Investment in sensor technology is helping to ensure continued technological evolution

Matthias Oettl
Division Manager Mil/Aero
Investment in sensor technology is helping to ensure continued technological evolution
Sensor technology is key to the successful operation of many automated processes - sensor information enables the systems to detector what is happening and enable feedback to be provided.

We may not all love technology but most people love what technology does for them. You only need to take a look around to see how technology shapes our lives, and appreciate how much we would miss it if it disappeared.

A good measure of change in the industrialised world is how cars have evolved over the last 100 years. Although not the first car, the Model T is legendary because it was the first mass produced and affordable car. However, even though it was designed to be driven by almost anyone in the early 1900s, by today’s standards its control systems would be far too complex for the average driver. The reason modern cars are so much easier to drive is thanks largely to the way electro-mechanical control systems have evolved over the last century. The same level of evolution can be seen in all industries.

Automated manufacturing is arguably the most important industry in modern life; it enables the mass production and worldwide distribution of all goods. As an evolution of Ford’s revolutionary assembly line production, robots are now used extensively in the manufacture of almost everything. And while electric motors are fundamental to this level of automation, their control systems are dependent on sensors.

Sensors are an integral part of closed loop control systems but the definition of that control loop is changing. Sensors are now used to measure a wider range of parameters, enabling control systems to use that data in more ways. This can be seen not only in manufacturing and automation but in medical applications, consumer products and transportation of all kinds. As a result there is now a vast and growing array of sensor types able to detect and measure almost anything, from the temperature, flow and pressure of fluids and liquids, to the intensity or absence of light and sound, to the rotational or lateral movement of mechanical subsystems. Sensors are now manufactured to meet specific requirements in all industries and applications.

In terms of their diversity, only one other class of component can be considered equivalent; the connector. Every industry has its own specific requirements when it comes to connecting systems and most impose a high level of reliability and quality. In addition, the level of configurability and resistance to harsh substances and environments found in industrial, automotive, medical and aerospace industries puts demands on connector manufacturers that ensures it remains a highly specialised sector.

The same competencies used to design and manufacture high quality and reliable connectors are now being applied to the design and manufacture of sensors, many of which may also be exposed to hazardous environments or corrosive and harmful substances. As more connector manufacturers see the synergies involved in providing sensors that are as robust and reliable as connectors, they are investing in this rapidly evolving area. Companies such as TE Connectivity and Amphenol now offer a wide range of sensor types that complement their connector portfolio, while the prospect of integrating sensors into connectors could bring further cost benefits and efficiencies to many industries.

Heilind offers a wide range of sensors and connectors, providing manufacturers in all industries access to the latest solutions that will ensure continued evolution. 

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