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Bosch Sensortec, Akustica
Giant industrial steam boilers and tiny semiconductor sensors Savings on really big and really small items
- Tailored boiler systems
- Micro-gyroscope with world’s lowest energy consumption
Giant industrial steam boilers
Steam boilers are Bosch’s biggest and heaviest energy-supply products. They are over 12 meters long and can weigh more than 130 tons in operation. Every hour, they are capable of delivering around 55 tons of steam – as is the case at Valenzi GmbH & Co. KG, a company based in Suderburg, Germany, that produces some 4,000 tons of mushrooms, 2,000 tons of fruit, and 700 tons of soup vegetables annually. The company employs two efficient Bosch steam boilers.
- Each produces five tons of steam per hour. First, the boiler feed water passes into the integrated waste heat recovery unit and is pre-heated using hot flue gas. This increases the boiler’s energy efficiency by roughly 5 percent – with a proportionate drop in fuel consumption.
- The gas burners’ electronic combined control system ensures optimum doses of fuel and combustion air. Compared to the mechanical control used by older combustion systems, this allows for more precise tuning, which further reduces fuel consumption. The burner output is smoothly adjusted to the actual steam requirement, and can be throttled back to approximately 17 percent of rated output. This greatly reduces the switching frequency of the burners, as well as reducing energy losses caused by upstream ventilation of the flue gas channels.
- The fan’s engine speed is adjusted depending on burner output. In the partial-load range, this leads to significantly lower electrical power input.
- The boilers are equipped with a heat maintenance device: a heating coil is built into the boiler floor. This allows the boiler in operation to maintain the heat of the second boiler at a low pressure, which saves energy, avoids corrosion, and ensures rapid availability.
- A boiler system has a service life of between 20 and 40 years. Depending on the situation, it is typically possible to achieve efficiency gains of between 10 and 30 percent by replacing or modernizing older systems. At today’s fuel prices, even the largest facilities will amortize quickly.
- Valenzi is expecting its investment in the new boiler system to deliver annual energy cost savings of some 40,000 euros. It will bring down CO2 emissions by some 300 tons per year.
Semiconductor sensors are Bosch’s smallest products. These MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) sensors act as sensory organs for smartphones and other electronic devices. Engineers create the most delicate of silicon structures for them. As the sensor casing measuring just a few millimeters moves, these structures shift a fraction of a thousandth of a millimeter. The finest movements measured are less than half the diameter of an atom. These minuscule movements change the sensors’ electrical properties, which are then converted into a data stream that lets a smartphone “know” how it is oriented. Then the phone can rotate the image on its display accordingly. The dimensions that Bosch works to here are incredibly small; while a human hair has a diameter of 70 thousandths of a millimeter (70 micrometers), some sensor components measure only 1 micrometer – that is 70 times smaller than the diameter of a single human hair.
This is how Bosch subsidiary Bosch Sensortec (BST) produces the world’s smallest and most energy-saving sensor unit, the BMI160. Inside its housing, which measures just 2.5 x 3.0 x 0.8 millimeters, this unit contains an accelerometer and a yaw-rate sensor (gyroscope), among others. The BMI160 measures the orientation of smartphones with great precision. Other applications include tablets, wearables, remote control units, game controllers, head-mounted displays, and smart glasses. The problem is that today’s sensors draw too much electricity from mobile devices. But when the BMI160’s accelerometer and gyroscope are in full operational mode, its typical electricity consumption is just 950 microamperes – that’s less than half the standard in the market and is a world record.
“That means our chip can be running all day inside the smartphone and doesn’t have to be turned off when not in use to conserve the device’s battery,” says Torsten Ohms, who is responsible for developing this chip at Bosch Sensortec. One application sees a smartphone using the sensors to record all its user’s activities throughout the day, so it can then report how much energy the user expended traveling to work, walking around the office, or going up and down stairs. “People who want to lose weight can for instance choose what to have for dinner based on how many calories they’ve burned that day,” Ohms says.
To save energy, one of the things he and his colleagues have done is refine the chip’s silicon structures even further. It now converts movements into electricity even more efficiently than before, so it takes less energy to amplify the weak electrical signals. In addition, the sensor can store its own data, rather than constantly transmitting them to the smartphone’s particularly energy-hungry main processor. “What’s more, we switch off parts of the BMI160 when they’re not needed,” Ohms explains. “If a smartphone is just lying motionless on the table for two hours, there’s no need for the sensor to be calculating the yaw rate. So the gyroscope stays switched off – until the accelerometer detects motion, when it switches back on again.”
