Have you ever climbed a mountain with a backpack? Then maybe you can understand why weight reduction is a high priority also in the automotive industry. Because the lower the load, the less power is needed and the lower the energy consumption. With regard to electric vehicles, this is even more important: The more weight can be saved somewhere else, the larger the battery can be, thus increasing the range of the electric car.
Material mix as key technology for automotive production
Lightweight construction is considered a key technology for weight reduction. By using a sensible mix of materials, weight can be saved without exploding costs excessively or compromising functionality and safety. High-strength steels or light metals are used for body parts or seat frames. However, this mix of materials has an impact on automotive production – for example when using sensor technology. Because inductive sensors have become an indispensable part of today’s car body and powertrain construction. However, they react to different metals with different switching distances. This would mean frequent adjustments during production. Fortunately, there are great inventions such as the so-called Factor 1 sensors. What they are and what advantages they offer for automotive production can be read here.
Different switching distances for different metals
Inductive sensors react to metals. Their task is to detect metal objects without contact. The distance at which the corresponding object can be detected by the respective sensor is called switching distance. This switching distance for standard inductive sensors depends on the material of the metal. Steel, for example, is detected much better than aluminum or copper. Therefore, reduction factors are given in the data sheets of the sensors. The multiplication of switching distance (for steel) and reduction factor then results in the actual switching distance for the respective metal:
The switching distance is thus reduced by up to 70% for non-ferromagnetic materials:
Factor 1 sensors eliminate the reduction factor
To eliminate this problem, Factor 1 sensors – F1 sensors for short – were developed. These sensors standardize the switching distances and have the same switching distance for all metals. F1-sensors are therefore ideally suited for the detection of changing objects (steel, aluminum, brass, copper etc.), which they detect with identical switching distance – without reduction factor:
For aluminum and non-ferrous metals this means a 2-4 times switching distance compared to a standard inductive sensor.
What advantages do I have as a user with Factor 1 sensors?
The following table shows you which advantages you have when using F1 sensors:
Factor 1 @ Balluff
To learn more about F1 sensors from Balluff, take a look at our Factor 1 portfolio here. You will find a variety of designs and sizes, suitable for all applications. They are resistant to magnetic fields and can therefore be used in areas with strong electromagnetic fields, for example in welding environments. In addition, we also provide variants with PTFE coating against welding spatter.