One of the great strengths of the Engineering Team at Thistle Design is their ability to draw on a wide range of experience in the encoder industry to provide unique solutions to measurement, motion and control problems.
Thistle Design Magnetic Sensors
Thistle Design have developed a range of two channel Magnetic Sensors which can operate at Temperatures between -40ºC and +150ºC and survive severe vibration and shock loading.
Based on Hall Effect Technology these sensors have been utilised in such diverse applications as Odometers, Speed and Direction Sensors (SDS), Distance Travelled Units (DTU) and so on.
The sensors are triggered by the proximity of a magnetic material and generate a digital pulse every time such an event occurs. A rotating spur gear may be used adjacent to the sensor to trigger it and a number of applications make use of this configuration.
For example: by detecting and counting the number of teeth on a vehicle gearbox component passing the sensor, and by adding and subtracting these counts depending on the direction of travel detected by the twin channel output, it is possible to calculate the distance travelled by the vehicle.
Similarly, where access to the gearbox is restricted, it is possible to attach a toothed wheel to one of the more accessible sections of the vehicle e.g. the driveshaft, and obtain the same data as before.
For more details of the sensors and for advice on their use, please contact Bob Frew.
Thistle Design Acquires Precision Varionics
With all Legal and Commercial formalities completed we are pleased to announce the addition of Potentiometer and Resolver supplier Precision Varionics to our portfolio.
The Analogue products and expertise they can provide complement perfectly the Digital sensor technology already established here at Thistle Design.
Precision Varionics design and manufacture precision potentiometers of the Wire-wound, Conductive Plastic and Hybrid types.
As such they have been involved in a number of joint ventures with Thistle Design in previous years in the fields of robotics and automation.
Their products are used in the Oil, Nuclear and Defence industries.
The Company will remain in it’s Andover location where General Manager John Heiron will continue to develop the business.
If you would like to find out more about the PV range of products and services call John direct on 01264 334522 or browse the website at www.varionics.co.uk
Large Hollow Shaft Encoder Helps Save The Planet
A large bore hollow shaft absolute encoder has been designed by Thistle Design to assist in an experimental solar power project being operated by Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The project involves manipulating the sun’s rays using an array of two hundred heliostats and focusing them on a power tower target. This has proved very successful and further developments are anticipated.
In these days of increasing concern over fossil fuel based methods of power production it is heartening to hear of large scale initiatives to harness environmentally friendly energy sources.
One such initiative being carried out at the Sandia National Laboratories is assisting in the development of solar energy driven power stations. Their national solar thermal test facility has an array of over two hundred heliostats focusing the sun’s rays on a target at the top of a 200 feet (60 metre) high tower.
The solar power collected by the heliostats is of order 5 Megawatts and could in theory generate 1 Megawatt of electricity. Experimental data gathered has been used to assist in the design of a 10 Megawatt plant in California.
Last year Sandia contacted Thistle Design to see if we could supply a 16 bit absolute encoder which would improve the performance and reliability of their heliostats. The encoder had to be designed to fit into the existing space envelope and have the same output code format as the previous version. It would also have to fit over a 7.24 inch (184mm) diameter shaft.
A period of discussion followed as engineers at Thistle Design and their Sandia counterparts tried to fully define the requirement and select the best technical solution to the problem. The optimised design resulted in the type 200HSA-102 encoder and a prototype unit was installed for evaluation purposes in 2006 and has been operating successfully since then.