Torque Measurement System

To address the demand for a more accurate, reliable, customizable, and easy-to-use force measurement device, Interface Force Measurement Systems (Scottsdale, AZ) has introduced the AxialTQ torque measurement system. At the heart of its innovation is its rotor and high-precision sensing element technology, which when combined with next-generation electronics, produces outstanding accuracy. AxialTQ is specifically designed for the expanding torque measurement needs in the automotive industry, as well as the aerospace and industrial sectors. Features that allow the system to be fully customizable and flexible include its ability to use simultaneous analog and digital outputs to enable real-time control and data collection. Additionally, the flexible capability of the stator and output module mounting offers an infinite number of configurations to meet any application needs.

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Particulate Matter Sensor

The SPS30 particulate matter (PM) sensor represents a technological innovation in optical PM sensors. Its measurement principle is based on laser scattering and makes use of Sensirion's (Staefa ZH, Switzerland) contamination-resistance technology. This technology, together with high-quality and long-lasting components, enables accurate measurements from the device's first operation and throughout its lifetime of more than eight years. It can sense particulate matter with particle diameter down to 2.5 microns (PM2.5). These particles are among the most dangerous air pollutants. Due to their small size, PM2.5 particles can travel deep into the human lung and cause a variety of health issues; for instance, by triggering asthma attacks or contributing to cardiovascular disease. The SPS30 will enable the implementation of innovative air quality monitoring devices that prevent air pollution damage.

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Wireless Pressure Gauge

Emerson Automation Solutions (Austin, TX) has introduced a WirelessHART® pressure gauge. The Rosemount Wireless Pressure Gauge enables remote collection of field data, keeping operators updated on changing field conditions and improving personnel safety by reducing manual operator rounds and field exposure.

The gauge utilizes piezoresistive sensor technology. With the flexibility to accommodate changing process conditions, it also has up to 150X overpressure protection compared to traditional gauges, which provides for a safer field environment by using two layers of process isolation.

Bourdon tube gauges have traditionally been a mainstay for pressure readings but are limited to visual indication of process conditions when an operator is present. They also use moving parts, which can break or wear over time due to use and vibration. This wireless pressure gauge, however, eliminates the common weak points and its 4.5-inch gauge face provides easy field visibility.

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Multi-Turn Absolute Encoders

Sensata technologies (Swindon, UK) is introducing model MH multi-turn encoders with either Ethernet/IP or ProfiNet interfaces. They provide up to 16 bits per turn and 14 bits of turns counting. The compact packaging allows these encoders to be integrated into existing designs with a (-40 to +85C) temperature range and an IP65 rating. Included in the design is a geared turns counter that is immune to electrical or magnetic interference. In addition, they feature reverse polarity and short circuit protection as standard.

Applications include packaging, where they help to identify the position of products along the process line; in metal forming for determining the absolute position of strips, bars, rolls, or tubes that need to be marked, scored, slit, inspected, or formed. They are also often used to determine the angle of rotation and position of a crane boom, as well as the amount of cable payout.

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1D Time-of-Flight Sensor

The new sensor from ams (Premstaetten, Austria) is designed for implementing presence detection, for example to trigger the operation of a facial recognition system when the user's face is in range. Supplied in a 2.2mm × 3.6mm × 1.0mm package, the TMF8701 sensor fits in a narrow bezel, helping smartphone manufacturers to realize widescreen phone designs that have a high display screen to body ratio. It integrates a VCSEL infrared emitter, multiple SPAD (single photon avalanche photodiode) light detectors, time-to-digital converter, and a histogram processing core. The device implements all histogram-based presence detection, distance measurement, and proximity sensing algorithms on-chip. It also separately identifies reflections from fingerprint smudge contaminations on the display screen and optical reflections from objects beyond the cover glass, such as the user's face, maintaining reliable performance even when the sensor's aperture is dirty.

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Confocal, Compact Sensor

The new, confocal chromatic confocalDT IFS2404-2 sensor from Micro-Epsilon (Raleigh, NC) is used for high precision distance and thickness measurements of transparent materials. With a diameter of 12 mm, it can be integrated into restricted installation space. The lens enables high measurement accuracy and a small light spot diameter.

