21 April, 2024

Automotive-ready hydraulic flow monitor with CAN-bus interface

13 March, 2023

The compact, rugged and resilient design of the new Webtec CTA series flow monitor is claimed by the company to make it ideal for permanent installation on both onand off-highway vehicles, where it can monitor, record and transmit data about oil flow rates and temperature via a J1939 CAN-bus interface.

This device is perfect for use in predictive maintenance/IoT systems. By communicating directly to the vehicle’s control and monitoring network, it is possible to transmit performance data to the cloud or IOT system with subsequent download and analysis in real time. Further uses include the enablement of autonomous vehicle operation, closedloop control, real-time diagnostics and safety interlocks. The units are fully EMC-compliant, resistant to water spray and steam cleaning (IP69K protection rating), and unaffected by heavy vibration, making them an extremely useful addition to many vehicle applications.

Next-level productivity improvements

When used as part of a vehicle’s control or predictive maintenance system, the use of one or more Webtec CTA flow monitors/meters can achieve next-level productivity improvements. This is largely because predictive maintenance ensures engineers can make arrangements to replace a component before it reaches the end of its useful life without enduring an extremely costly, disruptive and potentially dangerous catastrophic failure.

The CTA flow meter’s principle of operation is a proven design that uses a turbine wheel mounted in the flow stream and a sensor which senses the passing of each turbine blade. The onboard electronics then convert the sensor pulses into a flow-rate signal ready for transmission via an SAE J1939 CAN-bus signal to the vehicle’s control system.

Indeed, the vehicle’s control system could also serve as a link to centralised monitoring and diagnostic station. As a point of note, the CANbus connection is facilitated by a Deutsch automotive connector in-line with inlet port to reduce height.

Of course, there are many possible applications for a permanently installed flow monitor capable of linking to a vehicle’s cloud-based communication system. For instance, such an investment can provide an accurate prediction of when system or component maintenance is required on earthmoving, mining and municipal vehicles, as well as cranes and especially autonomous vehicles. In these use cases, the flow monitor can continuously assess pump performance.

When using variable displacement pumps, it is possible to incorporate regular test routines into the vehicle’s operation so that monitoring takes place under consistent and known operating conditions.

Immediate indication of potential over-speed

The CTA flow monitor can also facilitate system performance information and action in safetycritical applications, like tilting trains or hoists. Monitoring the outlet flow from a winch drive motor, for example, will give an immediate indication of potential over-speed.

In addition, Webtec’s CTA flow meter can form part of an actuator’s open- or closed-loop control system. Here, users can obtain a feedback signal proportional to the actuator speed by monitoring the actuator flow rate, which they can then use for the closed-loop speed control of the actuator.

Webtec’s new CTA series monitor is currently available as a 300 l/min unit, although other sizes could follow for specific applications from 1 to 800 l/min. Maximum system pressure is 480 bar (7000 psi).




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