Towards the industry 4.0 movement, the hydraulic industry has changed a lot. The integration of different types of sensors with the hydraulic applications reduced the effort on troubleshooting and maintenance. With a suitable sensor attached to your system, it is possible to accurately identify the health status of the system and to perform the required maintenance at early as possible. And most importantly, the sensors will provide an accurate and complete view of how your hydraulic system performs. In short, we can say sensors in your hydraulic system can be used for regulation, control and monitoring of your system performance.
Generally, we can consider sensors as a measuring device that provides real-time values for hydraulic process variables such as pressure, flow rate, filling level, temperature or contamination. For every application, identifying the accurate value of these hydraulic process variables are beneficial to predict how your system performs and whether any trouble arises at any stage of operation.
The pressure is an important factor for every component in a hydraulic system. Each and every component will be having a peak pressure rating that it can withstand. If it rises above that, then that component will get damaged. This is the situation when we adapt sensors and with sensors, the operator can monitor these pressure values and can control it when required. This is a simple application of hydraulic sensor and more regarding it is discussed in this complete article.
Types of Sensors in Hydraulics
Pressure sensors: Applications of pressure sensors can be found in different industries like the automotive industry, biomedical instrumentation, aviation, marine industry and more. The major component of the pressure sensor is a sensing element and strain gauge. When the pressure/force reaches the sensing element, the sensing element reacts to that pressure and then create an output signal. Depending on the technologies utilized, pressure sensors are categorized into strain gauge based pressure sensors, capacitive pressure sensors, piezo-resistive pressure sensors, etc….
Level sensors: Level sensors in the hydraulic system are used for monitoring and regulating the level of fluid within a contained space. Applications of level sensors include industrial storage tanks, household applications like coffee machines, fuel indicators in automotive and more. These sensors are very useful for detecting fluid leakages. The major types of level sensors include ultrasonic level sensors(for sticky liquid substances and bulkiness materials), capacitance level sensors(for slurries and aqueous liquids), optical level sensors(used for leak detection and tank level measurement), and microwave optical sensors(used with vaporous, Moist, and dusty environments).
Flow sensors: Flow sensors are devices used to monitor and regulate the fluid flow rate through the hydraulic system. Applications of flow sensors can be found in process engineering, explosion-proof area, machine and plant construction, and hygiene-sensitive applications. Flow sensors are also referred to as flow switches or current sensors or flow meters. Electromagnetic flow meter, turbine flow meter, Coriolis flow meter, thermal mass flow meter, etc… are different types of flow sensors available.
Temperature sensors: Increase in temperature above a threshold value will damage the hydraulic system. Temperature sensors are used in hydraulic circuits to detect the temperature in the hydraulic system. Some common applications of these sensors are food processing units, medical devices, chemical handling, and automotive control systems. Thermocouples, resistor temperature detectors, thermistors, infrared sensors, etc… are some temperature detecting sensors commonly available.
Contamination sensors: Contamination sensors play a vital role in preventive maintenance. These sensors can effectively and accurately monitor the contamination or particle present in the fluid medium and then displays it in a digital or analog monitor. Applications of contamination sensors can be found in various industries like construction, agriculture, mining, marine, wind power, etc...