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  1. The Role of Ultrasonic Sensors in Wireless Monitoring Systems

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    The development of wireless monitoring systems has greatly expanded the scope of measurement in distance, tank level, and other monitoring applications. They enable users to measure various metrics (e.g., water levels) without having to physically touch or be near the targeted object, which is ideal for devices and systems located in remote or otherwise hard-to-reach locations. A key component of these systems is ultrasonic sensors, which use (ultrasonic) soundwaves to measure the distance to a remote object without touching it. When used with wireless technology they can reliably determine water levels in a tank or stream without the extensive installation and maintenance costs 0f wired systems. 

    At Senix, we offer ultrasonic sensors suitable for use in wireless level monitoring systems. When used with Senix AirWire® LoRa wireless technology, they allow users to easily transfer and access real-time level measurements using our cloud-based software. Below, our experts provide an overview of wireless monitoring systems and how our sensors are used in them. 

    Wired vs. Wireless Monitoring Systems

    Compared to wired monitoring systems, wireless monitoring systems offer a number of advantages, such as: 

    • Easier and cheaper installation. Wireless sensor systems are ideal for when monitoring applications are performed across large facilities since they do not require the running of any wires or conduits to work. 
    • Greater flexibility and scalability. The initial cost of a wireless system can be higher than the cost of a wired system. However, a wireless system may prove to be the more cost-effective option in the long term since it is cheaper to modify when expanding monitoring operations and better at accommodating changes to facility configurations.
    • Better connectivity. Wireless systems enable data to be displayed on a local area network (LAN) or uploaded to the cloud so authorized users can access it when needed, which helps minimize delays in monitoring and maintenance operations. 

    Senix’s AirWire LoRa Wireless Monitoring Solutions

    Senix’s AirWire LoRa Wireless Monitoring Solutions

    Our ToughSonic sensors are available with AirWire LoRa wireless technology, which allows for automatic collection of real-time level data from monitored sites and enables authorized users to access the data from their computer or mobile device. The technology requires the installation of an AirWire transmitter (which comes with fee-free access to our cloud-based software) and a non-contact level sensor at each monitored site; the sensor measures the distance to the monitored liquid or material, and the transmitter sends the data to either a public LoRa system (if available) or an AirWire Gateway for upload to the necessary network(s). It offers liquid measurement capabilities up to 50 feet (with ToughSonic sensors) and long-range operation capabilities up several miles depending on the line of sight, antenna elevation, and terrain. Additionally, if desired, users can set up alarms for high or low levels that send text or email notifications to the relevant parties.

    Senix AirWire LoRa can offer significant cost savings since it does not require conduits to be run through buildings, wiring or power to be installed at monitored sites, or users to pay connect charges. Additionally, it integrates with existing applications and conforms to the latest Internet of Things (IoT) standards. 

    Application of AirWire LoRa

    Our AirWire LoRa wireless systems find use in level monitoring applications across a wide range of industries. For example, the Village of Causey, New Mexico, utilized it to monitor water levels in water tanks that were critical to the operations of its farming and ranching communities. It has also been used to monitor river systems near Montpelier, Vermont, to analyze floods and water movement over time.

    Wireless Level Monitoring Systems From Senix

    At Senix, we offer ultrasonic sensors for a range of monitoring applications. Our ToughSonic sensors are suitable for general distance ranging and benign liquid level applications and offer wireless distance measurement capabilities up to 50 feet. Our ToughSonic Chem sensors are suitable for measuring the level or volume of liquid chemicals in open or closed tanks and offer measurement capabilities up to 35 feet. For more information on our ultrasonic sensors, check out our product page or contact us today.

  2. The Senix Difference

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    ToughSonic 14 Ultrasonic SensorsSenix ToughSonic ultrasonic level and distance sensors are built for durability, accuracy, and flexibility, making them some of the highest value sensors available on the market today. 

