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Industrial mm-Wave

FMCW 94/10 Millimeter Wave Distance Sensor

94GHz Millimeter Wave Industrial Distance Sensor

Precise measuring of bulk materials in mines and hoppers helps to control raw material inventory at minerals and chemical industries

The primary application of FMCW 94/10 Millimeter Wave Distance Sensor is a high-accuracy non-contact level measurement of large volumes of bulk materials in hoppers and silos at minerals and chemical industries. The examples of use are hard-rock mines, cement hoppers, and other bunkers with adverse environmental conditions such as dust, corrosive gas, fog, high level noise. The Distance Sensor can also be used for liquid level measurement at huge industrial tanks where there is a fuzzy edge of liquid because of foam or vapor. The example of that application is volume measurement in tanks at large breweries.

94GHz Millimeter Wave Industrial Distance Sensor

Today most popular sensors types at industry applications that could meet the performance requirements for high-accuracy non-contact level measurement are laser, acoustic, microwave radar and millimeter wave radar. While laser and acoustic sensors work well in liquid level measurement, they become helpless at conditions of high dust level, strong air current and extremely high noise (underground blasting) that are common in hard-rock mines. Regarding microwave radar sensor, it emits too wide beam that limits its use at deep ore passes or at small-diameter bunkers. Because of wide beam, the microwave radar sensor cannot be used to explore surface profile. The precise detection of surface profile would be important for huge bunkers like cement hoppers to calculate actual volume of substance in the bunker.

The Distance Sensor is based on millimeter wave FMCW (frequency-modulated continuous wave) radar principles. The FMCW radar is the best choice for industrial sensors where signal linearity, high sensitivity, low cost and unprecedented reliability are a must.

The FMCW 94/10 Millimeter Wave Distance Sensor is free from laser, acoustic, and microwave radar shortcomings. It is characterized by a narrow beam that's good for enclosed areas like ore passes. Because of 94GHz FMCW radar operational frequency that is equivalent to 3mm wave length, the sensor provides an excellent penetration of dust and water vapor. The Distance Sensor works well even with a dust sticking on antenna. With a narrow beam, the Distance Sensor can build a precise surface profile at a hopper (mechanical scanning required). The operation range of Distance Sensor is 300m, that allowing using it at deep mines, where typical passes are 50-150m but rarely even longer.

To facilitate installation, mounting and alignment at field condition, the sensor is built as two modules; a front end and a separate signal processor connected by a 10m shielded cable. A local graphics display and keypad are incorporated into the control unit. The front end and antenna are housed in robust metal case. The signal processor and power supplies are built into a commercially available housing with signal access via cable glands. To allow for installation by a single technician, the weight of processor box is 1.5kg and the front end is 8kg.

To use Distance Sensor within complete data acquisition system on an enterprise, the sensor has 4-20mA current loop interface using MODBUS protocol. For more manageability the sensor has Ethernet 10BaseT socket made in dust and moisture-proof embodiment. Max UTP-cable length between Distance Sensor and control PC is up to 1000m for current loop and 100m for Ethernet signaling. The radar transmitter at the Distance Sensor complies with international safety regulations. Its 10mW emission power is about ten times less than an emission of typical mobile phone.

Read report: FMCW 94/10 Millimeter Wave Distance Sensor prototype in the field tests in Copper Cliff mines, Ontario (Canada).

Other example of Distance Sensor installation. Photo (PDF, 200K)

Test report: FMCW 94/10 Millimeter Wave Distance Sensor can be used as part of the railways "Avoid collision systems" to identify any objects on the rails. ELVA-1 offers the detailed description of Distance Sensor demonstration in real conditions. Download here.

FMCW 94/10 Distance Sensor Specifications

Distance Sensor Performance

Distance Sensor resolution

0.005 m

Range of heights of Sensor position above the surface of material

0.6 to 500 m

Main reflector diameter size

300 and 600 mm

Distance Sensor radar transmitter emission power

10 mW

Distance Sensor radar operating frequency          

94 GHz

Power supply voltage

+18 - +36 DCV optionally 110/220V AC

Distance Sensor radar power consumption

20 W

Operation mode


Distance Sensor Head Specification

Sweep Range, MHz

505.472 962686326

Sweep time, ms


Interface protocol


Sampling rate

4096 points per 12.285 ms

Data range

14 bits

Power supply voltage

External Power supply



Communication connector


Ambient temperature

-30 to +50 C

Atmospheric pressure

84.0-106.7 kPa (630-800 Torr)

Relative humidity at 35 C and lower, no more than


Vibration amplitude at 5Hz to 25Hz band, no more than


Controller NZ6100 Specifications


20 digits, 4.75 mm height
4 lines Liquid Crystal Display


Power LED

Control Unit Power Supply

85-265 VAC, 47-63Hz, 15W optionally +18 - +36 DCV

Membrane Keypad

27 keys including 8/18 function keys


RS-485 or TBD

Communication protocols



290mm W x 240 mm H x 13mm D

* Resolution of 0.01m can be guaranteed on distances up to 100m

Download Distance Sensor Operational Manual (PDF 300 KB)

The FMCW 94/10 Millimeter Wave Industrial Distance Sensor is designed in cooperation of Nienschanz-Automatics ltd. with ELVA-1 Millimeter Wave Division.

Delivery time 6-12 weeks for all models depending of required specs.

All ELVA-1 distance sensors are warranted for one year after receipt.

How to Order:

Specify Model Number FMCW 94/10-A

A - AC voltage power supply options

Specify in order 1 = 110 VAC/60Hz ,or 2 = 220 VAC/50Hz, or 3 = 100VAC/50Hz power supplies

Example:  To order radar meets the following specification: 110 VAC/60Hz, should be ordered as FMCW 94/10-1



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