Read Between the Lines to Select the Right Pressure Sensor Have you heard of a switch detent plunger?  It’s a tiny part that could forever underscore the importance of ensuring proper specifications for every component of a design –no matter how small. Ignition switch failures in GM vehicles were recently attributed to a 1.6-millimeter shortfall in the length of detent plungers, which are small components that secure the key in the on/off position. This misapplication is blamed for at least 31 crashes and 13 deaths.  

It doesn’t seem possible that such as slight variance could lead to dire outcomes. But with the advances in control systems and the demand for more complexity, determining the right part can be a challenging, yet important endeavor.

Steps to Choosing the Right Pressure Sensor

Selecting pressure sensors for a particular application is no exception. There are thousands of different models. Plus, instrument performance data can be based on different testing standards, which makes apple-to-apple comparisons difficult. Therefore, when selecting pressure sensors, it’s important to:

1. Know your application requirements Consider the environmental factors that the pressure sensor must be able to withstand to provide reliable performance. Also, think about what could happen if the instrument fails. How will failure be determined? 2. Understand the manufacturer’s data                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There are gray areas in instrument performance thanks to the definition and interpretation of datasheet values. For example, a higher rating doesn’t always ensure the instrument will be more reliable. The instrument data and the application environment must be assessed in aggregate to select the best pressure sensor. 3. Ask questions, don’t make assumptions Call on the manufacturer’s technical support team to help you make the right choice for a particular application. Selecting the best pressure sensor requires an understanding of functional principles and of test data and specifications. For questions about pressure sensors, contact WIKA’s technical team . They can help ensure proper selection of an instrument for a series of applications or even serial production.

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