Accelerometers, Load Cells, Force Sensors, and Signal Conditioners

Due to the increasing competitive pressure in the global Automotive Industry, vehicle development schedules have decreased from 4-5 years a decade ago, to less than 2 years today. This has allowed manufacturers to react more judiciously to changing consumer demands, market conditions, and legislative requirements. The challenge for the vehicle development community is to meet these condensed timelines without negatively affecting quality and performance attributes such as warranty, fuel economy, crash worthiness, NVH (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness), and driver comfort. At the most fundamental core of any development program is vehicle and component durability testing. The success of a durability program lies in its ability to replicate the summation of all major inputs a vehicle would likely see in its operating environment in the shortest time possible. A poorly executed durability program can cost a manufacturer millions in warranty costs, reduced sales, and a loss of customer loyalty. In order to expedite durability testing without sacrificing due diligence, many vehicle manufacturers have adopted virtual development methods that are coupled with traditional durability testing. With these virtual techniques, however, comes more scrutiny on the reliability, repeatability, and accuracy of the limited physical tests. Robustness, flexibility, reliability and fidelity of sensors and instrumentation are compulsory for any successful durability test program. It is rarely feasible for a complete durability program, or a significant portion of it, to be repeated due to faulty equipment or sensors. PCB® designs sensors with these requirements in mind to support compressed product development time and to ensure that a vehicle, system, and component is measured successfully and accurately the first time. A typical durability test program consists of the following key test elements:

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