Details on the boilers at Valenzi:
Details on the BMI160 sensor:
Readers’ contact (sensors):
phone: +49 7121 35-35924
- November 27, 2014
- Press releases
- Bosch Sensortec, Akustica
- Images: 5
Interview with Michael Blichmann,
general manager of Bosch Energy and Building Solutions:
“If energy isn’t used, there’s no need to supply it in the first place”
- Savings of 20 percent possible for nearly every building
- “Carbon footprint” as sales argument
- Opportunities offered by connectivity
electricity or to heat buildings? Is a proprietary cogeneration plant
a good alternative supplier of power and heat? Bosch believes
a 20 percent energy saving can be achieved in nearly every building.
Stuttgart – The energy specialists of the Bosch subsidiary Bosch Energy and Building Solutions GmbH (BEBS) estimate that they can reduce the energy consumption of any building by at least 20 percent. BEBS offers this service to the facility managers of large buildings such as hospitals, office complexes, and medium-sized enterprises. These activities focus on improving the way various supply systems are connected, with a view to optimizing energy use, cost savings, and resource conservation. With the IPCC report having been presented at the UN climate change conference, Michael Blichmann, who heads up the Bosch energy services subsidiary, explains why this has an increasingly important role to play.
Mr. Blichmann, what are your customers looking for?
Whatever their field of business, our customers are facing increasingly fierce competition. Their response is to comb through all their costs for potential savings. Those with large buildings in particular find energy is becoming a more important factor. Just think about cooling in data processing centers or electricity and process heat in a manufacturing plant. In hospitals, energy is second only to personnel costs as an expense. As a result, our customers expect to noticeably streamline energy use and hence reduce costs. At the same time, the topic of energy efficiency is gaining in importance for many people against the backdrop of climate change.
Can you put a number on the savings potential?
We generally work on the assumption that energy consumption for any existing building can be trimmed by at least 20 percent.
Why weren’t such steps taken long ago?
Not only have dramatic rises in energy costs escalated the urgency of the situation, but also technical solutions are available today that didn’t exist a few years ago. Thanks to these technological advances, we can unlock new potential for greater energy efficiency in our customers’ operations. At the same time, power supply systems are becoming more and more complex. That’s why companies, especially medium-sized companies, are looking to entrust this aspect of their business to a specialist service provider – leaving them free to devote their time and resources to what they do best.
What has changed in this sector to make things so complex?
Decentralized power generation, for one, has made things more complex on the supply side. Keeping tabs on the big picture and getting the best out of what’s on offer is no easy task. Take, for instance, intelligent networks – better known as smart grids. The ranks of devices and systems connected with one another via the internet are swelling. In our business, the internet of things and services is a growing phenomenon. In the coming years, these networks will give rise to many more solutions and services geared to increasing energy efficiency. Dynamic electricity rates are just one example of this.
What kind of rates are those?
They depend on total demand. Electricity is very expensive during peak hours, but it becomes more affordable at night. This is the energy industry’s way of attempting to flatten out the spikes in demand. We can take advantage of these rates today because we are able to precisely meter and control current the electricity, heating, and cooling requirements in a building at any given time. At times when electricity prices are high, certain equipment can be switched off and then put back into full operation when rates drop at night. This calls for legislators to act as well – such rates are legally permissible but they are still not being offered everywhere. A considerable amount of potential is squandered here.
Hospitals and plants with complicated manufacturing processes require a constant supply of electricity. Shutting equipment down is hardly an option. How can you help them?
Even in those facilities, there are systems and machinery that are not in constant use. With the appropriate control measures in place, these facilities can also reap the rewards of switching equipment off. In the case of facilities that require a constant supply of electricity, acquiring a dedicated power plant, for example, should be seriously considered – especially as the plant can be precisely tailored to the customer’s needs.
But these customers have to invest heavily before they can eventually see any savings…
Not necessarily. We also offer to operate a decentralized power plant for our customers and charge them only for the heat or electricity they actually use. A careful case-by-case assessment is made to determine what is required, what up-front costs this will incur, and what makes the most sense for the customer. This clearly shows just how important customized power supply services are going to be. In a few years’ time, an individually tailored service will probably even be the make-or-break factor in selecting an energy supplier.
