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SMC > Instrumentation > Sensors

Digital Pressure Sensors and Switches

How often do you think about what could happen if the pressure in your pneumatic gear suddenly spiked? You've probably watched a person fill a balloon beyond capacity. Then the balloon bursts into many little pieces. This same sort of thing can theoretically happen to your compressed air-driven equipment, depending on just how far out of spec your pressure readings are.

There's also the possibility that you'll run into a situation where pressure will drop due to a very small leak that isn't immediately obvious. Some technicians claim that this scenario is actually more realistic, especially with installations that remain attached to a frame for a long period of time.

In order to prevent these sorts of problems with pressure sensing, you need to of course run regular inspections and ensure that everything is working correctly. When you spot something that's unusual, fix it early so the problem doesn't get worse.

You'll also want to use digital pressure sensors and switches to regulate your air circuits and prevent these issues from occurring in the first place.

Pressure switches detect the pressure of gases or liquids. Built-in circuitry allows for the adjustment of set points and outputs. Outputs are ON-OFF solid state or read switch type outputs. 

Some models feature analog outputs. The pressure is detected using solid state, metal diaphragm or piston type sensors. Applications for pressure switches include areas such as positioning, leakage testing, supply pressure verification, etc.

At SMC Pneumatics, we stock all of the following sensors and switches:

  • GP46 Series Analog Gauge with Built-In Pressure Sensor 
  • ISE30 Series Digital Pressure/Vacuum Sensor with Two Color Display
  • ISE40 Series Dual Output Digital Pressure/Vacuum Sensor
  • PSE530 Series Remote Transducers
  • PS1000 Series Miniature Pressure/Vacuum Sensor 
  • PSE Series Digital Pressure Sensors
  • PSE543 Series Remote Transducers 

This means you'll have plenty of choices when it comes to finding something that meets the needs of your company's particular use case! Best of all, using this kind of equipment couldn't be any easier.


Deploying & Using Digital Pressure Sensors

Though analog dials do still have their place, especially in situations where it wouldn't be practical to provide an additional source of power directly to a gauge, digital ones are far more accurate. Installing these sensors isn't difficult. They provide reliable inputs, which you can use to attach air hoses. As air flows across either the pistons or a metal diaphragm, the device takes a measurement and reports how much pressure the flow itself exhibits.

A few discrete buttons provide a way of interacting with the device, but you normally won't have to change anything up. Workshops that prefer to mount all of their equipment on a panel should find it easy enough to do so with these small meters. They connect to a control sheet the same way that a voltmeter might. If you've ever attached electrical dials to an on/off switch, then you already have all the skills necessary to do the job.

Perhaps more importantly, you already have the tools as well. All it takes is a couple of screwdrivers and possibly a small wrench. Pressure sensors are fairly autonomous once everything is in place. Your staffers can simply take a glance at the digital readout whenever they want to make sure that everything is operating within specifications.


Using Digital Sensors in Specific Use Cases

Technicians are sometimes so concerned with the efficiency that they can't handle the idea of anything siphoning off more air from a pneumatic circuit than absolutely necessary. Keep in mind that it's easy enough to remove these meters when you're done. You can periodically attach and remove them when taking measurements. It's normally quite easy to ensure that everything goes back together tightly.

That also makes them attractive for people who tackle various repair jobs in your business organization. They could keep some digital pressure sensors with them or maybe have a ready supply of them in their workshop. Once it came time to perform an inspection, they could take some readings and then reassemble the system without the sensors. The entire process could take less than a minute depending on the complexity of the system being worked on.

Other pneumatic technicians may instead prefer to program two color displays in order to illustrate abnormal operating conditions. Color-coding a display like this is an excellent way to provide an immediate alert whenever pressure numbers get too far out of a safe range. Companies that rely on very sensitive processes often prefer this kind of technology since it greatly reduces the risk of fouling things up due to mechanical irregularities.

Vacuum equipment has historically been difficult to work with since digital pressure sensors and switches designed to work with air compressors don't work with this kind of gear. Fortunately, there are now vacuum-based versions available. This means you'll be able to ensure that even your most sensitive gear stays safe no matter how you have it installed.

Making generalizations is always dangerous, but it might be safe to say that there are a number of businesses out there that use both vacuum and positive pressure-based equipment in the same areas. It might be a good idea to stock up on both kinds of switches and sensors as a result. That should give your team enough leeway so they don't have to worry about what kind of machinery they're going to be working with next. They'll always have the right parts on hand.


Finding Digital Pressure Sensors & Switches to Meet Your Company's Needs

No two workshops are exacting the same. That's even true within the same organization. Fortunately, there are plenty of different sensors and switches on the market. Vendors have paid close attention to the needs of individual users and have adjusted their gear to meet these needs. 

Contact us online today when you're ready to learn more about what options fit your particular use case as well as your budget. No matter what kind of business operation you're running, there are components out there ready to serve as drop-in replacements for your existing parts.