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1. (WO1998049529) APPARATUS FOR MONITORING THE VOLUME OF A PARTICULATE OR CLUMPY MATERIAL
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CLAIMS

1. An apparatus for monitoring the volume of a flow of particulate or clumpy material, the apparatus including:
transmitter means for transmitting a signal across a flow path of a particulate or clumpy material;
receiver means opposite the transmitter means for receiving the signal after transmission across said path and providing a data signal related to the volume of material flowing through the path; and,
controller means adapted to analyse the data signal to produce an output indicative of the volume of material flowing through the path.

2. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein, the transmitter means is in the form of a linear array of separate transmitting units and the receiver means is in the form of a linear array of separate receiving units equal in number to the transmitting units and wherein individual units of one array align with individual units of the other array across the path.

3. An apparatus according to claim 2 wherein, the respective arrays are dimensioned and juxtaposed so that all material flowing through the flow path must pass between the arrays .

4. An apparatus according to claim 3 wherein, the transmitter means is pulsed at a frequency in the range of 200 Hz to 2000 Hz.

5. An apparatus according to claim 4 wherein, the transmitter means is pulsed at a frequency of approximately 1700 Hz.

6. An apparatus according to claim 4 wherein, the receiver means is sampled synchronously with the pulsing of the transmitter means.

7. An apparatus according to claim 2 wherein, the data signal is a number S in the form of a digital word number being indicative of the number of receiving units whose input of a signal from a corresponding transmitting unit is blocked or otherwise attenuated by the material at the time of sampling of the receiver means.

8. An apparatus according to claim 7 wherein, the controller calculates the instantaneous volume of material flowing through the flow path by application of the algorithm F= S where F is the calculated instantaneous volume, S is the data signal and K is a calibration constant.

9. An apparatus according to claim 8 wherein, the controller is further adapted to provide an accumulated volume of material by generating a running sum of F.