Ceramic Pressure Sensors - Application Examples

Posted by Seta Davidian on Dec 12, 2016 11:05:29 AM

ceramic-group-pressure-head.jpg

Ceramic pressure sensors from Metallux have unique features making them ideal in many applications. These features include:

  • Long-life
  • Robust and reliable
  • High temperature tolerance
  • Ability to have direct contact with liquids and harsh media
  • Washable

Servoflo has in depth experience in helping customers integrate ceramic sensors into their designs. Here are some examples:

  • Utilizing a ceramic sensor to develop an oil level sensor in an automotive application
  • Hydraulic & emissions controls for other types of transportation equipment
  • Industrial transducer development for use in the gas & oil industries as well as heavy manufacturing
  • Semiconductor applications to measure process flows
  • Level sensing applications such as reservoir water level management, wastewater controls and chemical processing
  • Food & beverage applications to monitor ingredient flow
  • HVAC pressure transducers to measure refridgerant levels

One of the most important aspects of our customers' success is the wide range of ceramic sensors offered. Our ceramic pressure sensor line includes many models with unamplified mV signals or signal-conditioned with analog or digital outputs. Customers can use sensors with the mV output if they are able to do signal conditioning and calibration. This allows the customer to modify pressure ranges, output, and accuracy to meet their specific application. The fully calibrated versions with voltage, 4-20 mA or I2C come in two levels of accuracy. Customers can do offset calibration after packaging the ceramic sensor. A customer can utilize these many options in one particular sensor model to create a family of products that can be offered to their own customers. 

housing.pngUnlike typical board mount pressure sensors, ceramic pressure sensors do need to be packaged. Our team of experts can assist you in designing the ideal package for your application. Furthermore, Servoflo offers a special evaluation mounting kit called MEKIT 0400 to help users test ceramic pressure sensors.  This kit costs $145 and is useful for the following 18 mm diameter Metallux sensors: ME501/ME505/ME662/ME651/ME75X/ME77X/ME780.

Learn more about Metallux ceramic pressure sensors

Download the information on the MEKIT 0400

Download Ceramic Pressure Sensor Product & Pricing Guide

Topics: Ceramic Pressure Sensors, Pressure Sensors

Sensor Design Engineering Services

Posted by Seta Davidian on Sep 26, 2016 11:48:16 AM

gauge.jpgServoflo, a premier supplier of pressure, mass flow, environmental sensors and micropumps,  is pleased to announce expansion of its design engineering services for custom sensor development. The objective is to be a primary resource for customers who require modification or customization of sensors and how they are integrated into product designs. Services include but are not limited to:

  • adding flex to a sensor
  • creating a custom flow path for mass flow sensors
  • adding Wi-Fi or BlueTooth™ capabilities to a sensor
  • adding a display
  • custom packaging enclosures
  • hybrid circuit design

flex.jpgThis one-stop solution provides customers with efficient and reliable design expertise without having to manage multiple vendors as well as streamlining assembly. Purchasing a complete solution saves customers money and time. Often, a bill of materials is reviewed and pressure is put on individual component costs. This strategy neglects the labor needed to inspect, integrate, and test various separate components such as a sensor element, cable, and package. A complete sensor solution can actually reduce overall bill of materials and labor costs. This sensor design strategy is also important for customers who may not have design expertise in these areas.

Specific application examples include:

  • Creation of a pressure gauge with display and enclosure
  • Hybrid circuit design to integrate a pressure sensor and electronics for better protection in a high temperature and high humidity environment
  • Adding a flex cable to a standard board level sensor to eliminate the assembly and testing steps at installation
  • Customized sensor calibration and output to meet a specific customer requirement
  • Design of a special flow path in a mass flow sensor for medical equipment
  • Design custom electronics to create a pressure or mass flow switch (or other environmental sensor)

If you have a special requirement you would like to discuss, please utilize the button below for fastest response.

 Discuss a custom solution

Topics: Ceramic Pressure Sensors, Pressure Sensors, Mass Flow Sensors

Hybrid Circuit Technology by Metallux

Posted by Seta Davidian on Feb 29, 2016 11:41:05 AM

chip-on-board-small.jpg

Metallux SA, based in Switzerland, not only offers ceramic pressure sensors but also thick film technology hybrid circuit design and manufacturing, i.e  screen printing on ceramic, FR4, Flex, steel, aluminium nitride, sapphire, etc. Metallux SA also offers the capability to integrate electronic components such as IC's, resistors, capacitors, etc.

Why use a hybrid circuit?

