7 Mistakes in Choosing a Tank Gauging System - Emerson Automation Experts

7 Mistakes in Choosing a Tank Gauging System

While the Emerson Exchange conference unfolds this week in Brussels, the Tank World Expo is happening in Dubai. I wanted to share this post from Rajagopal-Kittu from this event.

Emerson's Rajagopal Kittu

Author: Rajagopal-Kittu

Whether you own a small tank farm or are managing huge, multiple facilities, you should find it easy to monitor and control activities efficiently and cost effectively.

Below are some mistakes that terminal operators make in choosing a tank gauging system. These apply to all applications, including custody transfer, inventory management, product movement, loss control, overfill protection and many others.

1. It is not scalable.

7 Mistakes in Choosing a Tank Gauging SystemA poor tank gauging system does not allow you to combine devices freely, so old devices from the previous system become useless. It is also not capable to automatically configure devices, which slows down the commissioning process.

2. It does not comply with safety standards.

Reliable radar level gauges should provide you with continuous surveillance and are most proven on storage tanks. Make sure that the system’s level and alarm output devices are IEC 61508 certified, SIL 2 and SIL 3 capable, and specified for reliable, fail-safe certified Overfill Prevention system.

3. It lacks precision.

In custody transfer applications, extremely high accuracy measurements are required at “installed” conditions. A small measurement error can equal thousands of gallons of oil products, which means thousands of dollars in inventory loss. Make sure that the system not only is certified by OIML and many national institutes, but also insist on third party verification and certification of installed accuracy.

4. It is approaching obsolescence.

Old tank gauging systems do not have advance technologies that provide a wide array of monitoring and control benefits. The use of wireless technology, for example, can reduce installation cost by up to 70 percent. Emulation technology, on the other hand, allows you to replace old level gauges while maintaining your existing field wiring and host system without the use of external protocol convertors.

5. The software is complicated.

A good tank gauging software that is developed in-house should provide you with a simple, reliable, real-time overview of the system along with functionalities that do not require long training hours. Level measurement control, volume calculations, alarm handling and automatic report handling should be a breeze.

6. The spare parts are expensive.

Level gauges should provide outstanding reliability. Choose gauges with no moving parts to minimize spare part requirements. Moreover, make sure that the vendor is able to demonstrate the availability of common spare parts for your entire tank farm rather than tank and antenna specific parts. Only this can provide you with replacement hardware components quickly to avoid costly disruptions.

7. Lifecycle support is not helpful.

To avoid this, partner with an expert provider that can help you design and effectively execute a maintenance strategy for your tank gauging system locally. A long-term lifecycle strategy will enable you to sustain high reliability performance and insight into the system.

If you would like to know more, Emerson experts will be at the TankWorld Expo 2016 in Dubai for deeper discussions on tank gauging system implementation.


  1. Mike Miller says:

    Thanks, that’s a good review

  2. Jim Cahill says:

    Mike, I appreciate the feedback… thanks!

  3. Wisnu Sudibjo says:

    I face the following problem:

    1. My company production scheme is as follows:
    a. Produce the crude from small Gathering Station and deliver the crude to Main Gathering Station. The crude then sent to Terminal which have a tank farm and big storage capacity before lift the crude to the tanker.
    b. In the small Gathering Station and Main Gathering Station there is no water treatment facilities so the Gathering Station sent the ‘gross’ crude oil to the Terminal.
    2. During day to day operation, we need to measure the level of crude and free water to determine stock and delivered crude or received crude.
    3. The water level is out of water bottom sensor available range (more than 1 or 2 meters and then the total liquid is less than 1 meter after pumping).
    4. Water bottom sensor also affected so much by sludge. We need to clean it out more frequently.

    Do you have any standard that govern the usage of ATG to measure the interface of crude-water level?

    I search in API MPMS but there is only API MPMS 3.1B that talk about ATG but the measurement of crude-water interface is out of it’s scope.

    Any idea regarding this issues?

  4. Jim Cahill says:

    Hi Wisnu, Thank you very much for sharing this issue with me! I’ve contacted a knowledgeable tank gauging friend in your area and asked them to respond to you.

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