Non-Contact Distance Measurement

By Martin Ochieng

Background

Two types of technologies draw their application from the need to enable non-contact measurements. These technologies are optical and ultrasonic and have been used by experts worldwide for measurements and instrumentation.

Experts carried out experiments in the early adoption of these technologies to ascertain the efficacy of these approaches in a variety of conditions. These included moisture content, and type of soil; moving speed of the sensor; ambient temperature and sunlight intensity among other parameters.

The experiments revealed several benefits these approaches had and their drawbacks as well. The research conducted by these experts formed the basis of current non-contact measurement approaches including laser distance meters.

The laser distance meter

This article will focus on the laser distance meter used by engineers in making distance measurements quickly and relatively accurately as an important tool for an energy auditor.

Laser distance meters use lasers to accurately determine the distance between two objects without contact. These devices are also significantly useful to other professions relating to construction such as carpenters, masons, and locksmiths. Their popularity among a variety of technical professionals stems for its ease of use and high level of accuracy.

Uses during Energy Audit

The laser distance meter is a pretty handy tool during an energy audit. This tool provides the Energy Auditor with a quick and accurate way to measure distances between two objects.

This ease of measurement allows an energy auditor the ability to not only get a quick measurement of utilities and machines such as walk-in ovens but also allows measurements in situations where measurements would otherwise be unsafe to make. For instance, an engineer can determine the depth of an empty underground tank, the inside dimensions of a hot walk-in oven, among other hazardous environments.

The Eenovators LTD team uses the Fluke 414D laser distance meter. The figure below demonstrates the Fluke 414D used by the technical team during energy audits.

Its key features include:

  • Rugged, professional-grade laser distance meter featuring advanced laser distance measurement technology.
  • Instantly measures up to 50 m (165 ft.) with one-button point-and-click operation.
  • Offers Pythagoras calculation to indirectly measure the height from two other measurements.
  • Quickly calculate area (square feet/meters) and volume.
  • Offers easy-to-use addition and subtraction function.

Apart from the basic functionality, the device allows the user to track maximum and minimum values to enable measurements from stable measurement points and can store up to five measurement results.

The table below demonstrates the device’s basic specifications.

Conclusion

The laser distance meter is a crucial tool during the energy audit process and has provided viable measurement approaches in varied situations. These situations range from identifying the dimensions of a walk-in oven to measuring the cooled space within a massive data centre. The benefits of this tool make it a must-have for energy auditors.

Sources

J. Lee, M. Yamazaki, A. Oida, H. Nakashima and H. Shimizu, “Non-Contact Sensors for Distance Measurement from Ground Surface,” Journal of Terrarnechanics, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 155-165, 1996.
Industrial needs.com, “Laser Distance Meters,” Industrial needs.com, [Online]. Available: https://www.industrial-needs.com/measuring-instruments/laser-distance-measuring-meters.htm. [Accessed 20 April 2020].
Fluke, “Fluke 414D Distance Measuring Laser,” Fluke, [Online]. Available: https://www.fluke.com/en/product/building-infrastructure/laser-distance-meters/fluke-414d. [Accessed 20 April 2020].

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