Thermatel® TA2 Thermal Mass Flow Meter with FOUNDATION fieldbus™ Released

Magnetrol® is pleased to announce the sales release of the Thermatel® TA2 thermal mass flow meter with FOUNDATION fieldbus™ digital output communications. This addition signifies the growth of the TA2 and the MAGNETROL commitment to continued success in flow. The TA2 with FOUNDATION fieldbus™ offers all of the advantages of the standard TA2, such as:


  • Dual gas calibration with two unique curves (example: propane and natural gas)
  • Field adjustability to install in different gas types or adjust for different gas mixes
  • Calibration verification procedure provides cost savings due to decreased process downtime and unnecessary recalibrations
  • Internal resettable and non-resettable totalizers
  • Strong signal at low flows and low pressures with high turndown
  • ISO 17025 and NIST traceable calibrations

THERMATEL TA2, in conjunction with the Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar, E3 Modulevel® and Orion® Enhanced Jupiter® magnetostrictive level transmitters, form the MAGNETROL fieldbus™ family.

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Advantages of the Magnetic Level Indicator

The magnetic level indicator is now widely used throughout process industries as an effective level control device (see our recent article on MLI technology and principle of operation for more information).

A magnetic level indicator is often used in applications where a sight glass (or glass sight gauge) is either ill-suited based on process variables or is underperforming based on plant requirements. These can include enhanced safety for personnel; environmentally risky situations including media leakage or fugitive emissions; need for maintenance reduction; or need for high visibility from a distance. Typical shortcomings of glass sight gauges include:

  • High pressures, extreme temperatures, deteriorating seals/rings/gaskets, and toxic or corrosive materials may cause a risk of fugitive emission of dangerous substances.
  • The glass in a sight glass can become quickly discolored, thus decreasing level visibility, or it can acquire microfractures, which can become a personnel safety issue if left undetected.
  • Liquid/liquid interfaces can be very difficult to read in a sight glass particularly if the liquids are of similar color. Clear liquids can also be difficult to see in a sight glass.
  • Liquids that tend to coat or build-up on surfaces can hinder visibility by forming an opaque film on the glass.
  • To cover a large measuring span, sight glass assemblies typically must be staggered using multiple sections.

Common MLI Tank Configurations


The key reasons for selecting a magnetic level indicator over a sight glass are:

  • Improved safety due to the absence of fragile glass and a substantially reduced number of potential leak points.
  • Greatly increased visibility.
  • Reduced maintenance.
  • Easier initial installation and addition of transmitters and switches without interrupting the process.
  • Dual-technology redundancy, with the addition of transmitters or switches, for improved safety.
  • Lower long-term cost of ownership and legitimate return-on-investment benefits.
  • Single chamber measurement over 20 ft. (6 m) without staggering chambers.

The obvious safety benefit of the MLI over a sight glass is reduced chance of breakage. If the process fluid is under extreme pressure or temperature, the likelihood of sight glass breakage is increased. The pressure boundary of an MLI is made of robust metal, frequently the same as the vessel piping, making MLIs as safe as the surrounding piping system itself. The indicators, transmitters, and switches are all mounted externally and, therefore, are unaffected by toxicity, corrosiveness, or other process fluid characteristics.

Another safety benefit is that the chemical compatibility with the fluid in an MLI is restricted to only three components, the metallic chamber, gaskets and float. With glass sight gauges, the process fluid may have chemical compatibility issues with any of the wetted materials—glass, metal, or sealants.

MLIs are virtually maintenance free once installed because the indicator never touches the process fluid. With sight glasses, the gauges must be periodically checked for leaks and cleaned on a regular basis. Scaling, etching and build-up on the glass from the process fluid can cause the sight glass to become unreadable.

Visibility of the fluid level from long distances is another major reason for selecting an MLI over a sight glass gauge. Sight gauge level indicators are intended to be viewed at maximum distances of around 10 feet (3 meters). However, the bright contrasting colors of the flags or a fluorescent shuttle on an MLI permit visible level indication at distances up to 100 feet (30 meters) or greater. Newer, more advanced visual indicators, such as those from Orion Instruments®, have viewing ranges up to 200 ft. (60 m).

Visit Orion Website

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The Magnetic Level Indicator: A Technology Overview

Demands for increased safety and improved efficiency in processing facilities have made the magnetic level indicator an indispensable level control device. With the ability to perform reliably under extreme process conditions, as well as offer dual-technology redundancy for safety critical applications, magnetic level indicators, or MLIs, such as those manufactured by Orion® Instruments, can make a smart alternative for a wide range of level measurement and control needs. Here’s a closer look at the applications and operating principle of MLI technology. In our next blog article, we’ll feature the advantages for using MLIs.

