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Technical Paper

Motor Vehicle Sensors Based on Film-Technology: An Interesting Alternative to Semiconductor Sensors

The manufacture of semiconductor sensors requires high investment and does not become economically viable until very high production numbers come into consideration. In the case of low production numbers, of the kind that come into consideration for production startups, and in the case of variations e.g. in the measuring range and similar, as may be the case due to the adaptation of models, it may be more viable to employ other techniques which likewise have a high rationalization potential which comes into effect already at low production numbers and which exhibits greater flexibility. The film techniques offer alternative sensor concepts for many measured quantities, whose production is reasonable in price even at smaller production numbers and possesses the necessary alteration flexibility. Besides these, are the advantages of the laser adjustment and the seamless connection of the evaluation electronics. Even possibilities laying within micro-machining technology can be used.
Technical Paper

Application Possibilities and Future Chances of “Smart” Sensors in the Motor Vehicle

Current vehicle concepts necessitate the multiple measurement of several variables required by separate electronic systems in the motor vehicle. There is the need to make sensors bus capable by the incorporation of electronic components in new definition concepts, in other words to make them multiply usable. Such bus concepts are at the present time taking concrete shape. The step of introducing electronics - especially digital - to the measuring point may simultaneously be used to considerably improve utilization of the information content of sensor structures using means of indivdual, digital correction to a greater level than has until now been technically possible. There remains the demand for high stability and reproducibility of the sensor properties over time. These signal preprocessing and information condensation processes on the spot also satisfy the need to relieve the central control units.
Technical Paper

An Efficient Error Correction Method for Smart Sensor Applications in the Motor Vehicle

In conventional sensor systems, mechanical and electronic components are generally operating at separated locations. Smart sensors integrate mechanical and electronic elements to a single system, thus offering new facilities for a common error compensation. In this concept, a unit-specific temperature dependence and a non-linear characteristic curve of the mechanical sensor element can be tolerated, thus saving a lot of costs in the manufacturing process of the mechanical components. The behaviour of the mechanical sensor element is described by a two-dimensional sensor correction function: Given the output of the mechanical sensor element and a measured value for the temperature, the true measurement value can be calculated by an error correction unit. In this paper, different error correction methods are examined and evaluated which can be used for a wide range of sensor types. They are applied to the example of a short-circuit ring displacement sensor.
Technical Paper

A Non Contact Strain Gage Torque Sensor for Automotive Servo Driven Steering Systems

Tapping of one or more torques (ranges 10 Nm and 60 Nm) on the steering column for the purpose of servo control must satisfy high accuracy requirements on the one hand and high safety requirements on the other hand. A suggestion for developing a low-cost solution to this problem is described below: Strain gages optimally satisfy both these requirements: However, for cost reasons, these are not applied directly to the steering column but to a prefabricated, flat steel rod which is laser welded to the torque rod of the steering column. The measuring direction of the strain gages is under 45° to the steering column axis. The strain gages are either vacuum metallized onto the support rod as a thin film or laminated in a particularly low-cost way by means of a foil-type intermediate carrier.
Technical Paper

A Universal and Cost-Effective Fuel Gauge Sensor Based on Wave Propagation Effects in Solid Metal Rods

In recognition of safety considerations, modern fuel tanks are frequently extremely irregular in shape. This places limits on the application of conventional potentiometric sensors. Required are more universal sensors without mechanically-moving parts. These sensors should also be characterized by especially good resolution and precision in the residual-quantity range, that is, the zero point precision should be of a high order. One type of metal rod can be bent into any of a variety of shapes to provide an effective means of monitoring the fuel level. In this metal rod, the propagation characteristics of a certain type of sound wave, known as bending waves, display major variations according to the level of the surrounding medium: The waves spread more rapidly through the exposed section of the rod than through the area which remains submerged. Thus the rod's characteristic oscillation frequency varies as a function of immersion depth.