Complex manufacturing environments present a host of operating challenges. Selecting the right pressure sensors to meet these demands is essential for ensuring safety, efficiency and quality.
Challenges in Complex Manufacturing Environments
Industries that often operate in complex manufacturing environments include aerospace, automotive, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, hydrogen, and food and beverage production. Some of the challenges of operating in these industries include:
- Wide pressure ranges – from full vacuum to 15,000 BAR.
- Extreme temperature ranges – beyond the typical range of -40°C to 125°C.
- Dimensional constraints – to fulfil small space claim demands.
- Unique environment conditions – e.g. harsh marine environments.
- Ensuring compatibility with hazardous substances – the materials of wetted parts must be assessed for compatibility to prevent loss of containment.
- Meeting industry-specific standards and certifications – e.g. ATEX approvals and SIL classifications.
- Industry-specific procedures – e.g. clean or sterilise-in-place procedures.
Considerations for Pressure Sensors in Complex Manufacturing Environments
Complex manufacturing environments are often associated with high-hazard operations, where the consequences of errors can be severe. These consequences may include increased maintenance costs or, in the worst-case scenario, high-profile industrial incidents.
This means that during instrument selection, the primary focus should be on quality and safety. Some considerations you should prioritise include:
The first and foremost consideration should be technical. A pressure sensor must be specified correctly so that it can perform accurately under both operating and design conditions. The materials used in its construction must also be compatible with any hazardous substances it may encounter.
Pressure sensors also come with numerous features and customisation options, which can make the specification process overwhelming. As tempting as it can be to select the “standard” option, investing time and effort into this process can ensure you specify a more fit-for-purpose sensor that optimises your process and prevents potentially disastrous consequences.
Life Cycle Cost
Consider the life cycle cost of the instrument — will an instrument that is merely “good enough” end up costing more in the long run due to replacements and accuracy issues, as opposed to an instrument that requires a greater upfront investment but offers extended longevity and performance?
Bear in mind that specialist solutions are often needed to meet the demands of complex manufacturing environments. They are not usually available off-the-shelf, so it’s crucial to allow sufficient time in your project for instrument specification, build and delivery.
Innovation and Future-Proofing
Balancing innovation with future-proofing is also important. As technology evolves, more advanced sensors will emerge, equipped with the latest communication protocols. Will the communication protocol of your chosen sensors become outdated if they are non-standard, potentially locking you into specific suppliers? Plan for adaptability in your long-term strategy.
Pressure sensors provide the critical data needed to ensure safety, optimise processes and maintain quality. They serve as the eyes and ears of a manufacturing plant and are especially important in complex manufacturing environments where precision and control are critical.
Partnering with a qualified and reputable pressure sensor supplier such as Boiswood can be invaluable in ensuring safe instrument selection and providing prompt and reliable support where downtime is costly and safety is key.
Contact Boiswood’s expert pressure sensors UK-based technical team for more information on pressure sensor solutions.