Moorpark, California-based Custom Sensors and Technologies (CST)–also known under its Crouzet Aerospace and Kavlico brands–is here at the Paris Air Show (Hall 2B, Stand B40) exhibiting its proximity sensors with remote electronics. The technology–just certified–allows these sensors to work safely in harsh environments and in a smarter way. CST is also showcasing a demonstrator of an electric fault detection system and a better-connected helicopter grip.
In the new generation of sensors, the electronic board that takes care of signal processing is located in a pressurized area, where temperature and vibration are much more acceptable. Proofing standards against electromagnetic interference have become stricter, which explains the trend to remote electronics, a CST official told AIN during a visit to the company’s Valence, France development and production facilities. In addition, this allows electronics to be shared between various sensors.
Such sensors are increasingly smart; a switch can determine whether a door is open, closed or having a problem, for example. Crouzet claims that a switch can also assist in health monitoring. For example, a door position sensor can detect that its target is slowing moving away, flight after flight, possibly indicating a structural problem. “Aircraft manufacturers don’t use this possibility yet,” the official said.
He believes Western OEMs have become very conservative, while Russian and Ukrainian compnaies try to be at the leading edge of technology. For example, the Antonov An-148 is the first aircraft to fly with Crouzet’s new electronic circuit breakers, which include an arc fault detection capability, so arcing can be detected in microseconds–thus preventing the onset of fire.
Another improvement in electric problem detection is being shown on CST’s stand. Time domain reflectometry is being used, in a joint research-and-development program with Airbus, to “see” accurately where a problem arises. On a 350-foot-long wire, the system can tell a problem is taking place at 122 feet from the forward end and what the issue is–short-circuit, open circuit and so forth.
Finally, here at the Paris show the company is displaying an enhanced helicopter grip with a CAN bus for reduced wiring and more integrated functions.
For its aerospace business, CST employs 1,000, mainly in Moorpark and Valence, as well as in Casablanca, Morocco, and Tijuana, Mexico. Aerospace revenues at the Schneider Electric subsidiary amounted to $175 million last year. CST delivers 400,000 to 500,000 switches per year to Airbus and claims a 94.7-percent on-time delivery performance.