We provide complete wireless sensing solutions with a new level of connectivity, precision, and accessibility. Our sensors are battery-free and communicate with the readers wirelessly, which dramatically lowers the cost of maintenance and installation in every application. Whether you need to improve safety for your employees, protect vital equipment, or manage your energy use, you can turn to us. Our ultimate goal is to give you new insights into your business processes. Those business insights begin with data. We make data collection cost-effective over a wider range of equipment, facilities, and resources than anyone else.
Smart Business Insights
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly expanding across industrial segments. Soon, businesses that don’t embrace IoT solutions will fall behind their forward-leaning competitors. Businesses are hungry for more and more data. They now monitor more measurable parameters to get the data they need to reduce resource intensity, protect people and equipment, and meet the increasing demands of a global market. It’s more important now than ever to optimize business processes – to improve product quality, production efficiency, and operational safety, while still keeping costs low. Meeting these critical goals requires the power of data insights – insights into day-to-day operations that uncover opportunities for improving operations at agreeable costs. Read more –>
Smart Passive Sensing™
Smart Passive Sensing™ is a wireless, battery-free technology. Each sensor harvests a very small amount of energy from the signal put out by the RF reader. This provides all the power it needs to perform its sensing function and report back to the reader.
In most cases, the reader will command the sensor to perform a sensing operation. In other cases, the command might be to write a data value on the sensor or to read a memory location. When it’s done, the sensor reports the result back to the RF reader. The entire process takes from 3 thousandths of a second (3 msec) to 20 thousandths of a second (20 msec), depending on the operation.
Inside our sensors is the unique Chameleon™ engine. This technology allows our sensors to perform consistently and remain functional even in environments where other sensors fail. When a change in the environment de-tunes the sensor’s antenna, the Chameleon™ self-tuning RF front-end automatically adjusts to compensate. This process matches the antenna tuning to the reader signal.
The data collection process begins when the sensor receives a signal from the reader. It uses some of that energy to power the Chameleon engine, which aligns the sensor and the RF reader to the same frequency. Next, the sensor decodes a command embedded within the RF reader signal and executes that command.
Thanks in part to our Chameleon engine, moisture sensing is one of our specialties. Our sensors don’t need to make physical contact to detect the presence of a liquid. We exploit the ability of RF energy to penetrate containers to sense the presence of liquids and moisture. A sensor placed on the outside of a glass bottle can detect the water on the inside. If the water level overlaps the sensor, the sensor will read as wet. If the water level does not overlap, the sensor reads as dry. The one limitation is that RF energy does not penetrate metallic objects and containers.
Metal reflects RF energy instead of letting it pass through. This can hide the sensor’s antenna from the RF reader source. Some of our low-cost sensors cannot operate when applied to metal objects. This presents a problem for industrial applications, since industrial areas are full of metal objects. Pumps, motors, bearings, and electrical distribution equipment are all built with metal. To get around this, we created our line of on-metal antenna designs.
Our specially-designed on-metal sensors actually use metal surfaces to reinforce the RF signal instead of blocking it. Most of our on-metal sensors are rugged designs able to tolerate harsh environments. In industrial applications, the temperatures being monitored can rise to 85 degrees C or higher, so we build these sensors using rugged materials.
Some on-metal applications operate closer to room temperature and do not require extreme levels of durability. Our RFM2110 line of moisture sensors, used for finding automotive assembly defects, is an example of a compact and flexible on-metal sensor that does not have a rugged design.
The read range is the distance over which our sensors can reliably communicate with the RF reader. Some of our sensors have a read range of up to 19 meters. Our extremely compact rugged sensors, designed to fit inside engine crankcases and complex electrical assemblies, have read ranges a little under 5 meters.
We typically test the read range measurement with the sensor and the RF reader antenna in the “air”. This means that floors, walls, and ceilings are far enough away to not affect the read range by deflecting the RF signal. Our product literature reports this reading in air. Our literature also includes read range plots that show how the expected read range differs when the sensor is attached to other materials including wood, glass, metal, and even carpet.
Magnus® S single-chip family of ICs enables a new class of fully-functional wireless passive sensor tags consisting of nothing more than the Magnus® S chip and an antenna. This single-chip solution provides sensing capability via affordable sensor tags for multiple stimuli such as moisture, temperature, and positioning (relative to a metal reference point). This innovation enables substantially lower cost, easily deployed, maintenance-free and battery-free, sensing solutions to business problems for improved product and quality control.
The RFM405 Xerxes™ IC extends the Magnus® line of Smart Passive Sensing™ ICs (Integrated Circuits), enabling wireless passive sensors that are maintenance-free and battery-free. The original Magnus line of sensors monitored temperature, moisture, humidity, weight, and proximity. The new RFM5000 Xerxes line adds secure communication as well as external sensor support for gas detection, thermocouples, and other traditional sensing components. A completed sensor combines the Xerxes IC with a low-cost foil antenna. The RFM5000 IC is read with a RAIN/UHF reader. The patented Chameleon™ front-end monitors detuning conditions, adapting as needed for precise management of sensor communication.
- Gas detection sensors
- High-temperature thermocouples
- Multi-sensor combinations
- Security-centric applications