Sensors

Sensors
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Industrial sensors are crucial components in industrial automation. They are essential tools for identifying aspects such as the presence, position or condition of an object and are applied in various sectors of production and logistics. Depending on the technology used, there are various types of sensors, such as optoelectronic sensors for machine and plant protection, automatic guided vehicle systems and machine vision technologies for intelligent manufacturing. 

 

Different Types of Sensors: 

 

Inductive Sensors: 

These sensors generate a magnetic field in their detection area. When a detectable object enters this field, eddy currents are generated, which attenuate the magnetic field of the sensor, triggering its activation. These sensors are particularly effective for detecting metals, as they require a current in the object for detection. 

Advantages: 

  • Resistant to moisture and dust. 
  • They have no moving parts, avoiding mechanical wear. 
  • They operate independently of the colour of the detected object. 
  • No dead zone. 

Limitations: 

  • They only detect metallic objects. 
  • Limited operating range. 
  • Sensitivity to electromagnetic interference such as electric welding or induction furnaces. 

 

Photoelectric sensors: 

Used to discern the distance, absence or presence of an object, as well as differentiate objects based on their absorption and reflection of light. Composed of an emitter and receiver linked by a modulated LED or laser light beam, these sensors come in three functional variants: direct beam, retroreflective and proximity, ideal for general industrial tasks such as counting and presence control. 

 

Ultrasonic sensors: 

These industrial sensors work by emitting ultrasonic waves and measuring the time it takes for them to bounce back to the sensor, allowing the distance or depth of the object or material to be calculated. 

Advantages: 

  • Operation without direct contact with the object, ideal for delicate or hazardous materials. 
  • Ability to detect a wide variety of materials. 
  • Accurate measurements even in harsh industrial environments. 

Limitations: 

  • Sensitive to environmental variations such as temperature and humidity. 
  • Presence of obstacles or improper angles of incidence may affect measurement accuracy. 

 

Encoders: 

Industrial encoders are essential for measuring and controlling motion, position, velocity or direction of rotation in industrial automation systems, where meticulous control of mechanical motion is required. 

Applications: 

  • Control of Motors and Mechanical Equipment: To regulate position and speed. 
  • Automation Systems: Key in assembly, packaging and material handling processes. 
  • Measurement and Monitoring: In test and measurement equipment to obtain accurate motion data. 

 

Light Curtains: 

These are safety devices in industrial environments, used to protect workers and prevent accidents near high-risk machinery. They work by creating an invisible barrier of infrared rays that detects any object that interrupts them. 

Industrial Applications: 

  • Protection around machinery: Installed around equipment to stop operations in the event of intrusion. 
  • Workplace Safety: Prevent accidents by ensuring risk areas are clear before machinery is started. 
  • Access Control: Used to monitor access to specific areas of industrial facilities.