THE BH ADVANTAGE

Our customers benefit from the BH Advantage in their industries and applications in 5 major ways:

 Manufacturing Cost Reduction

Material Choice: Pick the most cost-effective material for the job. Don’t be forced to use a material you don’t need. Why use 17-4PH when an injected molded plastic will do? Of course, if you’re using strain gages you might be forced to use 17-4PH, but our technology lets you choose from various materials including metals, plastics, ceramics, semiconductors—even wood and bone!

Manufacturing Process choice: You’re no longer restricted to expensive machined parts. Your device can be made using simple casting, extrusion, stamping, deep draw, and even epoxy bonding—as well as greatly simplified machining if you so desire.

Automated assembly: Since the electronics and target/housing are independent structures, mating the two to form the entire transducer is as simple as bonding, screwing, or snapping the parts together—no need for manual labor.

No individual tuning and testing: Once the transducer topology has been characterized and sizing tolerances are maintained, there is no need for individual transducers/sensors to be tuned. They can be simply “cookie cutter”ed out and will maintain performance to the specifications of the characterized topology, with very little variation.

Modular transducer design: Imagine a single electronics design that would simply drop into load cells, pressure transducers, proximity sensors, etc. and provide the same level of performance in each category of transducer.

 Exceptional Performance

Dynamic Displacement Range: The nominal target distance from the sensing electronics can range from 10um to 25mm. Our proximity sensors can measure the full 10um to 25mm range with excellent resolution and repeatability.

Sensitivity: For a nominal target distance of 1mm, our simple, non-compensated sensor can measure 10 nm of displacement (1 part in 100,000); at a distance of 10mm, we can measure 1um of displacement (1 part in 10,000).

Off axis Sensitivity: None. Displacement detection in one axis does not couple into another axis, period.

Repeatability/Hysteresis:This is only dependent on how good the “spring” is, and what the material characteristic of the displacement structure is. For example, using a C3 (OIML) load cell as a displacement generating device ( i.e. for its mechanical deflection, not its load cell electronics) the hystersis of the metal ( the “spring”) is not measurable.

Operating Temperature Range: Full industrial range of -40C to +85C; specialty sensors can work in excess of 1000C.

Digital Output:The inherent, native output of the sensing technology is either a TTL or CMOS level signal. The sensor does not require any conditioning and/or amplifying electronics and can be directly connected to a digital network, handheld, or PC.

Analog Output: Simple passive components integrated into the sensor transducer can be used to convert the native digital signal to a robust analog one.

Sensor size Scalability: Our technology is fully scaleable from large, table top, macroscopic devices such as load cells and pressure transducers to millimeter size integrated circuit chips using MEMS based fabrication, such as  accelerometers.

Enhanced Reliability and Ruggedness

Overload protection:Since displacements are small and mechanical stress is kept low, even an overload of 10X to 100X (i.e. a displacement of 10X to 100X of nominal) will still allow the sensor to function without degradation in performance once the sensor is returned to the nominal operating condition.

Mechanical robustness: Displacement elements such as beams, diaphragms, and hinges can be made 2-5 times thicker than conventional strain gage based elements as displacement is the key rather than stress concentration in the bending elements.

Long term stability: Using thicker bending elements reduces creep, drift, and plasticity thereby reducing errors in displacement detection. The long term stability of the electronics themselves are in 10’s of PPM per year—mechanical stability always dominates the overall long term stability of the transducer.

Simplicity of design—transducers can be constructed in integral, uni-structure mechanical designs as well as single integrated electronics PCB’s eliminating complex pinned, jointed, and hinged mechanical structures thereby reducing components, component integration, and long term reliability issues.

Chemical Resistance—many chemical resistant materials that are exposed to the measurement media such as polymers, glass, ceramic, PTFE, polycarbonates, etc, can be used in sensor construction.

