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Measuring chains – Delivering precise and accurate data

04 November 2019

The expanding use of automation in all sectors of industry is placing greater demands on test and measurement (T&M). From the sensors used to monitor parameters in real time to data communication and processing, the whole system must reliably deliver information that is precise and accurate, often when ambient conditions are far from ideal.

The communications and processing elements of the measuring chain can usually be either protected or placed remotely from potentially damaging environments but the sensors, the source of all the data, must be robust enough to operate reliably in what are often adverse conditions.


Piezoelectric sensors use the property of certain crystals to deliver an electrical charge when under a mechanical load. This effect was discovered by the Curie brothers in the 1880’s and was viewed as a curiosity of no practical use. In 1950 Walter P Kistler, head of the Instrumentation Lab at the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works, developed and patented a charge amplifier that could handle the very high impedance signals obtained from such sensors. Today, Kistler piezoelectric sensors are used to measure acceleration, force, pressure, strain and acoustic emission wherever precision and long-term repeatability and accuracy are essential. 

Read the full article in the November issue of DPA

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