    Key Features of Senix Sensors

    Many Senix sensors can be quickly set up and adjusted using Senix’s powerful TEACH push-button setup technology. However, the real flexibility and versatility of Senix sensors are unlocked by pairing sensors with the free SenixVIEW software. It provides over 75 user-configurable options, settings, and ways to enhance the sensor, enabling users to tailor each sensor to their unique application. 

    No other sensor available in the market today includes all of the features available on ToughSonic sensors. These include: 

    • Durable construction. General-purpose sensors are built with 316 stainless steel housings, while CHEM sensors are made of PVDF to withstand use in chemical environments. All ToughSonic sensors have PUR jacketed cables and potted and protected electronics. All Senix sensors are IP68 rated.
    • Included SenixVIEW software. All sensors include free SenixVIEW software with nearly 80 parameters that can be set by the user. Friendly and easy help balloons can be turned on or off to make learning the software easy for all users. The software allows for setup duplication of other sensors without recalibration.
    • Built-in outputs, switches, and serial communication. Sensors come with built-in 0–10VDC and 4–20mA outputs, built-in switches, and choice of either RS-232 or RS-485 serial communication. The built-in switches can control liquid levels, alarms, relays, motors, lights, and more.
      • Control the liquid level in a tank by setting the switch to turn a pump or valve ON or OFF at specific levels
      • Set an alarm output to alert at high level, low level, or both
      • Set switches to NPN type (sinking) or PNP type (sourcing) for universal compatibility
    • Organization capabilities. Organize functions and responses using delays, initial power-up states, hysteresis and window modes, and loss of target states with an associated time delay.
    • Filtering & processing options. These options allow filters to ignore turbulence, stirrers, waves, or other unwanted objects that would otherwise interfere with measurements.
    • Averaging filters. Output data can be smoothed by using the averaging filters to average a series of measurements or limit the rate at which the outputs change.
    • Selectable measurement rates. Selectable measurement rates interface and control a wide variety of accessories, such as displays, alarms, relays, etc.
    • Built-in temperature compensation. Senix offers built-in temperature compensation, which can be used to compensate for changes in ambient air temperature, diurnal temperature swings, sensor self-heating, sunshine warming the sensor, cold ambient temperatures, or vibration. If you’re dealing with rapid or extreme temperature fluctuations, Senix also offers an external temperature compensation accessory for more accurate measurement during these changes.
    • Multi-sensor data network compatibility. Senix sensors can be connected in multi-sensor data networks to retrieve measurements and/or adjust sensors using SenixVIEW software. An entire collection of data-networked sensors can be managed, stored, and retrieved using a SenixVIEW feature called Group Control, which permits an entire collection to be backed up, restored, or duplicated quickly.
    • Wireless sensor technology. If that is not enough, Senix also offers its AirWire LoRa wireless options to send tank levels to a LAN or Cloud Network. Transfer data and access real-time level measurements with Senix Cloud-based software.
    What Makes Senix Ultrasonic Sensors Different

    Experience the Senix Difference Today

    Whether you are measuring the levels of liquids or solids or measuring distance or proximity, Senix ToughSonic sensors are ideal for use in Water Monitoring, Tank Level Measuring, Farming & Agriculture, Distance Ranging, Object Detection, Hydrofoil & Nautical, and many other industrial applications. They can be customized to fit unique applications or custom OEM labeling requirements. No other ultrasonic sensor can deliver more or boast being backed by such a knowledgeable technical support team. Reach out to our team to discuss your application and find out which Senix ToughSonic ultrasonic level & distance sensor will get you the fast, accurate measurements you require.

  3. The Role of Ultrasonic Sensors in Flood Monitoring Systems

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    town floodNatural disasters can happen anywhere in the world, and, in recent years, they have occurred with greater frequency. One of the most common types of natural disasters is floods. Due to the devastation, they can reign on a community, region, or, in the event of large-scale flooding, country, it is important to be properly prepared to handle them before they occur. That’s why many environmentally focused organizations and groups have invested in flood detection systems that implement ultrasonic sensors.

