Lufft’s Weather Matrix – As Versatile as our Weather Applications

Radiation, wind, temperature, humidity, precipitation, air pressure, road conditions, soil moisture, soil temperature, visibility, present weather. We are working simultaneously on all these sensor challenges and the result is an ever broader and higher weather matrix with an increasing number of variants having different degrees of accuracy and robustness.

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The Lufft WS product family of automatic weather stations

“How fast can you deliver?” was the first, completely unexpected question thrown at us by a large visitor delegation from Russia, who manages the world’s tallest TV tower (Ostankino).

Architecturally, this tower was modeled after the Stuttgart Television Tower, thirty years after the only TV tower in the German state capital was erected to a height of 200 m in the 1950s. By the way, Stuttgart’s citizens were convinced that the tower was sure to topple over after only three years.

In a comparative test in Moscow, our wind sensor Ventus UMB bravely supplied readings and was the only device to survive the adverse conditions at an altitude of 503 meters above the city on an arm of the local TV tower. The weather up there is icy cold, with lots of snow in the winter and often dense clouds. The sensitive probes in the ultrasonic wind sensor are at a permanent risk of freezing due to condensation effects at this altitude.

Our development had outclassed the most robust sensors of all other participants. This is just to explain the background for the question mentioned above. The fact that the Russian delegation then stayed with us for a week and thoroughly discussed the planned renewal of the measurement technology, including how the already proven Russian software could be used, speaks for the care and thoroughness with which new technical solutions need to be implemented. After all, the new measurement technology will also be used in all the other 50 TV towers and a further 50 TV towers that are in the pipeline. Therefore, in the world’s vastest country we were able to make a small contribution to reliable broadcasting, even to the remotest Siberian village.

Immediately afterwards, we welcomed a group of motorway operators from northern Italy, which have been mainly using our weather sensors along their routes. In a brief break between discussions, we decided to make a quick visit to the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

Although I have often been here with visitors, each time I am surprised to discover something new. This time I was struck by a graph from the 50s with the title “Diversity”. It displayed the many variants and interiors which post-war Mercedes customers were already able to choose from. Beautiful models emerged in this period (key word “gullwing”), where the dawn of the new era was reflected in innovative car designs.

Dr. Martin Winterkorn of Volkswagen has a clear objective with the company’s 12 brands: the right car for each customer in each country. Not a standard global car (such as the Mondeo, which was a total flop), but diversity based on a modular concept with a substantially standardized platform strategy.

Fragmentation and diversity – these are not unique features of our time, but have always existed. There is nothing wrong with customers having specific ideas or wanting optimum support for their applications. Too many technology manufacturers, however, attempt to convince the customer to take the “standard” solution. Please, not another variant!

A meteorological client has completely different demands on its weather sensors as an operator of high-speed trains in China. Wind turbines in offshore applications need weather sensor that provides maintenance-free and reliable readings. The protection class of a sensor on a buoy must be extremely high to ensure durability. Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry – What is required for applications such as agricultural weather, hydrology, extreme weather, traffic weather, solar system control, building automation (green buildings)? Accuracy or robustness? Both? Or maybe even the highest accuracy? Or extreme long-term stability? No more moving parts? Calibration capability? We seek answers to these questions. And still haven’t found them all. So if you think you can help us, we’ll be happy to have you on board. There are still many inventions waiting to happen and unfortunately the perfect sensor doesn’t exist (yet).

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The complete product matrix of the Lufft WS product family of automatic weather stations 

Radiation, wind, temperature, humidity, precipitation, air pressure, road conditions, soil moisture, soil temperature, visibility, present weather. We are working simultaneously on all these sensor challenges and the result is an ever broader and higher weather matrix with an increasing number of variants having different degrees of accuracy and robustness.

And how does this matrix emerge in our product strategy?

By listening to our customers and thinking things through, and by defining product goals instead of sales targets – and then taking the first step. Revenues will follow naturally.

Last week, a Canadian competitor complained to one of our customers that his advertisements for bids were for Lufft technology. To this day, we have never suggested such a thing to our customers – instead, we recommend them to use the best environmental sensor available for their application. If we do not believe that we have the best solution, we will often recommend a rival product.
You can read here how our customer reacted to the complaint of our competitor!

Dear competitors, do not be offended if Lufft sensor technology is tendered out. Work with the passion we do to meet the challenges described above. The best will win.

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