But isn’t operating power-generating facilities really the big utilities’ core business? What can Bosch offer customers that they can’t?
Word is spreading that Bosch has a broad expertise base. We can turn to our colleagues at Bosch Thermotechnology to draw on their decades of experience in operating combined heat and power plants, for example, or reach out to the Bosch Security Systems team to help with optimizing networks and control systems at complex sites. At Bosch Rexroth, we have a ready source of knowledge on streamlining manufacturing plants and facilities. Consequently, our customers see Bosch in a completely different light from a company that specializes solely in selling energy.
What exactly is your approach?
Our experts start by analyzing the status quo on site. From there, they can calculate the potential gains in efficiency and determine the appropriate methods for achieving them. A central aspect of this is working out how energy can be used as effectively as possible. After all, if energy isn’t used, there’s no need to supply it in the first place. For instance, we investigate whether heat released during a manufacturing process can be used to generate electricity or heat other areas of the building. As I’ve already mentioned, it often pays for large sites to run their own combined heat and power plant.
How big is the market you are active in?
It’s a rapidly expanding market. In Germany alone, the market volume for energy-related services will grow from 2.5 billion euros today to almost four times that in a decade. We expect that markets in other major industrial countries, such as those here in Europe, will follow a similar trajectory.
In the domestic construction sector, we have passive houses and even houses that produce more energy than they use. Are factories that are self-sufficient in their energy needs conceivable?
Absolutely. There are an increasing number of sites and companies that have made their production CO2-free or are powered entirely by renewable energy. Both large and small companies have already set this as as their goal, for example for power or heat, or because it allows a particular product to be marketed as having a small “carbon footprint.” By systematically using every available option for saving and regenerating energy, this already works quite well.
What is the energy efficiency situation in German companies?
Some manufacturers have already been able to achieve a remarkable level of efficiency, particularly in production. But there is still considerable potential to be harnessed in ancillary processes such as heating, cooling, compression, and ventilation. Many of these processes have seen very little invested in them over the past few years.
Is energy primarily being used or wasted in the industry?
Wasting would mean that manufacturers are deliberately using energy in an inefficient manner, which is definitely not the case. In order to make a business sustainable, however, it’s important to deliberately decide to address the topic of energy efficiency, to cement it as a corporate objective, and to put it into practice step by step.
What are the typical approaches in order to see results quickly?
There are often optimizations that can be made where air-conditioning and ventilation are concerned. The same is true for the regulation and control of air compression and heating as well as for heat transport. These are all areas in which investments in the improvement of energy efficiency would pay off quickly.
And which measures are designed to rather pay off over the long term?
This is where the really big potential lies, with efficiency gains in the two-digit percentage range. Examples including using waste heat or cogeneration systems, or switching from one fuel source to another, such as from oil to biomass. Following our analysis, the Rothaus brewery switched over from oil to wood chips, and it now saves an enormous amount of money. And it’s still good for the environment.
How is your export business? What markets are experiencing dynamic growth?
Bosch Energy and Building Solutions is a provider of services and systems solutions which can’t just be simply exported. Interesting markets are the large European economies, the BRIC states, North America, as well as Japan and Korea. In all those places, we’re seeing the trend toward increasing energy efficiency on the consumer side – sometimes fueled by environmental concerns, other times because of the desire to reduce costs and increase competitiveness.
Why does it pay off for companies or communities to generate their own electricity? And how eco-friendly is it?
It’s difficult to make a general statement here. In principle, there can be a number of objectives behind someone generating their own heat and electricity. Above all, having a cogeneration plant pays off where usage is high enough that a low fuel price leads to an overall savings on electricity costs. Other objectives can be to reduce CO2 emissions or achieve energy self-sufficiency.
What will be the big drivers of energy efficiency technology in the future?
The intelligent networking of buildings, property, and decentralized facilities in order to make energy flows and use transparent, comprehensible, and controllable – not just for electricity but also for heating, cooling, and ventilation. This transparency is the key to doing business in a truly sustainable way.
