Why You Should Re-Consider Your Go-To Sensor

Superman and American FlagEverybody has favorites. There’s nothing wrong with that. But when you stop considering the best option for you application, it becomes a problem.

A good example of this is ultrasonic sensors. Some people love them because they’ve had great experiences with them in the past. In other words, they happen to have had an application where ultrasonic level sensors perform optimally.

Other people distrust ultrasonics. In other words, they happened to have had an application that was not ideal for ultrasonic sensors. They really should have chosen a different sensor.

This scenario could repeat itself with just about any sensor technology you could imagine. That’s why you need to re-consider your go-to sensor.

Applications Are Unique

You should re-consider your sensor every time you have a new application. You should consider an application “new” anytime there is something unique about it – like temperature, pressure, turbulence, vapor, foam, dust, spray, chemical composition, etc.

The list goes on.

The point is, it only takes a seemingly insignificant change to cause one sensor to shine and another to fail.

Every Sensor Has A Weakness

If you’ve been feeling like your favorite sensor is somewhat of a super hero, just remember that even Superman had his kryptonite. It doesn’t really matter how amazing or new the technology may be, there are always going to be scenarios where you’ll need either a different model or a completely different kind of sensor.

Submersible pressure sensors, for example, are very versatile contact sensors. However, wide temperature swings adversely affect your measurement.

Ultrasonic sensors are another versatile sensor technology from the non-contact world of measurement. However, they are vulnerable to anything that can deflect or absorb their sound waves – such as surface turbulence, physical obstacles, or heavy dust. Take those away, however, and ultrasonics will perform better than just about anything else.

Just like every sensor has a weakness, each sensor tech has important strengths that you’ll need to identify to best meet your measurement goals.

Choose Wisely

The important thing is that you use wisdom as you consider your sensors. Don’t simply rely on past experiences, which could be completely arbitrary. Start by comparing your application challenges with sensor strengths and weaknesses.

You would do well to contact a sensor manufacturer or knowledgeable distributor who deals with multiple sensor technologies. You’re more likely to get honest answers from someone who isn’t monetarily motivated to sell one technology over another.

Finding a reliable online resource is also helpful as you research your options – like this blog. Look for a site that’s willing to discuss both the pros and cons of a sensor. It’s not always sunny in Philadelphia.

Finally, trust your gut. If something seems out of place, it likely is. Not that sensor salesmen are like used car salesmen, but make sure you’re satisfied with your choice before you make it.

If you have questions about whether or not your sensor is best for your application, let us know. We manufacture many kinds of sensor technology and will be completely honest with you about how well a sensor may or may not perform – even if it means sending you elsewhere.


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top image credit: Joseph Novak via flickr cc cropped

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