Jan Hemper

Blog by Jan Hemper - 7 March 2019

Selection, deployment and utilisation of appropriate technology enhances almost everything: improving quality, reducing costs and generating new revenue streams. As Technical Director of InVMA, I analyse functionality and performance requirements to architect and to advise on systems that provide real, useful and tangible business benefits through the use of new and emerging technologies.

Condition Based Monitoring: Wireless Sensors vs. Wired Sensors

 

The value of Condition-Based Monitoring lies in implementing a proactive approach to maintenance or service. This means knowing when things are about to go wrong. Predicting equipment failure allows companies to prevent downtime and reduce risk of further damage. However, if you own any mission-critical, heavy industrial assets such as compressors, pumps, centrifuges and generators, you know that this type of equipment comes with some degree of maintenance challenges. 

The power to see into the future lies in real-time, predictive analytics that report on anomalies or condition changes and automatically orchestrate action. This process adds the true business value to the organisation and is enabled by the fundamental core of where it all begins: collecting data. Therefore the choice of the right sensor can be one of the most important decisions in implementing Industrial IoT solutions. 

When determining what the correct sensor to be used is, one of the most important things to examine is if a wired sensor or a wireless sensor will do the job as required. Both wired and wireless sensors have benefits and disadvantages. These benefits and disadvantages can be used to determine which type of sensor is right for your job.

Wired Sensors

In many situations wired sensors are among the most reliable systems as they directly link the sensor to the device that is receiving the input. This means that wired sensors are also the most durable systems which do not need to be replaced often. However, it should be noted that wired systems require a large amount of space and are much more complicated to maintain. This burden increases in size as more sensors are used based on the application that the sensor is designed for.

Wireless Sensors

As an alternative, wireless sensors are becoming more common in the world of sensor-based applications. This is mainly because they are cheaper to install and easy to maintain. In addition to this it should also be noted that wireless sensor networks allow for a greater level of flexibility. This makes it easier to adapt a sensor system to the needs of the user.

Despite these benefits, wireless sensors still have some disadvantages. For example, they are often limited by distance as the speed at which the data is transferred depends on the location of the receiving device relative to the sensor. Compared to this, wired sensors have a much more predictable data transfer time.

In addition to this wireless sensor devices may also be subject to interference from other devices such as radios and cell phones. The disruptions that result from this may prevent information from reaching the user at a critical moment.

Wireless sensors and devices help make our world a more sustainable place by reducing the need for metals and other resources. However, one should note that there is still a third option that can be used. This option is a low energy bluetooth wireless sensor system.

Bluetooth Sensors

Bluetooth wireless sensor system allows you to benefit from the advantages of both wired and wireless systems while minimising the impacts of their negative aspects. For example, it would have less interference from an external source while maintaining a high level of flexibility. It would also be more cost effective to manage due to its reliability.

Bottom Line

As more offices, buildings, and devices are adapted to work in the modern world the decision to choose between a wireless and a wired world comes to the forefront. While there is no truly correct choice. It is important the choice best suits the needs of the user of the devices that are receiving the inputs from the sensors.

Topics: Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT, Digital Transformation, IT / OT, assetminder, generators, asset monitoring, connected operations, OEE, Industrial IoT, smart monitoring, m2m, remote monitoring

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