Technical Blog

Tilt Sensors: Practical Applications and Importance in Heavy Equipment Safety

Tilt sensors are considered one of the most important devices used as a safety feature for many machines and vehicles. Angle measurement is a vital step in many processes, including the function of consumer electronics.

Every position sensor has a specific function; whether to detect motion along a linear path or in the case of tilt sensors, to measure an object's tilt along an axis or multiple axes with reference to a plane. To simplify how a tilt sensor works, it detects the tilting position of an object in relation to gravity. Tilt sensors are vital to many applications and have become well integrated into the function of many sophisticated machines. For example, in aviation, a tilt sensor provides crucial information which helps the pilot understand and determine the right course of action when there is an obstacle along the flight path.

How does a tilt sensor work and what are the benefits?

A tilt sensor consists of a ball mechanism moving two pins from to turn the device on or off. Turning off or turning on the sensor occurs when the object results in the sensor's movement to a specific angle. Tilt sensors have replaced mercury switches as the more environment-friendly and safer option. Using a tilt sensor for an application has the following benefits:

• Tilt sensors are easy to operate and compact
• Tilt sensors are low cost and do not use much power
• Does not require complex circuitry to read data
• Has high measurement accuracy and resolution
These key benefits are the primary reasons why tilt sensors remain to be one of the reasons for the device's popularity and widespread application in many industries.

Key specifications for tilt sensor selection

Here are the key specifications that define the suitability of a tilt sensor for a particular application:

• Tilt sensor angle range. This specification determines the linear output range measured in degrees, required by the intended use.

• The number of axis. The tilt sensor's axis number determines the tilt's direction. It is also critical to define how many axes best suits the application. For example, consumer electronics like smartphones require a tilt sensor with four axes.

• Measurement accuracy and range of measurement. The sensor's measurement range pertains to the minimum and maximum inclination range it can measure.Apart from these specifications, it is also essential to understand that the sensor's performance will be affected by external factors such as vibration, temperature, gravity, and shock.

Typical applications of tilt sensors

Here are some of the common examples of practical applications of tilt sensors:

• As a device that indicates the rolling or tilting movement of boats, aircraft, and automobiles. Tilt sensors act as a safety device in these applications.

• Consumer electronic products like handheld computers, smartphones, and gaming consoles use tilt sensors in a variety of ways. In smartphones, for example, a tilt sensor detects the angular position of the device for the auto-rotate function to work.

• Land-based communication satellites need to be positioned at a certain angle with reference to a satellite in space for signal connection. This is done with the help of a tilt sensor.

• Tilt sensors are also crucial in practical engineering functions such as measuring the height of a building or a tree.

Apart from these applications, tilt sensors are also essential in industrial machine automation.

Tilt sensors and vehicles used in construction

Industrial machines such as those used in construction, mining, and other similar fields also use tilt sensors for enhanced safety. An illustrative example is to prevent heavy equipment from going off-course and tipping over. Accidents while operating these machines can happen at any point, which is why tilt sensors play a vital role in preventing these mishaps.

• Tilt sensors help monitor the chassis tilt angle. The chassis angle of a machine ensures that it is within the safe angle to operate. The tilt sensor warns the machine if the angle is unsafe by limiting specific actions the operator can take such as preventing boom movement or platform height increase.

• Tilt sensors monitor the platform angle. Calculating the platform angle will help the operator determine the maximum load the vehicle can operate under without compromising safety.

Tilt sensors used in construction is only one example of how important these devices are for many industrial applications. Apart from being a safety feature, tilt sensors are also essential in controlling specific processes which are part of a range of functions included in system automation.

Article published on: 04/02/2019