Position Sensors Summary

The global market for position sensors is expected to grow at a steady rate. Major industries using position sensors are machine tools, woodworking machines, plastics machines and other types of machinery.


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The global market for position sensors is expected to grow at a steady rate. Major industries using position sensors are machine tools, woodworking machines, plastics machines and other types of machinery. Manufacturers of electric, hydraulic and pneumatic drives require position sensors in large quantities. The automotive sector, too, is continuing to be a major market for position sensors. So is the aircraft sector. The office sector, too, represents a market for position sensors.

Rotary position sensors are available as single-turn, multi-turn or angular position sensors. Modern position sensors have communication interfaces, traditional Fieldbus systems or even Ethernet. Sophisticated position sensors not only perform position measurements but also additional functions such as self-diagnostic functions, monitoring functions and – in some cases – rotary speed measurements. Generally, a trend towards contact-less position sensors can be observed.

Encoders with programmable parameters such as resolution per revolution, and direction of rotation, but also redundant encoders are growing in demand. Encoders working in harsh environments require resistance against shock and vibrations. Explosion-proof encoders in refineries and gas-fired power plants as well as position sensors suitable for hygienic environments are.

Automotive position sensors: besides traditional applications such as throttle valve position for engine control, position sensors in vehicles are increasingly installed for suspension control, for power assisted steering, power seat control and electronic gas pedals. Electronic brake pedals and adaptive headlight systems, too, are stimulating the demand for position sensors in the automotive sector. Many other applications are up and coming.

Machine tools and woodworking machines are requesting linear and rotary position sensors for motor-feedback control but also for controlling automatic feeding systems. Many position sensors are purchased directly by the manufacturers of electric motors, hydraulic or pneumatic drives, who supply the drive systems equipped with position sensors to the machinery manufacturers. An overall trend towards absolute position sensors can be observed. Besides machine tools and woodworking machines there are many other machinery applications such as cranes, plastics machines, textile machines, sewing machines, construction machines and many more.

Process industries: position sensors in use in the process industries often need to perform their position measuring tasks inside harsh environments. They serve for valve position control, shovel position control in the mining sector, and roll angle control in rolling mills.

Hall sensor ICs dominate the market along with magnetoresistive sensors including, AMR and GMR sensor types. Although the automotive and electronic segments retain dominance in the magnetic sensor market, several new areas are opening up exciting business arenas for silicon magnetic sensors. Key applications includes mobiles, desktop PCs; mobile handsets; gaming; audio and video devices and personal electronics among others. Technological advancements and miniaturization run parallel in the magnetic sensors market. Platforms for miniaturizing the dimensions of sensors are provided by the silicon processing and MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems) technologies.


The global market for position sensors was marginally impacted by the recent economic recession during the years 2008-09. With the crisis hitting all major end-use industries, growth in the market remained relatively flat during the period. However as demand surged in 2010, mainly from the automotive and industrial markets the pre-crisis strong growth level reemerged for the market.


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