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Reliable Sensors for IIOT from TE Connectivity

Sensors are the ‘eyes’ of our industrial processes, we rely on them to interpret the physical world and translate it into electrical signals which enable our machines make decisions to operate safely and efficiently. The emergence of IIoT has drawn increasing attention to the communication technologies between our machines and the analysis of our sensor data, however without accurate, precise and reliable sensors – the data is worthless.  

TE Connectivity offer a wide portfolio of industrial sensors optimised for high-reliability even in the harshest of industrial conditions. Whether you are looking for board-level devices to integrate into your own OEM design or fully packaged solutions, TE Connectivity have a solution.

This article is the first in a multi-part series featuring the TE Connectivity Industrial Sensing portfolio. In future articles we will deep-dive into each sensing technology.

TE Connectivity Sensors for Industrial Sensing

Temperature Sensors

Temperature sensors are critical to maintaining optimal conditions for industrial processes, monitoring and protecting machinery and maintaining a safe working environment for staff. Selection of a temperature sensor depends on a number of factors, contact or non-contact, operating temperature range of the sensor, accuracy, reliability, sensitivity, power consumption and cost.

TE Connectivity offers the following types of temperature sensors for industrial sensing applications:

  • NTC thermistor sensors & probes
  • Digital temperature sensors
  • RTD sensors & probes
  • Thermocouple sensors
  • Thermopile infrared sensors
  • Thermopile infrared digital sensors

TE Connectivity’s Temperature System Sensors (TSYS) series of digital temperature sensors (187-9068) offer very precise readings with an average accuracy of +-0.1°C. This makes the TSYS sensors extremely useful for applications where the changes in process temperature must be detected very quickly. It is available in an ultra-small package allowing for use in space-constrained environments. The sensor’s circuitry has been optimized to consume a very low current for maximum battery life.

Pressure Sensors

Pressure sensors are used in a variety of application to convert physical pressure, of a liquid or gas, into an electrical signal. Application areas vary from airflow measurement in medical devices such as ventilators, to altitude measurement in aircraft and depth measurement for underwater vehicles.

TE Connectivity offers pressure sensors that measure pressure from 5mBar to 7Kbar, and their sensors are based on piezoresistive MEMS and silicon strain gauge technology. There is a possibility to configure pressure sensor to a certain range depending on the application. Pressure sensors from TE Connectivity are available as board-level devices read to be integrated into your OEM design or as packaged solutions ready for an industrial environment.

Pressure sensors for industrial applications include:

  • Board-level devices – ready to be designed into your OEM device. These devices require protection from the external environment, dependent on your use-case
  • Media Isolated modules for integration into an OEM design – these devices simplify your design by protecting the sensing element from harsh conditions
  • Fully packaged wireless pressure transducers – device ready for installation and integration
  • Fully packaged wired transducers – device ready for installation and integration

If you need to capture data fast – the TE M5600 (187-9061) and M3200 series offer a fully-packaged solution ready for installation. The M5600 is a Bluetooth 4.0 wireless pressure transducer with stainless steel and polycarbonate enclosure to satisfy harsh industrial environmental conditions. The M3200 is perfect measuring gas or liquid pressure, particularly in difficult media as such as contaminated water, steam, and mildly corrosive fluids within industrial machinery. This device offers analogue or digital output making it ideal for integration into existing or new designs.

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Position Sensors

Position sensors are used in industrial automation and control to understand and verify the position to system components. Reliable position sensing is important to enable motors and actuators to be controlled appropriately at the right time. Position sensors measures mechanical position of a component based on a chosen point of reference.  TE Connectivity’s position sensing solutions include linear, rotational, tilt and fluid level sensors. They base their solutions around core technologies such as inductive, potentiometric, magneto-resistive, hall effect, reed switch, electrolytic and capacitive sensing.

