How Farmers Can Increase Their Productivity With SensComp Ultrasonic Sensors

Today’s farmers face historic challenges in running a successful agricultural business. The costs of fertilizer, seeds, fuel, and farming equipment have risen significantly. Additionally, shipping delays are common and labor is hard to find. 

To meet these challenges head-on, farmers must leverage any and all technologies they can to maximize crop yield, maintain quality, and keep costs low. In these endeavors, agricultural sensor technology like ultrasonic sensors are a must. In this article, we’ll cover three ways that these sensors are being used by farmers around the world to run more successful businesses.

Agricultural Sensor Technology for Cultivating and Weeding

Ultrasonic sensors are invaluable in helping farmers keep soil suitable for planting and growing crops. Agricultural sensor technology can be used to detect the rows of plants in a plot of land while tilling and cultivating soil. These steps are crucial for aerating the soil so that crops receive enough oxygen, as well as replenishing vital nutrients in the soil.

They can also be used to detect weeds and discern unwanted plants from crops, which helps with not only removing plants, but applying herbicides. Altogether, ultrasonic sensors are a key tool in efficient cultivation and weed management.

Monitoring Grain Bins and Water Tanks With Agricultural Sensor Technology

One common application of agricultural sensor technology is in monitoring substance levels within a container, much like in manufacturing and other industries. Traditionally, grain bin levels are monitored via manual sampling, which is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and quickly becomes expensive on large-scale farms.

With ultrasonic sensors, grain levels can be measured accurately and automatically in bins or silos. Furthermore, farmers can measure water levels in tanks, ensuring that each tank has enough water for irrigation while efficiently managing water usage. For example, these sensors can be used to verify that irrigation systems are neither overwatering or underwatering crops.

Using Ultrasonic Sensors for Smarter Harvesting

Agricultural sensor technology also plays a key role in the harvesting process. Ultrasonic sensors are commonly used to identify fruit inside a tree’s canopy. They are also used to detect plots of land from which grain has already been harvested, which allows farmers to avoid harvesting the same areas twice.

Going a step further, farmers are able to gather extensive data sets on crop quality and yields with farmer sensor technology. This data can then be analyzed to actually predict future yields, or identify trends that were invisible to the naked eye. For example, a farmer may determine that a certain area of their plot is more commonly overwatered or struggles with more insect infestations. In these situations, farmers could then modify their process accordingly, either adjusting their irrigation system or selecting more suitable crops for the afflicted area.

Tackling Today’s Farming Challenges Head-On

Running a successful agricultural business is anything but easy in today’s day and age. The good news is that modern technology can equip farmers with extraordinary tools to make their jobs easier. Agricultural sensor technology is one great example of how farmers are rising to the challenge and adapting for more efficient crop monitoring, harvesting, irrigation, and more.

SensComp is a leading manufacturer of ultrasonic sensors and technology. You can view our complete product line online and learn more about our capabilities

If you’re interested in learning more about our ultrasonic sensor technology products, click here.

How Smart Sensor Technology Is Helping Manufacturers With Their Automation Initiatives

For decades, manufacturers have utilized sensors to improve manufacturing processes. However, advancements in technology like the Internet of Things and local computing power has allowed manufacturers to leverage smart sensor technology for even greater effect. 

In short, smart sensors are sensors with a microprocessor that can also communicate with other devices. They can provide data to either a monitoring system or an operator, allowing businesses to gain deeper insights into what is occurring within their facilities during production or across their entire supply chain.

Armed with this data, businesses are able to vastly improve their operations, streamline production, improve quality, and more. In this blog, we’ll look at a few specific ways manufacturers are using smart sensor technology and ultrasonic sensors.

Using Smart Sensor Technology to Monitor Equipment and Environmental Conditions

Performing preventative maintenance and predicting when machine failures will occur is a huge challenge in manufacturing. All downtime is expensive, with unplanned downtime, in particular, causing costly delays. 

Traditionally, manufacturers have relied on guesswork to create maintenance and repair schedules, doing their best to maintain machines at a low cost while still maximizing production uptime.

Smart sensor technology changes the game. With their ability to track temperatures, speed, weight, object movement, and other factors, smart sensors can be leveraged to notify manufacturing teams when a machine is behaving unusually. By noting potential issues or anomalies in advance, manufacturers can minimize unplanned downtime due to overheated machines and machine failures.

Reducing Energy Costs With Smart Sensor Technology

For years, companies have used sensors to determine when activity is occurring in a room and by extension when it needs to be illuminated or climate controlled. Ultrasonic smart sensors take this a step further. 

