. The report also examines the key drivers, restraints as well as industries and regions leading the market.

North America was named key driver in the float switch market as expansion of the chemical industry continues.

Float switches for chemical tanks are used for safe storage, temperature monitoring and level accuracy. These tanks typically include caustic liquids that can destroy a switch made with certain materials. Selection of the proper float switch to withstand the environment is important.

The food and beverage industry is also increasing its use of float switches in North America. The switches are aiding with everything from sanitation to temperature monitoring and level sensing to prevent contamination, spoiling and equipment malfunctions.

In other regions across the globe, float switches are also growing for unique application needs.

In Asia Pacific, accurate level and temperature sensors in the growing shipbuilding industry have made market growth strong, while Africa and The Middle East are finding use in the large oil refineries. This industry utilizes float switches to prevent environmental disasters, comply with industry practices and for drill monitoring.

SMD Fluid Controls was named among top float switch providers in the report. Whatever your application or needs, we can help you find the perfect material with an off-the-shelf model or a custom design solution.

Contact us today to get started!

DAIRY FARM COW

Clean in Place: Keeping the Dairy Industry Sanitary

The dairy industry is a vital part of the global food system. Milk provides necessary nutrients to families and many of its byproducts are the key component in a balanced diet.

In a large scale production setting, there are not only strict guidelines when it comes to storage, collection and pasteurization of milk from cows, but farmers must also utilize new technologies and innovations to keep up with demands.

Chief among these needs is the assurance that sanitation is happening and that products are safe for human consumption.  Working closely with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the industry has maintained their status as one of the most hygienic practices in the nation.

Safety in Food Production

Today, milking cows has become an exact science for farmers. To yield the best results, they are closely monitoring and testing from the milking process all the way through to the production. Much of this monitoring checks for quality and aims to prevent diseases transmitted by food.

A large part of this prevention comes from properly washing equipment used in the production process.  A system known as Clean in Place (CIP) is critical for the dairy industry as it makes quick, proper cleanings of the interior of vessels, tanks and lines, possible.

Clean in Place (CIP) for Dairy Farming

CIP systems are commonly used in manufacturing settings, especially in dairy production, as they are the only way to assuredly clean and sanitize equipment used in food production.

Equipment with sensors that accurately measure and sense liquid presence or absence are essential to the continued success of the dairy industry.

These systems use water, heat and/or chemicals to clean and sanitize and remove dirt, spores and other bacteria, both visible and not visible, to guarantee cleanliness. Fluid presence in tanks as well as their levels and temperatures are also measured to ensure proper cleaning and sanitation per stringent industry guidelines.

Through the use of accurate sensors, the system also eliminates the need to dismantle equipment each time and speeds up production times without putting health at risk.

SMD Fluid Controls provides prefabricated and custom float switch and liquid level sensors in full OEM services and designs or we can design and supply machined level sensors or custom molded float switches in a large variety of metals or plastics.

Contact us today to get started!

quality certification

SMD Fluid Controls Announces Updated Certification of ISO Standards

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) sets specifications and guidelines in place for everything from manufactured products and technology to food, agriculture and healthcare.

The standards take into account characteristics of the process, materials and products used to ensure that safety and quality standards are met.

ISO standards are also set-up to provide organizations with solutions that increase productivity and reduce errors and waste at their operations. These standards are regularly reviewed and updated as new requirements are created to meet marketplace changes while ensuring the needs of customers.

SMD Fluid Controls recently updated its ISO standards to continue its focus on manufacturing quality liquid level sensors for international use across industries.

The most recent certifications, ISO9001:2015 and ISO 13485:2016 are applicable to the design and manufacture of sensors, flow and strain gauges used to measure force, pressure, liquid level, flow and other parameters.

Specifically, ISO 13485 is for Medical Devices while ISO 9001:2015 is a generalized standard of compliance of quality management principles.

These latest certification update means optimal quality control is happening at the operations and that regulatory requirements are being met in the manufacturing of medical devices.

“Being ISO certified lets our customers know that we are a capable sensor manufacturer that provides a quality product that meets our customer’s specifications. It also provides proof that we are continually investing in improving to meet and exceed our customer’s expectations,” commented Dennis Adams, Product Manager & Sales Engineer at SMD Fluidswitch.

Have questions? Need help choosing a sensor that fits your needs?

SMD Fluid Controls serves a diverse range of industries and can consult with you to recommend the most effective and efficient industrial float switch and liquid level sensor solution for your application. Contact us today.

golf course turf

Float Switches for Better Turf Management

Turf management is an important area of focus today. So much so in fact, that entire educational studies dedicated to the profession and skill are now available.

