More data and analysis while delivering cost efficiencies

Sager Electronics’ VP supplier marketing & product management, Craig Sanderson

Sager Electronics’ VP supplier marketing & product management, Craig Sanderson, walks readers through sensor technology advancements and industry drivers

Sensor technology has experienced significant advancements in recent years, in response to the growing need for accurate, efficient, versatile and cost-effective sensor solutions, along with the expansion of data collection and analysis.

A key improvement is sensor manufacturers’ ability to reduce costs while enhancing functionality. The following developments are seen in today’s market.

Mass production: As sensors have become more common, mass production has led to economies of scale. High demand and production volumes have helped lower manufacturing costs, making sensors more affordable.

Miniaturization: Sensors are becoming smaller while maintaining or even improving their performance. Miniaturization has opened opportunities for sensor integration into wearable devices, smartphones and other compact applications. This enables personal health monitoring, fitness tracking and more.

MEMS advancements: Micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology has witnessed substantial growth. MEMS sensors are widely used in applications like accelerometers, gyroscopes and pressure sensors and their performance and reliability have improved.

Energy efficiency: Low-power sensor technologies have emerged, making it possible for sensors to operate for extended periods on battery power or energy harvesting. This is critical for applications in remote and wireless sensor networks.

While manufacturing advancements are contributing to sensor efficiency and effectiveness, many industries and applications are driving the increase in sensor utilization and production volumes.

Wireless and 5G connectivity: The integration of sensors with wireless technologies like 5G enables faster data transmission and real-time control. This is essential for applications in communications systems, industrial automation and remote monitoring.

IoT integration: IoT has played a pivotal role in sensor evolution. Sensors are now integrated into a multitude of devices and systems, allowing for data collection and real-time monitoring on an unprecedented scale. These technologies are employed in smart homes, smart cities, and industrial IoT.

Environmental and gas sensors: There have been notable advancements in environmental sensors and gas sensors that monitor air quality, detect pollutants and measure gases such as CO₂ and methane. These sensors contribute to improved environmental monitoring and safety. With ozone-depleting gases in HVAC-R systems being replaced with flammable gases such as propane, State governments are mandating gas-leak detection sensors as a safety device, offering significant growth potential for deployment in home and commercial HVAC-R system applications.

Electric vehicles: EVs are opening requirements for safety systems within battery electric vehicles (BEV) to address thermal runaway. With millions of electric vehicles being built every year, this has contributed significantly to the increase in sensor usage.

Medtech: Medical technology continues to move the diagnostic, drug delivery and patient care closer to home. Home care is driven by high hospital care costs, the need for more staffing and patient preference. Pressure, temperature, force and liquid/airflow sensors are heavily used in patient care systems, providing data on patient condition, drug delivery, monitoring and treatment progress.