Cindy Del Rio, Negosentro | A ‘sensor’ has become an umbrella term to cover anything from motion sensors to metal detectors and are often considered a high tech piece of electronics, more at home in a spy movie than your day to day life. But the truth is, sensors come in all shapes and sizes, with different degrees of accuracy and methods of measurement. We look at just 5 ways sensor tech is making your life easier without you even knowing it.
- Automobile technology – parking sensors
Seen in countless car adverts during the last few years, parking sensors offer the driver the very latest tech to assist with parking your vehicle in narrow and tight spaces. Formerly, ultrasonic was employed but nowadays manufacturers are moving onto electromagnetic for its reliability in all conditions and ‘invisibility’. Found in the car’s bumper, the parking sensor operates using electromagnetic waves that detect an object of a certain mass within an elliptical field of a couple of feet. The sensor picks up the disruption as a voltage change and reports back to the vehicle’s onboard computer that analyzes and measures the distance to millimetres.
- In restaurant kitchens
“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” is a quote that everyone has heard said of the restaurant industry. However, what strangers to this industry will not have heard of is the useful tool, helping chefs keep track of accurate temperatures in the fast paced kitchen environment; all the more important staying on top of hygiene standards. An IR thermometer emits an infrared wave capable of reading the surface temperature of an object within a range of -50 to 500 Celsius. That’s perfect to ensure freezer temperatures are cold enough or frying oil is at the correct temperature. Temperature ranges can vary depending on need, but most good electrical suppliers, such as RS Components, will stock a broad selection of IR thermometers.
Another sensor that seldom gets mentioned but performs many an important role around the home is a thermocouple unit. A thermocouple is the most common measurement of temperature in domestic and industrial machinery. Depending on the metal alloys, a thermocouple can accurately detect extreme heat changes and react incredibly quickly to the change if programmed to do so. You would find this invaluable component in your refrigerator or more importantly it is used to detect a flame on a boiler or fire, which would trigger a signal that would either open or close the gas valve.
- Home Security Systems
Another sensor to use infrared. As easy as spy movies make it look to avoid alarm detection, modern home security systems are so sophisticated they could detect a spider in the room (naturally, you can set the minimum mass limit that the alarm detects). Otherwise known as motion sensors, these sensors emit a straight, undisturbed infrared beam. When, for instance, a burglar disrupts the beam, the brief change in temperature from room to body temperature will be interpreted by the sensor detector as a voltage change, thus triggering the alarm. Other applications of IR motion sensors can be used to accurately count the passing of various items on a conveyor belt, or in motion sensing nature photography. Check here for an in depth video!
- Conveyor belt packaging
Ever wondered how food packages are produced so quickly on the conveyor belt with minimum mess? Any precise insertion, such as soup in a can, would require the use of a sensor. In this case, you would need the more accurate and finer margin inductive proximity technology, that can measure disruptions typically within a range of a few millimeters or less. This is how the cans would be maintained and positioned on the conveyor belt to ensure they line up perfectly with the mechanical filler arms.