Together with the confocalDT 2421/2422 controller, the new sensor offers an excellent price/performance ratio for OEM purposes. Available as either a single- or a dual-channel version, these confocal chromatic measuring systems are an economical solution, particularly for high volume applications. They operate on a non-contact, and therefore wear-free, basis while the active exposure regulation feature in the CCD line accurately and rapidly compensates for changing surfaces. Data is output in real time via an EtherCAT interface. The thickness calibration feature enables precise thickness measurements across the entire measuring range of the sensor.

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Sensor Development Kit

ON Semiconductor (Nuremberg, Germany) is introducing the RSL10 Sensor Development Kit, designed to provide engineering teams with a comprehensive platform for developing IoT applications with smart sensor technology, enabled by Bluetooth Low Energy radio.

The kit brings together the RSL10 System-in-Package (RSL10 SIP) with a range of low power sensors from Bosch Sensortec. The development platform provides 9 degrees of freedom (DoF) detection and environmental monitoring, including ambient light, volatile organic ompounds (VOC), pressure, relative humidity, and temperature. An ultra-low noise digital microphone is also included, along with a user-programmable RGB LED, three programmable push-button switches, and 64 Kbit of EEPROM. It includes Sensortec's highly integrated BME680 environmental sensor to detect a broad range of gases for air quality applications, the BMM150 geomagnetic sensor, and the BHI160 smart sensor for high accuracy motion sensing.

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Tiny MEMS Pressure Sensor

The LPS22HH MEMS piezoelectric absolute pressure sensor from STMicroelectronics (Geneva, Switzerland) is so accurate and stable that manufacturers can eliminate one-point calibration (OPC) after soldering, to increase throughput and efficiency.

With a pressure noise equivalent to 5cm, the LPS22HH enhances controls such as collision avoidance for drones or other unmanned vehicles. Its high accuracy also improves features of smartphones and sport watches, such as indoor navigation. Its temperature compensation relieves the load on the host microcontroller or application processor. It has a fully molded package with miniaturized apertures that prevent particle contamination. Energy-conscious features include a 0.9μA power-down mode and low active power, drawing 4μA at 1Hz, including temperature compensation, to maximize battery runtimes. It supports I2C, SPI, and MIPI I3C, 2-wire sensor-bus interface connectivity, and has a 128-bit FIFO for storing sensor data to minimize host intervention.

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BACnet™ Temperature/Humidity Sensor

The BN Series room temperature and humidity networked sensors from ACI (Middleton, WI) are a cost effective, single or dual point native BACnet™ sensing solution designed to reduce the need for additional input modules or building management controllers when a limited number of input points are available. The BTL Certification provides confidence that these sensors may be used in any new or retrofit installation using a BACnet MS/TP controller with third party BACnet devices. The reduced number of BACnet objects helps to reduce the sensor cost and simplifies installation and programming time. They're designed for measuring ambient air temperature/humidity in office buildings, schools, clean rooms, pharmaceutical labs, hospitals, data centers, and retail stores.

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Environmental Sensors Based on MEMS Technology

Bourns’ (Riverside, CA) new sensors feature state-of-the-art technologies that provide the ability to operate in conditions that typically cause many sensors to fail. The BPS110 and BPS120 pressure sensor models deliver extremely accurate ultra-low pressure sensing capabilities for sensitive applications. They offer fully calibrated and compensated output for more efficient processes as well as long-term stability for reliable repeatability.

The Model BPS130 pressure sensor line features harsh media compatibility and high temperature operation with high accuracy. This sensor family offers particularly stable performance over the product's lifespan, and the ability to work with a wide range of pressures. Bourns also offers port configuration and calibration customization for all three BPS pressure model families.

The Model BPS230 family offers precision relative humidity sensing in a small (2.0 × 2.0 × 0.75 mm) surface mount package. Bourns’ new line of humidity sensors features low current consumption for battery supported applications and low voltage operation compatibility with high reliability over the life of the sensor.

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Automotive Time-of-Flight Portfolio for In-Cabin Monitoring Systems

Melexis (Tessenderlo, Belgium) is announcing new ToF sensors suitable for automotive applications including gesture recognition, driver monitoring, and people/object detection. The MLX75024 ToF QVGA sensor doubles the sensitivity of the previous generation while maintaining the same resolution and ambient light robustness. This allows it to operate in lower light levels or reduce the illumination power required by at least 30%. System efficiency is further enhanced by a 50% reduction in current consumption. The resulting lower heat generation allows the design of more compact cameras. The SNR is two times better in low light conditions and distances greater than 1m.

