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issue: November 2008 APPLIANCE Magazine

Appliance Engineer - Technology Report
Relieving Design Pressure

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 A new compact pressure transducer saves engineers valuable design real estate while ensuring accuracy

To ensure reliable performance, Stellar Technology constructed its latest pressure transducers out of stainless steel.

Weighing only 3.5 oz, the Model FT260 miniature pressure transducer from Stellar Technology Inc. (Amherst, NY, U.S.; www.stellartech.com) is said to fit where a standard industrial-grade pressure transducer could not be used. The all-welded stainless-steel sensor features a flush diaphragm, which introduces zero dead volume to the fixturing to resist the accumulation of residue that can clog traditional pressure port configurations.

According to Chuck Pitzen, director of marketing, a small rosette-type bonded-foil stain technology allows the entire sensing grid to be positioned on the small-diameter sensor diaphragm. “Most pressure sensors have a recessed diaphragm, which requires some sort of process connection that introduces a certain amount of dead volume,” he explains. “The Model FT260 has a proprietary flush diaphragm design with the process connection located upstream of the process fluid, and, thus, there is no dead volume.”

While many competitive sensors are made of plastic or with adhesive bonded joints, Pitzen says the FT260’s sensing element is machined from a single piece of steel to ensure reliable operation. It is said to deliver a static accuracy of ±0.25% (BFSL) and a standard output signal of 3 mV/V at 70°F. In addition, the high-output model, the FT26XX, is designed with proprietary electronics to achieve excellent noise immunity and provide for either high output analog signals or digital output.

Pitzen says that the main challenge in developing the component was achieving the required process control for repeated performance. “This focuses primarily on the bonding of sensing components to the sensing diaphragm,” he explains. “Due to the small size, repeatability in the placement of these components is critical to sensor performance. In addition, control of the welding process is vital, as very small parts are welded together to ensure the robustness of the design.”

Designed to be robust, the transducer is hermetically sealed from outside elements and performs over a range of –100° to 300°F (compensated: –65° to 250°F). Pressure ranges are available from 0–2000 psi through 0–10,000 psig/a. Burst pressure is at least 3X FSO range.

Pitzen says that the sensor’s small size and light weight make it easy to incorporate into most product designs. Engineers simply need to consider required pressure range, electrical output, process connection, electrical receptacle, and environmental conditions. The component integrates with a standard bayonet-style electrical connector, and installation is via a 7/16-20 UNF thread with an O-ring seal. Options include alternative electrical terminations and pressure ports.

Appliance applications include HVAC equipment, or anyplace where pressure measurement is required, including testing and R&D applications.


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