Pressure sensor with IO-Link wins the Innovations Showcase Award

At the Process Expo in Chicago, a panel of experts from the food processing industry selected the Baumer PP20H pressure sensor as the winner of the Innovations Showcase Award in the dairy product category.

The pressure sensor prevailed among the 17 finalists due to its condensate-resistant silicon measuring cell, exceptional precision across the entire temperature range, and IO-Link interface. “An IO-Link interface is the latest trend in the sector and we have incorporated this technology in our PP20H,” says Baschar Al Hammoud, product manager for pressure sensors. However, in true Baumer style, the company did not settle for that without offering its customers extra benefit – in addition to the digital IO-Link interface, the PP20H also offers an additional analog output. Baschar Al Hammoud explains, “With this combination, the PP20H offers users more flexibility than any other pressure sensor.”

This way, during commissioning of the sensor, users can benefit from all IO-Link advantages, which considerably simplify sensor parameterisation while still allowing process control by the sensor via the 4 … 20 mA analog output. Furthermore, the IO-Link makes it possible to call up additional process data such as the pressure of the measurement cell or the temperatures of the pressure sensor and the microchip in the central processing unit. Access to this information allows for interesting investigations: for example, whether an unusual temperature rise has occurred in a container, which may indicate a defect or faulty dosage of the ingredients in a tank. As high temperatures may decrease the service life of the sensor or other system components, this may indicate the need for preventive maintenance – one of the promises of Industry 4.0. Of course, the PP20H series offers all the advantages of IO-Link, such as quick parameterisation during operation and prior to installation. Even more, a new sensor easily learns the parameters of the old sensor via the master and is immediately ready for operation upon installation. For Baschar Al Hammoud, this is only the first step: “We are planning additional functions based on IO-Link.”

The PP20H also exceeds all standards also in terms of robustness. Its measurement cell is completely sealed even during relative pressure measurement. This prevents the entrance of warm and humid ambient air, which may precipitate with low process temperatures. This is the case, for example, in milk or ice cream processing. At the same time, the sensor must be somehow “open” to the surroundings because the sensor will also determine the difference to the ambient temperature. The Baumer engineers devised a unique technical solution for this challenge – they placed a barometric pressure sensor in the back of the housing that can measure the reference pressure of the environment via an opening. This way, the actual silicon measurement cell in the front remains hermetically sealed. The PP20H is therefore not only suitable for CIP (Clean in Place) and SIP (Sterilisation in Place) processes, but also for sudden changes in process media temperatures.

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