Energy harvesting sensors

Energy harvesting sensors are a battery-free monitoring solution

Are you finding gaps in your data reporting? Your current monitoring solutions may only be scratching the surface. In truth, the infrequent reporting of data is caused by your sensor’s energy source. This is because sensors that run on batteries are finite and come with foreseeable limitations. You can read more about this here. Furthermore, plug-in sensors need both infrastructure in place and an electrical engineer for installation. That could cost you a lot of extra time waiting and money.

As a solution, DCO Systems implement each sensor with self-powering, energy harvesting capabilities. This gives you a maintenance-free, always on monitoring solution that you can rely on. Designed with OEM’s and maintenance engineers in mind, our sensors ‘work for you’, rather than ‘creating work for you’. Furthermore, a simple 'plug and play' module allows you to monitor more performance metrics in combination on your machines and place more sensors in more places.

Read on to see how energy harvesting sensors are powered, how they can extend your data reach even further, which machines you can install them on and how to grab your own.

DCO systems offer a range of steam trap monitoring solutions including the Flex STM model with energy harvesting capabilities

Thermal harvesting

Our thermal harvester can utilise a heat source to generate power, specifically by taking advantage of the temperature differentials between the source and environment. For factories with high temperature processes (like steam), this makes thermal harvesting sensors an optimal choice. This is because significant energy can be captured from the temperature differentials in such systems. Thermal harvesting is also a reliable technology with no moving parts and a simple mode of operation. This easily mounts onto the heat source with a clamp and providers power to the sensing unit.

DCO offer monitoring solutions built with energy harvesting technology

Solar harvesting

Naturally, any equipment with exposure to light would be an obvious candidate for our solar harvesting sensor. Particularly where mounted outside and daylight is available. These sensors have small solar panels incorporated on the sensing units that absorb the light in the environment and convert it to energy. With an Intrusion Protection rating of up to IP66, solar sensors are ideal for environment monitoring and lower temperature pipework stretching over long distances. They are also ideal in hard-to-reach locations, like chimney stacks, where the environment is optimal for this type of energy source for the sensors in use. In most instances they store surplus power harvested during the day and use it through the night, but applications such as solar farm monitoring lends itself to daylight only operations as well.

DCO offering motor monitoring solutions built with energy harvesting capabilities

Electromagnetic harvesting

Another harvesting option utilises electromagnetic induction from power cabling for electrical devices (often motors and drives). Using a current transformer (CT) that simply clips onto the cable allows the sensor to self-power, while also measuring metrics related to the current in the cables. Enabling features such as power metering and motor current signal analysis (MCSA) through a single, easy to deploy technology.

How you can include inaccessible equipment

Do you have equipment or locations that are excluded from monitoring because they difficult to get to? For example, tunnels (not for the claustrophobic), roof tops (which no ladder can easily reach) and installed equipment that is far-far-away can all pose logistical challenges. Consequently, these are the exact places that could greatly benefit from monitoring but where you don’t want to worry about changing batteries.

With DCO's  energy harvesting sensors, you can extend your data reach by including these assets in your monitoring efforts. They need only the tiniest bit of energy to harvest which can be found even in remote places with little infrastructure. As a result, you receive continuous, uninterrupted real-time data on your systems with rapid alerts and updates.

Energy harvesting module

Click on the image to expand

What metrics do you need measured?

Each equipment sensor can be customised to monitor several different components in combination at once. Furthermore, 'time' becomes an automatic metric as data is gathered and uploaded to the dashboard.

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Power (electrical power, consumption data & power analysis)

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Temperature and humidity (contact & non-contact)

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Pressure (air, gas, steam & water)

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Sound and vibration (motors, gearboxes & mechanical assemblies)

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Vision (infrared and visible light)

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Level, volume and flow

Ready to grab your own energy harvesting sensors?

What monitoring solutions do you need? We are happy to discuss how DCO Systems can implement or upgrade and extend your existing monitoring efforts. To get started with DCO’s affordable monitoring tools, go to our contact page or email us at

DCO equipment sensors have energy harvesting capabilities

Article: 'Immediate benefits of using energy harvesting sensors' explores the question - Are all equipment sensors the same? No, compared with plug-in or battery-operated sensors, energy harvesting sensors punch above their weight. As manufacturing industries implement the Industrial Internet of Things, self-powered sensors are a rising star. Discover the benefits of energy harvesting sensors and why you should make the switch. READ MORE

DCO news Article- DCO help engineers utilise the flexibility of adaptable monitoring in challenging environments with sensors powered using energy harvesting technology.

Article: 'Utilising the flexibility of adaptable monitoring in challenging environments' recognises that there’s a lot of ‘lemons’ on the market promising to do more than they can. However, they are likely constrained by battery life. Luckily there is a simple solution and it doesn’t mean ripping out what you already have in place. Ultimately, this could be limiting your efforts to reduce downtime. Alternatively, step into the world of adaptable monitoring. READ MORE

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