While the most popular form of turf management was developed due to the needs and requirements of golf courses, there are actually many other applications where perfecting grass and soil is important.

Why Turf Management

A combination of skills in horticulture, landscaping and irrigation are all important when it comes to turf management. Issues such a disease, weeds, inability to access the terrain and more, all threaten landscapes at parks, athletic fields and many other environments when a proper turf management system is not in place.

In this post, we’ll focus specifically on the problem of water (over accumulation or lack of it) on landscapes and how float switches can help to monitor water levels in reclamation systems used for irrigation.

How Float Switches are Used

Picture a golf course or soccer field that is flooded due to recent rain waters rendering it inoperable by players. Letting the water sit there until it dries, doesn’t just mean loss of profits, it also threatens the operations by increasing the chances of rot – or worse.

A drainage system and pump are the perfect solution for removing water and conserving it for later irrigation.  This is where a float switch is used. The float switch can work to measure water in the tank and signal when levels are reached. Without it, accurate irrigation, storage and monitoring are impossible.

SMD Fluid Controls offers vertical float switches such as the FS20 and FS21 float switches custom-designed for high pressure applications. Not only are the floats exceptionally buoyant but they also include NO or NC operation and are corrosion resistant and durable, which is great for water applications.  The Fluidswitch FS10 and FS11 are also a great choice as they are smaller, offer additional flexibility and can be used as tank level sensors in a number of applications.

If you’re looking for a solution to your turf management woes, schedule a consultation with our expert team of engineers. We’ll offer solutions and work to modify an existing part or design a new one for your industry.

agriculture drones

Agricultural Drones: Helping Modern Farmers to Be Fruitful

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is not a new technology. While early use came from assisting with military operations, these lightweight, remote controlled devices are now being used for a number of capabilities – from basic hobby-grade to very technologically advanced uses in industrial and commercial settings.

A study from PwC, “Clarity from Above” found the global market for drone powered business solutions to be valued at $127.3bn with agriculture being one of the top 3 industries primed for drone use.

In agriculture, one of the latest industries to increase tech investment, drones are making it possible for farmers to improve crop production and reduce waste. Drones are being used to not only improve the future of food production but also play an important role in speeding up critical decision-making in the agricultural field.

How Drones Are Used for Today’s Farms

As the world’s population grows and resources shrink, it’s become more important than ever for farmers to work smarter. Drones allow them to gain a better overall view of their fields and crops and increase efficiency.

Drones can be used to:

  • Carry and release liquids
  • Scan for disease and other issues
  • Address extreme weather conditions & better manage crop growth
  • Planting systems and soil analysis

Optical Sensors, Float Switches & Drones

Cameras are the most common technology included onboard drones but there are other technologies that can be added to further increase effectiveness of the job these devices do on the farm.

More sophisticated sensors and deeper automation capabilities can create additional opportunities for success. Optical and ultrasonic sensors for example, are small and lightweight and have accurate dependable measurement abilities so farmers get a broader and more accurate view of their fields.

When it comes to irrigation needs, the inclusion of thermal sensors that can measure temperatures and detect the presence or absence of liquid (i.e. drought) are important. These systems could also be connected to a system to sound an alarm or even activate a switch to allow proper watering to begin in hopes to keep the crops alive.

Ultrasonic sensors that listen for echoes to sense the amount of liquid present are also key to ensuring the proper amount of pesticides, herbicides or even water are sprayed to cover needed areas. This gets the job done quicker and with better precision than ever before possible.

One of the biggest issues plaguing farmers is the spread of disease that can threaten their entire yield. With optical sensors on a drone, it’s possible to spot possible issues early and make quick decisions to save the rest of the field before it becomes a larger issue.

Have questions? Speak with one our experts to discuss any problems you are facing and to find a solution that fits your needs.

At SMD we can make sensors to measure anything and offer competitive pricing for OEM designs and applications. These include machined level sensors, optical switches, ultrasonic level measurement, and custom molded float switches in metals or plastics like stainless steel, polypropylene, and nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR).

Contact SMD Fluid Controls today!

thick, viscous, honey

Low vs. High: How Fluid Viscosity Effects Float Switches and Level Sensors

Measuring fluids, and doing so with precision is exactly what float switches and level sensors were created to do. Regardless of application, their ability to measure and identify the presence or absence of a liquid in a vessel is critical.

There are however, some factors to take into account when selecting the proper level sensor or float switch – one of the most important being the type of liquid being measured.

