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Bottle Fill Level Detection

Bottle Fill Level Detection Image

Application: Detect level of pills in a bottle

Challenges: Fill levels of pills can be inconsistent

Solution: Banner Engineering's Q4X and Q4X Series Sensors

Benefits: Uses an averaging feature to provide a more consistent fill level measurement

To get the most accurate level of pills in a bottle, an analog sensor can provide feedback on height of pills to alert operators if the height seems too low or too high. Measuring the fill level of pills in a bottle can be challenging for some sensors as they create an inconsistent surface of many heights, edges and gaps between each pill.


The Q4X analog sensor is set up in trigger mode and uses the averaging feature to provide a more consistent fill level measurement. Banner’s Q3X sensor, whose output wire is tied to the Q4X’s remote input wire, is used to detect the leading edge of the pill bottle and has a one-shot output timer setup based on the conveyor speed to determine when and how long the Q4X will measure.

Products Used in this Application:

Tablet Level Sensor:  Q4XTULAF300-Q8

Trigger Sensor:  Q3XTBLD100-Q8

If any laser sensor was taking only a single measurement to determine the fill level, inconsistent measurements could be observed depending on whether the measurement was taken from one of the top pills or in between pills. One approach to solving this is to take multiple measurements and send the information back to the PLC to determine the fill level. The Q4X analog makes this process much easier and more reliable because it will measure across the varying surface and output a single analog value based on the average measurement. This technique can provide a more consistent fill level measurement while reducing the amount of PLC programming potentially required.

The Q4X four-digit display shows distance measured in millimeters “mm,” but also has an option to display the analog output “V.” The four-digit display also provides easy-to-read feedback and allows for minimal setup time. With a rugged, stainless steel housing, the Q4X analog sensor stands up in the most aggressive environments, including heavy-duty washdown environments.

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