  • High temperature demands. Circuits can be designed to withstand more than 85°C or for harsh environmental conditions such has high humidity.
  • Low & medium power requirements around 2-3 kW. Ceramic is a very good heat dissipator.
  • When trimming is required. It is possible to trim the screen-printed resistor on circuits with electronical components to adjust a voltage, current or frequency output.
  • A smaller size is needed
  • Enhanced security. It is very difficult to reverse engineer a hybrid circuit.
  • Need to use resistors and conductor tracks to create a power source (such as from millawatts to 3-3 Kilowatts)
  • More resistant to shock & vibration

From design to screen printing to assembly, Metallux provides a complete hybrid circuit solution for their customers. Some examples of their capabilities include:

  • Superior manufacturing area with 3 cleanrooms
  • Multilayer hybrid circuits with integrated trimmed resistors (from mohms to Gohms)
  • Active/passive SMT, from 0201 size to BGA and µBGA
  • Chip & wire: die attach, wedge & ball bonding, encapsulation, on all kinds of substrates
  • Flip-chip: solding & epoxy 
  • Finishing & encapsulation with conformal coatings, epoxy & silicone resins

As an example, here is a real world hybrid circuit design by Metallux:

custom-sensor.jpgSilicon pressure sensor for home boiler: A thick film hybrid circuit was designed for better stability in a harsh temperature and humidity environment. The stable and rigid substrate had the die pressure sensor glued onto it. The coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of the Alumina is lower compared to a standard PCB.

To discuss how hybrid circuit technology can help you, please contact us.

Contact Us About Hybrid Circuits

 

Topics: Ceramic Pressure Sensors

Understanding Ceramic Pressure Sensor Models

Posted by Seta Davidian on Jul 29, 2015 9:25:44 AM

ceramic-group-pressure-headCeramic pressure sensors by Metallux of Switzerland are high quality, high performing sensors for harsh environments and/or higher pressures (models up to 800 bar). With various models including piezo-resistive, ceramic capacitive, monolithic, flush-mount, compensated, unamplified and more, a user reviewing ceramic pressure sensors may want some help understanding the various options.

me550

Piezo-Resistive Versus Capacitive: At a high level, Metallux ceramic pressure sensors are either piezo-resistive or capacitive pressure sensors. Why choose one over the other? Capacitive sensors are used when the pressure sensors must withstand high overpressures. In addition, capacitive models such as the ME550 (shown right) are very good at measuring low pressure down to 60 mbar. Both capacitive and piezo-resistive have similar chemical resistance and media compatibility.

me75xFlush Mount Versus Monolithic: In a flush mount sensor such as the ME77X Series, the sensor side exposed to the pressure media is flat and smooth. A monolithic sensor such as the ME75X has an indentation in the center of the exposed side. Why choose one or the other? If a customer is making an absolute or sealed gauge sensor, then flush mount is ideal as they have a fixed reference. Flush mount also come in lower (0.5 bar) and higher pressures (up to 600 bar). Flush mount ceramic sensors also have no dead volume of the pressure media.

Amplified or Unamplified: Another choice in ceramic pressure sensors involves whether or not to choose an amplified, calibrated sensor (ME75X, ME78X, ME790) or an unamplified model (ME501, ME504, etc). The choice depends on the users' requirements. For customers who do not have the capacity to amplify the signal and wanted a completely calibrated and temperature compensated sensor, Metallux offers many models with either a ratiometric, non-ratiometric, current loop, or I2C. The integrated signal conditioning lets users start using the sensors quickly. A user who is perhaps designing their own transducer will likely consider purchasing an unamplified model. Then, these users who typically have the experienced needed, can create a customized signal conditioning design based on their specific application requirements. 

Physical Size: Not all Metallux ceramic pressure sensors are the same size! The largest is the ME509 at 32.4 mm in diameter. The smallest is me ME657 at 12.85 mm in diameter. Many models are 18 mm in diameter.

Ceramic pressure sensors are a great choice if you are looking for higher pressures (up to 800 bar) in a harsh or wet environment. Gauge, sealed gauge and absolute models are also available. Strong chemical resistance due to the user of the AI2O3 ceramic lets users expose the sensors to a wide variety of environmental factors. Typical applications for Metallux ceramic pressure sensors include transducer development, tank level monitoring, process control and industrial automation.

We hope you found this blog post to be useful! Please feel free to reach out to us at info@servoflo.com with questions or comments. We welcome your feedback.

Download the metallux-family-tree here.

Download Ceramic Pressure Sensor Product & Pricing Guide

Topics: Ceramic Pressure Sensors, Pressure Sensors

Make or Buy? Which Pressure Transducer Path is Right for You?

Posted by Seta Davidian on Mar 2, 2012 10:31:00 AM

Frustration 1When designing a new product, looking for components can be daunting. Often times, designers must decide whether to purchase an off-the-shelf pressure sensor or design their own. This post helps clarify the criteria designers can apply when making this important decision.

