Electronics Technology


MEMS-based devices in industrial automation

11 July 2007 Electronics Technology

The reliability, scalability, sensitivity, and cost-effective solutions offered by micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology have provided viable sensor solutions for industrial automation. The trend toward MEMS-enabled miniaturisation and micro-mechatronics bolsters the development of components, devices, systems, and subsystems for industrial applications.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan which analyses the impact of MEMS-based sensors on industrial automation finds that MEMS-based sensors and actuators have experienced a slow yet steady growth in the industrial automation sector. As the industrial arena moves toward intelligent, distributed as well as wireless monitoring and control, MEMS technology will likely play an increasingly vital role.

The small size and simple structure of MEMS devices make them easily adaptable in places not suitable to heavily structured devices. Moreover, the low energy consumption and high precision of these devices are vital to wireless monitoring and multisensor networking in industrial automation applications. Wireless sensing enables sensors to measure a parameter despite harsh circumstances and therefore it represents a substantial benefit to industrial automation. Additionally, wireless sensors allow for more efficient configuration or re-configuration of large-scale sensor networks to establish comprehensive monitoring of key parameters with respect to vital plant processes or machinery.

According to Frost & Sullivan, actuators such as radio frequency (RF) MEMS for wireless sensing applications are making inroads, but are still in a relatively embryonic stage as the investment required is high and the revenues are lower in this sector. On the other hand, pressure sensors fabricated using MEMS technology represent one of the largest applications in industrial automation.

Industrial applications such as process control, automotive testing, hydraulic, and pneumatic monitoring/control, utilise silicon micro-machined pressure sensors. Compact silicon micro-machined gauges and sensors with integrated electronics also assist with pressure (vacuum) measurements in semiconductor tools/equipment such as load-lock transducers.

With regard to costs, industrial automation is less price-sensitive than higher-volume markets for more commodity-type sensors. Since MEMS device fabrication requires a large initial investment, efforts are focused on application segments where there is large volume demand. As a result, consumer electronics, medical, and automotive segments are currently driving the MEMS industry. However, the industrial automation market can offer MEMS developers and providers opportunities to provide higher value MEMS-based sensors and actuating devices that could command a higher price compared to MEMS devices used in more price-sensitive, higher-volume applications.

MEMS developers and providers can focus on collaborating with users in the industrial arena to provide them with a high-value solution for key industrial applications such as intelligent networked health monitoring of machines, which involves monitoring multiple sensed parameters or distributed process control. MEMS sensors for parameters such as pressure, flow, acceleration/vibration/tilt and angular velocity, have started playing a vital role in the industrial automation technology arena.

For more information contact Patrick Cairns, Frost & Sullivan, +27 (0)21 680 3274, patrick.cairns@frost.com, www.frost.com





Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Stable perovskite LEDs one step closer
25 March 2020 , Electronics Technology
Researchers at Sweden’s Linköping University, working with colleagues in Great Britain, China and the Czech Republic, have developed a perovskite light-emitting diode (LED) with both high efficiency and ...

Read more...
Infineon works with Qualcomm for 3D authentication
25 March 2020 , Electronics Technology
Infineon Technologies has collaborated with Qualcomm Technologies to develop a reference design for 3D authentication based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 mobile platform. Infineon is thus extending its ...

Read more...
Online training: Battery Safety and Protection Overview
23 October 2019 , Electronics Technology, Multimedia, Videos
So many of the portable devices, electronic equipment, and tools we use every day are powered with lithium-ion battery systems. But one challenge for engineers who design these lithium-ion-powered products ...

Read more...
Using Wi-Fi to detect dangerous concealed objects
15 August 2018 , Electronics Technology
American university researchers have come up with a way of using Wi-Fi signals to detect weapons, bombs and explosive chemicals concealed in bags, backpacks or other luggage. The collaborative, peer-reviewed ...

Read more...
Wits researchers make carbon nanotube discovery
13 June 2018 , Editor's Choice, Electronics Technology
Researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) have found ways to control the spin transport in networks of the smallest electrical conductor known to man.

Read more...
Evolution of home technology from connected to proactive
16 May 2018, Molex-Connector & Interconnect Div. , Electronics Technology
The idea of ‘home’ has evolved greatly over the millennia. Over the last decades, technology has transformed homes into hubs of functionality – centres of entertainment, environmental management, work, ...

Read more...
Products of the Year 2017
15 November 2017 , Electronics Technology
Tiny Bluetooth low energy module    Xilinx all programmable RFSoCs    PSoC 6 microcontrollers for IoT    PolarFire FPGAs from Microsemi    LTE Cat M1/NB1 multi mode module    Low-profile 2,4 GHz antenna    Multi-pixel ...

Read more...
Wits researchers demonstrate quantum teleportation of light
15 November 2017 , News, Electronics Technology
Quantum communication over long distances is seen as the future of information security and has been demonstrated in free space and fibre with two-dimensional states, recently over distances exceeding ...

Read more...
Tiny Bluetooth low energy module
15 November 2017, NuVision Electronics , Electronics Technology
Silicon Labs introduced what was the industry’s smallest Bluetooth low energy system-in-package (SiP) module with a built-in chip antenna. Available in a tiny 6,5 x 6,5 mm package, the BGM12x Blue Gecko ...

Read more...
Xilinx all programmable RFSoCs
15 November 2017, Avnet South Africa , Electronics Technology
Xilinx announced delivery of its Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC family, an architecture integrating the RF signal chain into a system-on-chip (SoC) for 5G wireless, cable Remote-PHY and radar. Based on 16 nm ...

Read more...