Fluid Power Journal

Rotary Sensors Detect Steering Position on Electric Lift Trucks

NRH272 rotary position sensors from the Curtiss-Wright’s Industrial Division’s brand family of Penny & Giles have been specified for use on a range of British-designed and manufactured electric forklift trucks from Nexen Lift Trucks.

The Challenge

Aisle width in warehouses is being reduced to maximize storage space within a building footprint, and many lift-truck manufacturers are having to adopt the latest technologies to ensure material-handling vehicles can operate safely and effectively within these new, narrow-aisle environments. Additionally, many lift-truck operators are reviewing the environmental impact of running forklifts using traditional internal-combustion engines, but until recently, electric-powered vehicles haven’t been able to provide similar levels of performance and productivity associated with traditional internal-combustion applications.

During its research and development process, Nexen identified the need for electric models, and its latest X-Range includes the three-wheeled FBXT lift truck using a Nexen-designed and manufactured axle and a four-wheel FBX version using a purpose-designed steering axle.

For both axle types, Nexen needed rotary piston sensors that could detect steering position, with feedback from the sensor enabling control of the truck speed and direction displayed to the operator via a cabin-mounted Graphical User Interface (GUI).

The Solution

A bespoke version of Curtiss-Wright’s NRH272 has been supplied with a 5V power supply option, 10-90% voltage output, Deutsch DT04 connectors, and an electrical output set to correspond to rotations of between 20° and 360°. For added safety functionality, the sensor’s onboard diagnostic functions mean the outputs can enter into safe, predefined states should an internal sensor error be detected.

The NRH271/NRH272 range of non-contact, rotary position sensors with Hall-effect sensing technology is designed to supply an optimum combination of performance, safety, and cost-effectiveness. The sensor is accommodated in a low-profile housing with a compact footprint; its robust design offers protection from water, dust, shock, vibration, and temperature, making it suitable for use in arduous, on- and off-highway vehicle applications.

Connection options are industry-standard AMP Superseal (IP68-rated) or Deutsch DT04 series (IP67-rated) connectors, or simple flying leads for customer termination. The sensor can also be supplied with a protective conduit for the cabling.

The Results

Having been designed from the ground up, Nexen’s all-electric X-Range lift trucks use integrated technology, including Curtiss-Wright’s NRH272 rotary position sensors, to provide a combination of performance, productivity, and cost-effectiveness without compromising operator safety and comfort.

The FBX and FBXT models within the X-Range are the latest in the Nexen line-up of electric counter-balanced forklift trucks. They have been designed for the logistics and warehousing sector by applying advanced technology and versatility. The three-and four-wheel variants allow for a range of applications, including the loading, unloading, shunting, and storage of raw materials, goods, and production materials. Lifting capacities ranging from 1.6 to 2 tons, and different motors, transmissions, and mast options are available. Both models are available in long- and short-wheel-base formats to provide a productive and energy-efficient solution for numerous lifting applications.

Curtiss-Wright Corp. is a global company that delivers highly engineered, critical function products and services to the commercial, industrial, defense, and energy markets. Visit www.curtisswright.com.

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