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Smart Sensor Explained | Different Types and Applications

Learn about a very powerful group of devices called Smart Sensors.

In this article, we’re going to introduce you to a very powerful group of devices called Smart Sensor.

The 4 Industrial Revolutions

Alright…let’s go. The Smart Sensor plays a very important role in the Smart Factory of Industry 4.0 which is considered as the fourth revolution of the manufacturing industry.

The First Revolution brought us steam and water-powered mechanization.

The Second Revolution introduced mass production using electricity.

The Third Revolution established automated manufacturing processes using computers and robotics.

And now the Fourth Revolution has launched the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Smart Factory.

Forth Industrial Revolution
What makes a Base Sensor different than a Smart Sensor?

Before we get to that question, let’s review what a base sensor is, what it does, and how it is integrated into process control loops.

A base sensor is a device that senses something. For many years we’ve had sensors that can see, feel, hear, smell, and even taste.

In the world of instrumentation and process control, we define a Sensor as a device that detects changes in physical properties and produces an electrical output in response to that change. 

A Thermocouple is a temperature sensor that will produce an increasing voltage across it when exposed to increasing temperature.

Base Sensor

In industry today, thousands of thermocouples are connected to transmitters in temperature process control loops.

In the process control, we condition the thermocouple voltage and convert it to an industry-standard signal that represents our controlled temperature range.

Temperature Process Control Loop

Smart sensor

OK…so…what if we had a sensor that did more than sense singular basic physical properties?

What if we had a sensor that also performs data conversion, digital processing, and can communicate to external devices and the Cloud?

Smart Sensor Communication

What is a smart sensor?

In very general terms a Smart Sensor has a base sensor, a microprocessor, is communication-capable, and has some form of onboard diagnostics.

Smart Sensors are capable of a variety of functions and options. Smart Sensors can perform self-assessments and self-calibration.

Smart Sensor Technology and Functions

They can detect issues such as sensor contamination, switch failures, and open coils.

Smart Sensors Issues Detection

Smart sensors with multi-sensing capability

Some Smart Sensors are capable of multi-sensing and can measure pressure, temperature, humidity, gas flow, and more.

Multi-Sensing

Manufacturing intelligence

Smart Sensors play a very important role in the new era of manufacturing intelligence. They will become more and more important as the industry develops increasingly sophisticated and complex processes.

Manufacturing Intelligence

Summary

OK, let’s review…

– The Smart Sensor plays a very important role in Industry 4.0 which is considered as the fourth revolution of the manufacturing industry. 

– A Smart Sensor can do more than sense singular basic physical properties

– Smart Sensors can perform data conversion, digital processing, and can communicate to external devices and the Cloud.

– A Smart Sensor has a base sensor, a microprocessor, is communication-capable, and has some form of onboard diagnostics.

– Smart Sensors are capable of a variety of functions and options.

– Some Smart Sensors are capable of multi-sensing and can measure pressure, temperature, humidity, gas flow, and more.

You might want to review one of our other articles:

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The RealPars Team
By Ted Mortenson

By Ted Mortenson

Automation Engineer

Posted on Aug 31, 2020

Ted Mortenson

By Ted Mortenson

Automation Engineer

Posted on Aug 31, 2020

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