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New technologies heat up temperature market

Sept. 12, 2006
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.
By 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; www.williamosnir.com 

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; www.asi-ez.com

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; www.miinet.com

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; www.emersonprocess.com/rosemount

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; www.newportUS.com

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; www.rotronic-usa.com

Temperature Spot-Checker
HM70 handheld meter spot-checks temperature and humidity measurements, and supports field checking and calibration of fixed instruments. The unit has a multilingual user interface and a graphical LCD display with data-logging capability. Optional Windows software provides interface to a PC. Low power consumption provides long operation in the field. Options include an analog output and long, stainless-steel probes for spot-checking in ducts. Vaisala; 781/933-4500; www.vaisala.com

Compatible Couples
CL543 dual thermocouple and RTD calibrator provides direct temperature calibration to transmitters, recorders, controllers, alarms and data acquisition systems. The unit reads RTD and T/C outputs and displays temperature. Features include compatibility with pulsed systems and transmitters; direct temperature input/output; eight standard T/C types available: J, K, E, T, R, S, B, N and mV; and eight RTD curves available in platinum, copper, and nickel. Omega Engineering; 203/359-7815; www.omega.com  

Great Configurations
DSCP and SCTP series temperature transmitters allow configuration of eight operational functions, selection of 12 industry-standard thermocouple types and two standard RTD types, and selection of 270 input ranges. Sensor inputs are linearized using a 23-point interpolation table. Two transmitters are loop powered, deriving power from the input signal, while another accepts external universal power from 24-60 VAC/DC or 85-230 VAC/DC sources. Dataforth; 800/444-7644; www.dataforth.com

Look Ma, No Wires
Wireless temperature monitoring system measures and transmits temperature and pressure signals out of Division 1 areas to safe area, eliminating need for conduit and wires. The unit offers a range of 3,000 ft with no line of sight, and transmits data at 1–60 sec intervals. It accepts thermocouple, RTD and transducer inputs, and provides RS-232, 4–20 mA, and 0–5 V outputs. It’s available in battery-powered, solar-powered, and AC or DC-powered versions. Adalet Wireless; 216/267-6864; www.adalet.com

Temperature Transmitters
STT170 series programmable temperature transmitters feature dual-input models with a variety of output types, including linearized 4-20 ma, HART and Foundation fieldbus protocols. Features include automatic alerts and security, online diagnostics and remote access. Users can program a high or low-limit alarm to activate in case of sensor failure. Temperatures are measured by two dissimilar sensor types that prevent sensor degradation and failure. Honeywell; 800-822-7673; www.honeywell.com/ps

Air Up There
CO2 and temperature recorder system incorporates a TelAire 7001 monitor and a QuadVolt four-channel data logger to provide real-time viewing of measurements on a PC or laptop. The system provides ±0.10% FSR accuracy and 32,767 measurements per channel of CO2 and temperature. For recording only CO2 or temperature, Volt101 single-channel data logger is available. MadgeTech; 603/456-2011; www.madgetech.com

Temperature Detector
Model 120 hand-breakable RTDs feature tube-and-wire construction, a thin-film temperature-sensing element, and a Teflon-insulated lead wire in fiberglass and stainless-steel sheaths that measure 18x1/4 in. and 34x1/4 in. Temperature-sensing elements can be constructed of single or dual-platinum, nickel, or copper. Lead wires are supplied as four-wire, six-wire (dual three-wire) or eight-wire (dual four-wire). Weed Instrument; 512/434-2900; www.weedinstrument.com

Takes the Heat
Heat Spy DHS215XEL portable infrared thermometer features an adjustable emissivity setting; a temperature range of –58ºF to 1,832ºF; Type K thermocouple, ANSI mini-jack input; and four digit, backlit, dual LCD display for measuring and displaying non-contact and contact temperatures simultaneously. The unit holds and logs measurements to memory, can display minimum, maximum, average, and delta temperature, and includes a settable HI/LOW audible alarm. Data can be sent to a PC using the USB connection and supplied software. Wahl Instruments; 800/421-2853; www.palmerwahl.com

Precision Probe
4400T probe thermometer comes with a NIST-traceable certificate of calibration, and is appropriate for use as a temperature calibration standard. The thermistor-based digital thermometer has a range of -20°C to 130°C (-4°F to 266°F) and is accurate to ±0.03°C from -5°C to 70°C (23°F to 158°F) and ±0.05°C over the rest of the range. Features include a low battery indicator and a rubber rocker switch to select between Celsius and Fahrenheit. The unit is powered by a user-replaceable 9 VDC alkaline battery, and has an LCD display, a 7-in stainless-steel probe, and a 6-ft cable. An optional 110VAC adapter is available for continuous use applications. Telatemp; 800/321-5160; www.telatemp.com

Temperature Handbook
Volume MMV Temperature Handbook, 5th Edition, offers detailed information and specifications on more than 40,000 products for process measurement and control, including thermocouples, RTDs, thermistors, infrared products, embedded Internet controllers, paperless recorders, test equipment, calibration services, handheld instruments, connector designs, thermocouple wire, data acquisition, humidity, transmitters, panel meters, displays, and technical reference material. Omega; 203/359-7815; www.omega.com/literature

Unaffected by Weather
Series RH humidity or humidity/temperature transmitter measures humidity only or humidity and temperature in the harshest environments. The polymer capacitance sensor isn’t affected by condensation, fog, high humidity, or contaminants. The transmitter is a two-wire device with a 4-20 mA loop-powered output. The humidity/temperature version provides dual 4-20 mA output signals with an accuracy of ±2% RH and ±0.9°F at 72°F (±0.3°C at 25°C). Outside air (OSA) models are available. Dwyer Instruments; 800/872-9141; www.dwyer-inst.com

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