Bosch Energy and Building Solutions homepage:
- November 27, 2014
- Press releases
- Bosch Sensortec, Akustica
- Images: 1
- Technological trends: a greater range of measurable variables and increased intelligence
- After cars and smart phones, now the internet of things is driving market growth
- Every second smart phone worldwide uses Bosch sensors
Bosch provides sensors for a range of uses in the automotive and consumer electronics industries. For instance, MEMS sensors measure pressure, acceleration, rotary motion, mass flow, and the earth's magnetic field, and act as the sensory organs for cars or smart phones. Bosch has been producing these sensors for vehicles since 1995. A yaw-rate sensor that records the rotary moments around its vertical axis is at the heart of ESP, for example, and today each modern vehicle is home to up to 50 MEMS sensors. Thanks to Bosch Sensortec acceleration sensors, a smart phone or tablet knows how it is being held, and adjusts the image accordingly. Tiny MEMS microphones made by Akustica, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bosch Group, detect sounds and speech. Now every second smart phone worldwide uses Bosch sensors.
Bosch has been at the forefront of MEMS technology since it first emerged, and is the world's leading supplier in this extremely dynamic market, as the experts at IHS Technology and Yole Développement have confirmed. Since the start of production in 1995, Bosch has manufactured well in excess of four billion MEMS sensors. In 2013, around one billion sensors emerged from its state-of-the-art wafer fab in Reutlingen – or three million each day. “Bosch is the only supplier that manufactures sensor types for so many different applications itself. Overall, Bosch holds more than 1,000 patents and patent applications related to MEMS technology to ensure we stay on top of our innovative capacity,” says Klaus Meder, president of the Bosch Automotive Electronics division.
Technological trends: smarter and capable of measuring more
MEMS sensors can measure an ever greater range of variables. In early 2014, Bosch Sensortec unveiled a world exclusive in sensor technology – the BME280 integrated unit, which combines sensors for pressure, humidity, and temperature in a single housing. The new unit was specially developed for applications related to environmental monitoring, indoor navigation, smart homes, personalized weather stations, and sports and fitness. Within a second, it can determine humidity – the fastest response time in the industry. It also offers remarkably precise measurement of ambient temperature and impressively low energy consumption. In addition, Bosch is making its sensors increasingly smart. Production is about to begin on the first sensor for measuring physical variables, such as acceleration, rotary motion, and the earth's magnetic field, and it will also include a micro-controller for evaluating readings.
Key technology for the internet of things
The introduction of MEMS sensors in automotive electronics in the 1980s and 1990s marked the first wave of their surging popularity. The second major wave has been their widespread use in smart phones since the beginning of the 21st century – and the internet of things now heralds the third wave. Sensors, signal processing, batteries, and transmitters have become so small, energy efficient, and economical – even as all-in-one units – that they can be used in their billions. At the same time, radio networks are available almost everywhere. This makes MEMS the key technology for connecting things over the internet. MEMS must be equipped with a radio chip and a battery, and they must possess software intelligence, because only relevant data should be transmitted to the internet, not raw data. This local data processing calls for the special kind of systems expertise that Bosch brings to the table. In 2013, Bosch launched a door sensor that reports suspicious movements to the home owner's smart phone. In the future, windows will control the heating or alarm system via unobtrusive sensors, and bracelets with embedded sensors will call for help if their wearer suffers a fall. Web-enabled sensor technology will be in everything that is “smart,” not just in smart phones.
Internet of things offers great business potential
A key aspect of Bosch's future sales growth is web-enabled products and web-based services. The company considers itself well-positioned for such growth thanks to its hardware know-how and broad technological expertise. To unlock this business area, Bosch founded Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions GmbH at the end of 2013. It supplies compact electronic products and software expertise designed to make devices intelligent and web-enabled across a broad range of applications. The focus is on the development of connected sensors and actuators. Actuators convert electrical signals from sensors and control units into a physical action, such as automatically switching a light on and off or opening and closing a valve. Initially, business activities are concentrating on sensor-based applications for intelligently networked homes, or “smart homes,” as well as activities in the fields of traffic, transportation, and logistics – because in the future, consignments of critical goods will be able to transmit data on any unusual status changes directly to logistics centers.
