Measuring displacement is a vital part of how machines work. Most industrial and commercial applications of machinery require using some type of displacement sensor to detect movement and convert it into readable signals. These sensors are small yet powerful devices which control movement and act as a safety feature. There are different types of sensors used to determine various ranges of motion. To convert the rectilinear movement of an object, linear position sensors or a linear transducer is often used.
A linear transducer either has an electromagnetic, magnetoelectric, electrostatic, or inductive working principle. When it comes to the output, the signal created is either analogue or digital.
Different types of linear transducers
There are three different types of linear transducers, each with specific characteristics which determine their suitability for certain applications.
Captive armatures. This type of linear transducer works best with applications that require long working range. These sensors also prevent possible misalignment because of restriction and guidance provided in assemblies with low-friction.
Force-extended armature. For displacement transducers used in applications with slow movement, force-extended armatures help push the device armature into its fullest possible extension.
Unguided armature. A mechanism which uses unguided armatures has infinite repeatability and resolution. These are ideal for non-contact applications.
Aside from industrial machinery, displacement transducers are also applied in aviation, robotics, and motion control devices.
Innovative application of linear transducers
As technology continues to evolve, transducers also find their way in more innovative applications.
Power turbines. Power plants anywhere in the world need linear transducers not only as a position sensor device but also as a sensor with a signal conditioner that is capable of providing the required operating power.
Hydraulic machines. For hydraulic accumulation machines, a linear transducer works as a charge sensor. When used in hydraulic machines operating under harsh conditions, linear sensors act as an external sensor but needs to be immune to shock and vibration. While linear sensors didn’t have the required stroke length to work on hydraulic machines in the past, this challenge was overcome when manufacturers of linear transducers became capable of producing custom linear sensors with the required stroke length for hydraulic machine applications.
Aircraft and other aerial vehicles. In most aircraft applications, linear transducers need to be of a specific size, specifically sub-miniature to suit such applications.
Satellites. Aside from commercial aircraft, linear transducers are also essential in position sensing for satellites, military aircraft, drones, and aerospace vehicles.
Automation technology. Automation technology in science laboratories, food and beverage processing, manufacturing plants, and other similar sectors also require linear transducers for various applications.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to using linear transducers as a sensing device. What’s most important is that non-contact linear position sensors offer an added advantage over other sensing technology due to their inherent robustness and durability. Most industrial applications today prefer non-contact linear transducers which can withstand the effect of friction. It may not be the cheapest position sensor technology available today, but non-contact sensors have unlimited repeatability and longer life cycles which is a better choice for industrial uses.