19 September, 2019

A designer's primer on pneumatic sensors and switches

29 April, 2015

Leslie Neill, EMEA senior product marketing manager, Honeywell Sensing and Control, outlines what he believes design engineers need to know when specifying pressure switches and sensors in pneumatic actuation and control systems.

Single-/dual-axis inclinometer offers wide choice of options

02 April, 2015

Variohm EuroSensor’s new SST300 series single or dual axis inclinometers is claimed to offer extremely high precision performance with a combined absolute accuracy to +/- 0.01deg, and linearity of +/- 0.06 per cent F.S., over a +/- 5deg range. The robust and durable sensor is available in six measurement ranges up to +/- 60deg and offers optional temperature drift accuracy to +/- 0.05deg at ambient temperatures between -40 and +85degC. The SST300 series also boasts exceptional precision for other important measurement parameters including cross-axis sensitivity, offset, repeatability and hysteresis.

DuPont Opteon XP40 and XP10 approved by Bitzer

02 April, 2015

DuPont Chemicals & Fluoroproducts (DC&F) has included Opteon XP40 (R-449A) and Opteon XP10 (R-513A) in updated compressor selection software from Bitzer Kühlmaschinenbau GmbH, Sindelfingen, Germany, for its range of semi-hermetic piston and screw compressors, which can be accessed at: www.bitzer.de/websoftware/

FAG SmartCheck monitors cable car health

02 April, 2015

By installing a total of 18 FAG SmartCheck condition monitoring systems on drive motors, gearboxes, drive pulleys and cable sheaves, a cable car operator is now able, for the first time, to monitor the health of all process-critical systems.

NCTE’s new 7500 series torque sensor is available from Ixthus Instrumentation

06 March, 2015

Available exclusively in the UK and Ireland from Ixthus Instrumentation, NCTE’s new 7500 series torque and angle measurement sensor is aimed at convenient and cost effective solutions for power take off (PTO) shafts in agricultural and forestry machinery where it will help ensure the safe operation of connected equipment such as grain augers and silage blowers. The non-contacting IP65 rated sensor is exceptionally robust against mechanical and thermal influences and is maintenance free. With torque-only or torque + angle versions available, the 7500 series is offered in torque measurement ranges of 500, 1000 or 2000 Nm with speeds to 5000 rpm. Its overall accuracy combines linearity to < +/-0.5% across the full scale measurement range with repeatability to < 0.05% and rotational signal uniformity to < +/- 0.5%. The compact torque sensor has a nominal diameter of 85 mm and a body length or under 100 mm. Its one-piece ‘plug & play’ design with integrated electronics and single connector and cable connection is simply installed in-line on the PTO shaft where its wide choice of mechanical installation options, including flange mounting as well as PTO splined shaft or splined bush, ensure maximum installation convenience. Output signals are a choice of 0-10 V, 4-20 mA or CANbus from an 11 to 28 V DC supply. An optional readout unit is available for simple connection to the 7500 series torque sensor to provide both torque and angle measurement which can be read through a USB interface as well as provide data storage via an SD-card. NCTE’s unique force and torque sensors use the physical principle known as the inverse magnetostrictive effect where forces acting on magnetically encoded components change the magnetic field surrounding it - where even minute magnetic changes are detected to enable highly precise and real-time data acquisition of the acting forces. This non-contacting and maintenance free technology requires no re-calibration, is durable and extremely stable, and functions in oil or under water. The technology is available in a wide range of standard products in pillow block and in-line shaft-mounted designs, and is also easily adapted for customised solutions. NCTE’s sensor technology is well proven for demanding torque, force and angle position measurement applications in industrial test & measurement, engine & plant construction, transportation, construction, agricultural, automotive, motorsports and many others. www.ixthus.co.uk

