Technical Blog

Non-Contact Linear Displacement Sensors

Non-contact linear displacement sensors are a big part of our product offering. Non-contacting Linear Position Sensors can be described as a device used to measure movement in a straight line along a single axis.

In recent years there has been a shift in technology across all sectors which has led to a higher demand for Non-contact Linear Displacement Sensors over contacting alternatives. This has then led to an increase in new technologies meaning that there are many different types available.  All our own sensors use our PIPS technology which is completely non-contacting. 

Non-contacting linear position sensors are usually selected over contacting alternatives as they have many advantages including long life and higher reliability.  

Types of Non-Contact Linear Displacement Sensor  

As mentioned above – when it comes to non-contact displacement sensors there are a variety of technologies available, some of them are; 

Positek PIPS – our non-contact technology is known as PIPS (Positek Inductive Position Sensor technology) our linear sensors cover ranges from 2mm up to 1485mm. They are self-contained linear displacement sensors with signal conditioning making them the complete package for measuring linear displacement.  

Our PIPS linear sensors are exceptionally robust and very easy to use. The technology can be compared to that of an LVDT with aspects of eddy current sensors also. They contain an internal coil but with fewer turns of wire, this enables our sensors to be very compact and therefore robust. They also have a better stroke to length ratio than their similar alternatives which means they can be used in applications where space is tight. 

Laser Displacement Sensors – Another form of non-contact displacement measurement is laser measurement. Laser sensors measure various types of position by releasing a laser pointedly at an object. The laser is reflected by the object and bounces back to the sensor through a lens to a CCD array – the returned laser can determine the distance, angle and shape of the object concerning the sensor.  

Laser sensors are available from our sister company Ixthus Instrumentation.  

Ultrasonic Displacement Sensors – ultrasonic sensors work in a similar way to laser sensors but instead of emitting a laser, they emit high frequency sound waves and determine position based on the signals received back.  

Ultrasonic sensors are also available from Ixthus Instrumentation.  

LVDT – Linear Variable Differential Transformers use very similar technology to our PIPS sensors. They have primary and secondary coils as well as a ferromagnetic core to detect position using AC outputs and magnetic fields.   

These are only a few examples of non-contacting linear displacement sensor technologies.  

Where are Non-Contacting Linear Displacement Sensors used? 

Non-contacting linear displacement sensors are used for any type of application where linear movement requires monitoring or measuring, some applications include:  

  • Motorsport Applications  

  • Agricultural applications  

  • HVAC 

  • Hazardous Area Applications  

  • Robotic Applications  

  • Sub Sea Applications  

And many more…  

Benefits of Using Non-Contact Linear Displacement Sensors  

There are many benefits to using non-contact displacement sensors over more traditional contacting technologies. Most of the benefits come from the fact that the technology is wear-free meaning that they have virtually infinite mechanical life.  

  • Long life 

  • High reliability and dependability  

  • Fast response times 

  • Suitable for a wide range of environments  

Non-Contact Displacement Sensors from Positek 

In addition, PIPS sensors also have the following benefits;  

  • Improved stroke to length ratio 

  • Improved durability  

  • Suitable for underwater environments  

  • Suitable for intrinsically safe environments  

  • Fully customisable with fast delivery (within 1-2 working days) 

The linear position sensors that we manufacture onsite use non-contacting technology and can be seen on our website.  

For more information on non-contacting linear displacement sensors or to discuss your application please contact us.  

Article published on: 06/07/2021