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    Appropriate Displacement Sensor

    How To Select An Appropriate Displacement Sensor

    There are many technologies to measure distance, position, displacement, thickness and other kinds of movements. There is a lot of choice for sensors so here are some guidelines to help you find your solution.

    First thing you need to decide is the measuring range.  Here are the different technologies you can consider based on the measuring range.

    • Range of micrometre and less: Atomic Force Microscopes, Scanning Tunnelling Microscopes, etc.
    • Range of some millimetre to some metres: Magnetostrictive, Potentiometer, Linear and Rotary Variable Differential Transformers (LVDT), Laser triangulation, Eddy current, Capacitive, Draw Wire, confocal, etc.
    • Range of some metres to a few Kilometres: Time of flight lasers, Ultrasonic, Radars etc.


    After determining the measuring range, you may have many other criterion to decide the type of displacement sensor to use. Here is a listing of some of the parameters to consider:

    • Measurement Range
    • Contact/Non-contact
    • Accuracy and Resolution
    • Frequency Response
    • Media Compatibility and Environmental Protection: Corrosive, magnetic field, Petrol/Diesel, Plastic Melt, Indoor/Outdoor Use, Inside Electronics Enclosure, Submersible, Sea-Water/Salt-Water, High Humidity, High Vibration or Shock, Water Jet Cleaning, High Pressure Steam Cleaning, etc.
    • Installation/Mounting limitation
    • Output Signal (mV/V, VDC, 4-20mA, Digital, etc.)
    • Electrical Connection (Pin connection, Cable length, wireless, etc.)
    • Physical Size/Weight of sensor
    • Temperature limitations: (Highest Media Temperature at Sensor, Lowest Media Temperature at Sensor), High Temperature, Low Temperature
    • Max. Total Accuracy Over Temp Range
    • Sensor Supply Voltage
    • Shocks and Vibrations
    • Lifetime
    • Cost
    • Other non-technical parameters (Quantity, Max Delivery Time, After Sales Services, support for long term needs, etc.)


    MeasureX provides a wide range of magnetostrictive, LVDT and potentiometric displacement sensors for varied applications in many different industries. Generally, magnetostrictive sensors are excellent in accuracy and long-term dynamic applications and cover a range of 100mm to 7,000mm, but have a higher price compared to potentiometric sensors. Potentiometers come with better price and are suitable for non-dynamic measuring conditions. LVDTs are an excellent choice even for high vibration applications and cost a little more than potentiometers.

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