Winners were announced in the 2023 LEAP Awards yesterday in the program’s competitive Switches & Sensors category. Following are descriptions of the three medalists and one honorable mention, which were awarded in this category.
TWIIST Linear Position Transducer
The judges commented: “A transducer that not only outputs position but also incorporates temperature, velocity, acceleration, and tilt angle. This would surely improve machine designs, performance, and safety. Excellent work!” Congratulations!
TWIIST is a contactless linear position transducer in the Hall effect category. In addition to processing position data, its unique helical magnetoelectronic design measures other process variables like temperature, velocity, acceleration, and tilt angle to improve machine designs and performance and increase operator safety. This patented technology results from a decade-long partnership between Gefran’s internal R&D department and the University of Brescia’s engineering department in Brescia, Italy.
TWIIST’s compact, air-tight design has a steel barrel with a diameter of 5/8 in. (16 mm), and it comes with a choice of two types of connection points, ball joints for swivel connections and rod ends with eyes for pivot connections. Available in full-scale (FS) strokes from 50 to 900 mm, it has typical linearity of 0.15% FS and typical repeatability of 0.05% FS. It can operate in a temperature range from -40° F to 185° F (-40° C to 85° C).
The TWIIST has an IP67 environmental protection rating as well, offering complete protection against dust and airborne particles, as well as protection against water and other liquids when submerged up to 39 in. (1 m) deep. Its resistance to contamination makes it ideal for fluid power applications and extends part and equipment life.
All the collected data is analyzed by an integrated powerful CPU and put into relation to each other. This allows the sensor — depending on the specific customer applications — to realize functions for self-diagnosis, self-correction, and recognition of machine and process behavior, including predictive (remote) maintenance down to the sensor level.
Currently, there are three models in the TWIIST product line. There is the LM-L (IO-Link) and LM-C (CANopen) that can transmit measurements digitally up to 1,000 times per second. The LS-A has a mono-variable analog output (current, voltage, or ratiometric), as well as the redundant ratiometric version to support safety applications.
ZMX 3D Time of Flight Sensor
The ZMX Series 3D Time of Flight (ToF) Sensor is a single-sensor solution able to detect multiple objects of any size, shape, or orientation spread over an area at uneven heights. Simplifying applications that would otherwise require multiple single-point sensors, the ZMX 3D ToF Sensor is ideal for automated industrial applications in which materials, products, or packages accumulate within a defined area. The ZMX combines digital imaging and approximately 56,000 laser measurement points to measure and monitor objects within a three-dimensional area. A completely selfcontained solution that requires no separate controller or PC for operation, it is a single-sensor solution for filling applications that can detect both the greatest peak height and average volumetric fill level.
A primary function of the ZMX is recognizing maximum heights of objects, regardless of the highest point’s location within that sensing area. Changing fill levels are also easily detected, ensuring containers are being filled to a consistent volume. This prevents overfill and allows fill-rate tracking so operators can fine-tune processing speeds.
The ZMX deploys within minutes, with only a few settings to define, and integrates easily into work areas. The sensor simply needs to be positioned and mounted where it can monitor the intended area, such as directly above a container or pallet stack, pointing downward. It features a wide 60° x 45° field of view, with a broad 200 mm to 2500 mm range that enables it to detect items of any size, shape, or orientation.
NCS32100 Rotary Position Sensor
onsemi’s NCS32100 rotary position sensor is based upon its patented dual-inductive technology. This new approach is used in rotary and linear position sensing as well as for sensing torque and identifying maintenance needs in industrial machines. Offering a combination of accuracy and speed, it’s an ideal choice for industrial applications that previously used either optical, magnetic or inductive sensing. At 6,000 rpm, the device is able to deliver +/-50 arcsec accuracy based upon a 38mm sensor. Notwithstanding that, the NCS32100 is able to deliver results at rotational speeds up to a very high 100,000 rpm.
The NCS32100 is a newly patented approach to inductive position sensing making it the ideal choice for industrial and robotic applications where fast moving robotics and machinery are deployed, along with servo applications, sensing torque, and identifying maintenance needs in industrial machines.
Accurate position sensing is essential in many industrial applications where fast-moving machinery is deployed. Some existing sensors can match the accuracy or speed, but there is nothing available which can deliver everything at the same time — except onsemi’s NCS32100. Additionally, the NCS32100 dual-inductive position sensor is a contactless, multi-turn absolute encoder that can provide position data even when the rotor is not moving.
The new Dual Inductive architecture is a versatile approach for various mechanical measurements. The primary use is for rotary position (andvelocity) sensing, where the technology can deliver 20-bit resolution. A wide variety of sensor sizes are possible to address many different applications. At rotational speeds of around 6,000 RPM, +/-50 arcsec accuracy can be achieved with a 38 mm sensor. The NCS32100 can operate all the way up to 100,000 RPM if the sensor is designed for it — albeit with reduced accuracy at higher speeds.
The ADTF3175 module is the industry’s first high-resolution, industrial quality, indirect Time-of-Flight (iToF) module for 3D depth sensing and vision systems, fully calibrated for depth data and ready to image a scene. It enables cameras and sensors to perceive 3D space in one-megapixel (MP) resolution.
The module offers highly accurate +/-3mm iToF technology available for machine vision applications ranging from industrial automation to logistics, healthcare, and augmented reality. It provides an image resolution that is double or triple the pixel count of competitive solutions.
The ADTF3175 offers designers a scalable, fully engineered, and calibrated depth system that can be integrated into 3D sensing and vision systems, eliminating the need to design specialized optics or address electromechanical integration challenges. This, in turn, speeds time to market by simplifying the complex sensor design process. For robotic machine builders, this new sensor option offers higher resolution than other iToF cameras currently on the market. The robust, high-resolution module is specifically designed to perform in a range of environmental settings and leverages state-of-the-art triple junction vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) technology to enable sensing in a wide range of lighting conditions and thereby removing environmental obstacles to broader and more rapid machine vision deployment.
The module also includes flash memory for calibration, firmware storage, and power regulators to generate local supply voltages. It comes pre-programmed with several operating modes for long and short range.
The ADTF3175 module is accompanied with an open-source reference design for implementing the full system, all the required drivers and access to ADI’s sophisticated depth processing capabilities. ADI also offers guidance on how to achieve Class One eye safety certification for the end product.