MEMS sensors cut costs and risk for energy sector

Colibrys Sensing Tilt Placement

The oil and gas industry presents sensors with some of the most challenging expectations – to perform accurate and repeatable measurements in the most extreme and hostile environments and often over long distances.

The latest generation of MEMS-based motion sensors are pushing sensing technology beyond the physical and mechanical barriers set by conventional electromechanical sensors.

As solid-state sensors, MEMS are inherently more robust and reliable than the electro-mechanical devices they replace. They are also significantly smaller and yet achieve far higher levels of precision and control.

MEMS motion sensors are already being deployed in oil and gas exploration to reduce the cost and risk of exploration. Inertial and tilt sensors are providing precise and repeatable measurements despite drilling thousands of meters below the earth’s surface in extreme temperatures and with high levels of vibration.

MEMS vibration sensors are also being used to improve the security and reliability of new sources of energy by protecting vital infrastructure. Installed on pipelines, dams, nuclear plants and large wind turbines, miniaturised MEMS vibration sensors can provide intelligent detection of theft or terrorism in addition to monitoring for structural integrity after a natural disaster.

Seismic sensing –
downhole imaging and monitoring structural integrity

  • Digital ‘geophone’.
  • Very low noise.
  • High dynamic range.
  • Vibration sensing –
    monitoring structural integrity

  • Wide bandwidth.
  • Extended g range.
  • Signal conditioning.
  • Compact, sub-system level package.
  • Inertial sensing –
    guidance for directional drilling

  • Capacitive accelerometer.
  • Long-term stability and reliability.
  • Small size.
  • Tilt sensing –
    directional drilling and structural monitoring

  • Low g capacitive accelerometer.
  • High precision.
  • Low power.
  • Low temperature capability.
  • Custom shapes and sizes, limited only by the engineer’s imagination

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