Integrated sensors are a key tool for measuring data in fluid management. Characteristics of fluid flow like temperature, pressure, and flow rate are critical for most applications, but they are not the only data points that can deliver valuable insights around performance and efficiency. Valves control the flow of fluid in different ways depending on the final system, so valve performance data such as vibration, position, or current/power usage can be important as well. This paper will review some of the most popular sensors being integrated into valves, their capabilities, and some important considerations for engineers.
SENSOR CAPABILITIES AND PERFORMANCE DATA
Measuring Fluid and Ambient Temperature
Temperature sensing is popular in fluid management, and fluid temperature is one of the most commonly collected data points. An integration plan that collects ambient temperature information in addition to fluid temperature can provide insight into system performance under changing conditions. In an electric vehicle application, using this data to modify cooling paths with control valves in the thermal management system can maintain the power module, motors and battery pack within their optimal temperature parameters for efficient operation. Benefits of knowing the overall “State of Health” of the vehicle’s systems can extend range as well as useful life by avoiding excessive over or under temperature conditions that are detrimental. Data collection of this type is also relevant in processing and manufacturing settings where the temperature may shift significantly with changing seasons or due to equipment issues. Understanding temperature’s impact on system operations can be instrumental in maximizing efficiency and uptime.
Temperature measurement technologies are useful, but they can have an impact on flow rates, pressure drop, and other areas, so it is important to keep in mind system requirements and the impact of measurement on performance.