Is it corrosive? Thick? Hot? These elements can all affect how measurements are taken.

For this post, we’ll be focusing on viscosity and how highly viscous (thick) liquids (think oil, paint, molasses) present a unique challenge for measuring.

Why High Viscosity is an Issue

Viscosity is used to describe how thick a substance is and defines its ability to change shape under stress or tension. To give you a better idea of the differing viscosity levels or centipoise (cP) measures, water measures at 0.894 cP, castor oil at 650 cP and ketchup at 50,000 – 100,000 cP.

As you can see the “thickness” plays a major role in how freely these different fluids can flow.

When trying to get an accurate measure you cannot use the same float switches or liquid levels in every situation. Problems including the float getting stuck or even damaging the pressure ports are all possible.

Keep in mind too that temperature conditions can change viscosity levels so be sure you’re selecting a solution that is most compatible with your specific application.

The Solution

The best option for high viscosity liquids is to opt for non-contact options like optical or ultrasonic level sensors for accurately measuring liquid levels.

Here’s why:

Acoustic waves emitted by ultrasonic liquid level sensors and the measuring of the echo returned, make it possible to know liquid levels without ever having to physically touch the matter – eliminating the risks mentioned earlier.

With optical switches, measurement is done using a laser wave or forward light scattering and a probe. There are no moving parts and the option works well because it can measure the presence or absence of many different types of liquid.

Need help choosing the right solution for your application? Let SMD Fluid Controls help.We work to lower costs and increase productivity for all of our clients, offering competitive pricing for OEM designs and applications.  Contact us today to get started.

float switch level sensor

How to Properly Handle Float Switch Level Sensors

Float switches that measure liquid levels in a vessel or container play an important role in many applications. From activating sump pumps to stopping dangerous fluid overflow, the uses are endless.

Since measuring must be exact, the operation of level switches is critical. A key factor in keeping float switches from failing is how they are installed and handled.

If you have questions about level sensors and your specific application, whatever your industry and whatever your needs, SMD Fluid Controls would love to help. Our experienced staff can help with replacement parts, customized float switches and specialty liquid level sensors.

Here are some precautions to keep in mind.

Dropped Float Switches May Be Broken Float Switches

If you have dropped your float switch and it appears to still be intact, there may be internal issues that keep it from functioning properly. The shock from the drop could have knocked the position of the reed switch internally. For example it could be set in the ON or OFF position without you realizing. If you’ve dropped your switch, it’s best to have it checked or use a new one.

Proper Installation is Key

Getting the installation of a float switch right is important. Positioning and mounting the switch based on the medium being measured and environment it will be in are all important. Since the reed will need to be intact to measure accurately, be sure you are not placing the float switch where it will be subject to heavy vibrations that could displace the reed.

Magnets are a No-No

Since a reed switch works within the magnetic field to activate, it’s important to be cautious and not install a float switch where there could be another magnetic interference causing the ON or OFF switch to erroneously activate.

Looking for level sensors? SMD can make sensors to measure anything!

We manufacturer and supply of a wide variety of fluid switches, float switches, temperature gauges, and liquid level sensors from standard off-the-shelf products to custom sensors. Contact us today to get started.

Clean in Place & Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Hygienic, sanitary measures are critical in many manufacturing facilities. From food and beverage to semiconductor and pharmaceutical, these systems ensure cleanability while reducing product loss and downtime.

Known as Clean in Place (CIP) these systems use water, heat and/or chemicals to clean and sanitize machines and other areas of a plant removing dirt, spores and other bacteria, both visible and not visible, to guarantee cleanliness.

Contamination Prevention Market

Demands for equipment that cleans is rising in the pharmaceutical industry with purchases reaching close to $550M in 2019 according to the latest report from the McIlvaine Company titled, “Ultrapure Water: World Markets.”

Ensuring these machines function optimally requires the proper fitting and connections as well as automated technologies like sensors to indicate what’s happening on the inside of a vessel.

Improper chemical use and fitting options can cause erosion, breakage and present a host of other dangers.

Tri-Clamp and Fittings

Not only is keeping clean a priority, but these systems also need to prevent product mixing, contamination and allergens or microbial threats. Fittings that are tight and durable and that are made of cleanable finishes are all critical.

A Tri-Clamp is the best option for a fitting/connection in these settings because it is sanitary, easy to clean and does not leave room for leaks. A tri-clamp also meet today’s strict sanitary and quality standards and can withstand high temperatures present in most sanitation systems for pharmaceuticals.

