New technologies heat up temperature market

A review of new temperature measurement devices reflects several interesting developments—some expected and others unexpected—as non-contact and other technologies heat up the temperature market.

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Temperature InstrumentationBy Rick Pedraza, Digital Managing Editor

NON-CONTACT IS news, but it’s not the only news. Our roundup below seems to confirm that one important technology change is the ongoing shift away from contact temperature measurement to non-contact measurement. This trend also was noted in a report released by Flow Research in August 2006. In addition, a broader shift away from thermocouples also is occurring.

The study found that sales in the temperature instrumentation market in the Americas totaled $620 million in 2005, and estimates they’ll reach $760 million by 2010, with revenues increasing at a projected 4.2% annually. Flow Research reports it last took a close look at this market was in 2000, and its findings indicate that a lot has changed since then.

“End-users who wish to achieve greater accuracy and stability in their temperature measurements can either switch to a different type of contact sensor, such as an RTD or thermistor, or they can go to a non-contact type, such as infrared or fiber optic,” says Dr. Jesse Yoder, president of Flow Research. Yoder notes that other changes are occurring, too. "It’s interesting to compare the temperature market today to the temperature market of 2000. Some changes that were going on then are still occurring now, like the shift from wirewound to thin-film RTDs.”

A shift from analog temperature transmitters toward smart and programmable transmitters is another trend that’s continued in temperature measurement over the past few years. Several of the new offerings reviewed allow communication bus/network connectivity, and more of this is expected by 2010. According to the study’s findings, the market for industrial temperature devices with bus/network connectivity is growing “as applications become more complex linking more processes together.”

Other new developments include dual-input models with a variety of output types, including linearized 4-20 mA, HART, and Foundation fieldbus protocols, automatic alerts and security, online diagnostics, and remote access.

Product Roundup:

Temperature Instrumentation

On the Same Wavelength
Pro series multi-wavelength infrared thermometers use advanced ESP algorithms for aim, and read non-contact temperature measurement of non-grey body materials in the 300-4,500ºF/150-2,500ºC range. Features include a four-wire transmitter with optional remote interface module; programmable outputs and alarms; optional PID control; and calibration accuracy of 2ºC, or 0.25% of reading, and 100 ms response time. Williamson Corp.; 800/300-8367; 

More Cabinet Space
Modular temperature sensor conditioners accept an input of PT100 RTD or type J or K thermocouple with an analog output range of 0-10 V, 0-20 mA or 4-20 mA. The DIN-rail mounted modules measure 17.5 mm, take up less cabinet space, and have an accuracy of <0.5%, making them compatible for use in demanding process control applications. The units are available for use with a 24 VDC supply. Wide-range input models will operate off of 24-240 VAC/DC. Automation System Interconnect; 877/650-5160;

Factory Calibration
NIST-traceable calibration transmitter matches a particular sensor, delivering measurement accuracies of up to ±0.014°C (±0.025°F). The transmitter is connected to the sensor, and is then immersed in calibration baths maintained at stabilized temperatures. A special feature captures two readings from the sensor, representing the upper and lower range values, and stores them in non-volatile memory. The transmitter uses these values to compensate for deviations between each individual sensor’s stated linearization curve and its actual measurement. Moore Industries Int’l.; 818/894-7111;

Temperature Transmitter
Rosemount 248R temperature transmitter features 4-20 mA/HART communications for basic temperature monitoring applications, and is available in industry-standard DIN-rail mount configurations. 248C PC-based software is available for use in conjunction with the transmitter. Emerson Process Management; 800/999-9307;

Just Browsing
iTCX transmitter monitors temperature from two independent thermocouple channels over an Ethernet network or Internet browser. It displays real-time readings, temperature charts, or log data in standard data formats for use in a spreadsheet or data acquisition program such as Excel or Visual Basic. The transmitters can take thermocouple types J, K, T, E, R, S, B, C, N and L, and measure temperatures to 1,820°C (3,308°F). Newport Electronics; 800/newport;

Hot and Humid
HygroGen humidity-temperature generator calibrates humidity instrumentation, and is portable enough to use on site. The self-contained unit requires no external resources except main power. Data loggers can be inserted in the chamber, which accepts up to five probes. Features include a stainless-steel enclosure, fast equilibrium to move from one condition to another, and a range of operation between 5-50°C and 5-95% RH. Rotronic Instrument Corp.; 631-427-3898;

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