Proportional solenoids are electro-magneto-mechanical transducers, which are widely used as drives for proportional valves in fluid systems. Besides the actuator properties, they exhibit also sensor properties due to air gap-dependent electrical behaviour, e.g. for condition monitoring or position controlling tasks. However, the sensor properties of conventional solenoids are poor due to ambiguities caused by hysteresis effects (magnetic hysteresis, eddy currents) and saturation effects.

This paper deals with self-sensing design of proportional solenoids for achieving clear sensor properties by considering the proportional actuator properties. Based on simulation analyses of the behaviour of conventional proportional solenoids, design measures are derived for improving especially sensor properties. A self-sensing design is proposed and implemented as demonstrator. Measurements on the demonstrator show the improved sensor behaviour by largely maintaining the actuator characteristics.

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