EC: Fiber Optic Absolute Position Sensor

Machine and embedded control – Discrete sensors: The Micronor MR330 Fiber Optic Absolute Position Sensor is an all-photonic rotary absolute position solution that withstands lightning, is immune to electromagnetic interference and magnetic fields, and is resistant to radiation and high temperature—all with 13-bit resolution and 0.025% accuracy. This is a Control Engineering 2012 Engineers’ Choice award winner.

November 18, 2011

The Micronor MR330 Fiber Optic Position Sensor System is an innovative all-optical design immune to any electromagnetic interference such as lightning, radiation, magnetic fields and other harsh environmental conditions. The sensor is entirely passive and intrinsically safe, ideal for use in hazardous locations and explosive atmospheres. The fiber optic aspect of the sensor also makes it perfectly suited for long-distance position sensing over hundreds of meters without being affected by ground loop problems. This innovative product measures absolute angular position from 0-deg to 360-deg with 13-bit (8192 count) resolution at speeds exceeding 2,500 rpm and distances up to 300 meters.

The sensor’s design was inspired by customers looking for a reliable solution intended for the applications listed below. Since its release in May 2011, the sensor has already been deployed in several of the following fields:

  1. Position sensing in areas where lightning strikes are likely: wind turbines, aerial tramways, positioning of satellite and deep space antennae.
  2. Deployment in high EMI (electromagnetic interference): aerospace actuator systems (electronic warfare), power generators
  3. Remote sensing spanning long distances: mining applications (no ground loop interference)
  4. Sparking (inherent safety), deployment in hazardous environments: oil rigs, mining, etc. Functions as a simple mechanical device.
  5. Unaffected by high-voltage potentials: particle accelerators; monitoring of power lines, monitoring of railroad overhead Lines.
  6. Aluminum smelters; positioning of the electrodes. Here the sensor withstands high temperatures as well as the high EMI fields during the melting process.

Micronor Inc.

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