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Taking the measure of environmental conditions from position to light

May 24, 2018

This month’s Product Focus offers a sampling of sensors that can measure a variety of conditions: position, acceleration, barometric pressure, speed, light, and air quality, for example.

InvenSense recently released the ICM-20789, which Amir Panush, vice president and general manager of the Motion and Pressure Business Unit, calls the industry’s first 7-axis (3-axis accel, 3-axis gyro, 1-axis pressure) device targeting the drone and wearable markets. “The ICP-10100 expands our footprint into additional market segments of consumer electronics, IoT, and mobile—enabling our customers to achieve new use cases not possible with previous technology due to improved motion-sensing capabilities,” he said.

Allegro MicroSystems is offering an alternative to Hall-effect sensors with its AxMR magnetoresistive platform. “Hall-effect technology meets the needs of many applications in Allegro’s target markets, but there are certain applications, particularly in the areas of ADAS and high-efficiency vehicles, where xMR technology offers more elegant solutions relative to Hall technology,” said Michael Doogue, vice president of business development. “In these applications, Allegro’s xMR ICs provide more accurate measurement data, enable more favorable mechanical placement of a sensor IC within a mechanical system, or create smaller form-factor solutions with a lower overall cost.”

If you are shipping sensitive products, you might be interested in a variety of parameters. To that end, Yepzon Enterprises has developed its Yepzon Asset locator, now available for SMEs. “Companies delivering large quantities or valuable shipments have the need to track their shipments for the entire length of the journey,” said Otto Linna, the company’s founder. “For example, RFID-based delivery-tracking only notifies you once the shipment has reached its destination. Yepzon Asset enables quality-control during the delivery and makes it possible to react to potential accidents taking place en route.”

One of the companies that integrated Yepzon Asset into its own automation system is Valmet. “Yepzon’s interface gave us easy access to the required data,” said Esa Sairanen, product manager, process automation, at Valmet. “We could easily enable communication with a few commands. The manual of Yepzon’s technology is clear and simple, which enables our programmers to utilize it independently.”

Inductive linear position sensors

ILPS-19 Series contactless inductive linear position sensors using LVIT technology are designed for factory automation and industrial or commercial applications such as motor sport vehicles, automotive testing, solar-cell positioners, wind-turbine prop pitch and brake position, and packaging equipment. With their performance and stroke-to-length ratio, compact ILPS-19 sensors are suitable for both industrial testing laboratories and OEM applications.

Their contactless operation prevents wear-out from dither or cycling. They offer six ranges from 25 to 200 mm (1 to 8 in.) and a 19-mm (0.75-in.) diameter anodized aluminum housing sealed to IP-67. A radial cable exit version comes with swivel rod eye ends. Axial-termination versions offer either an M-12 connector or cable. Operating from a variety of DC voltages, the ILPS-19 series offer a choice of four analog outputs and all include the vendor’s proprietary SenSet field recalibration feature.

The ILPS Series also includes two larger body versions, the ILPS-27 and ILPS-27L for those applications needing a heavier duty unit, and a spring-loaded version called the ILPS-18S.
Harold G. Schaevitz Industries LLC

Extreme-temperature charge accelerometers

Models 357A64 and 357M168 are two extreme-temperature (1,200°F/649°C), single-ended-output, charge accelerometers with a UHT-12 sensing element and integral hardline cable terminating in a 10-32 jack connector. They are designed for use in research and development programs for aviation/power-generation turbines.

These two models join Model 357A63 to complete an accelerometer family with three models in similarly sized housings that withstand very high temperatures, each with a different mounting option: 357A63, up to 900°F (482°C) with stud mount; 357 A64, up to 1,200°F (649°C) with screw-tab mount; and 357M168, up to 1,200°F (649°C) with weld-tab mount.

The UHT-12 sensing element features proprietary crystal technology sealed in a hermetic package to provide long-term reliability. Reduced thermal noise spikes eliminate false alarms during monitoring. More consistent sensitivity over a wide temperature change provides greater accuracy. Shear-mode crystals prevent base strain and transverse measurement errors.

The vendor offers various charge amplifiers to support the launch of these new accelerometers. PCB Piezotronics Inc.

MEMS barometric pressure sensor

The new ICP-10100 ultralow-noise and ultralow-power MEMS capacitive barometric pressure sensor achieves the industry’s lowest pressure noise of 0.4 Pa RMS, attains the industry’s lowest power consumption of 1.3 µA, and ensures temperature stability with a temperature coefficient of ±0.5 Pa/°C, the vendor reports.

The capacitive pressure sensor can measure small pressure differences of ±1 Pa, enabling the ICP-10100 to detect altitude changes of less than 5 cm. With a temperature coefficient of ±0.5 Pa/°C, the MEMS capacitive temperature stable pressure sensor can operate over wide temperature ranges and a variety of applications.

The combination of high accuracy, low power, temperature stability, and waterproofing in a small package footprint enables improved activity identification, mobile indoor/outdoor navigation, and altitude-hold in drones, and it extends the battery life of always-on motion sensing applications.
InvenSense, a TDK Group Co.

