When several sensors are added throughout a vehicle, setup and calibration are far less of a problem than in the past. That is if off-highway test engineers use sensors that employ a standard that stores identification data on the sensor, bringing plug-and-play to the testing field.
Over the past few years, the IEEE 1451.4 standard has offered users significant savings in setup times. These Transducer Electronic Data Sheets, commonly called TEDS, have seen some success in off-highway applications, though the overall market has largely been disappointing.
Those who have tried it cite solid paybacks. Using Virtual TEDS let John Deere reduce the setup time spent before first taking measurements while also improving accuracy, according to Don Dunnwald, a John Deere Senior Engineer. Configuring the sensor information electronically also eliminates human transcription errors.
Now that each sensor has its own unique electronic data sheet, technicians have the most up-to-date sensor parameters. Additionally, the systems can notify technicians when a sensor should be returned to the metrology lab for calibration, according to Dunnwald.
Sensor makers are also fairly bullish on the standard’s benefits. “All in all, significantly reduced hardware and software setup time can be achieved with the use of TEDS transducers,” said Marco Peres, a Design Engineer at PCB Piezotronics. He added that sensor plug-and-play performance eliminates data entry and system setup errors while automatically calibrating sensitivity and simplifying cable management.
Despite those benefits, the standard has seen poor customer acceptance worldwide, according to Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst V. Sankaranarayanan. He estimated that revenues were $27.6 million in 2006, predicting growth to $40.9 million in 2013.
Though acceptance has been slow, awareness of the standard is growing. Many companies feel it may see greater successes in the off-highway industry as system architectures evolve.
"As we get into ever more distributed systems, we can quickly become overwhelmed by the number of types of input. We don’t use TEDS heavily now, but as those distributed systems evolve, we may need it more in the future,” said Tom Dollmeyer, Director of Heavy Duty Engineering at Cummins Performance.