HBK provides Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) with cutting edge custom sensor assemblies. These assemblies gather the data that drives feedback loops. They enable engineers to embed 'smart' behaviour into products, and to bring 'intelligent' products to market.
We work with leading OEM manufacturers as their strategic partner and solve their most challenging requirements. As one of the largest manufacturers of strain gauges and electronics worldwide, our engineering competency center has the expertise and experience you need to develop highly customized solutions.
If you’re an OEM in need of a high-volume custom sensor assemblies, whether large or small, and you don’t want to make any significant changes to your existing system, then we are the right partner for you. We have developed proven solutions across several markets and applications areas:
- Agricultural Machinery
- Medical Devices
- Off Highway Vehicles
- Scientific Instruments
- Sports Equipment
- Smart Tools and Actuators
Our Development Capabilities for Custom Sensor Assemblies
Our dedicated development engineers help OEMs to collect data via strain gauge-based pressure, force, torque, or load measurement sensors. When off-the-shelf, catalog sensors do not fit your needs, our engineers can develop a custom sensor solution for you. The final assembly will typically include the sensor, electronics that turn signals into data, cabling to deliver the data to control systems, and sealing to meet environmental conditions.
The final assembly is designed, tested and manufactured to integrate smoothly into your product assembly processes. Our solutions conform to required international or national standards, and to government certifications. As leaders in the field, we will collaborate closely with you and advise on all aspects of development: from custom design, through rapid prototyping, to scalable manufacture of high-quality assemblies.
A dedicated group of engineers will work with you to clarify your needs. In the Engineering Conference we review the desired function of the sensor, including which components should be considered as the source of measurement signals and data.
We review the existing components using detailed Finite Element Analysis (FEA), investigate ways turn them into active sensors and create a Concept for your solution.
Development of the Proof-of-Concept Sample begins by creating a test concept and proposal. This consists of a control drawing that shows how the requirements will be met, a partner-pricing cost estimate for manufacturing prototypes, and includes a target price for volume production.
Through rapid prototyping, a functional test sensor can be developed in just a few weeks. When prototypes are complete, the new OEM sensor design is installed in your applications for testing. We provide all test equipment and protocols as needed.
Once testing is complete, the prototype moves seamlessly into series/volume production at one of our global manufacturing facilities. Lean manufacturing ensures volume production to the highest quality standards. We have extensive experience of PPAP, collaboration with national approving authorities, and other international standards.
Throughout the development process, we work with you to ensure easy integration with your IT systems and manufacturing processes, so that the final sensor assembly delivers accurate data through the working life of your product.
Agricultural Machinery: Down force, load pins, and torque measurements in tractors, planting and harvesting machines to allow closed looped feedback on all types of critical mechanical movements. For example, downforce sensors can ensure seeds are planted at a predetermined depth across multiple rows and varied farm terrain. By measuring these forces accurately, depth of seeding becomes consistent across rows and terrain for best possible yield. The application of fertilizer or the spreading of seeds can be optimally adapted to soil conditions in the field.
eBikes: Customized OEM force and torque sensors provide accurate measurements on the drive and control systems that determines a proportional amount on the assisted motor power. The better the motor control, the better and more intuititive the experience will be for the rider. We design customized force sensors which can be designed to fit on the pedal, or torque sensors on other rotating parts to determine measure the feedback.
Medical Devices: From sensors that survive hundreds of autoclave cycles to hospital beds, and infusion pump pressure sensor, nearly every medical device with a plug has a pressure, force, strain gauge, load or torque sensor monitoring mechanical influences. As an example, we engineer sensors that are designed to give force feedback and can be built to withstand the rigors of multiple autoclave cycling.
Off Highway Vehicles: From the on-board vehicle pay load, to overload conditions and commercial vehicle scales, our rugged load and torque sensors are manufactured using robust and corrosion-resistant materials such as stainless steel and aluminum. We design sensors that provide the highest level of environmental protection and durability as well as to meet ANSI requirements. One example includes load sensing systems for boom lifts are designed to ensure accuracy and efficiency, saving time, money, and resources.
Energy: Sensors for feedback loops in smart valves designed to be able to precisely monitor and measure the position, condition, and flow rate of the valve for precise control and measurement of flow rates.
Scientific Instruments: Pressure sensors designed to accurately measure and automate the amount of collection and disbursement of materials within machines such as DNA sequencing as well as sensors to measure the impurity and chemicals using gas chromatography machines.
Smart Tools and Actuators Housing: Highly custom, fully integrated strain gauge-based sensors designed to fit into smart tools and actuators housings or anywhere within the mechanical system giving you greater flexibility to have the load cell designed around your system and desired specifications. For example, reactionary torque sensors can be used to provide specific electronic torque measurement to a fastener such as a bolt.
Sports Equipment: Strain gauge, torque, force, and load sensors design for indoor and outdoor sport applications which provide a real-time feedback on equipment such as bikes, fitness equipment, and several more. For example, most bicycles have power meters which use customized strain gauges required to adapt and fit into small space. The sensors measure the torque when combined with angular speed which calculates power. The sensors are design to fit on the crank, rear hub or pedal.
Yes, our design team will work with you from a conceptual design, to a functional prototype, to mass production and post-production support. When a catalog sensor is not an option, we can strategically modify existing members of a system allowing them to become an active sensor or create a high-performance sensor that fits your equipment with minimal to no modifications to your overall system. We can also integrate multiple components into one single component to minimize cost and assembly. Our electronics team can also customize a signal processing circuit for any output configuration.
We can design sensors for a wide range of challenging environmental conditions, such as high temperature, pressure, and the presence of corrosive fluids. Our expert design engineers consider the impact of the environmental conditions during the beginning of the design phase and choose coating materials and sensor construction suitable for the application.
Our design engineers use FEA to optimize components in the design phase. This reduces the number of physical prototypes and add as a result, development of better products within the fastest time possible.
We abide by the highest international standards and certifications, customer audits, and validation/verification processes, like PPAP approval. We can develop and execute custom test plans to fulfill your unique testing requirements. As a result, we can assure trustworthy and repeatable processes.
We have world class manufacturing facilities and logistics teams in Germany, North America, and China to support you with your high volume request. We can move seamlessly into series or volume production. Sensor development and production are closely interconnected; transfers from the development process to production are performed in the most effective way, utilizing our highly-experienced teams and global footprint.
Absolutely, we enter into NDAs with most OEMs. We treat these relationships as a true partnership. Part of the partnership is to protect IP rights.
Which type of Sensor is right for your project?
You could begin by looking at our strain gauge knowledge base. Or downloading the free 88-page pdf shown on the right. Both contain valuable technical knowledge. But they only scratch the surface of this deeply fascinating subject.
Alternatively, you can contact us directly:
- avoid the risks of building a sensor assembly yourself
- combine component quality with manufacturing flexibility
- get immediate access to deep experience in sensor technology
- network with professionals who can help you achieve your goals
Contact our experienced team of design engineers for more information and to discuss your project needs.