Stockpile Height Measurement for Inventory Management and Overfill Prevention Posted in: AS2100 Accurate Distance Sensor, Fill Level Measurement, Height Measurement

Inventory management is a crucial task for any manufacturing or production-focused company, especially when dealing with bulk solids or heaped goods.

In fact, errors and inefficiencies in managing inventory cost billions of dollars in lost annual profits for businesses each year.

With the right inventory management system (IMS), companies can create happier customers, serve higher order volumes, reduce operating costs, and improve overall profitability.

However, an effective IMS requires the ability to maintain accurate, real-time visibility into inventory levels across multiple locations simultaneously.

In this post, we’ll review some of the key challenges behind inventory management and showcase how companies manage inventory effectively with non-contact laser sensors.


Managers of bulk solids often need to carefully monitor their stockpile height measurements for both overfill prevention and general inventory management.

These directors of heaped goods — such as grain, gravel, ore, and other materials — are often looking for stockpile measurement with high-accuracy, non-contact methods.

However, a key challenge exists when it comes to inventory management and overfill prevention at facilities handling bulk solids. A lack of accuracy with dry materials that are powdery, granular or lumpy in nature, and are stored in heaps, can lead to inventory miscounts and — more problematically — material overfill.


Non-contact laser sensors can provide greater accuracy than radar, weight, and other measurement methods to prevent overfill. With lasers providing high accuracy calculations of inventory, process engineers and managers can focus on improving output in their process manufacturing environment. As well, we’ll see that laser sensor enclosures and internal heaters can also accommodate extreme ends of the temperature spectrum.

When it comes to radar sensors, challenges include beam Interference due to their wide conical beams. These can falsely detect falling objects, or silo walls can also cause inaccurate readings by reflecting radar waves.

The challenges of weight sensors include the cost of installing both load cells and supporting structures. The complexity of installation can be a deterrent when it comes to existing silo structures, and this can be especially expensive for large silos. Lastly, regular calibration is vital for the maintenance of accuracy, especially when it comes to fluctuating loads.

The AS2100 is a highly accurate laser distance sensor that is designed to work well outdoors, in bright lights, and even on difficult targets such as dark surfaces. It is an ideal fit for measuring the height of stockpiles such as dark gritty or hot powdery material being delivered into containers that would be difficult to access & measure manually.


In one scenario involving a silo containing dark gritty material in a cold temperature environment, the AS2100 was mounted on a bar extending out in front of the discharge pipe. Its single point laser helped provide accuracy and, unlike radar sensors with wide conical beams, didn’t produce false height readings caused by the movement of falling production material.

With its internal heater, the AS2100 can operate in -40° Celsius or Fahrenheit (-40° is where the two scales meet). If absolutely necessary, the AS2100 can be used with enclosures provided from external vendors for stockpile measurements in cold temperatures, as long as the enclosures are set up properly. It should be noted that cleaning and maintaining the laser sensor in dusty environments is a must.


On the other end of the temperature spectrum, the AS2100 has been utilized in hot powdery environments to monitor fill level from the top of a silo. In this scenario, the laser sensor was mounted from a structure at the top of the silo. From there, the laser was exposed to half of the silo’s interior environment and half of the exterior environment through a silo opening. This helped protect the sensor from very fine powder dust.

Even with the protection of the silo shelter, temperatures approached 100° C in the sensor’s vicinity. To solve this extreme heat challenge, the AS2100 was paired with an available cooling enclosure accessory. The AS2100 Cooling Enclosure protected the sensor from hot ambient temperatures, providing continuous, accurate fill level control.


In summary, with the ability to take accurate measurements (± 1 mm) from distances up to 500 meters away, the AS2100 is the perfect laser for measuring stockpiles, silo level detection, and preventing overfill.

Related Products

AS2100 Accurate Distance Sensor

The AS2100 is a highly accurate laser distance sensor that is designed to work well outdoors, in bright lights, and even on difficult targets such as hot or dark surfaces. With the ability to take accurate measurements (± 1 mm) from distances up to 500 meters away, and a measurement frequency of up to 250 Hz, it is the perfect laser for a wide range of applications.

Sarah Maywalt
Inside Technical Sales and Support at Acuity Laser | Website

Sarah has been our technical support and sales engineer for 5+ years. If you've ever reached out to Acuity Laser for tech support, more than likely, Sarah is the one who helped you.