    What Are the Primary Causes of Floods?

    Flooding can occur for a number of reasons in both coastal and non-coastal areas. Some of the most prevalent causes are:

    • Heavy rainfall
    • Storm surge
    • Snow and ice melt runoff
    • Breaking/broken dams and levees

    What Kind of Damage Can Floods Cause?

    Floods can have a variety of consequences depending on where they strike, how long they last, how much water is involved, what preparations were made beforehand, and many other factors. The most extreme negative consequence that can happen is the loss of human life. However, floods can also cause the following:

    • Property damage
    • Crop destruction
    • Livestock death
    • Infrastructure damage/destruction

    All of the above can have a significant social and economic impact on both individuals and communities. Additionally, they can cause severe environmental repercussions (e.g., habitat destruction and ground/groundwater contamination).

    The Role of Ultrasonic Sensors in Flood

    How Can Ultrasonic Sensors Help With Flood Preparedness?

    Oracle Team USA flies on the Senix ToughSonic 14The key to minimizing or mitigating flood damage is being prepared. Flood monitoring and warning systems are essential to this strategy as they collect data about flood-prone areas and provide predictions on when, where, and how a flood may strike. This information helps response personnel establish a more effective preparation plan.

    Ultrasonic sensors are a vital component of modern flood detection and alert systems. As they utilize high-frequency (ultrasonic) soundwaves to calculate the distance to a remote object without physically touching it, they can be used to create systems that reliably determine wave height and water levels at much lower installation and maintenance costs.

    The ultrasonic sensors at Senix find use in flood monitoring and forecast systems around the world, from Virginia to Vietnam to Australia. The ToughSonic sensor line features waterproof construction with an IP68 rating, and offers reliable performance even in the face of the toughest weather conditions or passing waves. The data the sensors collect can be transmitted wirelessly to a centralized data management system using AirWire LoRa (the Senix solution for wireless sensor monitoring) or another similar software solution. This makes them ideal for use in smart cities looking to establish or upgrade their disaster preparedness plans.

    Contact the Ultrasonic Sensor Experts at Senix Today

    While floods can cause significant damage, destruction, and devastation, it is possible to mitigate these consequences by being prepared. Monitoring and collecting data about water levels in flood-prone areas can help the necessary parties prepare for and, potentially, prevent floods and flood-related problems. Ultrasonic sensors play a vital role in the systems used for these purposes, which makes them important to flood preparedness.

    Need ultrasonic sensors for your flood monitoring and alert system? Turn to the experts at Senix. Our ToughSonic sensors have a proven track record in flood monitoring and forecast systems across the globe. For more information on our ultrasonic sensorscontact us today.

  4. How Can Senix Non-Contact Ultrasonic Sensors Measure & Control Roll Diameter?

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    Senix ToughSonic General Purpose ultrasonic distance and levels sensors are designed for use in some of the harshest industrial environments and are suitable for use with a variety of materials, ranging in type, color, translucence, and reflectivity, from aluminum to steel and paper to plastic.  Unlike other techniques such as optical or photoelectric sensors, Ultrasonic sensors measure roll diameter regardless of the roll material type, color, or hardness and provide fast, accurate and reliable diameter measurements whenever the target is within range. With their high reliability, these easy-to-use sensors are an excellent solution for many roll measurement applications.

    Roll Diameter Measurement

    Senix ToughSonic® ultrasonic sensors use “non-contact” technology to measure the roll diameter of materials without touching or damaging the target as they are wound and unwound for various applications.

    Roll Full Detection

    Roll full detection is used to measure the diameters of rolls as material winds onto them. When a roll is full, the sensor sends a notification to the system and any other connected devices, so the necessary equipment or employees know to remove it.

    Roll Empty Detection

    Roll empty detection is used to measure the diameters of rolls as material winds off them. When a roll is empty, the sensor sends a notification to the system and any other connected devices, so the necessary equipment or employees know to replace it.

