Client: Army TARDEC
Recent operating conditions in Southwest Asia have significantly challenged the durability of Army track components. Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT) vehicles have experienced operating temperatures in the 120-140ºF range, with the temperature of track components sometimes exceeding 250ºF. Track consumables represent the highest cost driver for these vehicles, with elastomeric track components, specifically the track bushing and road wheel backer pads, setting the current durability limits. Acquisition of accurate, real-time measurements of track component temperatures is necessary for establishing the requirements for improved parts and materials.
TA's Wireless Tank Track Monitoring (WTTM) system uses embedded, battery-free RFID sensor chips. WTTM uniquely combines industry-proven miniature RFID sensor chip technology from partner Phase IV Engineering with wireless, mesh-network telemetry capabilities and ultra-rugged monolithic packaging. Phase IV RFID sensors overcome limitations of access and surface contamination through an advanced ASIC RFID design that enables elastomer-penetrating, multi-point temperature sensing from a battery-free component about the size of a single grain of rice. Because the read range of passive RFID sensors is limited, WTTM applies Phase IV sensor chips in a TA measurement suite that wirelessly transmits real-time data to one or more visualization/storage terminals via a ZigBee mesh network. This allows test personnel on or off a full-speed moving vehicle to monitor track component temperatures, up to 1000 feet away. WTTM has the advantage of having no moving parts or critical mechanical tolerances, allowing the hardware to be fully potted and monolithic.