For example, smart sensor technology can pinpoint where exactly humans are in a given facility, lighting rooms as they enter them and shutting off the lights as soon as they leave. Alternatively, they can assist with illuminating only the occupied portions of a larger room. The same can be said of temperature, allowing manufacturers to efficiently keep facilities comfortable without overspending on heating or cooling costs.

Optimizing Production and Engineering Better Facilities

In brief, ultrasonic smart sensor technology allows manufacturers to better understand the processes occurring in their production facilities and more – providing an incredibly granular level of detail on each step in the supply chain. With the data provided by these sensors, manufacturers are able to increase efficiency, boost product quality, and meet sustainability targets or other goals.

For example, smart sensor technology may provide manufacturers with an opportunity to understand where bottlenecks are occurring, which machine or line designs are most prone to collisions, and so forth. By gathering data over time with smart sensors, manufacturers can build vast data sets that allow them to gain deeper insights into their production processes and how they may be improved.

Smarter Sensor Technology for More Efficient Manufacturing

Manufacturers have tremendously improved their operations and products with smart sensor technology. The amount of data these sensors are able to capture and the actionable insights they provide would have been unthinkable with the traditional sensors of the past. As we look toward the future, it’s exciting to think of the possibilities and imagine all that manufacturers will be able to achieve with tomorrow’s sensing technologies.

SensComp is a leading manufacturer of ultrasonic sensors and technology. You can view our complete product line online and learn more about our capabilities

If you’re interested in learning more about our ultrasonic sensor technology products, click here.

What is Ultrasonic Sensor Technology?

Ultrasonic sensor technology is widely used in a variety of products and environments, including self-parking cars and robotic assembly lines.

But if you’re not sure what it is or exactly how it works, it can be a little confusing.

In a nutshell, ultrasonic sensor technology is a method of distance measurement and object detection. Let’s dive into how it works – and how it is used in different applications today.

How Does Ultrasonic Sensor Technology Work?

Ultrasonic sensor technology uses ultrasonic sound to measure the distance between the sensor itself and a target object. 

In layman’s terms, the device emits an ultrasonic sound, then “listens” for the noise of the sound being reflected off the target object. The sensor measures the amount of time it takes to hear the reflected noise, and uses that to calculate the distance between the sensor and nearby objects.

Since ultrasonic sound is higher than the frequency range that humans can hear, you won’t hear anything when it’s in use even though it is emitting sound.

There are two key pieces to any device using ultrasonic sensor technology: a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter emits a sound using piezoelectric crystals. The receiver “hears” the sound after it has traveled to the target object and been reflected back. 

What is Ultrasonic Sensor Technology Used For?

The most common application of ultrasonic sensor technology is as a proximity sensor. In cars, you’ll find ultrasonic sensors used for self-parking features and anti-collision safety systems. 

Manufacturers also use ultrasonic sensors for robotic collision detection systems, and even detecting the presence of people near dangerous machines.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Like all sensing technologies, ultrasonic sensor technology has its strengths and weaknesses.

One of the main advantages of ultrasonic sensors is that they are less affected by the interference of smoke, gas, and airborne particles in comparison to other sensors. Furthermore, the color of the objects being detected will not affect their performance, allowing them to easily detect translucent or transparent substances like water or glass.

Other key advantages of ultrasonic sensors are their affordability, reliability, and ease of implementation. Their small size makes it easy to incorporate them into different products and environments. Last but not least, they are very precise and can measure up to 20 meters.

As for weaknesses, ultrasonic sensor technology is affected by factors such as temperature and humidity, since these conditions influence how fast sound travels. They cannot operate in a vacuum, since sound cannot travel in such an environment. 

Furthermore, they are unable to detect where precisely an object is located in a sensing environment, only identify its distance to the sensor.

A Simple, Low-Cost and Reliable Sensing Solution

All in all, ultrasonic sensor technology is an affordable and dependable solution for many sensing needs. From the automotive industry to manufacturing to robotics, these sensors are used every day for object detection, collision prevention and more.

SensComp is a leading manufacturer of ultrasonic sensors and technology, view our complete product line online and learn more about our capabilities. 

If you’re interested in learning more about our ultrasonic sensor technology products, click here.

How to Mount or Enclose Ultrasonic Sensors

Many of SensComp’s customers have questions on the best ways to mount or enclose SensComp’s 600 Series and Piezoelectric Sensors. 

As a Leading Manufacturer of Ultrasonic Sensors, SensComp has Capabilities for a Wide Range of Solutions

Let’s start with SensComp’s 600 Series, Mini, and Smart Sensors.  You can mount these sensors to a simple thin plate of any rigid material, such as steel, fiber board, aluminum, etc.  Using a 1.5” hole saw, drill the hole in the material and remove all burrs.  The sensor diameter at its widest is 1.520”, so the hole diameter will have to be increased by about 0.010”, for a final diameter 1.530”.  You can use a file or deburring tool to open up the hole.  It is important that the sensor moves freely in the hole. Any pressure applied to the sensor may distort the gold foil and affect performance.  A quick way to determine if there is any binding on the sensor is to turn the plate over and the sensor should fall out.  It is then time to fasten the sensor to the plate.

