Checking tire-pressure before getting into a car or any other automobile has become a mandatory exercise for every driver. Taking vehicles to gas stations just for checking the air pressure can be far too hectic, which is why automobiles are being fitted with tire-pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) that indicate low-pressure levels to drivers via a pictogram display, a warning light or a simple gauge. The basic feature of TPMS technology is the use of electronic systems that is designed to monitor air pressure with the help of sensor fitted inside pneumatic tires of a vehicle.
Lowering incidences of accidents due to flat tire or tire burst and improving fuel economy are the key benefits effectuating rapid growth in installation of TPMS systems at manufacturing stages of various vehicles. However, with growing use of heavy-duty automobiles in transportation and logistics is hampering the efficiency of existing TPMS systems. A global automotive giant such as Mercedes-Benz and leading engineering company such as Melexis are introducing next-generation TPMS systems that will make sure that problems related with tire-pressure will be dealt with ease in the future.
Integrating MEMS for Energy Efficiency: Melexis
Based in Belgium, Melexis NV is a global supplier of engineered microelectronics systems and solutions and exhibits a flagship of products designed with advanced TPMS technology. The MLX91802 is a prominent low power TPMS sensor manufactured by Melexis, and integrates analog pressure sensors to transduce tire-pressure information at less power. Recently, Melexis has upgraded this system by introducing a third-generation TPMS circuit in its latest product named, MLX91804.
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The MLX91804 is a highly-enhanced TPMS-integrated circuit that is supplied in a lead-less, 14-pin and DFN-type package. Proper inflation in tires has a direct environmental impact, and this product is expected to lower the carbon footprint of a vehicle by improving its fuel economy. Microcontroller and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) incorporated in the MLX91804 will lower energy consumption and function efficiently even at a three-times lesser sleep-mode current, compared to other TPMS IC products in the market. Energy-efficient wireless transmission, a 16kB embedded memory for data storage, an inbuilt dual-axis or single high-g range accelerometer for wheel sensors with auto-location functions are some of the upgraded enhancements in the MLX91804. Combining integrated circuits lowers the size of PCBs and results in operational competence in terms of power consumption, temperature range, shock resilience and the impact of changing atmospheric pressures.
Different TPMS for Different Models: Mercedes-Benz
When it comes to augmenting the innate TPMS technology in its wide range of luxury cars and automobiles, Mercedes-Benz has a different approach compared to other automotive manufacturers. The German automaker incorporates low-line TPMS for models that use one antenna for wireless transmission of under-inflation and over-inflation monitoring signals. Models mounted with four antennas are fitted with mid-line TPMS. However, there’s a major drawback for the company as it takes more than 10 minutes for resuming the display light indication after the TPMS sensors malfunction. In this case, the midline systems take less than 10 minutes as opposed to the low-line systems. Almost every Mercedes-Benz vehicle uses auto-relearn procedure to reset pressure sensors. The sensors are calibrated with correct pressures, which are called “reference pressures” by Mercedes. The display shows alerts if there is significant pressure change, but one can change the reference pressures to the existing pressures while driving in environments with harsh atmospheric pressures.
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