The 15th Trade Fair for Sensor, Measuring, and Testing Technology

The 15th International Trade Fair for Sensor, Measuring, and Testing Technology will be held from 6 to 8 May on the fair grounds in Nuernberg. The conferences and forums complementing this worldwide biggest event is expected to be attended by 580 exhibitors including the major technology and market leaders of most product groups. Pressure, force, and tension are the major mechanical parameters generally detected by resistive or piezoresistive sensors. Today, optical pro­cesses – usually based on fibre-optics, which reveal a change in phase length or light propagation time when elongated due to strain, for instance – are also available.

Among the extraordinary products at the SENSOR+TEST this year are sensors for monitoring turbulences in wind channels or for detection of aerodynamic properties of vehicles and aircraft. At a rate of rise of under 25µs, piezoelectric transducers attain sensitivities of up to 220V/kPa. Another design, also with ICP amplifiers, can be used for quick load tests to detect tensile, compressive, or impact forces, for example, as occur in drop tests or crash tests.

Pressure measurement for gases and liquids is a measuring task carried out millions of times all over the globe. Thus, the major makers in China have also opted for the SENSOR+TEST and present their well-compensated pressure transducers and transmitters with piezoresistive sensor elements for OEM applications. Sensor elements from waver level on up can be supplied.

A complete contrast to this technology is provided by stainless-steel diaphragm sensors coated with thinfilm strain gauges. These sensors are particularly robust and thus suited for measuring ranges of up to 1, 000bar. In fact, these non-oil-filled measuring cells can be welded right into the application. For application in vehicles or machines they are available with a CANopen output, with sampling rates of 1, 000 per second, and freely adjustable attenuation.

Specially reliable pressure transducers and switches from Norway are suited for aerospace and military technology. They have electronically deletable memories for calibration data and digital outputs. For general industrial application are pressure sensors in a robust plastic casing for quick bolt-mounting assembly providing a standard 2-wire output signal.

Completely different requirements apply to pressure transducers used in car air-conditioning, for instance. An experienced American company will be showing its latest development for this application. The pressure sensor element with a thinfilm strain gauge, including a temperature probe and ASIC, is integrated in a housing which allows temperatures beyond those expected during normal vehicle operation.

Another new field of application for pressure measurement is targeted by Finnish manufacturers: Supposedly the worldwide most precise and smallest absolute pressure sensor (typical resolution 0.01mbar) with integrated temperature sensor is satisfied with 6µA at a sampling rate of 1Hz. Target applications are mobile phones, watches, and handheld devices with an altimeter, it seems.

For medical applications, reusable sensors for invasive physiological blood-pressure measurement, including comprehensive mounting equipment, will be presented in Nuernberg, for example for application in intensive care or for dialysis. Also available for these applications are pressure switches which work without auxiliary power, enabling severely handicapped persons to control a wheelchair, for example.

Last, not least we have the classical process transmitter, in other words low differential pressures at high system pressures with an overload capability of up to 500bar: Here designs are presented with digital displays and measuring-range matching for the task at hand.

Measurement of mechanical tension also includes detection of loads on car bumpers, airfoils on planes or wind generators, on constructions, such as bridges. Thanks to their small dimensions and electromagnetical immunity, light conductors, such as single-mode glass fibres or polymer optical fibres, are used for this purpose. To assess local mechanical tension contactless systems with a camera and the necessary software can be seen in Nuernberg.

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