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Easy Access To Inventory

A once daunting undertaking, access to reliable information is easier than ever, thanks to L&J Technologies evo 2600 radar technology.

Highlands Texas, just 20 miles east of Houston, features ZXP Technologies, a leading packaging, blending and distribution service for automotive, commercial, and industrial lubricants as well as bulk power products. Spanning 40 acres, ZXP Technologies specializes in antifreeze, automotive lubrication and bulk powder products. The facility, also serving as the company’s corporate headquarters, features over 200 tanks and nearly 450,000 square feet of warehousing and covered facilities.

Rail spur complete with boxcar loading, truck loading docks and a three acre barge facility off the Houston Ship Channel keeps an average of 4500 truckloads and 1000 rail car shipments moving per year. Altogether, ZXP Technologies has the capability to facilitate over one hundred million gallons of annual production.

With over two hundred formulation and blending tanks, keeping inventory has historically been a challenge. "We used float and tape gauges but our staff required higher level accuracy for gauging levels and they required more routine maintenance," says Operations Manager Bobby Ballard. "We also have flow meters, but they are high maintenance and wildly inaccurate."
Tank Storage Cover

This article was featured in part in Tank Storage Magazine

As ZXP’s operations expanded, the inefficiencies with level gauging only compounded. "As we added more tanks it was only getting worse," observed Health, Safety, Security and Environmental Manager, George Browning. "It was clear we needed to look into alternative solutions."

"We looked at radar as a possibility when they first hit the market, but we were quickly discouraged by the cost and installation issues." Early radars were equipped with large ‘horns’ that required specialized nozzles on the top of tanks. This often required an additional penetration on the top the tank. "Those early radars took a great deal of effort just to get them on the tanks," notes Ballard. "Tanks had to be taken out of service in order to cut new nozzles. This was time consuming and very challenging to coordinate across multiple tanks."

Guided Wave Radar was also initially considered, but the technology presented challenges. Guided Wave Radar, in which microwave pulses are directed along an installed cable are then reflect off the product surface and back to the unit. "Many of our tanks are deemed ‘mixers’ which keep our product continually moving. Any contact with the product could create potential problems and unnecessary risk," noted Ballard.

L&J engineering’s evo 2600 Radar Gauge

L&J engineering’s evo 2600 Radar Gauge

Aware of the requirements presented at ZXP, Greater Chicago based L&J Technologies confronted the challenge with the advanced and compact evo 2600 Radar Level Gauge. With a +/- 3mm standard accuracy, e.WAVE display (both on tank and optional ground level), the radar provides accuracy and reliability that ZXP Technologies required. Advancements in radar technology have given plant management an alternative to traditional gauging and guided wave products. Affixed on top of a tank, radar level gauging technology uses a radio frequency signal in the Gigahertz (GHz) range to detect prodcut level.

The advantages of radar are numerous. Radar is non-contact, and contains no moving parts. Perhaps best of all, tanks are not always required to be taken out of service for installation. "When we started researching radar technology, we found the features we required, but noticed a lot of the competition had a large amount of plastic on the materials in construction," recalls Ballard. "The features, quality and cost of L&J’s evo 2600 Radar Gauge impressed us."

L&J engineering’s evo 2600 radar is the best option providing all the benefits of radar technology without a complex installation process. The simplicity of the evo 2600’s Setup Wizard made the transition easy and painless. Paired with the MCG 2150 Remote Calibrator, the ZXP staff was able to access, view, and change programming data without ever removing the explosion proof housing. "Once the gauge was affixed to the tank, we simply entered in a few set values with the calibrator," Says Ballard, "Within a few minutes, we were able to get information that previously would take hours to get."

"We still hand gauge some of our tanks," concedes Ballard. Like anything new, ZXP's management is still getting familiar and comfortable with the new technology. "We’ve been very satisfied with the new gauges," adds Browning. "We look forward to working with L&J Technologies as we expand our operations."

The L&J Technologies family of companies includes L&J engineering, Shand & Jurs, GPE, Omnitrol and Delavan. For more information please visit: www.ljtechnologies.com.
L&J engineering’s MCG 1350M Ground Level Display

L&J engineering’s MCG 1350M Ground Level Display

This article was featured in part in Tank Storage Magazine.


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See Also:

evo 2600 Radar Gauge evo 2600 Radar Gauge

MCG 2150 Remote Calibrator MCG 2150 Remote Calibrator

MCG 1350M Ground Level Display MCG 1350M Ground Level Display