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MTS Sensors’ Linear-Position Sensor Provides Accuracy, Reliability Vital to the Sustainability of Alaska’s Fisheries

Non-contact technology makes EP2 sensor a durable, affordable solution for salt-water environment.

Cary, NC, November 06, 2010 --( MTS Systems Corp., Sensors Division was hooked when Rick Towler of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration turned to its application engineers to help him solve a major equipment challenge. As part of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Towler needed a better, accurate, more durable method for measuring fish in the waters around Alaska that would be more cost effective than the $15,000 to $20,000 solutions commercially available. Demonstrating its commitment to customer service and support, MTS’ applications group responded to Towler’s inquiries, which resulted in an initial order of a single sensor, with the same interest, dedication and assistance it would offer to larger customers.

Towler was looking for non-contact measurement technology that could be integrated right off the shelf. After extensive market research, he found a sensor that met his criteria for accuracy, durability and affordability: the MTS Systems non-contact EP2 series sensor.

Towler explained that accurate estimates of fish length are needed to help determine the biomass to set commercial fishing limits. Accuracy is important because “In the end it comes down to people’s jobs.” Towler and his colleagues had been using a barcode reading wand and a laminated piece of paper that was marked with the bar codes for different fish lengths. They would lay a fish on the laminated paper and use the wand to read the corresponding bar code for the length. Unfortunately, this method only allowed them to measure as small as centimeters, plus the wands and the laminated charts were often damaged by the extreme temperature changes, salt water, and harsh handling common in boats in arctic waters.

After specifying the EP2, Towler created a small circuit board to control the sensor as well as a magnet holder for the user to strap on his finger. The new fishboard measurement device can measure down to millimeters and has proven hearty in the rigorous, wet conditions. Right now the entire unit is being kept dry with fiberglass, but Towler is considering moving to a molded plastic case.

Because the sensors are fast, accurate and robust in the tough Alaskan environment, Towler said they have helped to streamline the fish measurement process.

The government-designed fishboard measurement product is available to anyone who requests it, and costs just a fraction of the commercially produced fish measuring devices, at little more than the price of the sensor itself.

When it was introduced, the Model EP2 sensor became the lowest-cost magnetostrictive sensor on the market and the clear alternative to linear potentiometers and multiple limit switches due to providing performance and reliability in a small package. The non-contact EP2 provides non-linearity less than 0.03% and repeatability within 0.005%.

Since position measurement does not require direct contact between the position magnet and the sensing element, the operation of Temposonics sensors is free of wear and maintenance. Position measurement is absolute, i.e. no reference move is required to determine position.

For more information about Temposonics linear-position sensors and liquid-level measurement, please contact: MTS Systems Corp, Sensors Division, 3001 Sheldon Drive, Cary, NC 27513. Phone: +1-919-677-0100. E-mail: or visit

MTS Sensors, a division of MTS Systems Corp., is the global leader in the development and production of magnetostrictive linear-position and liquid-level sensors. MTS Sensors Division is continually developing new ways to apply TemposonicsÒ magnetostrictive sensing technology to solve critical applications in a variety of markets worldwide. With facilities in the U.S., Germany, Japan, and China, MTS Sensors Division is an ISO 9001 certified supplier committed to providing customers with innovative sensing products that deliver reliable cost-effective sensing solutions.

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MTS Sensors
Zac Linton

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