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A helicopter load sensor to be launched at Helitech combines GPS (global positioning system) track guidance with load sensing and a range of other functions.

The Helinav-Loadmaster sensor is completely autonomous with its own on-board display and computer.

It can automatically aid complex operations such as spraying and multiple random-load billing and can be swapped from one craft to another in seconds, allowing it to be shared around a fleet of aircraft.

Multiple load sensors can be used simultaneously using the same display.

The company said ‘currently it is difficult to know the exact weight of each load and the total distance flown during the day.

‘Helinav-Loadmaster keeps exact records, accurate to the kilogram and metre, so you just download the data and invoice the customer.’ With multiple flights needed, Helinav Loadmaster can ensure that the second drop starts exactly where the first finished, guaranteeing even coverage and efficient use of sprays etc.

The sensor compensates for slowing flow as the bucket empties by gradually opening the release valve in proportion to the weight of remaining spray.

The GPS can be used, in conjunction with the standard Shape files, to avoid houses, streams, lakes roads, etc.

The sensor is available in ranges from 1.5 to 10 tonnes and communicates its information to the helicopter pilot via a radio link working on an unlicensed international frequency.

A full-colour touch screen is mounted in the cockpit and both Windows and Labview software embedded in the unit, operation is simple and familiar to pilots.

A remote monitor can be used by ground crew to check and double check loads.

Because the unit is slung under the aircraft, it is possible to have a single one for use with a fleet of three, four or more operational helicopters.

Sensor Technology

Sensor Technology are manufacturers of TORQSENSE Transducers, the world’s first low cost non-contact rotary torque transducers designed for OEM applications. Rotary torque measurement has always been difficult and expensive.

The patented method uses a surface acoustic wave device as a frequency dependent strain gauge and measures the change in resonant frequency caused by the applied strain in the shaft.

The signal is transmitted via an RF couple from the rotating shaft to a fixed pick-up.

By using a frequency-based device, the signal bandwidth is increased, and the problem of electronic interference common with analogue signals is eliminated. The torque sensors are designed to operate direct from a PLC or a PC.

They require minimum length of shaft, have low inertia, no physical contact between shaft and housing, wide bandwidth, high resolution and accuracy resolution to better than one part in a million, and excellent noise immunity.

The technology lends itself to design of OEM transducers for specific customer applications. Applications include automotive, manufacturing machines, condition monitoring where knowledge of torque is critical, torque control of tightening procedures, and monitoring of viscosity during mixing where consistency is required. The technology replaces existing types of rotary torque sensors by providing better performance at a lower price.

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