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Sensors & transducers


Keeping hydraulic projects on course


Innovative TorqSense wireless sensors from Sensor Technology are playing an important role in new product development for Hydraulic Projects Limited (Hy-Pro), one of the UK’s leading developers and suppliers of hydraulic drive units for marine steering and autopilot systems


T


he sensors, which accurately measure shaft torque in rotary drive systems, are providing the essential data that


Hy-Pro needs to refine the design of the electrically powered pump assemblies used in the high-performance hydraulic steering systems that the company supplies for use in yachts and other small pleasure craft. Developing suitable pump assemblies for


these marine applications in small vessels is challenging. The motors must operate economically as electrical power is usually derived from 12V or 24V storage batteries with limited capacity, yet the pump systems must be able to supply high power when called upon to do so, to ensure that the steering systems continue to operate reliably in heavy seas and bad weather. To ensure that its products offer the best


possible performance in relation to these seemingly conflicting requirements, Hy-Pro is constantly evaluating potential improvements to its pump drive systems. A crucial par t of the evaluation process is accurately measuring the torque delivered by the electric drive motor to the pump, under varying load conditions and over a wide range of speeds, in a purpose-built test rig. “We considered various ways of


measuring the torque in the motor shaft on the test rig,” says Barry Wynn, senior design engineer at Hy-Pro, “but all were either inconvenient or were incapable of delivering the accuracy and fast response that we needed. Then we looked at TorqSense sensors from Sensor Technology, and realised that they offered a reliable, easy-to-use and cost-effective solution that would meet all of our requirements.” TorqSense sensors, which are covered by


patents, depend for their operation on surface acoustic wave (SAW) transducers. These transducers comprise two thin metal electrodes, in the form of interlocking “fingers”, on a piezoelectric substrate such as Continued on page 58...


Instrumentation Monthly April 2019 57


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