FEATURE: Meeting the challenge of developing ‘the world’s most reliable joystick’


In most cases, a joystick is the heart of the Human Machine Interface (HMI) used to control multimillion dollar machines across all industries. When a joystick fails, no work can be achieved until it is replaced. This is a huge loss compared to the insignificant cost of a joystick.

Makersan, innovative manufacturer of sensors, engine throttle, and motion controllers, has tackled the challenge of developing a joystick that can be used across all application environments. From the toughest mining operation to high-precision medical applications, the company has a solution.

During the development phase, Makersan collaborated with a variety of industry professionals, who design machines that use joysticks in a range of applications in order to gather their feedback and expectations. This has allowed Makersan to design and to develop a joystick which has fulfilled the expectations and meet the needs of these professionals. In order to validate the design, Joysticks have undergone critical validation testing where the toughest real-life conditions are simulated and exceeded.

Makersan has focused on ingress protection to the highest level, and as a result, all electronics components are sealed and potted to prevent any ingress whatsoever.

Offering submersible operational capabilities, joystick grips are offered with extensive configuration possibilities, using all buttons, switches, and thumb rollers that Makersan has produced using contactless, full redundant Hall Effect Technology. Furthermore, the joystick grip can be fitted with vibrate notification and capacitive sensor in order to establish feedback between operator and joystick. The new illuminated push buttons and thumb rollers can transform the grip into a feedback display. Material used on the grip is high quality polyamide with glass fiber reinforcement to ensure durability over many years of use. UV protection additives assure an uncompromising, brand-new look for all operational life cycle.

The base itself has two outputs per axis with full redundancy and offers CAN, Analog, PWM, or high-current outputs to drive valves without being connected to a controller. Directional switch outputs directly from the joystick and provides extra functionality to the application. The shaft offers several possible actuation styles, including spring centering, friction hold, hysteresis, and detent or latch. This can be configured separately for each axis. Besides the shaft actuation, Makersan’s joystick movement is offered in as 2 axis plus, 2 axis square, single axis, and Z axis patterns.

Another important detail is that the circuit board and electronics are placed in a protective compound which is completely sealed and potted. The joystick base enclosure is made from a robust composite material offering protection against chemicals and heat. The shielded, contactless Hall Technology offers an operational temperature range from -40° C/F up to 85°C / 185°F. All bushings are made from Teflon impregnated polyamides for maintenance free operation during the whole operational life cycle which has surpassed 10 million actuation on every direction on our test bench. Joystick shaft and metal parts are made of SS304 to maintain high reliability and durability for continuous operation even under over 1,000N forces along the “x” and “y” axis .

With OEM’s persistently developing sophisticated, efficient, flexible machines, there is a trend towards replacing hydraulic levers and controllers with reliable precision electronic joysticks. Makersan has embraced the change and is ready for the challenge with its full size, mid-size, mini, and micro joysticks which features controlling accurately multiple functions with one hand through finger or thumb activation.

Makersan will be displaying its range of Joysticks along with his other innovative products at Agritechnica 2022 Hall 17 Booth A45.

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