The new multi-purpose charge amplifier ICAM-B from Kistler is a versatile device thanks to its unique combination of proven analog signal routing and integrated digital data transmission. These advantages make it ideal for use with piezoelectric sensors in almost any application. Users benefit from intuitive web interface control, a wide range of signal conditioning features, and various IIoT connectivity options.

Sensor-based production control and monitoring play a crucial role in modern manufacturing environments. Integrated piezoelectric (PE) sensors deliver multiple benefits for industrial manufacturers in many sectors. They maintain and ensure the quality of the end products, they reduce downtimes and boost efficiency by reducing waste; they also support process optimization and data-driven decision making. Manufacturers who want to take advantage of PE sensors in industrial environments require robust measuring chains with suitable charge amplifiers that convert the sensor’s charge signal into a low-impedance voltage signal for further processing.

The new ICAM-B charge amplifier from Kistler not only meets these requirements, but also offers far more thanks to its unique combination of analog and digital signal processing. The ICAM-B (or 5073B) is a multi-channel, high-bandwidth, universal charge amplifier with a wide and adjustable measuring range (±20 to ±1,000,000 pC), integrated IIoT protocols (OPC UA and MQTT), and a web user interface for configuration and commissioning. The ICAM-B can be used wherever mechanical quantities need to be measured with piezoelectric sensors in quasi-static or dynamic processes. Areas of application include micromechanics, medical technology, semiconductor manufacturing, and many more.

Depending on the selected version, the ICAM-B’s robust metal housing one to four input channels, depending on the version. Compared to its predecessor (5073A), the new 5073B comes with improved power management, an extended measuring range starting from ±20 pC, and improved usability and connectivity.

The ICAM-B features six analog outputs, and each input channel can be flexibly routed to any of these outputs. Users can choose between different output signal modes such as instant value, peak, RMS (root mean square), or integral value. For advanced signal processing, the ICAM-B offers programmable offsets as well as selectable low-pass filters and switchable high-pass filters. The new web user interface enables not only individual channel configuration, but also direct display of measurement values and visualization of the live signal versus time. The new 5073B device includes two virtual channels for real-time calculations (e.g. sum, weighted sum and subtraction) of different input signals.

Condition monitoring involves the use of various parameters to assess and analyze the health of machinery or systems. Key parameters for such assessments include RMS and integral. The 5073B’s D-sub connector offers pins that can be configured as digital outputs which send a signal to control systems if the user-defined threshold value for a process is exceeded. Machine monitoring based on defined process thresholds in the ICAM-B can help prevent unexpected breakdowns, reduce downtime, and extend machinery lifespans.

The ICAM-B’s new Ethernet interface enables remote access, remote configuration and monitoring, firmware updates, integration with control systems, data streaming, and a web-based user interface. Kistler’s latest charge amplifier features two integrated IIoT protocols – OPC UA and MQTT – so multiple devices can be interconnected and remotely controlled. Moreover, data can be easily streamed from field level to higher-level systems and the cloud. The integrated REST API makes machine integration simple and enables connections to other systems.

The new 5073B industrial charge amplifier comes with voltage (±10 V) and current output (4 to 20 mA) variants. To guarantee compatibility with the 5073A predecessor model, an optional RS232 interface is available on the side of the housing. This makes it easy to replace existing devices directly with the new model whenever necessary. As compared to the 5073A, the new 5073B offers the advantage of variants with three different sensor connector types to deliver protection classes IP50, IP65 and IP67, as appropriate to each customer’s testing environment.