What is a marine ballast pressure sensor and why is it important to the marine industry?

What is a marine ballast pressure sensor and why is it important to the marine industry?

3 min read

What is a marine ballast pressure sensor and why is it important to the marine industry?


What are they key components of the Druck marine pressure sensors?
  • Stainless Steel 316L and Titanium construction options to reduce risk of saltwater corrosion and improve sensor.
  • High overpressure capability to meet flexing demands and fluctuations in water intake.
  • Stable piezo-resistive pressure silicon pressure sensing technology at the core of the sensor, ensuring accurate pressure measurements are made without damage to the diaphragm.


How does a marine pressure sensor work?
  • When the water level changes in the vessel’s ballast tank, the marine sensor experiences a change in pressure which results in the piezo-resistive diaphragm flexing. This movement produces an electrical signal, relative to the force of pressure. This output is then stored as real time data for the engineering crew, enabling quick responses to any anomalies in output or efficiency.
  • Druck’s piezo-resistive pressure sensing technology is an industry standard for accurate and stable pressure measurement.


What is ballast and why is it important to modern vessels?
  • A liquid ballast is a water storage component, built into the design of the vessel, to maintain the stability and weight distribution of the ship. The liquid ballast tank takes on, and releases water, to compensate for vessel load or location.
  • This intake of water is used for the ballasting and de-ballasting process; the volume of water taken in and released is measured by marine qualified pressure sensors to ensure the levels of water are accurate to keep the vessel afloat.


Why are pressure sensor important to the marine industry?
  • Reliable pressure measurement to keep the buoyancy of the ship at optimum level during journey through the water. Buoyancy is also important during the loading and unloading of cargo, accurate pressure sensors are a key safety component in the vessel’s design.
  • Having the maximum cargo load, whilst ensuring safety at sea, ensures operators to maximise the return on investment for each voyage. Using the most effective marine pressure sensors is an important component in expanding the load of cargo a vessel can take every fraction of a ton of cargo aboard means more revenue for operators. Therefore accurately controlling ballast tank water intake is a factor that cannot be overlooked.


Why is controlling the pressure on a ship’s ballast a vital parameter?
  • Navigating through vastly changing water conditions means ocean vessels can effectively change buoyancy to ensure safety during sailing.
  • Controlling the water levels and pressure in a ship’s ballast is also important to the bilge water system, firefighting system, as well as the onboarding and retention of seawater for buoyancy.


What safety measures should be considered when using a pressure sensor in the marine application?
  • Accuracy – when dealing with large volumes of water, accuracy in the pressure measurement is vital as small error bands can correlate to thousands of litres of seawater. This can make a real-time difference in fuel spent, cargo onboarded and safety during poor water conditions.
  • Reliability – pressure sensors are not intended to last just one journey. With a typical cargo vessel having a lifespan of up to 30 years and travelling the world seven times over during a year, accurate ballast tank measurement needs to be reliable over a long period of time. When choosing a marine certified pressure sensor, consider the technology deployed, and the pedigree of the supplier. You cannot compromise quality and longevity for price.
  • Resistance to corrosion – being exposed to brackish, salty seawater, marine pressure sensors must be engineered to be resistant to saltwater exposure and be designed using resistant material.


Why choose a Druck marine pressure sensor?
  • Druck’s UNIK5600/5700 marine certified pressure sensing platform has been qualified to, and complies with International standards, regulations and Marine Law. With a high accuracy specification of ±0.04% Full Scale (FS) across a pressure range from 70 mbar (1 psi) to 700 bar (10,000 psi), Druck UNIK5600/5700 series is proven to deliver accurate and reliable water pressure measurements from –40 to 80°C.
  • Utilising over 50 years of experience and pedigree in pressure measurement and sensing, Druck is uniquely positioned to support customers across the globe with their pressure challenges.


Talk to the experts in pressure to find a solution for your application.

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Technical Expert

James Ford is a Senior Product Manager at Druck, a Baker Hughes business with a passion for the Marine industry, he has over 15 years experience product management and business development as well as passion for technological advancements within the Marine Sector.

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