SMD FLUIDSWITCH FM20

How Level Sensors Help

Optical sensors and other instruments are being used in these applications to help improve cleanliness and control contamination. Through the use of level sensors connected to pumps and valves, it’s become more cost effective for pharmaceutical plants to sanitize tanks, purify water, and more. Sensors that can measure the product and the detergent in a tank can also provide information on tank levels, and flow measurements.

Fluidswitch’s FM series Stainless Steel switches are perfect in these environments because they are corrosive resistant, used to control pumps and alarms and can indicate general fluid levels.

Have questions? Let us help!

Customizing A Multi-point Level Sensor for Chemical Tanks: 3 Things to Consider

SMD-fm04

Level sensors are used to measure the presence or absence of a substance in a vessel, tank or other system. The sensors can measure either the exact amount (continuous level sensors) of liquid or can be used as a way of determining if the level of a liquid is high or low (point level sensors). There are also ultrasonic level sensors that work by emitting acoustic waves which are reflected back to a transducer to measures the response and determine liquid levels.

In some tanks, there is more than one liquid present needing measurement. Multi-point level sensors are used in these situations and can monitor multiple liquid level points within a single tank. These sensors regulate liquid levels, detect fluid leaks, and so much more.

Their importance is further amplified when chemical contents are present which can pose unique dangers. In these challenging environments, customized solutions can be created to meet specific application needs and ensure accuracy and reliability.

SMD Fluid Controls engineers can design custom multilevel sensors to meet your specific needs.

Here are the top 3 things you’ll need to consider when customizing a multi-point level sensor for a chemical tank.

1.      Proper Fit

Finding the proper fit for each application is key. The fit, size, type and even how the sensor is mounted to the tank will vary depending on different factors. With ultrasonic sensors for example, the right mounting will provide accurate responses when measuring sound waves. In smaller tanks with restrictive spaces, sensors may be mounted externally or using a different custom fit.

multilevel sensor

2.      Contact or Non-contact

It’s also important to factor in whether or not there will be chemical or liquid contact with the float switch. In cases where corrosion is possible, a stainless steel custom multilevel float switch that can resist damage as well as high temperatures and pressure is the best option.

3.      Device Requirements

Be sure to look at the big picture when selecting a float switch. Factor in what it will control, power and electrical requirements should all be determining factors in your selection.

The FM04 (pictured at the top of this post) is just one example of a plastic custom multilevel float switch whose materials are compatible with a wide range of chemicals and can be customized for a range of sizes to work in an endless variety of applications.

 

Contact the knowledgeable team at SMD Fluid Controls to learn more today.

gravity

Specific Gravity & Float Switches: Here’s What You Need to Know

If you’re in the process of selecting a float switch for your application, you’ve likely come across the question of what the specific gravity (SG) of the liquid being measured is.

The SG is a characteristic that relates to the ratio of the object’s density to that of water and is an important consideration because the entire operation of a float switch is based on its ability to accurately measure the presence or absence of liquid.

This accuracy means everything when it comes to the proper operation of a float switch so care must be taken to select the proper float switch and settings for your application.

The good news is, you don’t need to worry about getting this right on your own.

SMD Fluid Controls manufactures a variety of fluid switches, float switches, temperature gauges, and liquid level sensors. In addition to standard off-the-shelf products, we also offer custom sensors designed to meet application specific needs. Our pros are here to help you every step up of the way to ensure you have the proper switch you need to get the job done.

In case you would like to know more, here’s a closer look at how gravity and float level transmitters work.

Floats are calibrated to a specific reference point where it will measure the liquid level in a vessel. The size and material of a float can change its specific gravity. If it is not properly set, the float can fail to alert or activate the switch.

How do you know the setting is correct?

This is where gravity and understanding your specific needs come into play.

In order to differentiate between two liquids, you’ll need to understand their specific gravity. If water and oil are being held in the same tank for example, but measurement of only the water is necessary, knowing their specific gravity and that of the float being used will make measuring that single liquid possible.

Finding the Specific Gravity

Engineering Toolbox offers an easy to use reference table for selecting specific gravity for common liquids and fluids.

Once you have selected a float that has the proper SG and will not sink (remember temperature changes in liquid should also be considered as they can change the SG) you’ll need to consider how much of the float will be exposed.

This calculation is a way of better understanding the level of liquid present and can be found by dividing the SG of the float by the SG of the liquid.

After establishing this, think about the reference point you’ll use to physically compare and measure the liquid. This is where you will calibrate your measurement.

Still have questions? Speak to one of our pros today!