Self-powered switch applications
This third generation of mechanical converters, which can only be used in combination with EnOcean radio system, allows a quick and simple implementation of individual switch solutions in very different segments. For example, the ECO 200 converter – See figure 1
- could be connected solderfree to the PTM 330 wireless transmitter module from EnOcean for use in remote control keys, or as wireless transmitters for access cards, window and door sensors.
Figure 1: The ECO 200 bare switch module, a design that measures only 15x20x5mm
Building automation is the sector that recognized the benefits of energy harvesting the earliest, enabling a lower total cost of ownership through every savings and reduced operating costs. Essential to the success of building automation projects, installation time should be minimized and overall system costs can be significantly reduced owing to device placement flexibility. Another key area for energy harvesting technology is industrial automation, because high availability and reliability in production are essential factors for the success of a business.
German company SEMD sets the example as an early adopter of the 15x20x5mm ECO 200 mechanical energy generator. The company recently developed a wireless handheld switch that combines the ECO 200 of which a single actuation produces about 150 µJ, with the PTM 330 radio module. The unit can be used as a remote door and gate control, garage opener, lights control or nurse call – See figure 2
Figure 2: The handheld self-powered wireless switch produced by SEMD
The company also implemented the new energy converter in its high volume application for cable harness testing in the automotive industry. Instead of conventional cabled switches, testing uses energy-autonomous wireless switches incorporating the ECO 200. Simply pressing the switch unit generates enough energy to detect whether the single components are properly attached to a cable harness. A further advantage is that the classing cabling on the rear or under side of the mounting board is substantially reduced. In a conventional cable harness manufacturing setup hundreds of components have to be checked per board. This needs an electrical connection between each inspection station and the test system that has to be documented or updated when there are changes. The use of wireless sensors makes the test units not only more flexible but also more transparent, the individual test components can be exchanged fast and simply without modifying the overall supporting device or halting the manufacturing system.
About the author:
Frank Schmidt is CTO and co-founder of EnOcean GmbH (Oberhaching, Germany)
Frank Schmidt is a pioneer in energy harvesting and the visionary in management team of EnOcean. As Chief Technology Officer he is responsible for the overall technical orientation, patent related activities as well as the relationship management with educational, research and scientific organizations.
Before joining EnOcean he was at the Central Research Department of Siemens AG where he created the self-powered wireless sensor technology as early as 1995. He has been granted more than 40 patents for his energy harvesting inventions and is the author of numerous technical publications in this field.
Frank is a Physicist and studied at the Technical University of Chemnitz, Germany.
This article was originally published in the March edition
of EE Times Europe Magazine