Magnetoresistive sensor platform

The AxMR technology platform integrates high-sensitivity MR (magnetoresistive) sensor elements and high-precision Bi-CMOS circuits on a single silicon IC. Through integration the vendor is able to combine its automotive-grade, high-voltage wafer processes with high-accuracy, automotive-grade MR sensors. The result is a family of high-reliability, innovative, small-form-factor, monolithic ICs that easily fit into industry-standard IC packages. The company said the platform’s launch is the culmination of more than five years of research and development efforts to create a portfolio of magnetic sensor ICs for high-growth applications within the automotive and industrial markets.

The company said its first-generation AxMR ring-magnet speed-sensor ICs are already in production at a Tier 1 automotive supplier of wheel-speed sensors. These ICs rely on the vendor’s patented signal-processing algorithms to meet the needs of both standard and direction-detection wheel-speed sensor platforms. GMR technology enables low-jitter, rotational-speed measurements that are not possible with Hall-effect ICs.
Allegro MicroSystems

Digital image sensor

The AR0221 1/1.7-in. 2.1-megapixel CMOS image sensor features the vendor’s newly developed 4.2-μm back-side-illuminated (BSI) pixels. The company said the sensor delivers class-leading low-light sensitivity for industrial applications. Features include windowing, auto black level correction, and an onboard temperature sensor.

The AR0221 offers 3-exposure line-interleaved high dynamic range (HDR) functionality with a sensor resolution of 1936 x 1096, supporting frame rates of 1080p at 30 fps across visible and near-infrared wavelengths. Its 16:9 ratio with vivid colors and high contrast make it suitable for demanding industrial applications.

The sensor offers dual data interfaces in the form of 4-lane MIPI CSI-2 and HiSPi SLVS. Designed to meet industrial-grade specifications, the AR0221 can operate in harsh outdoor environments where operating temperatures can range between -30°C and +85°C. Packaged in a durable, reliable, and robust iBGA package with anti-reflection coating on its cover glass, the AR0221 is programmable through a simple 2-wire serial interface.
The AR0221 is in production and available now in a 12-mm x 9-mm iBGA package in RGB Bayer color. ON Semiconductor

Air-quality sensor

The SGPC3 ultralower-power gas sensor makes indoor air quality sensing available for mobile and battery-driven applications. With an average supply current of less than 0.07 mA the SGPC3 is able to provide indoor air-quality measurements with several years of battery lifetime. Based on the vendor’s SGP multi-pixel platform, the SGPC3 offers a complete gas sensor system integrated into a small 2.45 x 2.45 x 0.9-mm 3 DFN package featuring an I2C interface and a fully calibrated and humidity-compensated air quality output signal.

The vendor’s MOXSens technology provides the SGPC3 with robustness against contamination by siloxanes resulting in long-term stability and accuracy. The combination of ultralow power consumption and long-term stability makes the SGPC3 a suitable choice for indoor air-quality monitoring in mobile and battery-driven smart-home applications. Evaluation and testing is supported by application notes and sample code; the SGP evaluation kits are also available through the company’s distribution network. Sensirion

Logistics and assets tracker

The vendor’s latest Asset locator, which is designed for industrial and logistical needs, is now going to be made available to SMEs and consumers as well, the company reported. Asset combines GPS location technology and a collision, temperature, and humidity sensor, offering ongoing data on the movements of any asset in a more multifaceted fashion than a traditional tracking device. It enables careful monitoring of different types of cargo shipments and deliveries.

In addition to shipment tracking, Asset is suited to asset monitoring and protecting the fleet at work sites, ports, etc. Until now, the device has only been delivered in large orders or as part of bigger projects. But the locator is equally suitable for the needs of smaller companies and consumers as it is for large companies, because the service makes it possible to add one or several targets to monitor. As the device covers more than 150 countries, consumers can easily utilize Asset to locate their valuables worldwide.

Asset is managed using a free browser-based user interface. By default, it locates the target at one-hour intervals and shows events from the route, such as minimum and maximum temperatures and maximum acceleration. If the company uses its own system, Asset devices can be integrated into it. Asset’s functionalities and the data it provides can also be tailored via an open API. Yepzon Enterprises

Liquid level sensor

The Model 7014 high-viscosity liquid level sensor employs a proprietary conductive technology specifically designed for monitoring highly viscous (water-based) liquids. The 7014 sensor features an electrically sensitive probe surface and no moving parts or floats. With this design, there is nothing to wear, freeze, or clog, allowing for a reliable signal reading, while at the same time reducing maintenance costs.

The probe also features a wetted area manufactured with FEP (fluorinated ethylene propylene), enabling a smooth sensing surface that can differentiate between being immersed in thick liquids vs. air (the airspace at the top of the tank or container). The variance between these two readings is used to calculate true liquid level.
The 7014 sensor can be used for level monitoring in water-based paint solids, lacquers, and pulp products along with other aggressive water-based cleaning chemical combinations commonly used in industrial processing. Even in extremely syrupy and sticky viscous materials, a simple service of wiping the probe clean using alcohol will reset the device for re-use.

The sensor can be mounted in a “bottoms up” or inverted orientation with no impact on accuracy. The sensor is available with all of the common electrical outputs including resistive 10 to 180 Ω or 240 to 33 Ω, analog voltage output with both 0.25- to 4.75-VDC and 0.25- to 10.0-V versions, and current output with 4 to 20 mA. Easy-to-use GUI software includes a programmable switch function (output) that triggers an alarm or warning when the container or tank level has reached the user’s preselected point.
Gill Sensors & Controls Ltd.

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