The magnetic level indicator, also called a magnetically coupled liquid level indicator or a magnetic level gauge, is in widespread use throughout process industries around the world. Originally designed as an alternative to sight glass gauges, MLIs are now commonly utilized in both new construction and plant expansions.


Magnetic Level Indicators

Typical applications/locations include:

  • Alkylation units
  • Boiler drums
  • Feedwater heaters
  • Industrial boilers
  • LNG facilities
  • NGL storage vessels
  • Oil / Water separators
  • Process vessels
  • Propane vessels
  • Storage tanks
  • Surge tanks
  • Wastewater tanks

Principle of Operation
Magnetic level indicators use the law of magnetism to provide liquid level information. They can activate a switch or provide continuous level data via a transmitter. Unlike a sight glass, magnetic coupling allows the MLI to measure liquid levels without direct contact between the externally mounted visual indicator and the fluid in the vessel.

A magnetic level indicator is mounted in-line with its respective process vessel.  It is exposed to the process media inside the vessel along with the process pressure and temperature. A float containing an array of magnets is sealed inside the MLI chamber. The float’s magnetic field interacts with the flags located in the visual indicator securely mounted on the outside of the chamber. As liquid rises and falls within the MLI, the float follows the changing level with the magnets remaining in the same plane as the liquid surface. The magnetic field causes the visual indicator flags to rotate, thereby revealing the liquid level inside the MLI.

In an MLI, the magnets within a float and an indicator are magnetically coupled. The float, located inside the chamber, dynamically tracks the surface of the liquid as it rises and falls. The magnet assembly inside the float generates a magnetic field that penetrates through the chamber wall to couple with the visual indicator.

Visit Orion Website

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Safety Standards of Level Control Devices

Level Control Devices and SILMalfunctioning level controls allegedly contributed to the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown and the 2005 Buncefield depot explosion north of London, to name just two of the more notorious incidents. For decades, the industrial firewall against safety incidents as they relate to level controls has been governmental and professional association standards that require manufacturers to make their products according to safety guidelines. The International Standards Association, however, lists some 180,000 varieties of international standards. The key health and safety standards that can affect level control devices and applications fall into three categories: (1) Instrument and Component Standards, (2) Safety Integrity Levels, and (3) Hygienic Standards.

Instrument Standards. The largest group of standards relates to equipment, component and enclosure performance. These standards are authorized by NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association—USA); Underwriters Laboratories (UL—USA); American National Standards Institute (ANSI); American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME); The Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society (ISA—originally named the Instrument Society of America); Canadian Standards Association (CSA); the European EN 60529 = DIN VDE 0470; IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission); VDE (Institute of German Electronics Engineers); the International Electromechanical Commission (IEC); and TÜV (Germany). Principal organizations with market-relevant technical standards for materials, products, and systems also include the European Union’s ATEX directives (ATmosphere EXplosion); America’s OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration); the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and the United Kingdom’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Safety Integrity Level (SIL). Another group of directives that relate specifically to level control safety performance are those of the IEC concerning risk reduction. These directives refer to the classification of Safety Instrumented Systems (SISs) according to their Safety Integrity Level (SIL)—that is, according to their potential risk for people, manufacturing processes, and the environment in case of a malfunction. Four SIL levels are defined in these directives, with SIL 4 being the most stringent and SIL 1 being the least. (No standard process controls have yet been defined and tested for SIL 4).

There are two ways an instrument manufacturer can determine and declare their devices suitable for a SIL level. For pre-existing devices, the supplier takes over the “proven in use” procedure, in which the instruments are tested and described according to IEC 61508 and 61511. For new devices, the supplier makes a direct declaration to IEC. This declaration comprises an evaluation of the device based partly on a Failure Modes, Effects and Diagnostics Analysis (FMEDA) and partly on an assessment of the proven-in-use documentation.

Today, many instrument and plant engineers use an instrument’s SIL suitability level as “shorthand” for an instrument’s overall reliability.

Hygienic Standards. A third group of standards relates to hygienic issues concerning the food, beverage, dairy and pharmaceutical industries. These include the Federal Drug Administration (USA authority), the 3-A Sanitary Standards (a group of three USA milk and dairy authorities), the European Hygienic Equipment Design Group (EHEDG—a consortium of European equipment manufacturers, food industries, research institutes, and public health authorities), and the Federal Health Department (Germany).

Understanding Safety Integrity Level SIL

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Wishing You The Best in 2015

MAG_2015_GreetingsMagnetrol International offers our deepest gratitude for your continued support in 2014 and our sincerest wishes for a prosperous 2015.


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Holiday Wishes From Magnetrol


Holiday Tree at Magnetrol International Headquarters


Happy holidays from Magnetrol International! Our very best wishes for a safe, peaceful and joyous holiday season!