  • What do I need from the total SYSTEM perspective? Look at the overall product by reviewing total performance requirements, the market and applications. How does this affect component selection?
  • How quickly will begin sellingyour product?
  • What skills do you have within your organization? What skills do you need to outsource? For example, do you have electrical and mechanical engineering skills residing within your organization? If you do, are they accessible and available for design assistance? If you need to look elsewhere, do you have a qualified resource to utilize?
  • Do you have the equipment necessary to calibrate your own transducer? Typical equipment needed are temperature, pressure and humidity tools to modify the environment for calibration. Are there people available to calibrate your designed sensor?
  • There are additional logistical issues to consider. For instance, what is your annual requirement of sensors? What is your time-to-market and cost targets? Where are you manufacturing? Are there any proprietary issues to consider? How many sources do you need?

By reviewing these questions, the path to deciding between make versus buy becomes much clearer. You should buy a complete transducer if you are resource-limited and have a fast-time to market requirement. Lower volumes typically under 25,000 sensors per year do not usually warrant the investment in making your own transducer. Above this quantity, return on investment on internal resources is improved and may be something to consider.

Let's take a look at a specific example by evaluating the following situation. 

An application has a requirement for a calibrated, temperature-compensated pressure sensor that measures up to 30 psi. An amplified, off the shelf solution has a cost of between $6-7 each at 1,000 pieces, with a 1.5% to 1.8% accuracy over a broad temperature range. A fully packaged solution also translates into fewer parts to buy and stock.

To create the same transducer internally, the cost of an unamplified, uncalibrated pressure sensor plus additional op amps and signal conditioning to calibrate for span and off-set would cost in parts approximately $2-3, not including assembly labor and calibration time. Perhaps your accuracy requirements are not as stringent as 1.8% over a wide temperature range or there are packaging issues to consider. Another consideration to think about, if you are utilizing a contract manufacturer, there are typically assembly charges per component so the additional insertion of perhaps 6 components could affect assembly costs.

If your volumes are very high, investment in automated, more sophisticated calibration equipment can reduce labor time and costs and have an attractive return on investment.

Our team of experts combined with a broad selection of pressure sensors (both unamplified and fully packaged) and signal conditioning parts can guide you through this process. Our huge offering ensures that a solution can be found for you, regardless if you make or buy.

To get started, the best use of your time is to take advantage of the Sensor Selection Tool. We can then provide you with informed, detailed options for your consideration at no obligation to you. We view our role as a design resource to find you an optimal solution for your design.

Access the Sensor Selector Tool here

Review our Transducer Design Guide which includes typically sensor elements and signal conditioning for making your own pressure transducer.

 

Topics: Sensor Signal Conditioning, Ceramic Pressure Sensors, Pressure Sensors

All About Ceramic Pressure Sensors

Posted by Seta Davidian on Dec 1, 2011 10:01:00 AM

ceramic pressure sensorCeramic pressure sensors typically use thick-film technology to create a low cost, stable, and robust media-compatible pressure sensor. These sensors are an excellent alternative to more expensive stainless steel pressure sensors or oil-filled sensors using silicon piezoresistive sensing elements for any application where an o-ring can be used.

Why? Ceramic pressure sensors are capable for use in nearly all types of harsh media and high pressures. They can be easily packaged to meet your own housing requirements, and many configurations are available including unamplified or signal-conditioned, various calibration ranges. Low cost, single piece (monolithic) sensors come as gauge only. A smooth membrane is welded to the base to allow for absolute and sealed gauge snesors when that configuration may be required. Also available are ceramic capacitive sensors which have the abilility to measure low pressures such as 60 mbar but can tolerate high overpressures. For example, the ME550 can tolerate an overpressure of 2 bar. This advantage offers designers new possibilities for pressure measurement.

As we previously said, using a ceramic pressure sensor requires the use of an o-ring which is straightforward and inexpensive. Standard models have 96% ceramic composition which takes care of many types of harsh media. For certain types of media, 99% ceramic composition can also be requested. For the ultimate protection, saphire composition is also available. However, since it is expensive, it is important to understand the nature of your media.

Ceramic pressure sensors can be used in all types of applications including

  • Gasoline measurement
  • Hydraulic and brake fluid
  • Wafer processing
  • High pressure pneumatic control
  • Level measurement
  • Medical applications and much more

ceramic pressure sensor with housingPackaging these sensors can be customized for your application or through use of standard housing which is also available. See the image here which shows standard housing. The sensor can be easily embedded in vales and pumps, opening the possibilities for better control in your application.

Check out our ceramic pressure sensors

Topics: Ceramic Pressure Sensors