Choosing a Force Sensor
Force sensors are designed to provide detailed data about forces and moments applied to their working surfaces. Their diverse applications are evident by their range in shape, size and capacity – from our 1.5-inch-diameter FS6 sensor to our 4-foot-long MC3246 aircraft landing gear sensor.
General force sensor informationThe loads applied to an AMTI sensor are quantified into six components. The diagram below shows the three forces and three moments that are measured as they are applied directly or indirectly (through an attached object) to the top surface of the sensor.
Forces Fx, Fy and Fz are the force components. The forces are named according to the axes of a conventional x, y, z-coordinate system. Each component is therefore looked at as positive or negative along the x, y and z axes. In the diagram, the arrows point toward the direction of positive or compressive force along each of the axes. Fx and Fy are the horizontal or shear force components. Looking at the connector, the Fx axis is oriented from right to left and the Fy axis is oriented from front to back away from the connector. Fz is the vertical force component and points down.
Moments Mx, My and Mz are the other three components. Moments are rotations around the same x, y and z axes and they follow the right hand rule.
Together the six components can be used to examine the complex forces being exerted upon the sensor.
System overviewA complete system typically consists of a force sensor, an amplifier, a computer or data acquisition system, and connection cables. Please visit our Sensing Technology and System Configuration page for more information.
Selecting a force sensorThere are several basic questions that must be answered when identifying the best AMTI force sensor for your application.
- What forces and moments will be applied to the sensor?
The sensor you select must be appropriate for all loads and moments that will be applied to it, even those that will not be measured. If you would like assistance calculating the forces and moments (Mx, My, and Mz) that pertain to your application, please fill out the Application Questionnaire.
- What are the size limitations for the sensor?
AMTI's standard sensors range in length from 2.5 cm to almost 2 meters. Custom-sized force sensors are also available to meet the dimensional requirements imposed by highly specialized applications.
- Is there a specific shape that is required to fit your application?
AMTI manufactures cylindrical, square and rectangular sensors, as well as sensors with specialized attachment points and configurations (such as a flanged base for t-slot mounting in machinery).
- Are there any special conditions that the sensor must meet?
Many of AMTI's standard sensors are engineered to operate in special conditions, such as underwater, outdoors, or in a vacuum. Standard sensors can also be customized to fit highly specific applications.
If you are not sure what force sensor best suits your application, we recommend filling out our Application Questionnaire. The questionnaire will help you identify the details necessary to determine if there is a standard AMTI sensor that will fit your needs. Based on the information you provide, AMTI engineers will determine the best and most cost-effective solution for your specific needs.