Contactless angle sensor range adds multi-turn capability

13 February, 2015

Contelec has announced two new multi-turn versions of its Vert-X series of robust contactless Hall-Effect angle sensors. Available exclusively in the UK from Variohm EuroSensor, the sensors are the Vert-X 37MT CANopen, with a gearless 16-bit multi-turn and 16-bit single-turn resolution. The low cost Vert-X 24MT, which may be programmed for up to 10 turns, and has a 12-bit single-turn resolution. Practically unlimited rotation The new models offer solutions at both ends of application spectrum for multi-turn angle sensors. The Vert-X 37MT CANopen model is said to offer users a practically unlimited rotation count through a gearless, battery powered, multi-turn multiplier and has the added benefit of exceptional angular precision through its 16-bit single-turn absolute resolution. The impressive specifications offered by the sensor also extend to an independent linearity of +/- 0.1 per cent and repeatability and hysteresis to 0.1deg. Its industry standard CANopen interface offers an extremely reliable and robust performance with high immunity to electrical and magnetic interference. IP68 environmental capability Furthermore, this new model also boasts an IP68 environmental capability in a very durable sealed design with dual bearings and stainless steel housing. The combination of non-contacting absolute position, multi-turn capability, CANopen interface and extreme robustness makes the sensor well suited to the most arduous tasks and is firmly aimed at high precision positon measurement under adverse ambient conditions where humidity, dampness, dust and vibration are prevalent. Typical applications include construction equipment, agricultural machinery, cranes, drilling rigs etc. Conversely, the best-price contactless multi-turn Vert-X 24MT is aimed at angle measurement where absolute position monitoring is required over just a few revolutions. It has a 5 V DC input power and a 10 to 90 per cent single or half redundant signal output with an independent linearity of +/- 1 per cent. Its compact size, IP54/IP67 protection rating, and 12-bit resolution make it ideal for demanding position measurement on industrial equipment such forklift and truck steering angle, or position reference for linear and rotary electric actuators with a fixed travel range. High shock and vibration resilience Both models, being magnetic-hall non-contact devices, offer a high level of resilience to shock and vibration as well as long life – 50 million turns for the 24MT and 360 million turns for the 37MT, which also has a 3000 rpm maximum speed and high axial and radial load capability and thanks to its duplex bearing design. The 24MT has a lead wire connection whilst the 37MT offers an M12 connector. Variohm EuroSensor provides complete sales and application support across a comprehensive range of position, load, force and temperature sensor technologies and accessories for demanding measurement applications throughout industry and research. www.variohm.com

New combination dew point sensor for ultra-dry compressed air/gas monitoring

01 February, 2015

With the increasing demand for ultra-dry air for process quality and compliance with ISO 8573-1 Class 1 or higher, CS-iTEC GmbH of Germany have manufactured a new dew point sensor for accurate measurements down to -100degCtd. Dissatisfied with the problems associated with conventional aluminium oxide sensors of slow response times, unrealistic accuracy claims and potential for failure due to waterlogging, the engineers at CS-iTEC developed an innovative new sensor element in-house to combat these problems which resulted in the new CS 220 model. Extended measuring range The new QCM (Quartz Crystal Microbalance) sensor element in the CS 220 offers the fast response and stable accuracy of polymer sensors, but with an extended measuring range sensitive to moisture changes in the ppb range. In operation this delivers rapid identification of out of range moisture levels that could affect product quality or operator safety and accurate, reliable monitoring for plant compliance records. With applications in plant air/gas generation and distribution as well as point of use for breathing systems and system testing, the CS 220 models have 4-20mA or RS-485 (Modbus) output plus an option for combining a second sensor. This can be either pressure (-0.1 to 16 bar) or temperature (-30 to +70degC) and allows simultaneous measurement of 2 process variables through separate 4-20mA outputs from one instrument. This increases the flexibility for control system data collection without the need for additional installation costs or the introduction of extra potential leak paths which can be sources of system contamination. Further options The CS 220 has a G½” male thread for direct mounting into desiccant dryer systems for example, and can be combined with optimised CS-iTEC measuring chambers for permanent or temporary air or gas measurement. Further options are available for operation with higher system pressures of 50 bar and up to 350 bar. Sensor parameters such as analogue output scaling and physical units can easily be changed using the CS-iTEC service kit with a laptop and the CS 220 can be combined with any of the CS-iTEC range of displays, data loggers and analysis software for quality monitoring. www.reddragonvalves.co.uk

Micro-Epsilon plays crucial role in Rosetta comet lander

12 December, 2014

Micro-Hybrid Electronic GmbH, a member of the Micro-Epsilon Group, has developed aerospace-grade sensor and evaluation electronics for scientific instruments installed on the Rosetta space probe’s lander, Philae, which landed on the surface of the Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet on 12 November 2014.

