By Gary Thomas
Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, IIS in Erlangen have designed a compact, innovative metering unit that can be fixed onto a power cable similar to a laundry peg without even the need of load disconnection. This metering unit will enable users to quantify their energy consumption and thus improve energy efficiency. The new unit will be exhibited at the Sensor+Test 2012 trade fair in Nuremberg from 22 to 24 May.
This novel “energy analyzer” was designed in partnership with Rauschert, which is a sophisticated ceramic product manufacturer requiring energy-intensive production processes. The funding of the research project was done by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology as part of its microsystems technology program.
This unit is designed based on the HallinOne three-dimensional magnetic field sensor made by IIS to be used in Bosch and Siemens branded washing machines, where it controls the orientation and position of the rotating drum. This device was designed by mounting eight sensors as application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) on a flat, flexible, circuit board. These sensors determine the magnetic field not just perpendicular to the chip surface but also tangentially, enhancing measurement accuracy. A microcontroller receives the recorded data forwarding the data through a central processor through a gateway switch. Hackner said that the power sensor can be installed quickly and integrated online. The sensor operates similar to a Rogowski coil, which is a component normally used in standard instruments for measurement of electric currents. The metering device is inexpensive, no accuracy errors and can also measure voltages. This instrument can determine all parameters required to monitor the grid supply quality along with the power consumption.
Live demonstrations of the device will be conducted by IIS researchers at the Sensor+Test 2012 trade fair in Nuremberg from May 22 to 24 at Hall 12 in Booth 202. The working prototype was constructed by Loewe Opta, who will also be involved in the manufacture of the final system.