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Griffon Hoverwork Ltd is a world leader in the design and manufacture of hovercraft. Based in the UK, Griffon has over 40 years’ experience in providing high quality hovercraft for practical applications around the globe.
Griffon Hoverwork approached Gill Research & Development Limited to design and manufacture a capacitive liquid level sensor to be installed inside the hovercraft fuel tanks which would withstand severe operational conditions experienced on the craft.
With hovercraft propellers and turbulent sea conditions generating high vibrations and unsteady conditions, the accumulation of reliable fuel level data is difficult to achieve.
A solution was required that would provide continuous, accurate measurement data in temperatures exceeding +100°C. Compatibility with NMEA 2000 outputs was also needed to ensure the sensor could be connected with multiple devices as part of an integrated networking system.
Short lead times were required by Griffon Hoverwork to meet unprecedented levels of demand for the release of new hovercraft.
Gill performed initial research into the requirements of NMEA 2000 and technologies/mechanics suitable for achieving long-term durability, resulting in the development of a stainless steel liquid level sensor using state of the art product development methodologies. Virtual computer design and simulation tools were utilised to analyse vibration stress levels and optimisation of the design to meet high vibration levels.
Rapid prototypes were developed for performance and environmental testing to prove the product against the harsh environment requirements.
A rigorous testing programme followed to ensure the design met the latest industry standards for marine equipment covering thermal, humidity, vibration, ingress protection, corrosion resistance and EMC.
Gill produced a 316 marine standard stainless steel capacitive liquid level sensor designed for high temperature operation from -40°C to +125°C. The sensors have been deployed as standard fit inside the new fleet of hovercrafts to ensure ultimate in-service reliability throughout the 7 year expected life of the crafts.