You can use a variety of adhesives, but clear silicon and 2-part epoxy work the best.  It is not necessary to put the adhesive around the entire diameter of the sensor.  3-4 dabs equally spaced around the diameter is usually sufficient to hold the sensor firmly in place.  Be careful not to get the adhesives on any other part of the sensor.  SensComp also offers an enclosure for these sensors.  Click here for more information.  Any enclosure used for electrostatic sensors must have a vent hole of 1/8” diameter or larger to perform properly. Therefore, any application that requires a totally sealed enclosure is not possible.

SensComp’s piezoelectric sensors can also be mounted on plates and in enclosures.  Follow the same procedure for mounting electrostatic sensors.  Again, you want to be sure the sensor is freely mounted in the hole of the material, as not to effect the performance of the sensor.  Use silicon or 2-part epoxy to secure the sensor in the mounting hole. Piezoelectric sensors can be used in enclosures that have no venting requirement.  You can use IP65 and IP66 rated enclosures. For more information on IP type enclosures, Click here.

SensComp Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary in 2022!

Time sure flies by when you are in business! 

This year, 2022, marks SensComp’s 20th anniversary! 

It’s an interesting story on how SensComp was created.

EDP Company, owned by the same founders as SensComp, developed ultrasonic products  used in two prominent applications:

  1. SonaSwitch® 1400, used in the fast-food industry sensing vehicles in the drive-thru lanes, and
  2. SonaSwitch®1650,  used as an occupant sensor in mass transit buses.

Both products used the (former) Polaroid 600 and 7000 series electrostatic ultrasonic sensors in their designs. If you are old enough to remember, these sensors were used in Polaroid One Step cameras to focus the lens on their subjects.

EDP manufactured SonaSwitch® products starting in 1984.  The SonaSwitch® 1400 and 1650 products are still manufactured today for fast-food and other applications. 

Around the year 2000, the Polaroid Corporation began having financial difficulties. Since they were the sole worldwide supplier of electrostatic ultrasonic transducers, EDP Company became concerned that the 600 and 7000 ultrasonic sensors would be discontinued if Polaroid went out of business.  Talk about supply chain problems! The choices for EDP were to redesign their sensor products with other ultrasonic sensors, a very expensive option, or discontinue manufacturing their SonaSwitch® products altogether. 

As an alternative, EDP started negotiations with Polaroid in 2001 to purchase the ultrasonic sensor and component division of their business.  By early 2002, the acquisition was completed. The sensor manufacturing equipment was moved from the Polaroid factory in Cambridge, Massachusetts to our facilities in Livonia, Michigan.  The founders named the new company SensComp, Inc.

And, as the saying goes, the rest is history!

It has been an exciting and innovative 20 years in business.  We continue to manufacture and supply the original Polaroid 600 and 7000 series ultrasonic sensors to the hundreds of customers that have designed their products based on these technologies. We have also integrated new technologies with these sensors and offer a wide range of sensor products for all our loyal customers.

SensComp and its dedicated employees wish to thank all of our customers in the US and throughout the world for their loyal support over the past 20 years.  It has been our pleasure to supply our customers’ ultrasonic sensor needs.

Lastly, all of our products are proudly made in the USA!

Now Available: The Transducer Terminal Connector

transducer connector

Senscomp is proud to announce the release of our newest product: the Transducer Terminal Connector. PID #735715ALF

Available now for purchase on our website, this new connector makes it convenient and easy to connect your electronic drive circuit to any of the Series 600 Electrostatic Transducers. It can be used with just about any standard push-on connector crimp tool. It can even be soldered if needed.

This connector is made from .016 thick ASTM B 36 Alloy #3 CDA #230 Red Brass with 1/4 Hard Temper. The finish is 0.0002/.0010 thick tin plate, pre-tinned and works with 26-22 AWG wire. Individual pieces cost less than a quarter with bulk purchase pricing available.

Because our products are made in-house in the USA, our inventory is not impacted by global supply chain issues – unlike many of our competitors. If you’re looking for new Transducer Terminal Connectors to mate electrical connections to our Series 600 Electrostatic Transducers, know that we currently have a significant inventory, ready to ship. In fact, orders made before 12 noon EST will be shipped the same day.

You can visit our on-line store to purchase all of our products.

