For off-highway equipment, the influx of electro-hydraulics, electronic controls, and computer controls has increased automation opportunities. But you can’t simply shoehorn industrial sensors into these applications, noted Brian Cox, product manager, MTS Sensors. “It’s not that industrial sensors are inferior, they simply offer different functions than off-highway needs. Fine resolution, for example, is unnecessary. We stripped down our sensors to the base level and built them back up with respect to the requirements of the off-highway marketplace.”
The needed features include non-contact operation, absolute measurement, repeatability, reliability and durability. A couple of these features are crucial. Repeatability serves several purposes. “What is important in off-highway,” said Cox, “is that the equipment can return to a specific location quickly.” For example, when digging a trench, the operator must position the digging tool where it left off. Operators can do this, but it is much easier on them, and faster, if the equipment can find its last position automatically. Also, enabling equipment to handle this task takes stress off of operators and reduces job fatigue.
“Taking out the complexity of sensors used in this market reduces cost and size,” noted Cox. “It allows us to package sensors into the smaller environment of the electro-hydraulic cylinder.” The mobile sensors are designed to be fully embedded into welded cylinders. Access is generally not an issue in these applications.
Each off-highway application is different and requires sensors with specific features.
It is crucial to understand the application. Steering, positioning, and location through GPS tracking are just some of the applications off-highway sensors suit.
Filed Under: Off highway • construction, Sensors (position + other), Test + measurement • test equipment