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VEGA Point Level Replacement for NBS (Obsolete)

By Evan Hyde,

This video is part of a series that Evan Hyde of is doing with RefComm vendors to allow them a platform to demonstrate in-depth their knowledge and technology with our audience.

Knowing the location of coke, liquid, or foam in a coke drum is crucial for the safety and reliability of the delayed coking process. This information helps operators manage the coking process effectively, ensuring smooth operations and preventing potential hazards. While a separate video explores gamma continuous level instruments and their operation, this video reviews gamma target or point switch level instruments, a technology that has been around longer than continuous gamma levels but has only recently gained popularity in delayed coking unit (DCU) applications.

Neutron backscatter (NBS) point source level instruments have been used in DCUs for over 40 years to measure levels within the coke drum. However, these instruments are no longer manufactured by their single vendor with area ratings (ATEX/IECEX) for this service. This development has prompted many sites using older NBS technology to consider upgrading to either gamma continuous or gamma target/point level instruments—or ideally both—to maintain safety and reliability in their operations.

In this video, viewers learn how gamma target or point switch level instruments work and the unique benefits they offer. These instruments use gamma radiation to detect the presence or absence of coke, liquid, or foam at specific points within the coke drum. Unlike gamma continuous level instruments, which provide a continuous reading of levels throughout the drum, gamma target or point switch instruments give operators a discrete indication of levels at certain points. Some advantages of gamma target/point switch level instruments over gamma continuous levels or NBS technology include:

Overall, this video demonstrates how gamma target or point switch level instruments can play a valuable role in delayed coking processes. They offer a reliable and straightforward way to ensure safety and operational efficiency, especially as sites transition from older neutron backscatter technology to modern gamma-based instruments. By understanding how these instruments work and the specific benefits they bring, operators can make informed decisions about upgrading their level measurement systems.

To learn more about this technology, visit VEGA’s website.

To have your equipment/technology featured, please reach out to Evan directly or visit his website.

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Posted by: Evan Hyde

Evan Hyde is the director of field services for He previously was president of C2 Nano Technology where they researched surface treatments to combat fouling & corrosion issues in cokers & other petrochemical process units. He was a Senior Engineering Advisor for Becht Engineering Co., Inc. and has consulted on processing improvement and reliability initiatives for coking clients around the world. Prior to joining Becht, Evan worked for ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, as a process engineer, with assignments in research, and troubleshooting for heavy oil upgrading equipment. He holds a B.S. of Chemical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

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