    Roll Slack Monitoring (or Tension Control)

    Roll slack monitoring is used to monitor rolls as material winds onto them or off them. If the amount of slack in the material exceeds a set limit, the sensor sends a notification to the system and any other connected devices, so the necessary equipment or employees know to tighten or loosen the material.

    Industries Served:

    • Converting
    • Foil & Film
    • Metals
    • Printing
    • Pulp & PaperOutputs, ToughSonic 30, 50 and CHEM products

    Senix ToughSonic sensors have a variety of outputs.  Senix Sensors include both 0-10 VDC and 4-20 mA analog outputs, and choice of RS-232 or RS-485 serial communication, and built-in switches to signal motor drives, brakes, clutches, or controllers to manage web motion in production. ToughSonic sensors include synchronization features to prevent crosstalk from multiple sensors in close proximity.

    In addition to roll diameter measurement, LEARN MORE about other distance ranging applications such as:

    • Loop Control
    • Web Break
    • Tension control
    • Dimensioning
    • Distance Measurement
    • Object Detection
    • Positioning
    • Sorting

    See a recent typical application of measuring material used in Cold Foil Printing


  5. How Do Ultrasonic Sensors Work?

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    Ultrasonics refers to signals that are above the human hearing span (>20 kHz).  There are several types of Ultrasonic transducers. Industrial Ultrasonic sensors that measure through air generally transmit between 30 KHz and 500 KHz. As the ultrasonic frequency increases, the rate of attenuation increases. Thus, low-frequency sensors (30–80 kHz) are more effective for long range, while high-frequency sensors are more effective for short range. Higher frequency sensors (80–500 kHz) also reduce the ringing-decay, which allows for a shorter minimum detection range.

    Most ultrasonic sensors for testing purposes, such as for non-destructive (NDT) testing, transmit at higher frequencies and generally between 1 MHz and 10 MHz. Ultrasonic sensors for medical ultrasound applications are also higher and transmit generally in the 1 MHz – 20 MHz range for imaging purposes, and below 2 MHz for therapeutic purposes. 

    Industrial ultrasonic sensors that transmit through air in the range of 30 KHz to 300 KHz are used wherever non-contact distance measurement is desirable. These types of ultrasonic sensors (sometimes called ultrasonic transducers) measure the distance to or the presence of a target object by sending a sound pulse, above the range of human hearing (ultrasonic), toward the target and then measuring the time it takes the sound echo to return. Knowing the speed of sound, the sensor determines the distance of the target and sets its outputs accordingly. If temperature changes or fluctuations are present, some ultrasonic sensors can automatically apply an offset scaling for temperature compensation. Applications fall into three general categories:


    Tank Level ApplicationsLiquid Level 

    • Tank Levelliquids & solids in open and closed tanks
    • Water MonitoringManaging for conservation, efficiency, and safety
    • Water Management – Water level in streams, canals, channels, and ponds
    • Liquid Flow – Measuring liquid height in flumes, weirs, and channels to calculate volumetric flow of water and eluents
    • Flood & Tsunami Warnings – Level of streams and bodies of water to warn communities
    • Fuel Monitoring – For inventory of fuel, usage, theft


    Distance Ranging & Dimensional

    • Roll Diameter – Paper, film or foil to identify web tension, amount on a roll 
    • Loop Control – measuring the free loop of material as it is being moved from one machine to another to prevent breakage
    • Height & Size – Objects such as boxes, containers, etc.
    • Position feedback – The position of an object can be used in a closed loop system to maintain or control position


    Object Detection or Proximity Detection

    • Objects can be detected for security, counting, inventory or robotic obstacle avoidance. People can be detected at kiosks or determined to be approaching or leaving. Targets can be monitored over the full sensor range or restricted within user-defined distance ranges
    • For longer range applications for detection, presence, or absence of objects or materials, obstacle avoidance, etc.

