In this month’s AWE International, we speak to Jürgen Skowaisa, Radar Product Manager at VEGA in Schiltach, Germany.

You claim “Radar is the better ultrasonic” – why is this?
The nature of the wave makes the difference. Ultrasonic signals are sound waves, so they are affected by temperature,
gas composition and pressure. The signals emitted by radar sensors, however, are electromagnetic waves and for them, such process conditions are of no consequence. Radar sensors are thus independent of all typical process conditions and can be used universally.

If radar is more accurate than ultrasonic and available at the same price, why does ultrasonic still exist?
From our point of view, radar will completely replace ultrasonic in process measurement in the near future. There is no application where ultrasonic works better than the new 80-GHz radar sensors. That’s why our radar sensors are equipped with the same typical connection components as ultrasonic sensors – so they can replace ultrasonic sensors 1:1.

In 2016, VEGA introduced its first radar sensors for solids with 80 GHz, and two years later, the equivalent for liquids. How do those VEGAPULS sensors differ from those you launched in 2020?
Our typical sensors are always customer-specific and exactly adapted to the requirements of the respective application. They are available with a wide variety of process fittings and in different housing and electronics versions. The new sensors are standard devices with a typical 1½” process fitting, just the right thing for applications where ultrasonic sensors are often used. This opens up completely new areas of application for radar measurement technology where, due to price reasons, radar sensors have
never been used before.

Which markets do you target most with the new compact radar device series?
Our main focus is on the water and wastewater industries where ultrasonic is still the most commonly used technology. There are also many other applications where radar has proved to be the better choice, e.g. in power plants, in small chemical tanks, and for applications in the food and beverage industry. Moreover, we see great potential in the bulk solids industry, from building materials to various applications in pet food production. In comparison to other measuring principles, radar is not affected by the process conditions and the measured product. It is a truly universal technology.

You recently announced your new VEGAPULS C series can even handle explosive ex applications…
That is correct! The new VEGAPULS C radar sensors are equipped with a fixed cable connection in order to achieve a high level of protection as well as optimum and permanent resistance. They are embedded in a welded and encapsulated PVDF housing. The new protection concept, which is both safe and simple, has so far been unique for the wastewater sector.