Technical information about MEMS sensors
MEMS sensors contain the finest silicon structures. As the casing moves, these structures shift a fraction of a thousandth of a millimeter – and their electrical properties change in the process. These properties can be measured and converted into a data stream. The dimensions are incredibly small; while a human hair has a diameter of 70 thousandths of a millimeter (70 micrometers), some components measure only four micrometers – that is 17 times smaller than the diameter of a single human hair. Since the micromechanical sensor produces only weak electrical signals, the developers built in another electronic component – sometimes in the casing beside the sensor, sometimes even directly on the same chip. This second component processes, amplifies, and converts the weak signal into digital data. In this way, MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) sensors can supply control units directly with readings.
More information is available online:
Sensors for increased safety in vehicles: new generation of Bosch inertial sensors
Simplifying development of airbag systems: new Bosch acceleration sensors
Bosch is top MEMS maker in 2013
Bosch sensors for automobile electronics
Bosch sensors for consumer electronics
Bosch sets up company for internet of things and services
Sensors – how technology maps the world around it
MEMS: the stars of the sensor world
Car-to-X: the future is about connectivity
Greater safety with peripheral sensors
Internet-enabled MEMS sensors
Gyroscope for ESP: how it works
Pressure sensor: how it works
Acceleration sensor: how it works
MEMS sensor manufacturing
Bosch MEMS enabling the Internet of Things and Services
Bosch Sensortec GmbH is a fully owned subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH, dedicated to the consumer electronics world offering a complete portfolio of micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) sensors and solutions that enable mobile devices to feel and sense the world around them. Bosch Sensortec develops and markets a wide portfolio of MEMS sensors and solutions for smart phones, tablets, wearable devices and IoTS (Internet of Things & Services) applications.
- June 25, 2014
- Press releases
- Bosch Sensortec, Akustica
- Images: 12
New Inertial Measurement Unit BMI160 Bosch Sensortec launches first IMU with sub 1mA current consumption High accuracy, low noise in industry’s lowest current consumption and footprint
- Ultra-low power, high precision 6-axis IMU in industry leading footprint
- Enables always-on applications for wearable devices
- Supports precise 9-axis sensor data fusion computation
Applications such as immersive gaming, augmented reality and the emerging 3D indoor scanning applications must deliver precise, real-time user experiences. The BMI160 achieves this by synchronizing the inertial accelerometer and gyroscope sensor data precisely with external geomagnetic sensor data, and is ideally suited for applications requiring exact, low latency low power 9-axis sensor data fusion.
“Current battery limitations in devices such as smart watches, augmented reality glasses and wearable devices are restricting the adoption of more sophisticated applications which need to be continuously powered,” says Jeanne Forget, Marketing Director of Bosch Sensortec. “With its industry leading current consumption, the BMI160 makes a significant contribution to overcoming this hurdle, and will help usher in a new era of always-on applications.”
Precise sensor data fusion
Additional sensors from the Bosch Sensortec family, such as geomagnetic (BMM series) or pressure sensors (BMP series), can be connected as slaves via a secondary I2C interface. In this configuration, the BMI160 controls data acquisition of the external sensor with all sensor data being stored in the built-in FIFO. With the secondary interface configured as high speed SPI interface and connected to camera module, BMI160 also supports optical image stabilization (OIS).
Smart power management and built-in FIFO
The built-in power management unit (PMU) can be configured to further lower power consumption by automatically sending the gyroscope temporarily into fast start-up mode, then wake-up using the any-motion interrupt of the accelerometer. When connected to a geomagnetic sensor, the BMI160 can trigger a read-out of the magnetometer sensor data without host processor intervention. Longer host controller sleep cycles reduce power consumption at the system level. The integrated FIFO supports low power applications and prevents data loss in non-real-time systems. The FIFO architecture allows dynamic reallocation of FIFO space for accelerometer, gyroscope and external sensors respectively.
The BMI160 features an on-chip interrupt engine enabling low-power motion-based gesture recognition and context awareness. Interrupts issued in a power efficient manner include: any- or no-motion detection, tap or double tap sensing, orientation detection, free-fall or shock events.
Android 4.4 (KitKat) and Windows 8.1 compliance
The BMI160 fulfils the requirements of most standard operating systems and is fully Android 4.4 (KitKat) and Windows 8.1 compliant. Significant motion and step detector interrupts consume less than 200µA each.
The BMI160 is intended for high-volume consumer electronics manufacturers. Samples of the BMI160 are available now to key development customers.
Tina Horstmann: +49 7121 35-35924
- June 24, 2014
- Press releases
- Bosch Sensortec, Akustica
- Images: 2