Manufacturers Sensor-ing an Opportunity

What can the broader industry learn from the spike in automotive sensors?

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The automotive sensor market saw the highest growth in 2018, and the Research and Markets predicts the automotive sector will continue to dominate the sensor market until 2029. So, what can the wider manufacturing industry learn from this?

Automotive manufacturers have been fitting sensors into vehicles for decades, but in recent years, the sensor market has spiked. In 2018, sensors dominated the APAC region in terms of automotive production, driven by an increase in the number of electric and luxury vehicles, electronic component per vehicle, digitalization and the miniaturization of electronic devices in vehicles.

Automotive manufacturers expect this rise to continue. There is an increase in demand for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), electric vehicles, multi-purpose sensor and sensor platforms, meaning the global sensor market will continue this growth over the next 10 years at the very least.

Sensor market growth is based on several factors such as the sensor type, its technology and the region in which it is used. Let’s take the success of the temperature sensor segment in the APAC region as an example. This temperature sensor segment experienced the highest rate of growth in 2018.

Temperature sensors are used in a battery cell to, you guessed it, measure temperature. This section of the automotive sensor market is expected to maintain its dominance. This is primarily because of the increasing number of exhaust gas temperature sensors being installed, as automotive manufacturers have to abide by the Government regulations concerning exhaust gas emissions.

But why is this relevant to the general manufacturing industry?

An opportunist’s world

The increasing use of sensors in automotive creates opportunities for manufacturers to identify other places for sensor use in a range of applications across industry. For example, temperature sensors are highly beneficial in Energy Storage Systems (ESS) that use lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are vital for the growing energy storage sector, but their use can be hazardous without careful temperature monitoring.

In fact, sensors can equip manufacturers with a better understanding of measurement values across their plants. By implementing sensors that provide relevant measurement values in drives, for instance, they could monitor position, speed and pressure more effectively. Sensors within a drive function will increase the process reliability, reduce downtime and ensure traceability and quality of products in a production line.

Factories are striving to become ‘smarter’ with the digital influence of industry 4.0, and sensors are at the heart of this transition.

Smart sensors can also aid the smooth transition of manufacturers saving energy in factories. For instance, in a conveyor system, a sensor can ensure systems only operate when they are carrying products. Smart sensors use a combination of motion, proximity, weight and image sensing can also detect how many products are on the conveyor and how effectively it's operating.

Going back to the temperature example, smart sensors can also monitor the temperature, and therefore health, of factory equipment. Ensuring the temperature does not exceed its limit, the sensor will send warning data when the thermostat surpasses its maximum programmed reading, rather than sending lots of unnecessary data to the provider.

The global sensor market expected to reach $287,002.0 million by 2025, and although there are obstacles to overcome before sensors are widely adopted in the production environment, manufacturers can rest assured knowing industrial parts supplier EU Automation will monitor, repair and replace their sensors whenever required.

Mark Howard is a county manager at industrial supplier EU Automation.

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