Radio sensors can monitor installations at locations which are difficult to get to and thus support automation. In these circumstances the energy supply is an important consideration; In order to remove the need for batteries and the associated servicing work, it is now possible to use energy from the surrounding environment by harvesting energy.
Piezoelements convert the kinetic energy from vibrations or shocks in the surrounding environment into electrical energy, and when equipped with the appropriate electronics they can create an autonomous system.
PI's robust DuraAct piezo actuators are laminated in plastic and are perfect for energy harvesting. They are reliable, durable and simple to handle and can even utilise displacements up to the millimeter.
PI also provides matching transducer and storage electronics as initial prototypes. The unit is small and can therefore be used almost anywhere, with very low intrinsic power consumption. Smaller dimensions in chip-size are currently being investigated.
The energy harvesting system operates over a large frequency range from a few hertz to several thousand hertz. For short periods of time it achieves a power output up to the milliwatt range, which can be supplied at a stable output voltage of between 1.8 and 5 V. This is sufficient to operate many commercial electronic circuits and systems.
Since 1992, PI Ceramic (PIC) has been developing and manufacturing piezo ceramic materials and components for standard and OEM solutions: piezo components, ultrasonic transducers, actuators and system solutions. The PICMA® multilayer actuator technology, which received an award for its reliability and is one of many inventions of PIC. PI Ceramic, is a subsidiary of Physik Instrumente (PI), with its headquarters located in the city of Lederhose, Thuringia, Germany.