Variohm Holdings Ltd (aka The Variohm Group), part of the LSE-listed discoverIE (LSE: DSCV), has further advanced its strategic product offering and manufacturing competency through the acquisition of the USA based precision switching and linear position sensor producer CPI™ (Control Products, Inc.). CPI’s specialist range of standard and ATEX/IECEX/SIL2 rated draw-wire position sensors and its waterproof switch and thermal switching technologies perfectly suit harsh duty application areas where the ISO9001 registered manufacturer has over seventy years’ experience in demanding control tasks in aerospace & military, construction, off-highway, agriculture, mining, subsea, oil & gas, and many other challenging fields. CPI develops, designs, and manufactures its comprehensive product range from its purpose-built facility in East Hanover, New Jersey and has the bold company strapline “Is your equipment tough enough for our sensors”.
CPI’s extensive range of linear position sensors were first developed over 15 years ago to meet the challenging demands for large hydraulic cylinders and accumulators used in the harsh environments faced by the construction equipment and materials handling industries. Rather than rod style in-cylinder position sensors which were prone to repeated failure, CPI took the basic principles of draw wire sensors in a patented configuration that replaced fragile potentiometers and encoders with either LVDT or a short rod magnetostrictive transducers as the core sensing technology. This long-life and non-contacting design offers numerous advantages including significant improvements in protection for heavy shock and vibration conditions and reliable operation in extreme temperature ranges from -40 to over 120 ⁰C. They can be located in-cylinder or externally mounted and find applications in many demanding positioning tasks beyond hydraulics. With absolute positioning and no need for homing on power-up, standard signal conditioning outputs include CAN Bus, analogue, and digital in single channel or redundant configurations. Models are available with full ATEX, IECEX and SIL2 approvals. CPI sensors are the only linear position sensors suitable for telescoping hydraulic cylinders up to 15 metres.
CPI’s thermal switches are used for demanding military and commercial temperature control applications and are available in three primary electromechanical design categories: snap disk, bimetal, and rod and tube. Each type offers a differing sensitivity and temperature profile that suit a very wide range of harsh environment applications. The snap disk ‘Snapstats’ range uses a bimetallic snap disc that provides shock and vibration immunity and a broad temperature differential over an operating temperature range from around -18 to 148 ⁰C. Available configurations include surface mount with or without probe, thread mount, clamp mount, hermetically sealed, and dual setpoint. The bimetal ‘Plugstat’ series are slow-make and -break devices which provide tight tolerance temperature sensing over a small range with a working range from approx. -18C to 345 ⁰C. They are applied extensively in aircraft ECS, plastic extruders, wind turbines, and various military vehicle systems. The rod and tube design suits set-point temperature ranges from around -18C to 955 ⁰C and are well proven in harsh environment applications such as aircraft engine overtemperature, refinery process control, and engine exhaust monitoring.
CPI manufactures an extensive range of waterproof switch products that as a minimum meet IP68 protection levels and for some tasks are completely long-term submersible. Characterised by the same high levels of durability and ruggedness of other CPI products, switch configurations include normally open, normally closed and SPDT with neoprene covers to MS39058 for military applications and Santoprene™ covers for industrial switching. Electromechanical design includes momentary, maintained contact, limit. ball types, plungers, rockers and more. Available as single components or combined in switch panels they offer long life endurance ratings as high as 5 million cycles and temperature ratings from -55 to 205 ⁰C.
All CPI products can be adapted as custom designed specials for applications outside standard product offerings, and UL approvals are widely available.
As Variohm Holdings continues to expand, this latest acquisition brings the Variohm Group to eight engineering companies and a total staff of more than 400 specialising in sensors, switches, motion control and systems – each with a high degree of autonomy but with complete access to the Group’s shared expertise and resources. CPI joins the German/Hungarian manufacturer Limitor GmbH (temperature control components), USA based Phoenix-America – (magnetic encoder and magnetic sensors), and the UK based companies Variohm EuroSensor (sensor and transducer supplier and manufacturer), Herga Technology (switching and sensing solutions), Ixthus Instrumentation (specialist measurement systems), Heason Technology (motion control components and custom engineered systems), and Positek Limited (specialised linear and rotary inductive displacement sensor technologies).
Graham Pattison, Variohm Holdings’ managing director, welcomes the CPI acquisition and the substantial opportunity it delivers for the Variohm Group’s manufacturing capability and potential sales growth. “This latest acquisition perfectly complements our vision and demonstrates discoverIE’s continued investment in The Variohm Group. By realising this increased synergy between our now eight members, we can deliver an increasingly more compelling offer to our valued customers”. “discoverIE and The Variohm Group is a really perfect fit for us,” notes Mac Stuhler, General Manager of CPI. “With their long and successful history of managing companies that produce the same kind of highly differentiated components that we manufacture, we are really looking forward to working within the Group and the new market opportunities offered”.