The global crankshaft sensor market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of over 17% from 2015 to 2022. Technological proliferation and reinforcement of fuel-economy standards across the globe are expected to drive market growth. Increasing demand and R&D activities in the automobile industry to further improve fuel-efficiency and reduce carbon emissions have led to the surge industry growth, specifically in the BRICS nations.
These sensors are used in an internal combustion engine to monitor the position and the rotational speed of the crankshaft. They are located behind the harmonic balancer on the crankshaft or on the timing belt/chain cover on the front of the engine.
Crankshaft sensors help in determining and setting the ignition timing, supplying the Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) signal, and determining the optimal engine speed. The information gathered is used by engine management systems to control ignition system timing and other engine parameters.
The device forms an integral part of fuel delivery systems. It features a toothed disc on a shaft and a stationary detector. The teeth on the disc generate a pulse as they rotate by the stationary detector. The higher the RPM, the faster are the pulses.
Malfunctioning sensors are supposed to be the first sign of engine failure. Defective sensing devices may result in increased fuel-consumption, acceleration problems, engine sputter, and worse engine breakdown.
These advanced sensing devices are increasingly being used across varied vehicle segments. Car manufacturers and sensor OEMs are investing into R&D of such devices to enhance the performance of the vehicle.
The vehicle’s Engine Control Unit (ECU) uses the information about the speed of the engine to help determine how long the injectors should remain open. As the engine runs faster, the ECU must provide more fuel and air to the cylinders or the engine will bog down. The longer the injectors stay open, the more fuel gets dumped into the cylinders.
The market can be segmented according to the vehicle types in which these sensors are installed into passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, and heavy commercial vehicles. Based on operating technology, these sensors can be segregated into induction, magnetic pickup coil, hall-effect, magneto-resistive element, and optical. Inductive-type sensors act as small alternators and transmit the frequency of the pulse to the ECU that detects the engine speed.
An optical position sensing device has an LED light and a photodiode to detect the marks on the disk. These are only good for high or low speeds and must be kept clean as a soiled device will give an inaccurate reading resulting in the creation of an incorrect air-to-fuel mixture. The inappropriate mixture causes vehicles to run inefficiently and hence is not installed in passenger car engines.
In Asia Pacific, India, China, and Japan are expected to witness high growth throughout the forecast period, on account of surging automobile sales and abundance of labor available, which makes production and distribution economical, thereby adding up to the profits of local manufacturers.
Europe and North America are considered to be early technology adopters and hence are expected to witness high-growth over the next seven years. Increasing fuel efficiency regulation and an overall awareness regarding the sustainable use of resources in the European countries have seen a positive impact over the industry.
A few engines, such as Premium V family by General Motors, use the advanced crank position sensing devices, which interpret a reluctor ring connected to the harmonic balancer. The method is much more accurate to determine the position of the crankshaft, and allows the ECU to determine within a few degrees the exact position of the crankshaft and the other connected components at any given time.
Another type of sensing device General Motors uses in its vehicles is the combination sensor, which is mounted on the front of its 3.0L and 3300 V6 engines. It comprises a pair of Hall Effect switches that generate two separate signals. The other ring has only one notch, which causes the other Hall Effect switch to generate a single synchronized pulse signal that the ECU uses to calculate RPM and the ignition timing.
Key industry participants include Allegro MicroSystems Inc., Continental AG, Delphi Automotive PLC, Denso Corporation, Infineon Technologies AG, LeddarTech, Micronas Semiconductor Holding, NXP Semiconductors, and Robert Bosch GmbH, and Takata Corporation.
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