Choosing the Right Temperature Sensor for Your Equipment

Understanding the types of sensors, their application, the environment where they operate, and the parameters they measure are key elements of effective temperature measurement

Understanding the types of sensors, their application, the environment where they operate, and the parameters they measure are key elements of effective temperature measurement

 

Industrial temperature measurement isn’t a walk in the park. The fact is that it is a highly-sensitive type of application that requires not only experience and knowledge of thermal dynamics, but also of the materials each type employs and how they react in the environment where they measure temperature.

With this in mind, we want to use simple language in an effort to educate you in how we can better serve your needs. After all, Temp-Pro is a business that has been built around the success of countless customers and OEMs who trust our expertise in industrial temperature measurement. And it is through our custom solutions that we ensure precision and accuracy for customers across a wide variety of industries.

Temperature sensors are usually defined by three types: Resistance Temperature Detectors (RTDs), Thermocouples and Thermistors. Each has a different range of applications and thus serve a different industrial objective. Here’s a quick guide on their nature and application:

 

RTD – A resistance temperature detector operates by measuring how a resistor, made of metal, reacts to the change in temperature—an action that can be measured to provide a temperature reading. Understanding the relationship between that metal—such as platinum, nickel or copper—allows the measurement of its resistance and the associated linear reading of temperature. The temperature range for an RTD is typically a minimum of -200°C to a maximum of 650°C. The cost of producing an RTD tends to be on the higher side, given their complexity and ability to measure a wider temperature range.

Thermocouples – These temperature measurement devices use the Peltier Effect, which is the production of electrical voltage as a reaction to heat or cold. These devices use two different metals that produce such an electrical reaction and depending on the metal type, they can measure a specific range of heat and cold temperatures. By design, thermocouples are therefore effective in measuring temperature at a faster rate than other types of thermometers. The temperature range for a thermocouple is typically a minimum of 200°C to a maximum of 1,750°C. The cost of producing a thermocouple is relatively low, compared to RTDs.

Thermistor – Another type of resistor thermometer is the thermistor, which is used to regulate the temperature—either as a Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC) or as a Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC). Although limited to lower ranges of temperature, thermistors are highly effective in measure very small changes in the temperature of a device or industrial environment. Calibrating an NTC or PTC thermistor allows for the accurate measurement with applications beyond other types of industrial temperature sensors. The temperature range for a thermistor is typically a minimum of -100°C to a maximum of 325°C. In addition, the cost of producing a thermistor is considered to be on the lower sider of the cost scale.

Once again, the application of any of these—or a combination thereof—is defined by the environment, the range of temperatures a client seeks to measure and other factors that can be best analyzed when you consult with one of Temp-Pro’s knowledgeable industrial thermometer experts. We have been producing these temperature measurement devices for several decades and our company has the expertise and insight to match the best device to an application.

Contact Temp-Pro today to schedule a conversation or to share your current specs and applications. Our team will be happy to guide you in understanding how to achieve your industrial temperature measurement objectives.

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