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Six Reasons Why Guided Wave Radar Technology is Preferred Over Differential Pressure Level Control

Differential pressure technology, long a mainstay for liquid level measurement, has lost ground to guided wave radar transmitters as the level control solution preferred by process industries.

Guided wave radar (GWR) instrumentation offers significant functionality and versatility. One of the newest and fastest evolving level control technologies, GWR has gained tremendous acceptance due to the significant advantages it offers over other level measurement devices. Not only does GWR generally outperform conventional level measurement technologies, a GWR transmitter is extremely compact and easy to install and operate. The latest generation of GWR transmitters is a formidable contender as a potential market-wide replacement to the still-entrenched differential pressure transmitter.

In fact, a recent study by Control Magazine found that guided wave radar is the top preferred technology for level measurement applications, at 56%, followed by ultrasonic, at 50%, then differential pressure, at 49%. The study also found that, while differential pressure transmitters remain the most widely used level control technology (at 25%), differential pressure usage had eroded 15% in just two years. Guided wave radar transmitters, on the other hand currently stand at 18% market share, up 7 percentage points in two years.*

Why is guided wave radar preferred over a differential pressure transmitter? Here are six reasons to consider GWR technology:


For a more complete analysis of guided wave radar and differential pressure technologies, Magnetrol® invites you to download our whitepaper Guided Wave Radar vs. Differential Pressure Transmitters for Liquid Level Measurement.

* Control Magazine, “Level Instrumentation and Tank Gauging Market Intelligence Report,” March 2013.


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Level Instrumentation for Pulp and Paper Process Applications

Welcome to our third blog installment about level instrumentation for pulp and paper process applications. As pulp and paper operations face increasing competition, as well heightened demand for conservation and carbon mitigation initiatives, facility managers are closely assessing ways to improve process efficiency. Accurate, reliable level control throughout a pulp and paper plant can be a critical source for process improvement.

In this blog article, we address the application of level instrumentation in plant-wide operations including MC pump standpipes, water storage, chemicals and additives, and lubrication and hydraulic oils.

For quick access to prior posts on the topic of pulp and paper processing efficiency, you can view our first blog, which covers chipping, pulping, washing, bleaching, stock prep, blending and papermaking processes, or visit our second post, which features turpentine and liquor recovery.

Pulp and Paper Process 3MC PUMP STANDPIPES
MP Pump StandpipeApplication: Designed to move thick fluids, MC (medium consistency) pumps are ideal for transporting pulp in a mill. Pulp is often pumped from a standpipe, a vertical feed pipe integral to the pump. Pumps with standpipes typically pump to and from washers and thickeners, O2 and CLO2 mixers, extraction towers, bleach storage towers and high-density pulp storage towers.

Challenges: It is important that the proper level of pulp be maintained in a standpipe. A level control in the standpipe does this by actuating a valve downstream of the pump. A malfunctioning level control could result in standpipe overflow, or cause a pump to operate in a no-flow condition in which it would quickly sustain damage through overheating and seal damage.

Level Technologies:
– Thermatel® Thermal Dispersion Switch for point level
– Eclipse® Guided Wave Radar Transmitter for continuous level

Mill Water StorageApplication: Because pulp is processed and paper is made in an aqueous vehicle that is up to 99.5% water, water management is essential for productive mill operations. Level controls monitor the storage of cold, warm and hot process water, potable water, boiler feedwater, liquor production water, process wastewater, and open effluent weirs, sumps, and stormwater basins.

Challenges: Process, reclaimed and service water storage may range from small tanks to
large bulk tanks with heights of 40 feet (12.2 meters). Controls are specified according to the size and geometry of the bulk storage vessel. Level controls in open atmosphere reservoirs must withstand punishing weather conditions. Firewater storage must conform to NFPA standards.

Level Technologies:
– Model A15 Series Displacer-Actuated Switch or Echotel® Ultrasonic Switch for point level
– ECHOTEL Non-Contact Ultrasonic Transmitter, ECLIPSE Guided Wave Radar Transmitter or Pulsar® Non-Contact Radar Transmitter for continuous level
– Atlas® Magnetic Level Indicator for visual indication

Chemical and Additive Storage
Application: Chemical stocks stored in mills include acids and alkalies, delignification chemicals, bleaching agents and water treatment chemicals. Chemical additives mixed into the process stream at the wet end of the paper machine include dyes and pigments, drainage aids, defoamers, slimicides, and a broad range of specialty chemicals that improve paper performance.

Challenges: Chemical solution storage and day tanks require stringent level monitoring. Though precise chemical measurement is accomplished by metering pumps, tank level controls actuate tank-filling operations and protect against overfilling. Tank size and geometry, the presence of mixing hardware, and the solution’s chemical nature are prime factors in level instrument selection.

