Omron and STMicroelectronics develop flow sensor for smart gas metering


Geneva, Switzerland and Kyoto, Japan — (METERING.COM) — November 5, 2010 – IC solution supplier STMicroelectronics and automation technology developer Omron have collaborated on the development of a flow sensor that will form a key component for the smart turn-key gas meter solution that ST is developing.

Gas metering is beginning to move from traditional mechanical meters to sophisticated new electronic solutions incorporating functions such as automatic meter reading (AMR). ST has estimated that there are some 500 million mechanical gas meters in the world and most major gas providers are preparing programs to replace their traditional meters with electronic meters.
At the heart of the collaboration between the technology companies is a proprietary Omron transducer and a companion analog front-end chip developed by ST, which have been integrated into a complete stand alone subsystem. The resulting flow sensor, which incorporates leading edge micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) micro-thermal sensor technology, is intrinsically compensated for both temperature and pressure variations, while a built-in circuit compensates for the variation of multiple gas composition.

Mounted on a small PCB measuring 7.2×8.6 cm, the sensor provides high accuracy with very low power consumption, built-in motor drivers for valve control, and protection against temperature and vibration effects. The sensor board includes an ultra-low power STM8L152 microcontroller with 32 kb of flash memory and an LCD display driver, the STLM20 temperature sensor, the LIS332AR accelerometer and the M41T82 real-time clock, as well as power-management and motor-control devices.

The sensor also is dust resistant to comply with international gas meter standards.