A newly published study by Venture Development Corporation (VDC--- Natick, Mass.), entitled The Global Market For Industrial Electronic Temperature Controllers, Eighth Edition found a high majority of industrial-electronic temperature-controller users to be unfamiliar with the IEEE-1451 smart sensor standard. How about you? Where do you stand on IEEE-1451?
VDC also found that of the users familiar with the standard, only 11% are using smart sensors with Transducer Electronic Data Sheets (TEDS).
A Bit Of History
A word about the standard and its history. In September of 1993, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the IEEE's Technical Committee on Sensor Technology of the Instrumentation and Measurement Society co-sponsored a meeting to discuss smart sensor communication interfaces and the possibility of creating a standard interface.
The response was to establish a common communication interface for smart transducers. Since then, a series of workshops and technical working groups have hammered out aspects of the interface standard.
The P1451.1 working group, for one, defined a common object model for smart transducers, along with interface specs for the components of the model. The P1451.2 working group helped define a smart transducer interface module (STIM), a transducer electronic data sheet (TEDS), and a digital interface to access the data.
The P1451.3 working group aims at defining a digital communication interface for distributed multidrop systems.
The P1451.4 working group aims at defining a mixed-mode communication protocol for smart transducers.
This family of IEEE-1451 standards is designed to work in concert with each other to ease the connectivity of sensors and actuators into a device or field network.
The working groups created the concept of smart sensors to control networks interoperability. This concept of sensor/network interoperability was demonstrated at the two workshops held in conjunction with the two different Sensor Expo conferences in Boston and Chicago.
So far, the project has produced a set of specifications which is approved and published by the IEEE as IEEE Std. 1451.2-1997, otherwise known as the Standard for a Smart Transducer Interface for Sensors and Actuators - Transducer to Microprocessor Communication Protocols and Transducer Electronic Data Sheet (TEDS) Formats.
IEEE-1451 attempts to provide an industry-standard to reduce the cost of creating unique smart sensors for each bus/network to which these would be connected. Using an embedded memory in the sensor that contains sensor-related data enables TEDS. It lets the sensor automatically identify itself once connected to a bus or network.
VDC's Findings, Today
Overall, VDC found among the temperature controller users in its survey that slightly over 2% are using smart sensors with TEDS, with another 10% expecting to do so by 2006.
Twenty percent of those familiar with TEDS indicated they didn't know when they would use this technology, and another 20% indicated they never would. However, included in these percentages were users familiar with spec, but who have no plans to use any smart sensors at all with temperature controllers, and thus have no need for TEDS.
"There are obvious benefits to using smart sensors with digital bus/network interfaces," says VDC analyst Jake Millette.
"These benefits include the ability to upgrade in the future. IEEE-1451 with TEDS is one means of making such implementations attractive to users. If temperature controller and sensor suppliers can work together to adopt this standard, and educate their customers on its advantages, it can benefit all parties."
For further information about the study, contact VDC VP Marc Regberg. Phone: (508) 653-9000, Ext. 111, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the standard can be found here.