An illustrated drop of crude oil.A worldwide leader in level sensing technology for a wide range of industries and applications, SMD Fluid Controls has a number of products ideal for use in the oil & gas industries. Oil level sensors and other industrial tank level sensors can take the form of standard mechanical float switches, ultrasonic switches, or others depending on specific application requirements and the liquid medium being measured. Applications include but are not limited to fuel oil, automotive oil, cooking oil, crude oil, gasoline, and more. Depending on your oil level measurement needs, you may find one of their off-the-shelf products usable, or require a custom solution – SMD is happy to help with either.

Challenges for Oil Level Sensors

Depending on the type of oil being measured, level sensors may have to take into account viscous or corrosive materials that make certain units unsuitable. In the case of a highly viscous oil medium, standard horizontal float switches may not be appropriate, as accumulated material could interfere with the efficient opening and closing of the switch circuit.

In applications involving corrosive or otherwise harmful liquid media, great care must be taken with choosing the right material for any float switch or level sensor. Likewise, agitated liquids and other conditions which lead to so-called harsh environments determine what method of level detection is appropriate for a specific application.

Types of Oil Level Sensors

Float Switches – Float switches come in a variety of configurations: horizontally or vertically mounted, with normally-open or normally-closed operation. They consist of a stem and a float that rises or falls to open or close the electrical circuit depending on liquid levels, making them ideal for point-level detection in many applications. They are, however, not suited for continuous level detection.

Oil Level SensorsUltrasonic Level Sensors – Unlike float switches, ultrasonic level sensors provide continuous level measurement by emitting pulses of sound and determining distance from the liquid surface by using the time it takes the echo to return. SMD Fluid Controls has ultrasonic level sensors in both plastic and steel to meet the needs of a variety of different applications.

Capacitance Level Sensors Capacitance level sensors work by creating a capacitor with two parallel metal plates separated by a non-conductive or dielectric material (the liquid media being measured).  The capacitor stores electrical energy. As the volume of insulating material increases, so does the capacitor’s ability to store energy, allowing the sensor to gauge this level. Capacitive level sensors are particularly useful for agitated liquid and other harsh environments. Many oils also have insulating properties, making them a common choice for such media.

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