Position sensors for industrial applications include:

  • Rotary displacement sensors
  • Linear position sensor
  • Magnetic sensors
  • Rotary encoder sensors
  • Cable actuated position sensing

One of the key solutions from TE is Anisotropic Magnetoresistive (AMR) Linear Position Sensors  (189-7256) suitable for harsh environments where dirt, dust and oil may be present. This non-contact technology is particularly suited to harsh conditions which make other sensing technologies unreliable. Some of the other features of this product are high precision of 10-50µm accuracy with sub µm resolution for linear use as well as ability to operate at high temperatures ranges up to 150°C.

Vibration/Force/Torque Sensors

Vibration analysis is vital for maintaining equipment health and avoiding unexpected downtime costs, thus it is commonly implemented as a part of condition monitoring and predictive maintenance initiatives. Accelerometers offered by TE are robust to harsh industrial environment, yet precise, enabling machine performance to be reliably measured.

Force and Torque sensors are used for measuring robotic automation and control operations. These too are available as individual components or as integrated devices from TE.

  • Embedded accelerometers
  • Plug and play accelerometers
  • Torque sensors
  • Force sensor elements
  • Force load cells

TE offers both AC and DC board mount accelerometers based on MEMS and piezoelectric technology. Their devices demonstrate long-term measurement stability and in hermetically sealed packages to withstand harsh environments.

Humidity Sensors

A humidity sensor or sometimes called hygrometer is an electronic device that measures the amount of water vapor in the air. The ratio between the moisture content and maximum possible moisture level at certain air temperature is the relative humidity (RH). Relative humidity is an important parameter that needs to be continuously monitored, since machinery and equipment in industrial setting can only withstand humidity and temperature within their operating ranges.

HTU20D(F) is TE’s new digital relative humidity sensor with temperature output. This compact (3 x 3 x 0.9 mm) device provides calibrated, linearized signals in digital, I²C format. HTU20D(F) is compatible with automated assembly processed, which makes it suitable for high volume and low cost industrial applications. Specifically, in printing equipment, where the space is constrained, the compact and low power sensor such as HTU20D(F) would be ideal.

Ambient Light Module Sensors

Ambient light sensor are used to measure the level of light present in the device’s environment. The value detected by the ambient light sensor is known as illuminance. It is measured by sensing the amount of light that reaches the surface of the sensor.

 Organisations are increasingly attempting to reduce heating, cooling and lighting costs to comply with environmentally focussed initiatives. Smart HVAC systems can make effective use of ambient light sensors to understand building occupancy and outside environmental conditions to more efficiently control heating and cooling, as well as lighting conditions throughout the day and night.

The latest product from TE Connectivity AmbiMate sensor module MS4 series  (187-6131) features not only ambient light sensor, but three other core sensors, including temperature, humidity and motion sensors. The board can be further customized to include VOC (Volatile Organic Compound), CO2 and sound detection sensors. The AmbiMate sensor module shortens the design cycle for Building Automated and Connected Home solutions, by providing seven industry-standard sensors on a single board.

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Ultrasonic Sensors

Ultrasonic sensing is based on measuring the time it takes for ultrasonic sound wave to travel to the target and back. The most common application of ultrasonic sensors is to measure the distance between objects. However, the same technology can be used for detecting air bubbles in liquids. Infusion pumps, haemodialysis and blood flow monitoring are just few examples of where the presence of air bubbles is not only not desirable, but it could be dangerous.

The AD-101 air bubble detector (187-9059) from TE Connectivity is specifically designed for non-invasive continuous monitoring of fluid. The sensor can detect air bubbles as small as 70 percent of tube diameter. Standard tube sizing of 4mm and 6mm are available, but customization between 3 and 10 mm is also possible. AD-101 air bubble detector offers a user-friendly interface with TTL (transistor-transistor logic) output for two possible states: pass if fluid is ok and fault if air bubble is present. Power-on and continuous self-diagnostic tests run by the device ensure its functionality.

TE Industrial Sensing

Selecting the correct sensor for your application can be difficult however we hope this article has given you a good insight into the technologies available from TE Connectivity. In subsequent articles we will be looking at each application in more detail. Stay tuned for more articles on DesignSpark!

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Lead Inspiration Engineer @ RS Components and DesignSpark
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