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Gill Sensors was approached by a major UK manufacturer of domestic and industrial cleaning equipment requiring a low cost position sensor for incorporation into the accelerator pedal assembly of a ride-on scrubber dryer.
The sensor had to be capable of relaying the real time position of the machine’s accelerator pedal and reliability was critical. A non contact solution was necessary, which would last throughout the lifetime of the equipment with no need to replace worn-out parts. In addition, exposure to dust and grit during operation and regular jet-washing in maintenance required the product to be fully sealed.
Due to their low price points, two of Gill Sensors’ products were considered – the Dual Cavity position sensor and the 25mm linear position sensor. The Blade25 proved the best fit for the layout, space and measurement requirements, with the capability of being programmed for a wider range of conditions. Both linear measurements up to 25mm and angular measurements across 90 degrees easily covered the range of movement of the pedal.
The pedal position is determined by mounting a U-shaped metallic target, referred to as the activator, to the moving part of the pedal. This then passes over a series of coils mounted within the sensor. By alternately generating magnetic pulses in the coils and measuring differences in response from the activator, its position can be accurately determined.
This video illustrates how the 25mm linear position sensor works.
One challenge that had to be addressed was the sensor detecting the surrounding material of the pedal itself, which was manufactured as a single pressed piece of mild steel. This problem was most evident when the pedal was against its open and closed bump stops, and was easily resolved by setting constant voltages beyond the upper and lower limits of the measurement range. These could be interpreted by the controller as ‘full on’ and ‘full off’ values. This had the added benefit of total inter-changeability between pedal assemblies, allowing the sensor to be standardised for production use.
With the calibration finalised, Gill has been able to upload a serial data string into each of the sensors prior to dispatch removing any need for assembly line calibration. In addition, the Blade25 cable harness was customised for digital output, offering an RS-232 connector to allow seamless integration into the machine’s existing control unit. The adapted Blade25 sensors were then truly ‘plug and play’ and could to be built to order as need dictated.
From low volume fully customised sensors in Formula 1 cars to high volume, low cost standard and adapted sensors in industrial applications, Gill has an established reputation for providing high quality position sensors across a broad range of applications.