As part of a pilot project we have developed a flow and pressure regulator that consists of micro-fabricated components and miniaturized valves that is compact and permits fast regulation.
Flow and pressure regulators are widespread in industry and laboratory, they are extremely precise, and are available in a wide variety of measuring ranges. Digital electronics and regulators based on a μ-processor with serial interfaces and bus systems for communication and digital input/output, e.g. for setpoint specifications, are standard today in process automation, where the use of faster and more precise regulators is mandatory for cost-efficient and effective process control. In addition to the valve technology, the limiting element for recovery time when the setpoint specification changes is the flow sensor, to whose signal the system is regulated. Conventional flow sensors have long response times and thus cannot detect fast changes. However, particularly in those areas where low flow rates must be regulated, often extremely fast regulation is also essential. On the other hand, MEMS sensors are highly sensitive and accurate, even at minimal dimensions they have fast response times and high dynamic measuring ranges.
Thermal flow regulators measure the mass flow of a gas If in addition, temperature and pressure are known, the volumetric flow can be calculated, and thus volumetric dosing can also occur. The calibration for different gases can be stored in the firmware. The thermal flow sensor developed by Hahn-Schickard is used as a mass flow sensor, the pressure sensor and the valve are types that are commercially available. The sensors are placed directly in the flow channel. Thanks to the modular structure of the prototype different valve types and connections can be used. Likewise, implementation without the valve as the flow rate measuring device is also possible.