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Cambridge Consultants Develops New Liquid Level Measurement Technique

March 25, 2013
The Fringe Effect Level Transducer has no moving parts, is immune to temperature change, and needs no calibration

New technology from product development firm Cambridge Consultants, with facilities in Cambridge, U.K., and Massachusetts, is offering a cost-effective way to accurately measure liquid levels with no calibration required. Called FELT—or Fringe Effect Level Transducer—the technology is a novel approach to monitoring the level of a wide variety of fluids.

"We were surprised to discover there was still a need for innovation in this space for a device that was a relatively simple concept," said Dr. Temoc Rodriguez, principal engineer at Cambridge Consultants. "Through our work in a diverse range of industries, we see a significant demand for this type of adaptable technology—in everything from consumer appliances and medical instruments to agricultural and large-scale industrial containers."

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New level check
The Fringe Effect Level Transducer, or FELT,
offers a new, cost-effective way to check
liquid levels.

FELT has no moving parts and is immune to temperature change. It is robust and not affected by external interference such as metal objects, people or electrical noise. The device does not require calibration, and its design enables the probe to be immune to changes in fluid composition.

The technology can affordably and accurately eliminate a range of problems by continuously measuring liquid levels, and setting an alert when they reach a certain mark. FELT is made up of three parallel low-cost, simple and customizable electrodes—one measurement electrode and two reference electrodes—with no direct contact between the electrodes and the fluid being measured. An electric field is applied to the electrodes to measure the ratio of the electric charge between the measurement and reference electrodes and, as a result, determine a continuously accurate liquid level.

"We found that other fluid measurement technologies with similar accuracy use radar or ultrasonics and are very expensive, while cheaper devices have accuracy issues and use probes that require careful calibration," said Dr. Rodriguez. "FELT uses a novel approach to enable this new cost-effective, yet robust sensor platform. We’re now keen to discuss with potential clients how FELT could be customized to solve all kinds of level sensing problems where existing techniques don’t work."

The company will be demonstrating FELT, together with other innovations such as DropTag, at industrial equipment tradeshow Hannover Fair, April 8-12, at booth D58 in the Research and Technology Hall.

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