Level Technologies:
– Model A15 Series Displacer-Actuated Switch or ECHOTEL Ultrasonic Switch for point level
– ECHOTEL Non-Contact Ultrasonic Transmitter, ECLIPSE Guided Wave Radar Transmitter or PULSAR Non-Contact Radar Transmitter for continuous level
– ATLAS Magnetic Level Indicator for visual indication

Lubrication and Hydraulic OilApplication: Pulp and paper mills operate many machines that require lubrication. Lubricants prevent damage caused by excessive friction and prolong component and equipment life. Oil is stored in stainless steel and carbon steel tanks. While gearboxes hold up to 50 gallons, and hydraulic reservoirs up to 200 gallons, a paper machine may contain up to 5,000 gallons of lubricant.

Challenges: Level monitoring of oil reservoirs will ensure the proper functioning of pumps, gearboxes, drives, compressors, bailing presses, materials handling equipment and paper machines. Temperature shifts in oil reservoirs affect media density that excludes some technologies, such as pressure transmitters. Because ISO cleanliness levels increase oil change frequency, controls should be easy to remove.

Level Technologies:
– ECHOTEL Ultrasonic Switch or Tuffy® II Float-Actuated Switch for point level
– ECLIPSE Guided Wave Radar Transmitter or PULSAR Non-Contact Radar Transmitter for continuous level
– ATLAS Magnetic Level Indicator for visual indication

Pulp & Paper Process Applications

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Pulp and Paper Industry Applications for Level Measurement

Increasing competitive, regulatory, supply chain and customer demands have driven the need for process improvement in the pulp and paper industry. In our three-week blog series, Magnetrol® reviews the critical impact that level control makes in improving process efficiencies and safety for pulp and paper mills. This week, turpentine and liquor recovery processes are explored. Next week, we cover plant-wide operations including MC pump standpipes, water storage, chemicals and additives, and lubrication and hydraulic oils. You can also read our first blog article about the pulp and paper industry, which features level measurement applications from chipping to papermaking processes.

Pulp and Paper Industry TurpentineTURPENTINE RECOVERY

Application: Vapors from the digester contain turpentine and 85% of it is released during the relief cycle. Recovery of this volatile organic compound (VOC) is undertaken for environmental reasons, to lessen effluent treatment of condensate, to utilize turpentine as a fuel source, or to sell it as a by-product to chemical processors.

Challenges: Two vessels in a typical recovery system require level control of the turpentine/water interface: the decanter, or separator, and the storage tank. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) rates turpentine as a “severe fire hazard.” For this reason, the decanter is contained in a dyked area, storage tanks are sometimes located below ground, and controls must be rated explosion-proof.

Level Technologies:
- Echotel® Ultrasonic Switch or Thermatel® Thermal Dispersion Switch for point level
– Eclipse® Guided Wave Radar Transmitter or Pulsar® Non-Contact Radar for continuous level
– Atlas® Magnetic Level Indicator for visual indication


Application: Black liquor is the digester waste mixture of spent chemicals and lignin extracted from wood chips. When burned in a recovery boiler, black liquor produces heat for steam and also releases digester chemicals called “smelt.” Mixed with water, smelt becomes green liquor. This is treated with lime in the causticizers to produce white liquor, the digester’s cooking chemical.

Challenges: Stored in varying concentrations, liquors are corrosive solutions with high levels of organic compounds. Liquors can cause chemical burns or damage the lungs if inhaled. Level sensors contend with the chemicals’ harshness, variable density and dielectric, agitation, foaming, and media stickiness. Tank controls should activate the appropriate alarms or emergency shutdown systems.

Level Technologies:
- THERMATEL Thermal Dispersion Switch for point level
– ECLIPSE Guided Wave Radar Transmitter (with single rod probe) or PULSAR Non-Contact Radar for continuous level

Pulp & Paper Process Applications

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Green Harvest Food Drive

On November 13 and 14, Magnetrol® collected non-perishable items for Green Harvest Food Pantry’s Thanksgiving food drive. Over the two days, Associates collected 200 individual items and raised $450.

For the Thanksgiving holiday, MAGNETROL presented each Associate with a Thanksgiving turkey. 28 Associates donated their turkeys to Green Harvest to help their effort to provide holiday meals to the less fortunate.

Green Harvest is a non-profit, 501(c)3, food agency that serves the working poor in the cities of Aurora, Montgomery, Naperville, Oswego, Plainfield, Plano, Montgomery and Yorkville in Illinois with about a week’s worth of food once a month for 6 months. Green Harvest strives to impart dignity to the food delivery process for those suffering from hunger insecurity- those who are insecure about where their next meals are coming from.

For more information about Green Harvest, visit

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