What are position sensors and what are their features
Position sensors are a series of devices used to obtain an accurate or approximate measurement of position. This type of sensor includes transducer, encoder and potentiometer.
The position sensors used in industrial environments are useful devices to identify the position in space of mechanical component and convert this information into an analog or digital signal for further processing.
The measurement of linear and angular or rotary position is among the most frequent activities in industrial environments.
The position sensors must guarantee some essential characteristics such as the accuracy of the output information, the resolution of the output information and the accuracy of the data.
These devices are ideal in automotive, agricolture, marine and in industrial system control, operating perfectly in situations of hostile environment, such as:
- Extreme temperature;
- Continuous vibrations;
- Chemical exposures;
- Deep and prolonged diving.
How to choose the right position sensor
The types of position sensors are many: Digimax offers a wide range of resistive or potentiometric sensors, optical sensors or encoders, magnetic sensors or Hall effect and magnetostrictive sensors.
Altough the applications of each sensors is slightly different, they all use magnetic fields to verify or measure aspects of objects.
When choosing the right sensor, one must decide between linear and angular (or rotary) sensors, and then the measuring range, resolution, and repeatability of the sensor must be considered.
It is also important to define what form of sensor is compatible with the intended type of mounting and what type of output signal processing.
Each type of sensor has advantages and disadvantages:
- Resistive or potentiometer: has high precision, but wears out easily;
- Optical or encoder: also offers high accuracy, but is sensitive to extreme temperatures reducing its application areas;
- Hall effect magnetic: is a robust device adaptable to industrial settings, but is sensitive to interference generated by other magnetic materials;
- Magnetostrictive: it is very accurate over long distances, and not over short distances.