Micro-Epsilon’s inductive position sensor chosen for F1 hydraulic actuators

Micro-Epsilon is supplying a customised version of its 3mm diameter EDS inductive sensor to Moog Industrial Group, which integrates the sensor into its miniature hydraulic actuators for F1 motorsport applications, including actuators for controlling turbochargers, throttles and air inlet trumpets.

Martin Jones, motorsport market manager at Moog, said: “We selected the 3mm EDS sensor for two main reasons: Micro-Epsilon’s proven track record in supplying sensors for motorsport applications and the compact design of the sensor, which allows it to be incorporated into our hydraulic cylinders.”

Compared to traditional methods of measuring displacement and piston position in hydraulic cylinders and valves (i.e. LVDT’s and Magnetostrictive sensors), the EDS series of sensors is said to be more compact in both its length and diameter. It uses a non-ferrous aluminium outer sleeve as its target, which can be integrated into the piston rod. This enables the sensor body to be a solid rod rather than a traditional LVDT style with a hollow sensor body and plunger, making it easier for OEMs to assemble and robust and reliable in harsh environments.

Jones continued: “Motorsport teams continuously push the boundaries of technology to gain a competitive edge. For example, the hydraulics in F1 cars operate at extremely high temperatures, typically around 130°C. The hydraulic systems are typically cooled by the engine coolant, which itself has a temperature of around 115°C.”

The sensors are manufactured from a pressure-resistant stainless steel and can withstand vibration and shock levels up to 300G axial and 100G radial. The sensor electronics and signal conditioning are integrated in the sensor flange using compact electronics. This means the hydraulic cylinder does not have to be increased in length to accommodate large electronics or have remote electronics, which can become awkward to match to the sensor once fitted. Compared to an LVDT with similar measurement range, EDS sensors are typically 50% shorter.