Sensata Technologies Provides Portfolio of 'Green' Sensors that Help Protect Health and Benefit the Environment

ATTLEBORO, Mass., Nov. 13 -- Sensata Technologies B.V. is producing a portfolio of sensors that help solve some of the world's toughest environmental problems.

This is not new for this engineering and manufacturing firm based in Attleboro, Massachusetts. In fact, this 92-year-old global company has been producing devices that aid the environment for three decades.

What is new are several key products it recently developed that help to combat troublesome air pollutants and global warming, and boost energy efficiency.

In June 2008, Sensata's Doug Strott presented a paper about these environmentally friendly products at Sensors Expo, one of the sensors industry's largest annual conferences. Strott and colleagues Michael Blaney and Dave Field teamed to write that paper entitled "Robust Design Enables Pressure Sensors for 'Greener' Technologies." Blaney is a marketing representative and Field is a design engineer.

Blaney said recently, "At Sensors Expo, we discussed how higher energy costs will impact companies' products. We explained that we have low-cost sensor technologies that companies need to help them deal with rising fuel costs and the greenhouse effect of their products."

Strott, an engineering manager, outlined environmental challenges that several industries face. One is stricter emissions standards scheduled to phase in between 2010 and 2014 for diesel vehicles. Another is the need to reduce fuel consumption by boosting efficiency and reliability. Additionally, appliance makers face a continually tougher mandate to produce more energy-efficient equipment.

Strott described several Sensata products that address these challenges.

They include:

o Differential Pressure Sensor (DPS), which signals a vehicle's computer when to trigger a regeneration cycle that destroys pollutants captured in a diesel-exhaust particle filter.

o Monocrystal strain gauge and capacitive sensors that measure compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) tank pressures, respectively.

In alternative-fuel vehicles, these measurements enable better monitoring of fuel levels.

o Capacitive pressure + temperature sensors for CNG and LNG fuel rails that improve performance and fuel economy, and reduce emissions.

o Cylinder Pressure Sensor (CPS), which provides combustion-pressure feedback in real time to optimize combustion control and reduce harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) and PM2.5 emissions from diesel engines. PM2.5 is particulate matter created during combustion that is 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller. These microscopic particles pass into the lungs and bloodstream where they can trigger health problems.

o Case-isolated, hermetic, capacitive pressure sensors that improve energy efficiency in advanced air-conditioning and refrigeration systems. Piezo-resistive pressure + temperature (PPT) sensors for environmentally friendlier R744 automotive air-conditioning systems that automakers will start installing in 2011 to help slow global warming.

Sensata sensors help improve efficiency, meet new requirements

According to Blaney, "Our sensors for diesel common-rail (fuel-injection) systems provide the exciting bonus of helping to improve fuel efficiency by two to five percent.

"Normally, cutting pollutants reduces mileage, but newer common-rail systems are pressurizing fuel at levels approaching 30,000 pounds per square inch. This greater pressure enables advanced fuel-injection strategies that optimize the combustion process to reduce emissions while improving overall energy efficiency," he explained.

Sensata sensors are also built to withstand harsh conditions. This includes temperature extremes of -40 degrees Celsius to +135 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Fahrenheit to +275 degrees Fahrenheit), salt sprays, shock and vibration, and electrical power surges. They also operate in dusty, sandy, wet and acidic environments and perform accurately for at least 10 years. Traditionally such high-performance sensors have been costly. Sensata's sensors are designed for both high performance and low cost, two factors that enable their use in advanced systems.

They also help manufacturers meet new requirements. Since 1987, the U.S. Department of Energy has periodically tightened efficiency standards for refrigeration equipment. "Going forward, appliance makers will need low-cost, highly reliable sensors to meet these ever-stricter standards," Strott said.

"For manufacturers of refrigerators, Sensata sensors provide information about what is happening during the refrigeration cycle," Blaney explained. "This information enables manufacturers to control this cycle far more precisely so they can make equipment more energy efficient. Sensata sensors also improve the energy efficiency of residential and commercial HVAC (heating, ventilating & air-conditioning) systems," he concluded.

About Sensata Technologies B.V.

Sensata Technologies is one of the world's leading suppliers of sensing, electrical protection, control and power management solutions across a broad array of industries and markets. Our products improve safety, efficiency and comfort for millions of people every day in automotive, appliance, aircraft, industrial, military, heavy vehicle, heating, air conditioning, data, telecommunications, recreational vehicle and marine applications. For more information, please visit our web site at

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