IOP Institute of Physics

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Tracerco Ltd

For the development of a gamma radiation-based thickness measurement system which has enabled significant increases in efficiency in the petrochemical industry.

The build-up of debris or unwanted chemical residues is a challenge in many areas of chemical processing, reducing efficiencies, obscuring the true levels of chemical or product in a system and, in some cases, creating a potential safety hazard.

Standard methods of measuring the level of liquid in a metal vessel can be inaccurate, as material build-up on the vessel’s inside walls can obstruct the measurement. Tracerco’s innovation, OptimusTM, uses a gamma radiation source and segmented detector, together with advanced data processing, to determine both the level of a chemical in a vessel, and the amount of other material that may have built up within the container.

The innovation has led to considerable efficiency savings in the petrochemical industry and beyond by allowing for optimised processes, reduced downtime and safer operating conditions. In 2014 Tracerco is due to open a bespoke research and development facility and has plans for further development of the technology.

The company

Based in Billingham, Teesside, Tracerco began as a small research team within Imperial Chemical Industries. Today, the company is part of the Process Technologies Division of Johnson Matthey. They employ 150 people across four offices in Billingham and over 300 people in 28 locations globally.

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