Many variables will affect the price of the temperature sensors you require. If you require lower temperatures, with low accuracy, sensors will generally be cheaper, but if you require robust, higher accuracy sensors, it might be more costly.
Here are a number of factors to consider that can affect the price of a temperature sensor you require:
Number of sensors required
If you require a single sensor it might not increase its cost if it is a standard design, but the more customised your design the more development cost will be included in your sensor. Development costs will easily be absorbed by manufacturing volumes of temperature sensors. If you do require 1000’s of temperature sensors, or sensors on a regular basis, we can work with you to produce massive cost reductions by design for manufacture principles with varying levels of automation and simplification. We often work with OEMs where this is the case and help them to keep their unit costs for temperature sensors down while providing the perfect temperature sensor for their application.
Material sizes that are available
Cables, ceramics and other sensor components all have standard sizes. Being flexible in your temperature sensor design will enable you to reduce cost by choosing components in standard sizes. Special sizes will be available but will require custom manufacture and may have minimum order quantities. There is a general rule that small diameter sensors are usually cheaper up to a certain point. Very small diameter sensors are often more costly as they are more intricate to manufacture and are very fragile.
Operating and maximum temperature of your process
As mentioned in temperature requirements, your measuring temperature will affect sensor selection but also the higher the measuring temperature the more expensive the sensor component materials. When you are at the operating limits of a type k thermocouple, there is quite an increase in moving to type r thermocouples to measure the higher temperatures. Over estimating the temperature of your process can increase temperature sensor cost, when cheaper alternatives may be adequate.
Expected life-cycle of the sensor
A sensor design can be cost effective to replace if it fails, or you can design a sensor to be very robust to increase maximum lifetime. You will need to conduct a cost benefit analysis in order to decide which option suits your process. We have helped customers move from both options to the alternative. Customers have been using cheap sensors that fail often and have found that by increasing the robustness of the sensor although it increased cost per unit, in the long run it was cheaper. Looking at the opposite, we have helped customers which were using costly, over engineered sensors. By switching the customers to cheaper, easy to replace sensors, although they witnessed more failures in the long run their costs were also reduced. How long you require a sensor to last is very specific to your application. We also manufacture ‘fault-free’ temperature sensors that are designed to not fail through normal use.
Potential reuse of components in sensor repair
Being able to reuse components when sensors fail may help to reduce their replacement cost. Components such as heads and temperature transmitters can be reused in new sensors to help reduce cost. It is our environmental policy to work with customers to help minimise the impact of our products on the environment through reuse of as many components as possible. We also comply with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (ROHS) Directive.
Scrap value of the sensor
Rare metal thermocouples such as type r, type s and type b contain precious metal wire which is a significant cost of the temperature sensor. We are able to recycle this material which will help reduce the cost of repairing and replacing your existing sensors.
As mentioned when looking at accuracy, temperature sensors can be calibrated with both UKAS and laboratory traceable calibration. Both types of calibration will have costs associated but also the number of temperature points you have calibrated will affect cost as each point is added cost. You can also decided to calibrate every individual sensor or batch calibrate a sample of produced temperature sensors.
Lead-time for delivery
All of our temperature sensors have a standard lead-time for manufacturing. We carry stock of most sensor components but specialist materials will need to be ordered. As with most manufactured products requiring something quick can often carry a premium because production schedules will need to be rearranged or quick delivery of sourced components arranged.