White Paper: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Industrial Signal Conditioning – A Tutorial by Dataforth

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The need to measure and control the operation of machinery or process equipment is as old as the Industrial Revolution. Plant instrumentation has now become the nerves and brain of the modern manufacturing plant. It regulates and supervises the operation of the equipment within the plant. It also provides the means to make plants economically viable. Instrumentation allows the use of processes which would be difficult or impossible to operate without automation. Instruments have grown from purely analog systems to the ‘smart’ systems in use today, ranging from simple potentiometers to complex analyzers such as infra-red spectropho-tometers. Yet, for all the advances in systems development, analog field measurements and the electronic signals that carry them are still necessary ingredients in all systems. Analog measurements take many forms but can be roughly classified into two types—physical measurements and compositional measurements. The first type includes pressure, temperature, flow, force, vibration, mass and density. The second includes such measurements as conductivity, pH and chemical analysis. Obtaining, maintaining and improving the quality of these measurements is the goal of proper signal conditioning. Good signal conditioning preserves the quality of the measurements available and allows the plant systems to make best use of the control and data acquisition systems installed. Helping Dataforth customers achieve good signal conditioning is the goal of this handbook.

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