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Non-contact Temperature Sensors are Threatening Established Technologies in Process Applications
Global temperature sensors and transmitters market is a mature market. Temperature is the most monitored parameter in any industry. Both contact- and non-contact-technology-based temperature sensors are deployed in industrial applications, ranging from basic temperature sensing to critical applications in aerospace, metal manufacturing and nuclear power. Temperature sensors are used in almost every conceivable end-user industry. In applications, such as refining, metals, plastics, and food and beverages, temperature is most crucial in the manufacturing process.
Both in the industrial and consumer markets temperature is one of the most monitored parameters. Temperature sensors are the most sensitive among sensors, and sense temperature quickly.
Temperature sensors are mainly of two types, namely:
• Contact temperature sensors
• Non-contact temperature sensors
Temperature sensors are based on a number of contact and non-contact technologies and key technologies, such as:
• Thermocouples, one of the oldest technologies and widely used in industrial applications
• Resistance temperature detectors (RTD), another old technology and widely used in industrial applications
• Infrared temperature sensors, a non-contact technology which is increasingly being used in industrial applications
• Thermistors, used for specific applications and considerably economical compared to other technologies
• Integrated circuits (IC) temperature sensors, used mostly in the discrete industry, telecommunications, and computing
• Fiber optic sensors, the most recent entrant in the temperature market and is used in critical applications with many advantages
• Temperature transmitters, mostly intelligent, and plug and play
This research service focuses on the temperature sensors and transmitters based on different technologies.
Temperature is one of the most important parameters and the most monitored one in the industrial process sector. Temperature sensors and transmitters have attained importance due to the high level of safety they provide, accuracy of measurement, and capability to measure from cryogenic to very high temperatures. Temperature sensing is more of a dynamic measurement; therefore, the sensing instrument has to be extremely precise in detecting and interpreting the right signal. Manufacturers of temperature sensors have been improving their product ranges from time to time. Among the existing temperature technologies, noncontact technologies, such as infrared, are being adopted by key companies, such as Honeywell and ABB.
The key participants competing in global temperature sensing market include:
• Emerson Process management (ROSEMOUNT Division)
• GE Sensing and Control
• Honeywell Sensing and Control
• Endress & Hauser
• Weed Instruments
• Dwyer Instruments
• Measurement Specialties
• FLIR Systems
• FLUKE (Ircon+ Raytek + FLUKE)
• JUMO Gmbh & Co. KG,
• Watlow Electric Company
• Minco products
• EPCOS AG
These companies manufacture a range of temperature sensors for diverse applications. Most companies operate across the globe on their own and a few operate by forging alliances with local companies as well regional market leaders operating in overseas. As some of the temperature sensing technologies, such as thermocouples and resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), have been commercially available for decades, the global temperature and transmitters market has approached maturity, leading to fragmentation and intense competition, as a large number of manufacturers have entered the market. However, non-contact temperature sensor manufacturers, such as Ircon and Raytek, were acquired by FLUKE. This consolidation has increased the competition among top manufacturers. As a result, top companies, such as ABB and Honeywell, have developed a range of non-contact (infrared) temperature sensors to effectively compete in the market.
The total revenue generated by the global temperature sensors and transmitters market in 2012 amounted to $ million. The annual growth rate registered in 2012 is estimated to exhibit a dip of percent as compared to 2011, when the revenue grew at percent.
Total revenue is estimated to increase to $ million by 2019. The annual revenue growth rate in 2019 is expected to be a high of percent.
The revenue of the global temperature sensors and transmitters market is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of percent between 2012 and 2019.
The two main types of sensors used to measure temperature are:
• Contact temperature sensors
• Non-contact temperature sensors
Contact temperature sensors measure the temperature of those objects, substances or process conditions (atmospheres) with which the sensor is in contact. It can be inferred that the temperature of the object to which the sensor is in contact by assuming or knowing that the two are in thermal equilibrium, that is, there is no heat flow between them. In other words, the contact temperature sensors measure their own temperature.
Non-contact temperature sensors do not have to be in contact with the object. These sensors measure temperature by reading and measuring the intensity of the electromagnetic energy emitted by an object. Most scientific and commercial non-contact temperature sensors measure the thermal radiant power of the infrared or optical radiation that they receive from either a known or calculated area of its surface or a known or calculated volume within it (in those cases where the object is semitransparent, within the measuring wavelength pass band of sensor.
The market is segmented into six key product segments, namely:
• Infrared temperature sensors
• Thermocouple temperature sensors
• Resistance temperature detector (RTD) temperature sensors
• Thermistors temperature sensors
• Integrated circuit (IC) temperature sensors
• Fiber optic temperature sensors
• Temperature transmitters
The deployment of different product types is based on their end use.
Infrared Temperature Sensors
This sensor falls under the category of non-contact temperature measurement. The infrared temperature sensors segment is the fastest growing, among all the temperature sensors. The infrared temperature sensors are most suited to high temperature and high-vibration environments. In addition, infrared is suited for rapid and frequent temperature change applications. Infrared sensors are used in end users, such as aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, food and beverage, and process industries, among others. Over the last two years infrared temperature sensors have been used in process application—both continuous and batch process.
Thermocouple Temperature Sensors
Factors such as price, popularity, and widespread availability have made thermocouple the most widely used temperature sensor in industrial applications. Thermocouples work on the principle of Seebeck effect and consist of two dissimilar metals joined together at one junction. Thermocouples are usually used in industrial applications, where the accuracy required is not very high and cost is an important factor. The applications involving measurement at high temperatures employ thermocouples. There is a trend of replacing thermocouples with RTDs because of accuracy, resulting in a major restraint for its growth. However, the numerous advantages this sensor offers is expected to ensure its continuous usage in many applications.
Resistance Temperature Detector (RTD) Sensors
Resistance temperature detectors (RTDs) employ the theory that electrical resistance of metals varies with temperature. This sensor is favored for factors such as high accuracy, stable output, and ease of recalibration. Factors such as improved manufacturing methods and miniaturization have reduced the price of RTDs, thereby making them more attractive for many applications within their working range. This has also contributed to a trend of this sensor replacing thermocouples in many applications. However, RTDs are not very rugged and consequently do not perform as efficiently as thermocouples in high vibration and mechanical shock environments. Due to such advantages and disadvantages, RTDs have become a standard in various vertical markets, such as process industries, where their advantages can be used to avail maximum benefit.
Thermistors Temperature Sensors
Thermistors are heat sensitive resistors that exhibit a large and a predictable change in resistance when they undergo a change in body temperature. Thermistors are of two types, namely negative temperature coefficient (NTC) and positive temperature coefficient (PTC) thermistors. The NTC thermistors undergo a decrease in resistance with increase in temperature, whereas the opposite is the case with PTC thermistors. Thermistors show better sensitivity to temperature than any of the other temperature sensors including thermocouples, RTDs, and infrared sensors. Thermistors are favored for their price, small size, fast response times, as well as electrical and thermal stability. Thermistors are used in many industries, including automotive, medical, consumer electronics, and telecommunication.
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