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Senseair Sunrise - is it really a new sensor generation?

If you look at NDIR sensor technology, LED has been the holy grail for quite a long time. If you know the business you have most probably seen a competitor that released CO2 sensors with LED technology a while ago. For us the only useful technology is the one that improves business for our customers or where we can find new opportunities. The sensor performance and quality issue is a big part of it and until 2008 we could not see LED making any improvements on our, or anybody else’s sensor technology. But just as the transistor removed the tube we knew that one day the lightbulb had to be replaced by a solid state emitter. In cooperation with AKM we started a new design. The goal was to finally make a sensor that was robust enough for the automotive industry and used ultra low power for IoT applications. To satisfy our customers, all this had to come with high accuracy and a possibility to manufacture large volumes in full automation.

 

 

Sensor on wheels

A vehicle is a very demanding environment that can travel in a freezing cold or extremely hot climate. In this enormous span there is a demand that the cabin provides around 20°C temperature and an excellent air quality. As the HVAC world of buildings have found out that you can save energy with adapted ventilation the automotive world is travelling the same route. With demands on energy-efficient-transportations and with new power sources like electricity it is obvious that CO2 will play a role to make sure the driver and passengers breath fresh air. At the same time, you need to keep energy costs down. But not only that, with a new generation of air conditioners the cooling gas will be CO2 and of course with that you need an alarm system if a leakage occurs.

 

Cut the wires

We are convinced that the cost of a sensor is less than the cost to mount it with wires in a building. You might think that a sensor will stay in place for its entire lifespan (15 years and more), but buildings are flexible and there is an ever going change of space and purpose. With that comes moving entire infrastructures including sensors.

With IoT the demand for sensors is rising. Any kind of intelligence needs an input to make a decision. In the case of HVAC applications, we see a growing demand for sensors that provide more than energy savings. Air quality is an important issue as we spend 90% of our time indoors.

 

Explosions, explosions

Solid state is a wonderful solution when it comes to safety. When we get rid of the hot filament of the lightbulb we can now offer a high precision instrument that can be taken into dangerous environments. Consumer IoT gets all the headlines and hype but the industrial sector is growing quietly in the background. According to research by PWC the IoT market in the commercial industry will be 195 billion USD by 2022. And it might surprise you, but farming is far ahead just as they were when industrialization was breaking the day.

Our sensors are already part of efficiency (CO2 in green houses) and part of the safety industry (environment, mines etc), with Senseair Sunrise the demand will rise.

 

Optical Solid State Sensor?

When trying to explain a new generation we used the three words that also represent the cooperation that was a big part of this new technology.

The optical bench in Sunrise is in itself a great improvement, we use “White Cell Optics”, a solution that optimizes the Infra-Red light rays and gives you the possibility to adjust the length of the beam depending on what range you want measure (400-5000 ppm).

Our expertise in Optics and gas met with the AKM experts on solid state technology.

As you might already know, accuracy is dependent on the amount of measurements you make. Energy can be saved by reducing the sample rate, nonetheless with that comes lower precision. But, the peak intensity of the light source has even stronger impact on measurement performance. This explains why previous LED sensors did not show sufficient measurement quality even though the light emitter itself is high efficiency. The AKM solution is an IR-LED with optimized peak emission combined with improvements on the detector side as well as optimized optics in order to maximize the utilization of the available light. It also provides a new signal processing technique by combining the infrared light emitting/receiving element and an external MCU dedicated for the measurement. The signal of the light receiving element (IR sensor) is amplified by a programmable gain amplifier and then AD converted with 24-bit resolution.

 

Welcome to a new day – Senseair Sunrise