Float switches play an important role in many industries. From detecting the level of liquid inside of a tank, to controlling devices and even setting off alarms when pre-set parameters are met. The significance of a float switch increases when it’s being used to prevent oil leaks or spills and must protect the public and the environment.
For a lesson in just how important a role float switch functionality plays in fuel and oil safety, take a look at a recent case in Devon, England where owners of a fishing boat allowed hundreds of liters of diesel oil to spill into Sutton Harbour.
Mechanical Float Switch Failure
The owner plead guilty to trying to transfer fuel internally from one tank to another and leaving the vessel pump unsupervised. While the skipper walked away to help his staff with other duties on the boat, he relied on the mechanical float switch to stop transferring the fuel once the tank was full. When the float switch failed to activate, the end result was thousands of dollars in fines, many man hours of clean-up efforts, and inevitable pollution that could have been avoided.
While the float switch failure is partially to blame for the spill, it also offers as a reminder that purchasing reliable float switches and working with a reputable manufacturer is key. In addition to being vigilant about product testing and maintenance, operators should also be trained on responsible handling of hazardous materials to prevent accidents like this one.
Float Switches for the Oil & Gas Applications
Depending on the application, float switches will need to operate in different ways, so great care must be taken when choosing the type of material and design of a float switch for harsh environments.
For example, ultrasonic level sensors offer more functionality then standard mechanical float switches because they continuously monitor liquid levels.
SMD Fluid Controls designs and manufactures liquid level sensors and float switches for a multitude of industries and uses. Many products ideal for use in the oil & gas industries including standard mechanical float switches, ultrasonic switches, or others. Depending on each specific applications requirements and the type of liquid medium being measured, the type of sensor will change.
Made from 316 stainless steel and custom-designed for high pressure applications, these 2” floats are buoyant, provide both NO or NC operation and can be configured for specific project requirements if needed. They are also UL recognized for hazardous locations.
Also a great option for oil and gas applications, these stainless steel vertical float switches are UL recognized for hazardous locations, corrosion resistant and durable and deliver reliability, accuracy and versatility. Configurations can also be customized if needed.