Pressure transducers are devices that convert the mechanical force of applied pressure into electrical energy. This electrical energy becomes a signal output that is linear and proportional to the applied pressure. Pressure transducers are very similar to pressure sensors and transmitters. In fact, transducers and transmitters are nearly synonymous. The difference between them is the kind of electrical signal each sends. A transducer sends a signal in volts (V) or millivolt per volt (mV/V), and a transmitter sends signals in milliamps (mA).
Both transmitters and transducers convert energy from one form to another and give an output signal. This signal goes to any device that interprets and uses it to display, record or alter the pressure in the system. These receiving devices include computers, digital panel meters, chart recorders and programmable logic controllers. There are a wide variety of industries that use pressure transducers and transmitters for various applications. These include, but are not limited to, medical, air flow management, factory automation, HVAC and refrigeration, compressors and hydraulics, aerospace and automotive.
There are important things to consider when deciding what kind of pressure transducer to choose. The first consideration is the kind of connector needed to physically connect the transducer to a system. There are many kinds of connectors for different uses, including bulletnose and submersible connectors, which have unique applications. Another important part is the internal circuitry of the transducer unit, which is housed by a "can" that provides protection and isolates the electronics. This can be made of stainless steel or a blend of composite materials and stainless steel. The various degrees of protection extend from nearly no protection (an open circuit board) to a can that is completely submersible in water. Other kinds of enclosures safeguard the unit in hazardous areas from explosions and other dangers.
The next thing to consider is the sensor, which is the actual component that does the work of converting the physical energy to electrical energy. The component that alters the signal from the sensor and makes it suitable for output is called the signal conditioning circuitry. The internal circuitry must be resistant to harmful external energy like radio frequency interference, electromagnetic interference and electrostatic discharge. These kinds of interferences can cause incorrect readings, and are generally to be avoided when doing readings. Overall, pressure transducers are well-performing and high-accuracy devices that make life easier for many industries.