Some call them shells, or thermowells, or housings. These tubular fittings are used to protect sensors installed in industrial processes with hostile environments (e.g. high temperature, pressure, vibration, or contaminates). Machined from solid bar stock, housings are often mounted into the process stream by way of a threaded connection. Metal alloys are selected for either their good thermal conductivity (e.g. brass or aluminum), or low cost (steel). These types of sensors are commonly part of internal combustion engines used in power-generating devices.
Housing Machining Challenges
In order to become a sensor housing expert we overcame numerous machining challenges including:
- Rolling fine/course straight and pipe threads on delicate housing bodies – to provide multiple assembly mounting options
- Machining thin walls – to facilitate sensitive temperature readings and enable crimping of the plastic wire harness connectors to the assembly
- Drilling long narrow holes – for optimal thermistor placement
- Machining small cut-off ends – for rapid response temperature readings
- Machining crushable disk-tip stems – for continuous contact surface readings
- Maintaining tight ID surface finish requirements – to ensure proper seating of assembly components
We’ve also successfully handled fulfillment challenges associated with this product family including:
- Accommodating drop-in and pull-ahead shipment releases – to meet unplanned customer production schedule changes
- Cleaning deep blind holes to be free of debris and moisture – for proper assembly fit and function
- Improving chip-return pricing to lower net metal costs – for lightweight housings
Our competitors address many of these challenges by sourcing the work to more costly CNC-based machine platforms. We don’t. We’ve mastered the ability to run these jobs on the economical screw machine platform. Because of this skill set and our high-volume production capability, low-cost location, and purchasing leverage, we supply housings at less cost than is common in our industry. When these savings are passed onto our customers you gain a competitive edge.