This innovative, nine-strong company was founded 13 years ago by Anthony Cross, who has been immersed in the business of sensors for no less than 42 years. While subsequently engaged in the manufacture, development and selling of sensors and the running of related companies he has gained experience of a large number of industries, and StrainSense itself now operates within the Rail, Military, Aerospace, Marine, Power, Sub-sea and General Industry sectors, as well as the Motorsport and mainstream Automotive arenas.
Much of the company’s work is confidential, but suffice to say that it supplies product and expertise to many of the major UK-based motor manufacturers and leading automotive test bodies and consultants. It also lists a good proportion of the F1 grid among its customers and is equally active in MotoGP and both World and British Superbike formulae. It is concerned with a number of American motor racing series and exports product to France, Italy, Germany, and Japan too.
The ISO9001 & ISO14001 company focuses much of its attention on the test and measurement marketplace, and typical customers are those concerned with component or assembly testing within the R&D departments of everything from major manufacturers to start-ups. StrainSense also services the needs of a number of universities, many of whom are engaged in projects with industrial partners
Sensor types supplied include vibration, acceleration, pressure, force, torque, position, tilt, strain and navigation. Complimentary signal conditioning and data acquisition equipment is also available to complete the measurement system using the latest software developments including open source integration.
On the face of it, the sensor market is quite a crowded one, but StrainSense attributes its on-going success to:
- identifying a number of niche markets
- creating a range of unique products
- its extensive level of applications knowledge and expertise
“Crash testing is a particular area of growth at present, over which we are involved with a range of motor manufacturers and major automotive test facilities, as well as the aviation industry. We have the required standards to sell into this market and offer two core products that are especially applicable. Each supplier tends to have its own area of expertise – for example, where there are a number supplying crash test dummies, we can provide sensors for those dummies that measure force, vibration and angle. We are also involved in the testing of crumple zones, pedestrian crash protection and the mounting, load and tension of seat belts.”
A typical example of how StrainSense supports one major UK-based motor manufacturer is by working with both its ‘road load data’ and ‘structural test’ departments in the development and refinement of individual components and assemblies. It helps the former instrument-up a vehicle with accelerometers on the wheels, linear position sensors on the suspension, sensors on each of the engine and gearbox mounts, torque sensors on the driveshaft, pressure sensors on the brakes etc. This enables accurate measurement of the dynamic forces imposed on the car in motion – eg the displacement of the suspension, how much of the loads are absorbed by the suspension and how much are transferred to the shell etc. This allows the building of a complete profile of the vehicle driving in a real world scenario, which can then be re-created by the ‘structural test’ department as required – say, in the testing and development of engine mounts. Once rigged-up to receive the same loads as on the road, a mount can then be treated to an accelerated programme over maybe a 12 month period, the like of which would be impossible to achieve on the road. StrainSense provides all the systems and expertise required for such exercises.
New products are continually under development too and, having enjoyed considerable success with its linear position sensors in motorsport and other arenas, StrainSense is now in the process of launching a range of very small, high temperature rotary sensors for the same markets.
New additions to the products supplied include a full range of data acquisition systems and strain gauges. The Data acquisition systems cover the test laboratory applications as described above, but also new developments include systems to measure electrical power, used in applications for the national grid and e-vehicle developments. Further systems have been developed for rail, aerospace and can now integrate with National Instruments and ‘open source’ software.
See www.strainsense.co.uk for further information on StrainSense and its products.