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Honeywell self-diagnosing sensors improve aircraft performance and safety

Posted 11 August 2017 · Add Comment

Honeywell is introducing Integral Health Monitoring (IHM) series proximity sensors that can detect when a sensor has been damaged or otherwise impacted. The patented proximity sensors 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, which produces more than 50,000 sensing products for a range of industries from aerospace to medical to oil and gas. “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.

“With our health monitoring capabilities, proximity sensors can notify engineers or operators of potential issues with a system before or after the component fails,” said Robinson. “The sensor fault-detection provides mechanics on the ground with the information they need to perform inspections and repairs without a long and costly troubleshooting process.”

As an 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.

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