Custom OEM inclination, acceleration and vibration sensors

Paul Boughton

Precision sensor manufacturer Micro-Epsilon UK has extended its product portfolio to include a range of high performance acceleration, inclination (tilt angle), shock/vibration sensors and other industry-specific MEMS-based (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) sensors.

The sensors can be custom-engineered in low-to-medium volumes to suit specific OEM, R&D or machine build applications, for a variety of industry sectors such as rail, military, aerospace and defence, automotive, agricultural machinery, access platforms and off-highway vehicles.

MEMS, the technology of very small devices, typically comprise of components between 1 to 100 micrometres in size. MEMS usually consist of a central unit that processes data (the microprocessor) and several components that interact with the surroundings such as micro-sensors. Micro-Epsilon UK can supply OEMs and machine builders with MEMS acceleration, inclination and vibration sensors, in small-to-medium volumes, customised to suit individual requirements, including a variety of connections, output signals and mounting options.

The new sensor ranges are based on high performance MEMS acceleration sensors that are suitable for harsh environments, providing both high precision and high measurement repeatability. The measuring element itself consists of a pendulum, whose static and dynamic movements are measured using the capacitive measurement method. Made from high purity silicon, the measuring element is hermetically-sealed in glass and silicon, providing long term stability. A symmetrical design compensates for any temperature fluctuations caused by the expansion coefficient of the silicon.

Standard industrial analogue sensors include the AccSENS 5, an industrial sensor that measures acceleration, as well as inclination and vibration. A micro-mechanical spring-mass system continuously measures acceleration (including gravitational acceleration), which also enables inclination to be determined. For higher acceleration measurements, the AccSENS 10 sensor is ideal, which also has very low thermal drift. This range also includes the AccIS 10, a high resolution inclination sensor with linear analogue output, which measures acceleration but offers smaller measuring ranges.

The digital sensor range includes the AccIS 100 inclination sensor and the AccSENS 100 acceleration sensor. Compact and robust, these sensors continuously measure gravity/acceleration and provide long term stability for high precision measurement tasks. An integrated miniature controller calculates the calibrated inclination values.

In addition, application-specific vibration sensors with signal processing have been developed for safety-critical applications on trains, including derailment protection sensors and curve detection sensors. These provide low failure probability, maximum operating life, high functional safety and meet the highest requirements in terms of system stability.

Custom acceleration and vibration sensors have also been developed for military applications. Typically, these sensors provide high EMC protection, high system stability and low failure probability.