    Industrial ultrasonic sensors will detect both large and small targets, including liquids, solids and granular materials. The size, shape and orientation of the target will affect the maximum distance at which it can be detected, and the sensor is not affected by optical characteristics such as color, reflectivity, transparency, or opaqueness.


    How Are Ultrasonic Sensors Used?

    Need to know how much diesel fuel is in the tank, how high the water level is under the bridge, or whether the chicken feed will last longer than the chickens? Do you want to ensure the proper amount of water is fed to crops, monitor for theft or a spill from a tank? Is turning on a pump to refill a tank, or start a motor when the level gets to a certain point, or trigger an alarm? Ultrasonic sensors are used in these and hundreds of more applications.

    Ultrasonic sensors will detect both large and small targets, including liquids, solids and granular materials. They are used with electrically noisy machinery including motor drives and other electrical and electromechanical controls. Non-contact ultrasonic sensors have distinct advantages in challenging environments where corrosive, scaling, coating, or dirty materials are likely to negatively impact the performance and maintenance costs of contact sensors. Non-contact ultrasonic sensors are also desirable where the material being measured cannot be corrupted by contact with any measuring device.

    Temperature can affect an industrial ultrasonic sensor but can be compensated for with the right sensor. Humidity change is generally not a significant factor (0.036% / 10% RH change). Normal atmospheric pressure changes or small pressure changes in vessels will not affect ultrasonic sensor operation either.


    High-Quality Ultrasonic Sensors From Senix

    Ultrasonic signals give autonomous and no-contact tools the ability to register nearby obstacles and surfaces. At Senix, we manufacture an array of ultrasonic sensors for use across different industries and applications. Contact us today to see how our distance and level sensors can benefit your operation, or browse our online catalog now. For assistance with selecting the right ultrasonic sensor for your needs, check out our selection guide.

  6. Ultrasonic Sensor Selection Guide

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    Ultrasonic sensors are engineered to measure the distance to a remote object through the air without physically touching it. They determine this value by emitting high-frequency (ultrasonic) soundwaves toward the object being measured, receiving the reflected wave, and calculating the time between emission and reception. Due to their unique operational characteristics, these distance measurement sensors find use in a wide range of industrial and scientific applications where non-intrusiveness is critical. As a result, ultrasonic sensor manufacturers produce sensor products in numerous variations to meet different measurement requirements and restrictions. While this broad selection makes it possible for customers to find a sensor that suits their unique application, it can also make it more difficult to determine which one is right. Fortunately, the experts at Senix are here to help. 

    At Senix, we specialize in designing, manufacturing, distributing, and supporting high-quality ultrasonic sensors. Equipped with over 30 years of experience supplying these non-contact distance measurement sensors to end-users and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) across a variety of industries, we have the expertise to help customers identify the right product for their needs. 

    In the following guide, we detail the ultrasonic sensor selection criteria we consider when providing customers with product selection assistance. Choosing the ideal sensor depends on numerous variables, including: 

    • The measurement application
    • The distance of the object being measured
    • The output requirements
    • The environmental conditions

    What Is the Measurement Application?

    Ultrasonic sensors are used in various non-contact distance measurement applications, each of which carries different requirements and restrictions. The sensor you choose should fulfill the demands of your application, whether you need stainless steel sensors for corrosive environment operations, cross-talk-resistant sensors for multi-sensor operations, or wireless-enabled sensors for remote measurement operations. 

    Typical applications for Senix ultrasonic sensors include:  

    • Water MonitoringThey measure the level of water to facilitate irrigation, stream, river, canal and sea monitoring, and floor and tsunami warning operations. 
    • Tank Level MonitoringThey measure the level of materials within a tank to calculate the current volume and indicate if and when the tank must be refilled. 
    • Distance RangingThey measure the distance to an object for dimensioning, positioning, and object ranging operations.
    • Object DetectionThey detect whether an object is present, rather than the distance between them and the object, within a specific distance window. 
    • Hydrofoil & Nautical: They calculate the flying height of hydrofoil and other types of boats. 
    • Wireless Level Monitoring: They measure material levels within streams, tanks, and other targeted areas and wirelessly transmit the information to authorized users for remote monitoring. 

