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What is a pressure sensor?

A pressure sensor is a device that senses and measures pressure. In this case, pressure is defined as the amount of force exerted on an area. Pressure sensors allow for more specialized maintenance strategies such as predictive maintenance. These devices collect real-time data about the condition of the equipment. Based on available information, sensors can predict failure modes and prepare for them.



By installing pressure sensors on certain storage tanks and other pressurized assets, the sensors are able to alert maintenance teams when pressure exceeds specified levels. This allows the team to resolve issues immediately. A typical example of a pressure sensor in maintenance is a sensor that receives a signal when pressure is applied.



How pressure sensors work


Pressure sensors work by measuring physical changes that occur in response to a pressure differential. After measuring these physical changes, the information is converted into electrical signals. These signals can then be presented as usable data that the team can interpret. An example of this process would work in the following steps:



1. Strain gauges convert pressure into electrical signals


The most common type of pressure sensor uses a strain gauge. It is a mechanical device that expands and contracts in small increments when pressure is applied or released. Sensors measure and calibrate physical deformations to indicate the pressure exerted on a piece of equipment or a tank. It then converts these changes into a voltage or electrical signal.



2. Measurement and recording of electrical signals


Once the sensor generates an electrical signal, the device can record a pressure reading. The strength of these signals increases or decreases depending on how much pressure the sensor feels. Depending on the signal frequency, pressure readings can be performed between very close time intervals.



3. CMMS receives electrical signals


The electrical signal now takes the form of a pressure reading in pounds per square inch (psi) or pascals (Pa). Sensors send out readings, which are then received by your CMMS in real time. By installing multiple sensors in various assets, the CMMS system acts as a central hub to track the entire facility. A CMMS provider can assist in ensuring connectivity for all sensors.



4. CMMS alerts maintenance team


With sensors in place, your maintenance team can be alerted when pressure measurements are too high or too low. A pressure rating that is too high may indicate a risk of component rupture or risk of equipment damage. On the other hand, a loss of pressure can be a sign of a leak, especially on a pressure vessel. Real-time data combined with mobile capabilities keeps your team informed about the status of your facility.



Most modern facilities rely on equipment using high pressure vessels. Due to the high energy they store, device failure can lead to catastrophic failure. Pressure sensors help identify risks early by notifying maintenance teams of any unusual deviations from ideal working conditions. Combined with predictive maintenance strategies, sensors allow maintenance teams to execute corrective actions before any failures occur.



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