This article first appeared in the Railway-News magazine Issue 5 2021.
The idea of Gobius Sensor Technology was born at a party 12 years ago when Anders Meiton, an entrepreneur and sailor, tapped his dinner partner’s glass before preparing to make a speech. The distinct sound made by the two glasses – one full and one almost empty – occupied Meiton’s thoughts for the better part of the evening.
The next day, a light bulb went off in Meiton’s head:
“If vibrations in liquid create different sounds, is it possible to measure the liquid levels in tanks by using just sounds and vibrations?”
Meiton’s mind raced to the matter of waste tanks due to his vast experience of travelling the seas.
“As a sailor, I know that many boats have problems with toilets. They either do not work, or the waste tank is full,” he says.
Since the 1960s, leisure boats have had toilets on board with waste tanks, but without a reliable method to gauge liquid levels. The only available technology involved measuring liquid from inside the tank. This required boat owners to drill holes and mount sensors inside the tank, which often resulted in leakage of aggressive liquids and gases.
A little over a decade ago, Meiton made strategic investments, and Gobius was born. Since then, Gobius has sold close over 100,000 sensors. The success is a validation of Gobius’s first-of-a-kind measuring technology that uniquely measures liquid waste from outside the tank.
The patented technology is based on vibrations in the tank wall to measure the liquid level in the tank. A Gobius sensor exerts force on to a tank or container wall, causing it to vibrate for a second. The heart of the sensor is a so-called exciter, which can be compared to a loudspeaker without a membrane that creates vibrations when fed with electrical impulses. The vibrations are transmitted to the tank wall, which starts oscillating. An accelerator registers how the vibrations change when the tank is full. Once the accelerometer measures the vibrations and transmits the signal to the digital signal processor, the processor’s algorithms calculate a vibration value each time Gobius performs a measurement.
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