Siemens unveils small but powerful piezo¬hydraulic actuator

07 November, 2014

Researchers at Siemens have developed a small but powerful piezo¬hydraulic actuator. Although it is only about nine centimetres long, it can apply a force of more than 150 newtons – equivalent to a weight of 15 kilograms. Such actuators are used to operate valves and flaps, for example, and can also be employed in robots.

Multiple use of sensors

25 September, 2014
Garford’s Robocrop precision guided weed control equipment applies position, pressure and temperature sensor technologies from Variohm. Peterborough-based Garford Farm Machinery designs and manufactures advanced environmentally sustainable agricultural equipment that solves large scale weed control and crop cultivation for farming worldwide. Its ‘Robocrop’ range employs a specially developed precision guided vision system – for weeding, hoeing or spraying – that uses real-time digital image analysis in conjunction with a hydraulic servo ‘sideshift’ assembly that laterally positions various multiple tools exactly on or within the crop rows as the tractor mounted equipment is driven forwards. The precision guided tools are used for mechanical weed control; to remove individual unwanted plants, hoe between rows of plants, or spray rows of plants – with impressive lateral positional accuracies of better than 10 mm at average tractor speeds of 12 km/hr. With this type of agricultural machinery experiencing extreme environmental and physical conditions, Garford has turned to Variohm EuroSensor to provide durable precision linear and rotary sensors for steering angle and lateral shift position feedback. To complete the package of sensors on the Robocrop range, Variohm also supplies combined pressure and temperature sensors for hydraulic system monitoring. Video image analysis The Robocrop InRow Weeder is the latest in the Garford range and utilises the tried and tested video image analysis technique to locate crop plants through pixel and colour recognition and then use this information to control individual rotating weeding discs which actually hoe the area between the plants (inter-row) or in line with the plants (inter-plant), eradicating competing weeds but leaving crops intact. The InRow Weeder features multiple individual discs which operate across several crop rows with a maximum width of six metres. The rotation of each disc is synchronised with the forward speed of the tractor and the plant positional information from an imaging camera which can cover a two metre width. Each weeding disc is coupled to a hydraulic motor, driven via a proportional valve controlled by the cab mounted Robocrop computer, which includes an HMI display to select modes and display operational information. To achieve accurate lateral guidance of the equipment, a Variohm SP2800 series rotary potentiometer is located on the ground contacting steering discs and feeds back steering angle information to the system. Garford use the Variohm LWG series linear potentiometer on the sideshift to feedback lateral position information to the inter-row hydraulic servo system. It also provides a steering aid for the driver when the machine is set up as an in-row weeder. Both of these Variohm sensor products have been used extensively for agricultural equipment applications. IP67 sealed housing The 28 mm diameter SP2800 series angle sensor features conductive plastic technology with multiple layer tracks in combination with precious metal multi-fingered wipers arranged in a unique preloaded design that ensures a very high resistance to shock and vibration. For Garford, the sensor is supplied in an IP67 sealed temperature resistant Duraplast plastic housing although aluminium housed alternatives are available. With a repeatability of 0.01 per cent of measuring range and an operating temperature range of -40 to +150degC, the SP2800 ensures a long working life of more than 50 million cycles with excellent reliability, competitive costs and straightforward installation. The LWG linear position sensor, from Variohm's German distribution partner Novotechnik, has a pedigree of high reliability under arduous dynamic conditions. The sensor’s high resolution potentiometric output is achieved with a conductive plastic resistance element and a precious metal, multi-finger wiper system with elastomer damping mounted directly on the actuating rod - which is supported with twin bearings for maximum durability. With a shock rating of 50g and vibration to 9g at 2000 Hz, the robust LWG linear position sensor provides a resolution of better than 0.01 mm over a temperature range from -30degC to +100degC – with an operational life of more than 50 million movements. For this application the IP65 rated unit is actually mounted on the outside of the sideshift assembly on backlash-free pivot heads with the anodised aluminium housing and stainless steel actuating rod fully exposed to the elements. Electrical connection is through M12, IP67 rated sealed connectors. Across the LWG series, electrical stroke ranges from 50 mm to 750 mm are available. Completing the range of sensors supplied on the Robocrop InRow Weeder, Variohm’s EPT3100 Pressure and EPTT5100 combined pressure and temperature sensors are used to monitor the input and output hydraulic pressures and return temperature information from the machine. These pressure sensors feature high level ASIC output circuitry with a thin-film strain gauge pressure measuring cell covering a wide range of pressures. For the combined versions, temperature measurement in gas or liquid is via a PT1000 compatible sensor with a rated range of -50degC to +150degC. With IP 66 or IP67 sealing and a high strength stainless steel finish they feature industry-standard port interfaces with sleeved electrical cable and optional boot protection. Through both ranges, a wide choice of voltage and current output options is available. The sensors supplied to Garford are part of a comprehensive range of sensor technologies that Variohm EuroSensor designs, manufactures or sources for linear and rotary position, load, force and vibration measurement in demanding applications throughout industry, agriculture, construction, autosports and research. www.variohm.com

