SICK LBR SicWave Radar Sensors

Sept. 30, 2020

When floor space becomes expensive or scarce, you have to build upward. It is more common to see 100-meter high silo systems for bulk material technology. The ability to exactly measure the level of these containers requires sensors that deliver reliable results, even over long distances. The new LBR SicWave radar sensors from SICK accomplish this with measuring ranges as far as 120 meters. The performance is the result of the new 80 GHz radar frequency with its high dynamics and tightly focused aperture angle. 

Measuring at a tighter angle means less interference in the signal return. Focusing on a small field of view is also very advantageous in radar measurement technology. While conventional radar sensors with a frequency of 6 or 26 GHz have an aperture angle of 10 to 15 degrees, the mere 3 degrees of the new LBR SicWave series make it comparable with a laser beam. The focusing makes it noticeably easier to precisely align the sensor to the material surface without concern about faults caused by installations or deposits on the walls. 

The focused beam path is also more reliable regarding dust, which is a natural product of bulk materials – especially when pneumatically filled. This property also makes it easier to retrofit the modern radar sensors with small process connections without making constructional modifications to the silo or doing costly recertification. Existing couplings often provide enough space for installation. 

For easy installation, commissioning and monitoring, the new LBR SicWave radar sensors are equipped with a WPAN interface that enables access from as far as 25 meters away with a smartphone app. The series is designed for bulk materials and works reliably in a temperature range of -40 to +392 degrees Fahrenheit and at pressures between -1 and +20 bar. 

The wide working range makes it possible to perform many different tasks with just one radar sensor, and without complex calibration. Defining the application and the measuring range with its minimum and maximum distance to the bulk materials as well as the DC value range is sufficient. The DC value specifies how well material reflects radar beams. Due to the high dynamics of 120 dB, the sensitivity of the new sensors mean it can now measure the level of bulk materials, which were previously not suitable for radar technology.