Perpetuum Launches Vibration Energy–Harvesting MicrogeneratorJuly 5, 2006
Technology can power sensors, microprocessors, and transmitters sending large amounts of data for industrial applications.
Perpetuum has launched a vibration energy harvester to power wireless and battery-free devices capable of sending large amounts of data from many types of industrial equipment. The PMG7 high-performance microgenerator enables users to power sensors, microprocessors, and transmitters for accurately monitoring the condition of plant equipment and machinery without the need for batteries, expensive cabling, or maintenance. The easy-to-install solution is now available to OEMs, sensor manufacturers, and end users in all industries, allowing them to make significant cost savings.
The microgenerator converts kinetic energy from the vibration of equipment running at mains frequency (50 or 60 Hz) into electrical energy. It can generate up to 5 mW, which is enough to power a wireless transmitter sending up to 6 KB of critical data every few minutes, or smaller amounts of data, such as a temperature reading, several times a second. It is a practical device that can operate in most industrial environments and at minimal vibration levels (25 mg).
The PMG7 allows operators to continually monitor plant equipment, providing valuable data, such as temperature and vibration spectra, about the condition of such equipment as pumps, motors, and blowers. As a result, the data can be used to optimize the efficiency and availability of a plant, increase the cost-efficiency of maintenance work, prevent accidents and obtain significant savings in energy costs. According to the ARC Advisory Group, this is a market that can expect significant growth in the next three years, reaching almost $22 million by the end of 2007.
RLW Inc. of State College, Pa., selected the Perpetuum microgenerator to power its S5NAP wireless sensor nodes. These devices have been used to demonstrate that the PMG7 can readily provide the necessary energy for even the most demanding sensor applications, such as accelerometers.
"This is a major breakthrough in the technology," says Roy Freeland, CEO, Perpetuum. "We are delighted to be in a position to now offer this product to the market, having successfully completed field trials at the U.S. Navy, an international oil company, and Yorkshire Water (U.K.). This is a practical device, not a laboratory experiment. No competitive offering has come close to this level of performance in terms of the amount of data that can be sent or the conditions under which it will operate reliably."
The microgenerator is easy to install. It is simply screwed into place or can be held in place by magnets. It is then left in place with no need for maintenance, a truly perpetual source of power.
Following the recent $4 million new funding round, developments are underway to extend the range of applications and the performance of these devices.
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Perpetuum, a spin-off company from the University of Southampton, was founded in 2004. The company provides unique solutions for self-powered sensor systems eliminating the need for external wires or batteries.
Perpetuum's vibration energy-harvesting microgenerators meet the demands for a wireless energy source created by the recent development of low-power sensors, microprocessors, and transceivers.
It developed the "world's first truly effective" device capable of sending large amounts of data (up to 6 KB every few minutes) from many types of industrial equipment, even those operating at minimal vibration levels (25 mg).
Field trials at Yorkshire Water, the U.S. Navy, and a major international oil company have proven this is a practical method of continuous monitoring of plant and machinery.
About RLW Ltd.
RLW Inc. develops high-quality innovative hardware and software for condition-based maintenance (CBM) applications. Its devices perform machine health monitoring and provide health status messages to destinations remotely. RLW's SxNAP family of devices is small, smart, wireless, and cost-effective—the answer to the "missing inch" in CBM solutions. For more information please visit the company's Web site.
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