When choosing the right sensors for an application, it often comes down to looking at why they fail in the first place. You could have the best sensors in the field, but if the conditions are not adequate, this can cause issues in several areas.
To avoid the common pitfalls, take a look at some of the ways to decide on the right sensor for the environment.
While some sensors only operate in specific conditions, you may need to choose one that has a wide range to ensure its accuracy. The reason that many sensors fail is that the environment they are in is not optimal. There may be factors such as temperature extremes of application intensity to consider. Each of these aspects will affect how a sensor works and ultimately, how long it lasts.
You will also have to consider changing environments. This could mean that the sensor is near welding equipment and may experience fluctuations in temperature. Other aspects, such as any wash-down procedures you use, could also affect it. Although these areas are not directly related to the sensor, they could change their performance.
Many sensors on the market can handle different capacities. This can range from a few milligrams to thousands of kilograms. You can also choose models that are built with overload protection. Plus, if you want a low profile and force sensor manufacturer, they can custom build sensors to fit the parameters of the application space.
The response on a sensor is also a crucial factor. This is the time that it takes to respond from no load to a change in load. This response time may also be impacted by environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and location.
Type of sensing
If you are looking for an industrial sensor, determining what type of sensing you require is essential. There are many factors to consider, including:
- Distance to target
- Position of an object
Composition of target
The material of the application or target is another crucial element. Many factors can affect the reliability and performance of a sensor, including whether the composition is metallic, magnetic, solid, or liquid. Different sensors can handle each of these with accuracy. However, getting the wrong type for your application will cause issues with data precision.
Space matters when choosing a sensor. You may have a limited area in your application to install the right sensor. The shape is another factor, as even if there is enough room, you may have to tilt to position the sensor in a different way. This can also affect its performance ability.
In-line or submersible application
Sensors that can be submerged or that are fitted in-line with a piping system are an ideal way to create a continuous monitoring application. This works well for fluid-borne requirements such as dissolved oxygen, pH levels, and chlorine. This type of sensor also saves space and can help save money compared to other sensors that only carry out the periodic sampling.
While accuracy is one of the most essential elements of a sensor, accuracy goes hand in hand with repeatability. This means – does the sensor create accurate results each time under the same conditions? Even if a sensor has excellent repeatability, it does not mean it is accurate. Consistency is another of the main factors of repeatability.
Asking what type of controller interface is required is another valid question. In most cases, modern sensors are 3-wire DC types. However, there are other variants, including 2-wire DC and 2-wire AC/DC.
The electrical connection of a sensor is also another factor. There are typically a few primary connections that are suitable for most, including:
- A pre-wired cable that has flying lead
- Integrated quick-disconnect connector
- Pigtail or pre-wired cable with molded-on connector
You may also have heard of a terminal chamber connector, but these are not commonly used in today’s environments.
Get expert advice
While there are many variants in choosing the right sensor for your application, asking an expert is the best way to ensure the right option for your requirements. Some many companies and manufacturers specialize in creating industry-suitable sensors that have advanced capabilities. If you have any special needs, they will also be able to accommodate.
Eliminating the wrong choices can help you get the right options for your project and looking at the above aspects will guide your decision.