Solids Level Measurement in Mining—A New Way - Emerson Automation Experts

Solids Level Measurement in Mining—A New Way

Douglas Morris Director of Marketing, Mining & Power Industries

Douglas Morris
Director of Marketing, Mining & Power Industries

Author: Douglas Morris

When it comes to mining there are a number of measurement applications that are unique to the industry. Accurately measuring the density of slurry and the level of an ore pile are two that come to mind. Although measuring level throughout the mining process is very common, getting an accurate solids level reading can be downright frustrating.

Radar, ultrasonic, and laser are single point measurements and the combination of irregularly shaped ore piles and dust most often cause these technologies to provide very inaccurate levels because they miss things like material buildups or cavities. Whether selling finished goods or running a concentration plant, getting a complete level picture is important in both instances and in order to do so, a three dimensional view is needed.

A new technology is available that addresses this need and uses sound to create a 3D surface image of the solids storage area. Examples of where this works are storage silos, bins, and stockpiles, regardless of the ore or mineral.

A caveat is that the sensor(s) has to be mounted to a fixed structure for reference/calibration purposes. The best way to see how this technology works is through a video.

There are many applications where this can be used and given the industry’s ingenuity, miners will find new ones that I haven’t addressed. Something not mentioned too is this technology offers a way to improve safety. Once installed, labor intensive processes like having a survey crew enter a closed material storage area to measure and collect data are permanently eliminated.

Added by Jim: You can connect and interact with other mining and level measurement specialists in the Metals and Mining and Level tracks in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.


  1. Jonas Berge says:

    It’s quite fascinating how the solids scanner builds a 3D image showing how the product is stacking up unevenly inside the silo. From the 3D image you can see how it forms a pile when the silo is loaded, and how it forms a crater with some product clinging to the walls as it is emptied. So even if the product surface is far from even, you can still tell how much is truly in there.

    If you’d like to learn more about the 3D solids scanner solves solids tricky measurement challenges there is a webinar coming up on Tuesday March 17, 2015. After the presentation you’ll have a chance to ask questions to the speaker directly. Register here:

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