Automation in enclosure assembly

17 September, 2014

Kiesling Maschinentechnik, a member of the internationally successful Friedhelm Loh Group, is a specialist for automation solutions in switchgear manufacture. After a five-year development period, the Averex, the world’s first robotic wiring centre is production-ready. But first, two real-world field tests will be conducted in the second half of 2014. Averex has been specially developed for wiring enclosure mounting plates. The system cuts the wires to the correct length before stripping and crimping with wire ferrules, feeding the wires through the cable duct and attaching them to components such as terminal blocks, contactors and motor circuit breakers. On average it takes around 180 seconds to complete this wiring process manually but Averex finishes the same task in approximately 40 seconds. Exceptionally reliable, Averex uses lasers to identify parts and check their dimensions against the assembly tolerances. Automation reduces the number of required working hours by approximately15 per enclosure compared to manual wiring (based on 300 wires). Control software, with routing module, is particularly simple to use, featuring an intuitive graphics-based operator interface and can be integrated conveniently with electronic wiring lists and CAD layout tools. The solution’s stand-out technical feature is its’ patented machine head, which can be rotated by 270 degrees and includes cable routing, cutting, stripping and crimping units, torque-controlled screwing and, pre punched holes are provided in the reinforcing plate. www.rittal.co.uk

Micro-Epsilon launches its new Measurement Product Guide for 2014

30 April, 2014

The demand and fields of application for high precision displacement, temperature, colour and position sensors are ever increasing. Whether for quality inspection or for applications in maintenance, process and machine monitoring, automation or research and development – sensors are making a vital contribution to the improvement of both products and processes. From machine building, automated food and beverage production lines, to integrated OEM solutions for automotive and aerospace companies, almost all of these applications benefit from the use of Micro-Epsilon sensors. With such a rapidly growing portfolio of sensor products and turnkey measurement systems, Micro-Epsilon has published a new, 36-page ‘Measurement Product Guide 2014’. This fully revised edition provides a summary of Micro-Epsilon’s comprehensive range of products, from sensors for displacement, distance, position and length measurement, to 2D/3D laser sensors for dimensional measurements, colour sensors, non-contact temperature sensors, thermal imaging cameras, and full turnkey measurement and inspection systems. As well as providing information on sensor products, the catalogue also describes the various measuring techniques that the sensors employ, whilst providing application examples supported by photographs and illustrations at every opportunity. The Guide also provides a technical specification summary for each sensor series, including selection factors such as measuring range, linearity, resolution, repeatability, measuring rate, profile frequency and response time. For a copy of the new “Measurement Product Guide 2014” catalogue, call the Micro-Epsilon sales department on 0151 355 6070 or email louise.dodd@micro-epsilon.co.uk www.micro-epsilon.co.uk

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