A new product has been released for measuring differential pressure (DP).  Electronic Remote Sensors have finally made their debut.  While these are generally designed for level, they can be used for any DP application.  Their sweet spot is low static pressure compared to differential pressure (about a 100:1 ratio) and long measurement distances.

The biggest advantage is they eliminate capillary lines.  Since the two sensors are connected electronically (any instrument cable) installation is much easier.  You no longer have to inventory instruments with multiple lengths of capillary.  If the sensor should become damaged, only one piece has to be replaced (did I mention you already stock it?).

The challenge with the technology was to get an instrument that could power two electronics modules with one 4-20mA loop.  There also needed to be a communication protocol that was fast enough to make the measurements at the same time.   With the evolution of new electronics with lower power consumption and high-speed bus protocols, these challenges have been overcome.

Using two instruments for measuring DP has been implemented in the past, but it took an extra I/O and the measurements were not made at the exact same time.  It also utilized computer time to make the DP calculation and possibly convert it to a usable process variable.  Finally, a complete instrument had to be replaced, rather than a sensor, if it failed.

Of course, ERS does not fit in every application.  High static pressure and low DP will need to be done with traditional methods.  However, it does make a great complement to existing technology.

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