Photoelectric Sensors for Factory Automation Keep an eye on Efficiency

In today’s business environment, there is unrelenting pressure to manufacture products faster, more precisely and at a lower cost per unit. Industrial manufacturers are charged to find new ways to increase production rates, while eliminating any unnecessary costs, including line downtime, scrap and rework. In order to meet these demands, factory automation has become, and will continue to be, a top priority.  One of the key elements of efficient factory automation is photoelectric sensors, which allow machine designers to measure, monitor and control machine functions quickly, precisely and reliably. The high-tech sensors become the eye of the machine, generating specific inputs to control its function. They are also the latest and most innovative way to optimize automation requirements, particularly sensing surfacing and distance performance.

Types and Applications A photoelectric sensor is simply an optical device that detects a visible or invisible light beam and responds to a change in received light intensity. The light source is either an LED (light emitting diode) or laser, depending on the requirements of the application.

They are available in numerous sizes, sensing modes and configurations that provide solutions to virtually any application in industries such as packaging, food processing, semiconductor and material handling.

LED Sensors LED sensors are one of the most widely applied with the most versatile range. They are cost effective and adaptable to virtually any application.

Applications: Sensing objects from opaque to transparent Sensing parts in clean to contaminated environments Counting parts Sensing small parts that are not in a repeatable position Sensing parts of varying reflectivity and ignoring backgrounds Sensing parts in a defined depth-of-field

Laser Sensors Laser sensors offer excellent repeat accuracy and performance, especially in applications where long-sensing range and narrow beams are required. Laser sensors can be used in the same applications as LED sensors, plus they are very effective in high-accuracy measurement requirements.

Fiber Optic Sensors: Fiber Optic sensors offer superior performance where the sensing environment is harsh and extremely confined.

Applications: High vibration and shock tolerance Applicable in high heat, wet and corrosive environments Compact design for tight sensing locations Complete immunity to electrical noise Explosion proof design EMI and RFI Sensing very small objects

Furthermore, the photoelectric sensors are relatively inexpensive and operate well in challenging environments. They perform tasks that other “more conventional” sensors can’t such as color identification, distance and thickness measurement. These highly sensitive sensors can be programmed to read an extremely specific and limited area, ensuring the highest accuracy. And because they are usually impervious to noise/dust/false signals, they are very long-lived.

Improving industrial performance is a top objective. High-precision photoelectric sensors help manufacturers optimize productivity, while helping their customers improve their products and their processes.

James J. Lavota, CFPS Electro-Pneumatic Automation John Henry Foster 651-681-5729

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