SensComp is Working Harder for You

Since 2002, SensComp has been a world leader in ultrasonic sensors. Today, we’re proud to announce the relaunch of our website, designed to work harder than ever for you.

Simplified Purchasing

Commerce has shifted greatly since our company was acquired from Polaroid nearly two decades ago. Additionally, the past year saw major changes in how retailers and consumers were able to interact. As a leader in the industry, it’s important to ensure we’re meeting our customers where they are.

Our new website features our entire stock available for purchase online. From the comfort of your home, office, or wherever you are on your mobile device, you have access to our large selection of in-air ultrasonic sensors, ranging components, complete plug-and-play systems and educational and evaluation kits. 

On Your Schedule

Your time is valuable. And when it comes to business, time is money. With our new website, you can order online at any time. Plus, any orders placed before 12 noon EST will be shipped the same day. Our team is working to ensure you get the items you need on a timeline that works for you.

Manufacturers in our industry have suffered due to supply chain issues around the world. SensComp has tackled these issues. Most of our products are assembled in-house in the United States, meaning our vast inventory is ready to go when you need it. You have enough to keep track of in your business, you don’t need to add supply chain issues to the list. With SensComp, you can rest easy knowing your order is right here in the states, soon to be on its way to you.

Looking Ahead

The SensComp team isn’t stopping with a revamped website. We’re revolutionizing our business to ensure we’re a leader in the ecommerce space. As the industry continues to change, we intend to stay ahead of the pack to make sure you have what you need from us.

In addition to our website and sales process, we’re working to redesign our products as well. Additional features, the latest technology and more will be at your fingertips as we continue to grow our business and look toward the future with our customers at top of mind. Watch out for our new product offering, a transducer terminal connector, soon to be featured at the top of our new website.

Have thoughts on our redesign or suggestions on how we can better serve you? Leave a comment below. Or, check out our new sales page and begin your first online order with SensComp today.

BENEFITS OF ELECTROSTATIC TECHNOLOGY

Electrostatic devices have a higher sensitivity and bandwidth than piezoelectric devices. Electrostatic devices have a relatively flat response over a wide frequency range, and because they are non-resonant, have very low ring-out characteristics. Such devices are more sensitive than their piezo counterparts, typically by 40 dB or better.

The increased sensitivity translates into longer-range capabilities (or lower-gain receive circuits for shorter-range applications) and the ability to sense small and acoustically absorptive targets more reliably than piezo transducers. A single electrostatic transducer coupled with the proper electronic driver and receiver can cover a range of 1 inch to over 40 feet, making them a good choice for deep tank level measurement applications.

Performance characteristics are very stable over a wide operating temperature, typically -40° to 125°C, resulting in simple drive and receive circuits that do not have to be compensated for device drift over temperature, and enables the circuitry to be packaged in the sensor housing. For example, SensComp’s electrostatic Smart Sensor measures 1.6 (dia) x 0.75 in., making it a compact solution in tight spaces.

Electrostatics outperform piezoelectrics in all functional areas except for size and ruggedness.

Third party scientific confirmation of the benefits of electrostatics over piezoelectrics, and features SensComp’s products

Authoritative Robotics Reference Manual

The Springer Handbook of Robotics, 2nd edition, continues to be an authoritative reference for robotics researchers, newcomers to the field and scholars from related disciplines. It is a state of the art view of the rapidly developing field of robotics. The new generation of robots will increasingly touch people and their lives. The second edition was edited by two internationally renowned scientists, Prof. Bruno Siciliano and Prof. Oussama Khatib. In comparing electrostatic and piezoelectric transducers, they state “In general electrostatic devices have a higher sensitivity and bandwidth ….” P 497. Further, “Piezoelectric devices have a narrow frequency response compared to electrostatic transducers.” P 497. The examples of electrostatic transducers cited and pictured are those manufactured by SensComp (the Series 600, 7000 and 9000). Page 498.

Recognition of the credibility of SensComp’s electrostatic sensors in Robotics Textbook

Practical and Experimental Robotics, a recognized textbook on Robotics, features and describes SensComp’s ranging module and demonstrates in great detail how it can be used on a four-wheel drive robot. It confirms the oSonorPL object handles all the necessary I/O timing required to communicate with the SensComp ultrasonic range finder and measure the distance between the electrostatic transducer and its target.

Scientific Peer Reviewed Journal Prefers Performance of Electrostatics over Piezoelectrics

Newer MEMS transducers also offer the choice of electrostatic of piezoelectric. In The Journal of Physics, PowerMEMS 2015, the paper “Which is better, electrostatic or piezoelectric energy harvesting systems?”, finally answers the often asked but inadequately answered question. The paper concludes that MEMS’ electrostatics perform better than piezoelectrics at lower and higher accelerations, and thus, are preferred.