A new series of self-diagnosing sensors has been introduced by Honeywell to improve the performance of aircraft systems and reduce maintenance costs associated with false readings.
The Integral Health Monitoring (IHM) series proximity sensors can detect when a sensor has been damaged or otherwise impacted. The patented devices can be designed into a range of aircraft systems such as thrust reverser actuation systems, flight controls, aircraft doors, cargo loading systems, evacuation slide locks and landing gear.
"Aircraft operators who receive a sensor reading often cannot be sure if they have a system issue that needs to be addressed or if the sensor itself is malfunctioning," said Graham Robinson, president of Honeywell's Sensing and Internet of Things business. "Leveraging Honeywell's technical expertise in the aerospace industry, we innovated a circuit that can detect whether a sensor reading is correct or the result of damage or some other problem with the sensor itself."
The proximity sensors are configurable, non-contact devices designed to sense the presence or absence of a target in harsh-duty aircraft applications such as determining when a thrust reverser is not fully closed. The sensors can detect most internal failures and display a fault output to a pilot or maintenance worker in order to help reduce aircraft downtime and maintenance costs.
For example, proximity sensors in aircraft landing gear systems provide a pilot with a fault alert on landing approach to warn if the landing gear is not completely deployed. With Honeywell's health-monitoring feature, the IHM proximity sensors can indicate if the error message was caused by the sensor itself rather than an issue with the landing gear.
The company also introduced Linear Variable Differential Transformers (LVDT), which are used in engine mechanisms, pilot controls and nose-wheel steering applications. These provide next-generation aircraft with continuous position monitoring. The LVDT sensors are designed for use in harsh environments and are already being incorporated into Honeywell-manufactured aircraft systems.
For both new sensors, Honeywell offers design engineering support and a standard design platform in which the engineering work is performed upfront to provide an off-the-shelf solution to speed up customer design cycle times.