The hidden cost of replacing sensors

Sensors by their very nature require replacement, upgrading, servicing, and maintanence at some point during their life cycle. As sensors age, those that have performed admirably over the years need to be replaced due to the advancement of technology and inevitable obsolescence, and those that have not stood the test of time need to replaced with better solutions and more robust designs. However, replacement cost of a sensor is not only measured by the item cost itself but rather by the total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the sensing capability. The total cost of ownership includes the things we usually don’t think about when just looking at the sensor. These considerations include, but are not limited to, incorporating organic growth enhancements to the sensing capability such as adding simple indicator LED’s, retraining of personnel in the use of the new sensor, updated manuals for servicing and operations, new mechanical and electrical drawings for both hookup and mounting configurations, and physical accommodations for the new sensor footprints. Hence, the hidden costs of updating a sensing capability whether due to obsolescence, increased capability or just plain poor performance can be many times the cost of just the sensor alone.

So how do you drive down or eliminate these hidden costs? Simple—provide an honest to goodness form, fit, and function replacement capability that incorporates all the advances of technology yet is indistinguishable from the “old” sensor’s look and feel. If it’s form, fit, and function there’s no need for new manuals, training, and mounting footprints. You take the new Cadillac version and drop it into the place of the old chevy, without batting an eyelash and costing a penny in hidden costs. Unfortunately this is easier said then done. Sure, you might be able to do this as a one off for a particular sensor configuration, but how do you do this over many sensor types and various industries? In order to pull that off successfully you need a technology that is versatile, malleable, and customizeable enough to allow for varying materials, topologies, configurations, and designs so that you have more ways of solving the form fit and function issues than the particular sensor challenge at hand presents.

That’s where BH Sensors technology comes in. Our technology is so versatile that we can tailor a form, fit, and function solution from the ground up, starting from a clean sheet of paper. We don’t tell you what sensor to use and try and shoehorn it in to your configuration costing you a fortune; you tell us what solution you need and our technology allows us to devise a sensor solution that not only reduces the total cost of ownership with form, fit, and function capability—but we’ll even beat the price of the actual sensor item itself!

Want to learn more, see our case studies section where we’ve done just that.

Signal Conditioning and sensors

Most sensor solutions that result in an actionable measurement result rely on much more than the sensor itself. Typically, the sensor solution consists of the sensor, an intermediate piece of electronic equipment, and the end user device where the measurement is captured and acted upon. This intermediate electronics device provides both the signal conditioning required to operate the sensor as well as an appropriate output signal that the end user device understands.

As an example, let’s look at your average weighing scale found everywhere from the kitchen and bathroom to the weighing of large silos that hold millions of bushels of grain; and everything in between. The sensor solution consists of (1) the weighing sensor called a load cell, (2) the signal conditioning electronics module that powers the load cell and converts the load cell’s signal to something useful, and (3) the end user device such as a PC, Laptop, Hand held device, ore even a simple LCD display. This sensor solution has been around for over 50 years and it’s configuration has not changed much since it’s inception. The same configuration is used for pressure sensors, accelerometers, seismic devices, flow meters, etc—basically any physical measurement system that relies on strain gages as the basis for the measurement.

What this means for the end user is that he/she not only spends hundreds of dollars just for the sensor itself, but must also spend hundreds to thousands of dollars for this intermediate piece of electronics equipment to get any useful information to work with. This adds an additional burden to the overall sensor solution and total ownership cost as there are really two pieces of electronics equipment (the sensor and the signal conditioner) that the user needs to worry about. It would be nice to do away with this intermediate electronics component and go directly from the sensor to the end users device saving cost as well as improving the reliability of the overall system.

Well, BH Sensors’ disruptive technology does just that—you can simply hook up the sensor directly into your end use device. This is due to the inherent digital output nature of our sensor technology. There’s no need for expensive and complicated Analog to Digital (A/D) converters, level shifters, low pass filters, etc.

So, based upon our customers needs we provide sensor solutions ranging from simple digital data output to directly integrating network capability such as RS-232, RS-485, Ethernet, USB, etc into the sensor itself.

Want to learn more, see our case studies section [low cap scale] where we’ve done just that with a simple low capacity weighing device..