In the world of manufacturing automation, there is a necessity to accurately monitor plant and equipment to ensure that it operates optimally. Many different technologies can be used in order to achieve this objective but on the whole, what separates them is the cost to implement and the efficiency of the method or how much energy and resources are wasted in the process.
Local Area Connection
The compromise must be between getting the job done to a satisfactory standard, whilst being as cost effective as possible. Technologies such as a local area connection can be used and these methods are very robust and provide good data. On top of this, local area connections are relatively low cost and have an extremely long range, much longer than most other methods. The problem is the high cost of installation. More modern technologies, such as wireless, provide a much more flexible and lower cost alternative, whilst delivering the same high standard of information. Methods include ZigBee and IEEE 802.15.4, and whilst they provide acceptable performance, they can be very expensive and use a lot of power.
Low Energy Bluetooth
Bluetooth has quickly become a most promising alternative to wired and other wireless solutions and building upon the original Bluetooth standard, is a new version called Bluetooth Low Energy. The technology dates back to 2007 and has considerable advantages over many other technologies whilst doing extremely similar jobs. In general, low energy Bluetooth works by operating in an energy saving mode when its capacity and functionality is not needed and it is quickly becoming more and more popular and starting to replace regular Bluetooth in many applications.
The technology builds on classic Bluetooth and is in many ways, very similar and it therefore has all the advantages normal Bluetooth has over other technologies, whilst having a few extra ones when it comes to the efficiency and therefore the cost of the service as a whole. One of the advantages that low energy Bluetooth, like classic Bluetooth still has is the ability to hop between frequencies and this makes the technology very robust.
One huge application is within smart phones and in particular, smart phone accessories. The world is currently crazy about prolonged battery life. The average smart phone tends to have a short life, especially for people who make long phone calls. In general, the reason for this is because apps and technologies are constantly running in the background, which includes things like Bluetooth. With a normal phone, most people do not tend to use Bluetooth constantly anyway, so many people will have no trouble turning their Bluetooth off, which could generally solve battery life problems. One new piece of technology are the new smart watches and other Bluetooth accessories that require the constant contact between phone and accessory.
Low Energy Bluetooth Wireless Sensors
This is where a low energy system of Bluetooth should be employed. A wireless sensor to help check the lifecycle of machinery has been developed with this new form of Bluetooth. This is more reliable than other sensors as it has better battery life, saving energy when the Bluetooth is not necessarily needed and autonomously coming back on when it is needed.
Sensor-Works latest product is the BluVib wireless machine condition sensor. Measuring both vibration and temperature data, the Machine Condition Sensor combines a sensor, data collector, data analysis and low power wireless communication into a compact, self-powered housing. Data are transmitted using the latest Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Low Power standard in order to optimise and extend battery life.
To find out more about our low energy Bluetooth sensors. Contact us