They have been installed in many motor cars for more than a decade: the air mass sensor has become one of the most important components in engine managment. If it fails, frequently nothing else will work.
As the name says, an air mass sensor measures the air mass supplied to the engine. Its signal is used for calculating the injection quantity, and on diesel engines also for controlling the exhaust gas recirculation. It is consequently an essential component in the air supply system and for controlling exhaust gases.
The automobile sector is one of the fastest growing sectors globally. The rising government regulations for driver safety and emission norms, the market for automotive sensors is set to increase globally. Automotive sensors are core element of a vehicle in powertrain, chassis and body electronics components. Modern vehicles are equipped with various sensors which provide critical data relating to performance, comfort, safety and convenience. The first automotive sensor found its application for the measurement of inlet manifold absolute pressure (MAP) in early ignition and fuelling control systems which are still being used. Many other sensors such as exhaust gas sensor, crankshaft position sensor, temperature sensors and air mass flow sensors are used to enhance powertrain performance.
Automotive sensors are one of the important components used in a vehicle. The Electronic Control Unit (ECU) manages and controls multiple electrical systems in the vehicle. The various sensors present in the vehicle provide data to the ECU. In an average there are 60 – 80 sensors present in a vehicle. The sensor manages fuel economy, cam shaft position, oxygen content in the exhaust stream, air flow in engine, and coolant temperature among others. The primary focus of the sensors is to manage powertrain applications, mileage and engine emission among others.
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Powertrain application, vehicle dynamics control, emission control, and body electronics among others, are major areas where sensors are used in automobiles. Apart from this, based on product type, the market can be sub-divided into pressure sensor, temperature sensor, gas sensor, motion sensor and MEMS sensor. Increasing demand for hybrid and fuel cells vehicles, safety and emission control are the major factors fueling demand for automotive sensors. By components, the market can be sub-divided into powertrain, body electronics, chassis and safety & control.
Some of the leading players in the market are, Denso Corporation (Japan), Robert Bosch GmbH (Germany), Analog Devices Inc (U.S.) and Sensata Technologies Inc (U.S.) among others.
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Together with increasing requirements on environmental protection measures, new generations of air mass sensors have become more and more precise – but also more sensitive. A defective or clogged air mass sensor can supply incorrect input signals to the engine control unit which, as a result, controls other components incorrectly.