Power Plant Level Indicators

Inefficient, inaccurate or unreliable level indicators in power plants can severely impact a plant’s efficiency, profitability and overall safety. Due to the harsh, high demand applications often found in most plants, a simple generic off the shelf level control device will not suffice if peak plant performance is to be obtained. Instead, a level control specifically designed with the particular application in mind is essential if maximum efficiency, accuracy, reliability and safety is to be achieved.

Coal Bunkers – Coal is offloaded from either trucks or rail cars and stored in tall bunkers. Measuring level in these bunkers can prove difficult as large chunks of heavy coal can easily damage rigid probes or fragile level switches. The solution is a Babbitt LS6000 Level Switch with a flexible cable probe with NO O-Ring grooves. Standard units come with O-Ring grooves in the probe, but in applications with large, heavy dry material such as coal, these grooves create a weak point in the metal. By removing the O-Ring grooves, the integrity of the 316SS probe is increased. However, in certain coal bunker applications, it may be good practice to incorporate a shield over the unit as an additional measure to protect against wear and tear. The LS6000 model also has a Delrin insulator which is better suited for harsh, abrasive materials.

coal level switch   no o-ring level switch

Boilers – The coal is then transported and used to heat water inside the boilers. Often times site glass level indicators are used on the boilers to provide visual level indication. The main problem behind most site glasses is their tendency to leak pressure which reduces both plant efficiency and performance. The simple solution is a Babbitt Magnetic Level Gauge. Magnetic Level Gauges have proven to be more efficient due to their ability to contain pressure better. In addition, the Magnetic Gauge is a much safer alternative because fluid never contacts the indicating glass. Should the glass ever break, there is no possibility of leakage.

boiler magnetic level gauge

Condensate Tanks & Drains – The steam generated by the boiler turns the turbine and then cools, condensing back to water. Most often, the water returns to a nearby pond or lake. However, in some plants, the water is stored in drains or condensate tanks. A Babbitt LS7000 Level switch is perfect for providing high level alarm indications or auto empty functions inside these tanks or drains.

condensate tank level switch   condensate drain level switch

Fly Ash – The coal used to heat the boiler turns to ash, which is then removed and stored to be disposed of or sold at a later time. This fly ash is often extremely hot and dry with a very low conductivity making it difficult to detect. The Babbitt LS8000 Level switch is particularly suited for fly ash applications. While other Babbitt level switches will detect materials with a dielectric constant greater than 2, the LS8000 has the ability to sense materials with a dielectric constant as low as 1. Fly ash applications between 450F and 550F will require a Peek insulator while higher temperatures between 550F-1200F will warrant a custom LS8000 with a ceramic insulator.

fly ash level switch   level switch ceramic insulator

Sumps – Plants often have sumps where excess water and chemicals can drain. A Babbitt LS7000 works well for providing high level alarm and auto empty functions in these applications.

sump level switch

Bag Houses – If the fly ash is pneumatically conveyed, plants will often have a bag house. Broken filter bags and/or leakage is a major concern so detecting these leaks before they become visible is critical for maintaining efficiency, safety and EPA compliance. A Dust Emissions monitor such as the FT4100 is the perfect solution for monitor baseline emissions, leakage or broken bag detection.

bag house level switch

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