Linear Transducer Installation Considerations


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In my last entry, I talked about using a magnetostrictive linear position sensor in a hydraulic cylinder.  I received a few questions about that application, and I wanted to take this opportunity to answer one of them.

Q.  Why is it necessary to use a non-ferrous spacer to attach the magnet ring to the face of the hydraulic cylinder’s piston? 

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High Precision Positioning with Electro-Hydraulic Motion Control

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Peter Nachtwey of Delta Computer Systems has written an excellent primer on electro-hydraulic motion control.   In addition to many design and component selection tips, he highlights the benefits of magnetostrictive linear displacement transducers (MLDT) for position feedback to the controller.  Check out the article in the July edition of Design World online, called “A Second Look at Electro-Hydraulic Motion Control Systems.”

Hydraulic Cylinder Position Feedback

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Today, we’re going back to basics with one of the most common applications for linear position sensors: hydraulic cylinder position feedback.

Magnetostrictive linear position transducers are commonly used in conjunction with hydraulic cylinders to provide continuous, absolute position feedback.  Non-contact magnetostrictive technology assures dependable, trouble-free operation.  The brief video below illustrates how magnetostrictive position sensors are used with hydraulic cylinders.

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Add Value with Smart Linear Position Sensors

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Way back when (in the sensor world, “way back when” = about 10 years), linear position sensors had to do only one thing: provide linear position feedback.  But these days, merely sensing linear position is not always enough.  In order to meet the needs of increasingly sophisticated applications, linear position sensors sometimes need to be able to provide advanced functionality.  Listed below are just a few of the advanced features that some of today’s linear position sensors offer.

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Control, Monitor, Measure: Three Main Applications for Linear Position Sensors

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It occurred to me recently that, while linear position sensors are used in a wide variety of industries and applications, all of these applications fall into three broad categories:  controlling linear motion, monitoring linear motion, and measuring linear motion.

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Intrinsically Safe Vs. Explosion Proof

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Industrial sensors are often called upon to be used in so-called “hazardous locations”.  A hazardous area is one where flammable gases and/or dusts are either present, or could potentially be present.

Typically, sensors used in such areas must be specifically approved and certified for use in these areas in order to prevent accidental ignition of any flammable gases or dusts that may be present.  The two most common protection methods are referred to as 1) explosion proof, and 2) intrinsically safe.

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Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Sensors Must Withstand Punishing Applications

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In today’s competitive manufacturing environment, the name of the game is increased throughput.  Unprecedented global competition means that industrial manufacturing machinery must be able to run better (faster, longer, hotter, etc.) and more reliably than ever before.

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Analog Signals: 0 to 10V Vs. 4-20 mA

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In the world of linear position sensors, analog reigns supreme.  Sure there are all kinds of other sensor interface types available; digital start/stop, synchronous serial interface, various flavors of fieldbus, and so on.  But linear position sensors with analog outputs still account for probably two-thirds of all linear position sensors sold.

When choosing an analog-output position sensor, your choice generally comes down to analog voltage (e.g., 0 to 10 V), or analog current (e.g., 4 to 20 mA).  So which should you choose?

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Linear Position Sensor Output Types – Which do I choose?

Linear position sensors are available with a variety of different output signal types to suit various application requirements and control architectures.  Let’s take a look at three of the most common output signal types for linear position sensors; 1) analog, 2) time-based digital, and 3) serial digital, and discuss some of the pros and cons of each.

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