    In all of these applications, it is important to consider the chemical characteristics of the object being measured when choosing the sensor design and construction. For example, if water is being measured, a general-purpose sensor may suffice. On the other hand, if a strong chemical is being measured, a more chemical-resistant model (e.g., ToughSonic CHEM) may be more appropriate.

    What Is the Maximum/Minimum Measurement Distance?

    If a sensor is too close to an object, it may not be able to measure the distance accurately. If a sensor is too far from an object, it may not detect the object at all. The sensor chosen for a distance measurement application must be properly rated for the expected minimum and maximum measurement distances. Factors to consider when determining the useful operating range required (i.e., the material window) include: 

    • Material State: Liquids and solids behave differently when hit with soundwaves, which results in different interactions with ultrasonic sensors. For liquid measurement applications, we recommend choosing a sensor with a range that is at least 25% greater than the expected maximum measurement distance. For dry measurement applications, we recommend a sensor with a range that is at least 50% greater than the expected maximum measurement distance. 
    • Size, shape, and orientation. The size, shape, and orientation of the material affect the maximum distance at which it can be detected. Large, flat water surfaces are among the easiest to detect at a distance, while curved or granular objects are harder to detect at a sensor’s maximum range. 

    Senix sensors are available with a maximum measurement distance of about 50 feet. Different models offer different maximum measurement distance ranges—e.g., general-purpose (50 feet), chemical (35 feet), and hazardous area (25 feet). 

    What Sensor Output Is Preferred?

    Sensor outputs are set based on the measurement reading or, in override conditions, the lack of a detected target or user-selected response algorithms. Senix ultrasonic sensors can provide one or more simultaneous outputs to various connected devices (e.g., computers, displays, programmable logical controllers, etc.). The output options available are: 

    • Analog: the voltage or current output signals vary proportionally to the measured distance
    • Switch/Relay: the switch outputs turn on or off at set distances to start and stop certain external actions or indicators at predetermined distances
    • Serial Data: the output data is transmitted sequentially to a connected device

    When choosing between these three output options, it is important to consider the type of system you are plugging the sensor into and the devices connected to the sensor. 

    What Are the Application Environment Conditions?

    What Are The Application Environment Conditions

    Ultrasonic sensors can offer reliable distance measurement performance in a variety of industrial environments. However, they must be engineered to withstand the conditions found in that environment. Some of the environmental factors to consider when choosing an ultrasonic sensor include: 

    • Temperature: The speed of sound varies depending on temperature, which can affect the accuracy of the distance measured between the sensor and the targeted object.
    • Weather: Ice, snow, dust, mud, and other environmental material buildup can block the sensor face, which can prevent the ultrasonic soundwaves from being transmitted or received. Additionally, the ingress of contaminants, such as water, can affect sensor function. ToughSonic sensor models are constructed with full epoxy potting, UV-shielded cables, and IP68 / NEMA-4X / NEMA-6P stainless steel or polymer housings to ensure durability in harsh outdoor environments.
    • Pressure/Vacuum: Ultrasonic sensors are not designed for use in high-pressure or vacuum applications.
    • Ultrasonic noise: Ultrasonic noise generated by nearby equipment (e.g., air nozzles, pneumatic valves, and ultrasonic welders) can interfere with measurement operations. Computable programmable models can be configured to ignore these effects.

    Senix: Your Expert and Partner for Ultrasonic Sensor Need

    Ultrasonic sensors play an essential role in a wide range of non-contact distance measurement applications. For sensors you can rely on in your most critical operations, turn to the experts at Senix. 

    Our sensors find use in demanding distance measurement applications across the globe. Check out our ultrasonic sensor selection! For additional information about our products or assistance choosing one for your needs, contact us today.