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Thermal Cycling and Calibration of Automotive Sensors

As the number of sensors present in vehicles increases, so does the need for equipment to test these parts. Using environmental testing and thermal cycling in particular, wise sensor suppliers ensure that their products are manufactured to withstand temperature changes. Thermal cycling exercises the sensors to prove that the sensor quality is robust, and in some cases, is also required to characterize the sensors’ response to temperature.

Sterner Automation is proud to announce that it has completed the design and commissioning of a one million sensor per year thermal calibration cell. The high volume of parts and drastic temperature range (~200 °C), presented unique challenges for Sterner Automation’s engineering team.

A single chamber, million parts per year, thermal calibration cell requires expertise in a variety of different disciplines including materials science, fixture design, electronic communications and software development. For this project, Sterner Automation designed and built specialized socket trays to communicate and measure electrical signals from 30 sensors simultaneously. Temperatures inside the thermal chamber ranged from -40°C to +160°C, requiring the electronics to be designed to withstand significant thermal stress. Fixturing for the socket trays were designed to electrically couple 12 trays together, creating a network of over 360 sensors, all tested in parallel. Sterner Automation, an expert in the thermal calibration of automotive sensors, and its customer are pleased with the successful commissioning of such a large engineering effort.


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