Mechanics & Industry
Volume 16, Number 5, 2015
|Number of page(s)||11|
|Published online||08 July 2015|
A novel ball joint wear sensor for low-cost structural health monitoring of off-highway vehicles
Departement of Sciences and Methods for Engineering, University of
Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via G.
Amendola, 2, Campus S. Lazzaro, Pad. Morselli, 42122
2 Ognibene S.p.A., Via Ing. Enzo Ferrari, 2, 42100 Reggio Emilia, Italy
a Corresponding author: email@example.com
Received: 5 December 2014
Accepted: 28 March 2015
Mechatronic agricultural machines and equipment are continuously increasing their complexity and cost. In order to ensure their efficiency and reliability and preserve their value, it is important to actively monitor damaging and wear occurring on critical components. This approach needs the introduction of sensors on the machine, which allow continuous monitoring of the residual life of components. This work presents the development and testing of a wear sensor for a ball joint which can be applied for monitoring and diagnosis in off-highway vehicles, automotive and the industrial fields. Many peculiar features make this sensor innovative and contribute to the advance of the technology in the sector: there are no other active sensors for this specific and safety-critical joint; it has an ultra-low power consumption and can be self-powered through energy harvesting; it implements wireless connectivity; it is simple, small size and low cost. This wear sensor for the ball joint is firstly aimed at monitoring the damage of the ball joint placed between the steering actuator and the wheel spindle, since failure of the joint leads to complete loss of steering action. However, the sensor can be applied to any application involving a safety-critical ball joint (e.g. the front suspension of a vehicle). The present work describes the conceptual design and development of the whole mechatronic sensor, which includes the mechanical joint sensor and the electronic board which manages the system. Validation of the ball joint wear sensor, which was performed on an agricultural tractor through tests on a track, proved the reliability of the proposed solution.
Key words: Ball joint / wear sensor / preventive diagnosis / active safety / vehicles / wireless node / ultra-low power consumption
© AFM, EDP Sciences 2015
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