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FMCW 60GHz radar level sensor

How does a radar level sensor work?

How does a radar level sensor work?

Discover all about the latest radar technology for measuring levels in tanks, IBCs and reservoirs.

Radar level sensors are often seen as expensive and complex in use. However, thanks to rapid developments in the radar and chip industry, it is now possible to apply powerful and reliable radar measurement systems at a fraction of the cost. This also applies to the management and measurement of liquid stocks. But how does it work? We will discuss the basics of (FMCW) radar technology and how you might benefit from radar level sensors.

Ultrasonic versus Radar.

In the oil and chemical industries, ultrasonic sensors have been applied for many years. Hence, an ultrasonic sensor has a number of inconveniences when there are, for example, temperature and pressure fluctuations. It is also sensitive to dust and dirt. To guarantee accurate and reliable measurements in all process- and weather conditions, radar is the only solution.

Staal Instruments' radar sensor works with Staal Technologies' in-house developed FMCW radar chip. Because it is in-house technology, Staal Instruments is able to really leverage this radar-on-chip solution, making it super energy efficient and highly accurate and reliable.

The FMCW principle.

FMCW stands for frequency modulated continuous wave. Electromagnetic pulses are transmitted to the fluid. Due to FMCW, the transmitted pulses have a range between 57 and 64 GHz. Because the transmitted signals constantly change in frequency, there is a frequency difference between the transmitted signal and the signal that bounces back from the fluid. The reflected signal is subtracted from the signal that was emitted at the time, resulting in a low frequency that is proportional to the distance from the level. This signal is then further processed. This results in fast, highly accurate data points that are then sent to the platform to be read out by the user.

If you are interested and want to dive into the physics behind this principle? Visit this website!

Applications of a radar level sensor.

By using radar technology, a radar level sensor makes it possible to measure the volume of many types of tanks and liquid storage units. It is even possible to measure through a (double) walled plastic tank. This way, the sensor never comes in contact with the content of the tank.

Below is a list of common storage units for which radar is very suitable:

  • IBC, poly IBC
  • Varibox
  • Oil tanks
  • Drums
  • Storage tanks
  • Water tanks
  • Waste water


Left: radar level sensor on plastic drum. Right: radar level sensor used on an IBC.

Radar offers large number of advantages in most applications:

  • Measurements are not influenced by temperature and pressure fluctuations
  • Measurements are not affected by dust and dirt
  • Radar is able to measure through double-walled IBCs such as Poly IBC and Variboxes
  • With a non-contact radar level sensor it is possible to measure without touching the liquid
  • Accuracy of up to 2mm is possible in ideal conditions

If you are in the market for a suitable solution for remote level measurement, Staal Instruments offers highly accurate and easy to use level sensors with a modern data platform. Read more what our customers have to say about our sensors.

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