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Digital Force Measurement Gages

The DFC and DFG Series Digital Handheld Force Gages from L.S. Starrett Co. (Athol, MA) are optimized for production and quality control. Advanced automatic testing can be attained with the DFC Force Gage controlling a Starrett FMM Digital Force Tester, or basic testing can be performed using the DFG gage. They feature an easy-to-view high-resolution OLED color backlit display and auto-off function. Primary and secondary windows show test results, and out-of-tolerance results displayed in red. A multi-function keypad has programmable softkeys. Adjustable sampling rates help capture peak loads, and filters can be applied to peak and display values. The gages have a USB port for transmitting data to a computer.

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Flow Meter Analog Output Sensor

The AW-Lake Company (Oak Creek, WI) introduces the FAC-S™ Analog Output Sensor that hardwires with any flow meter to provide voltage, current, or Bluetooth connectivity of readings. It also supports a Bluetooth interface for remote programming and flow monitoring from a smart phone. A Bluetooth-enabled mobile app connects to the FAC-S, enabling wireless setup and troubleshooting from a mobile device. The mobile application also supports basic scaling and advanced functions, allowing for remote correction of nonlinear flow meters to keep a linear analog output. The sensor input range is from 0.25Hz to 5,000 Hz with five user-selectable outputs including 4 – 20mA, 0 – 5V, 1 – 5V, 0 – 10V, and 2 – 10V.

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Health Sensor Platform

The MAXREFDES101 Health Sensor Platform 2.0 from Maxim Integrated (San Jose, CA) incorporates a comprehensive range of Maxim products to provide a rapid prototyping, evaluation, and development platform for medical applications, providing accurate monitoring of body temperature, heart rate, and electrocardiogram (ECG).

It's comprised of a watch enclosure that houses a display, battery, micro board, and sensor board, a power-management IC, dual-mode Bluetooth® technology, and a six-axis accelerometer and gyroscope. The platform's sensor board includes an optical sensor, integrated biopotential and bioimpedance analog front-end (AFE), temperature sensor, and biometric sensor hub. The real-time data can be accessed from anywhere.

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Ultra-Precision Dimensional Gaging Probes

NewTek Sensor Solutions (Pennsauken, NJ) introduces the MBB Series of Ultra-Precision Dimensional Gaging Probes engineered for highly accurate and repeatable measurement of dimensional parameters in a variety of quality control, industrial metrology, and inspection equipment applications. Offering excellent linearity, high precision, and infinite resolution, these spring-loaded AC-LVDTs are ideal for use in roundness measurements, automotive testing, metal component gaging, and materials testing.

They feature a stainless-steel probe assembly and 8 mm diameter housing protected to IP-65. Incorporating a linear ball bearing assembly fitted to a non-rotating probe shaft, the probes produce an output voltage linearly proportional to the probe's shaft position with minimal radial play. The use of an AC-operated LVDT for probe shaft displacement reduces errors due to friction, resulting in a highly precise measurement of the position of a target surface. They're designed for greater than 100 million cycles with linearity of better than 0.05% of full range.

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Compact Precision Laser Measurement Sensor

Banner Engineering (Minneapolis, MN), announced the release of the LM Series laser measurement sensor designed for high stability, reliability, and precision. It has 0.004 mm resolution and repeatably measures targets of varying color and reflectivity, not just a white card. It can function in actual industrial environments where ambient temperature, vibrations, and other conditions can greatly impact measurement accuracy. With response speeds as fast as 0.5 ms and a sampling rate of 0.25 ms, it can be used for high speed applications with fast-moving targets and it has a temperature effect of just +/-0.008 mm/°C. They can be programmed via IO-Link, with the remote Teach function, or using the removable remote sensor display (RSD), which enables simple sensor setup, recipe control, and configuration storage, as well as easy monitoring of sensors in difficult-to-access locations.

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Sensor Technology Magazine

This article first appeared in the March, 2019 issue of Sensor Technology Magazine.

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