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Specialist article
11.05.2022  |  82x
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Process optimization for hydropower plants

Solutions in the dam - Compact limit switch for process optimization for hydropower plants as a backwater detector for wood chip conveyance.
One of the largest energy supply companies in the UK was looking for modern equipment for its northern dam with flexible metering technology. The electricity and natural gas supplier for local households and businesses has been focusing on hydropower generation for several years, in addition to wind power.
The centrepiece of the dam’s hydropower plant is the installed wood chip system, which was recently implemented to curb pollution in the dam. Accumulated wood chips are transported to a designated storage area via a series of chain conveyors. These chain conveyors need to be monitored with modern and robust measurement technology. Namely, an indicator that functions as a full detector is required in the transfer chutes in order to detect a blockage with the wood chips in good time.

Full detection for wood chip conveyance

Together with the subsidiary UWT (UK) Ltd in Shrewsbury, a safe solution was found after several tests with oscillating probes that work according to the vibration principle. The Mononivo® MN 4020 with tube extension was installed in the transfer chutes and reliably detects the wood chips. The bulk density of the chips is 450 g/l, the process temperature is up to 80°C (176°F). Due to the application, there is high humidity in the process area. The process pressure is around 0.8 bar (11.6 psi). The corrosion is relatively severe and required a detector with a high surface quality. With the adjustable sensitivity and the small 1 inch connection threads, the stainless steel single rod probe could be perfectly configured to the application. Optimal for use in wood chips and wood shavings is the fact that, due to the design, no material can accumulate on the sensor arm, which prevents faulty switching in the long term.

The vibrating rod is stimulated to vibrate by piezo elements. Material in contact stops the vibration, causing a change in voltage in the piezo elements. This is registered electronically. A switching output is activated. The vibration also causes a self-cleaning of the level probe to a certain extent.

The dam, with its height of 16.5 metres and length of 139 metres, is one of the most important energy suppliers for the region. With the installation of the corrosion-resistant min / max detectors, the process flows in the hydroelectric power plant could be optimised quickly and easily with regard to the overfill protection of the wood chip system.

Company information

UWT GmbH is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of measurement technology for the detection and monitoring of levels, limit levels in any kind of bulk materials, solids as well as in liquids, pastes and foam. Since the founding, the product portfolio has developed and offers solutions for a variety of industries. > Headquarter with development, production and sales department in Germany > Subsidiaries in USA, Great Britain, Russia, India, Mexico, Brazil and China plus a global net of exclusiv distributors > Over a million successfully solved applications in more than 70 countries > Variety of industry solutions according to individual requirements > UWT products represent quality, flexibility and reliability Our products are named under: Rotonivo® - Rotary paddle switch incl. SIL2 version Vibranivo® - Vibrating fork Mononivo® - Vibrating rod probe RFnivo® - Capacitive level switch also with anti-corrosive Teflon® coating for flue gas cleaning Capanivo® / NivoCapa® - Capacitive level switch NivoBob® - Electro-mechanical Plumb Bob as well for Interface NivoRadar® - Radar sensor NivoGuide® - TDR guided radar NivoTec® - Level monitoring and visualisation From development and production to final assembly and comprehensive technical advice, all services are provided from a single source. The focus is on the highest quality, technical know-how and good cooperation with customers, suppliers and partners. What is particularly important to the managing directors Uwe Niekrawietz, Markus Schalk and Andreas Haug is the well-being of the 165 employees worldwide: "Healthy and happy employees can achieve incredible things".  The product portfolio is developed further every year and enables holistic solution concepts for a variety of industries. In addition to level and point level measurement, UWT offers monitoring and visualisation systems and complete project planning. Well-known plant manufacturers and end customers worldwide appreciate the customised solutions as well as the easy handling and durability of UWT sensors. In order to be able to pass on the best possible added value to customers in the future, UWT’s corporate strategy is consistently geared towards steady and sustainable growth.
Last update: 26.04.2022

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