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Level Measurement Solutions for Distillation Columns

Distillation is an energy-intensive separation method that prepares the crude oil to be processed into petroleum and other products. Following dewatering and desalination, crude oil enters distillation columns where fractional distillation separates hydrocarbons into different streams, cuts or fractions.

Magnetrol® has produced an applications brochure for the petroleum refining industry detailing measurement challenges and solutions for each step of the refining process. This blog post is part of an occasional series exploring each application in detail.

Level Measurement Challenges and Considerations

Sight glasses and displacer systems mounted in external chambers have traditionally provided distillation level measurement. Today, guided wave radar retrofitted in these existing chambers is gaining popularity. This is due to the technology’s less demanding maintenance schedule and ease of retrofit.

For optimum operation of the distillation column, level controls must contend with occurrences of foaming, bubbling and moderate-to-high temperatures. High product temperatures necessitate temperature-tolerant level sensors. Level instrumentation used in distillation columns must also be able to measure accurately in turbulent process conditions.

Level Measurement Solutions

MAGNETROL has produced level measurement solutions for distillation columns that are reliable, easy to maintain and unaffected by process conditions:

  • For point level
    Series 3 float-actuated external cage level switch
  • For continuous level
    Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar transmitter or E3 Modulevel® displacer-actuated transmitter
  • For visual indication
    Atlas™ or Aurora® magnetic level indicators can be supplied with switches or transmitters

More Information

For more information on level solutions for distillation columns and other petroleum refining applications, download the petroleum refining brochure.