Automatic Roof Monitoring: What Is It and Its Purpose?

Automatic Roof Monitoring: What Is It and Its Purpose?

A major risk factor for tank structures is damage to the roof. While a catastrophic collapse is rare, unidentified damage from one weather event can decrease the ability of a structure to withstand future events.

What is AFRM?

Roof Monitor is a solution that helps tank facility managers reduce costly and dangerous downtime by monitoring for structural collapse. It also empowers service crews to perform efficient snow and water removal without damaging sensors. The automatic monitoring system uses wireless technology to capture real-time data sent to a cloud-based software portal. It allows multiple users, including service representatives, to access live information and set alert protocols. This way, everyone can be on the same page, avoiding confusion and misunderstandings.

Unlike traditional level gauges, the non-contacting radar system can track roof tilt by measuring the distance between the tank’s position and the tilt sensor on the floating roof. Integration is quick and easy if a wireless network is installed at the site. If not, a gateway and repeaters can be easily installed to ensure reliable communication. This makes installing this technology a cost-effective option for any tank. This system is perfect for new and existing tanks and can be retrofitted without removing the tank tops.


It’s rare for a serious roof collapse to happen out of the blue, but often the causes are known. Using automatic floating roof monitoring means that operators can be proactive instead of reactive. They can send out crews for a detailed inspection of the tank’s roof before a more serious failure occurs. This means the risks of product loss, environmental compliance issues, and structural damage can be mitigated. It’s also a great way to improve productivity because fewer people must go onto the roof, reducing downtime and costs. A smart roof system comprises sensors and a control unit attached to the roof. This is installed for new construction projects or as a retrofit to existing structures. Guided wave radar solutions can also monitor the roof’s buoyancy, enabling it to detect whether the tank is floating higher or lower than normal. A reference tank gauge needs to be installed for this, which will then communicate with the radar.


Using wireless devices and the power of guided wave radar, the sensors can be mounted directly on the tank shell without additional flexible wiring or repeater units. This avoids potential damage to the roof structure and allows the sensors to communicate with the control room over a wireless network, even when the roof is in a low position. The system monitors the roof’s condition and detects problems before they can cause significant damage to the tank. By monitoring for things like roof tilts, buoyancy, and roof sticking, the system can help prevent structural failure. This moves the focus from reactive inspections to proactive monitoring. Other devices, such as level switches and hydrocarbon detectors, can be added to the system to provide more detailed information about the status of the tank roof.


The monitoring system is configured with alert protocols customized by the customer. A specialized service partner is tied into the system, with crews available to respond quickly to snow and water removal requests. Their thorough knowledge of the sensor locations reduces the risk of damage to the sensors when they are being cleared. Using automation technology to monitor the roof continuously means that any issues can be caught sooner, allowing for better maintenance. It can also eliminate the need for frequent physical inspection, which is often difficult to schedule or may need to catch issues early enough. Smart sensors can also help reduce humidity damage to structures by optimizing the ventilation of buildings based on their conditions.

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