Chances are that if you are a manufacturing veteran, that you already have a pretty strong knowledge of utilizing sensors. For years, they’ve had a defined role, but said role has been limited due to issues like system noise, response dynamics, and signal attenuation. However, modern advancements are slowly beginning to push these problems to the wayside, especially local computer power. This has turned your basic sensor into a smart sensor, which has added features that are making it possible to convert former bulky machines into modernized options capable of gathering further intelligence. So, along with standbys your lid press machine, here’s some knowledge on how you can use smart sensors and where they may have the strongest benefit.

To make things clear, there are a few key characteristics that we can lean back on in order to define a smart sensor versus your basic sensor. As a start, a smart sensor possesses signaling conditioning. This makes sure that the readings you get are able to retain their basic integrity, as well as stay properly isolated in otherwise harsh and potentially even hazardous industrial environments. Along with this, a true smart sensor is able to use its local computing power to process, interpret, and make decisions on data from a local frame. Along with this, they should be able to communicate based on certain physical parameters. Other traits worth noting are having in-fault alarms as well as being able to comply with popular communication platforms like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

With all this said, how do the benefits of smart sensors play out in practice versus their original counterparts? One major area is dealing with the environment as well as basic equipment concerns. In the past, it was extremely difficult for manufacturing professionals to understand what parts of a given sensor needed replacement, but this was still better than waiting for a breakdown and trying to handle the issue then. Smart sensors have eliminated this past issue by making it possible to chart and attend to different issues in real-time. By getting advance notice of potential problems or specific issues, it makes it a lot easier for those charged with this equipment to be proactive.

Another major benefit is making it possible for manufacturers to implement automation in their logistics departments, keeping track of assets and inventory. By doing this, it’s possible to keep a proper record of when assets arrive or leave warehouses and distribution centers, which makes it possible to find issues in the supply chain, again, more proactively. Something else that should be mention is the possibility of preserving energy via more efficient sensors.