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Omron & ST develop smart gas metering sensor

09 Oct 2012

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The development of a MEMS-based gas flow sensor has been completed and the announcement was recently made by Omron Corp and STMicroelectronics. The sensor has a built-in correction for differences in gas composition. Omron will start shipping samples in November 2012.

As with the measurement of electricity consumption, gas metering is moving towards smart electronic meters with automatic functions for meter-reading and leaving the conventional mechanical solutions behind. The electronic meters are more accurate and reliable, so major gas providers have started replacing the traditional meters with them.

The new gas-flow sensor combines Omron's state-of-the-art MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical System) thermal flow transducer with ST's high-performance analogue front-end IC, delivering high-precision gas flow-rate measurement with excellent reproducibility. Gas meters built around the Omron/ST solution do not need to be configured for a certain type of gas at the time of shipment or installation, as they are intrinsically compensated for both temperature and pressure variations and a built-in circuit compensates for the variation of multiple gas composition. The sensor is dust-resistant to comply with international gas-meter standards.

"The successful collaboration with Omron in gas metering expands ST's foothold in the increasingly important field of 'intelligent measurement' and sets us to replicate the great success we have achieved in smart electricity metering," said Marco Cassis, Executive Vice President of STMicroelectronics.

"By enabling IT-based smart metering, this new technology will significantly contribute to energy saving," said Yoshio Sekiguchi, Senior General Manager of the Micro Devices Division of Omron Corporation.

Design specifications

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