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Sensors and Vision

Should you specify a sensor or a switch? Switches usually produce a binary result, as in off or on. A sensor produces a variable signal over some measurement range. This is referred to refer to as “point” versus “continuous” sensing. Switches understand the point of on or off, and sensor provide continuous measurement of a process or instance. Sensors are arranged by what is being sensed: pressure, temperature, proximity, etc. There are sensors for detecting metal, and sensors for detecting plastic, detecting stainless steel, and other materials.

One of the leading manufacturers of industrial sensors is Omron. Here are some of the more basic and common industrial sensor categories.

Motion Sensors

Motion Sensors can sense the movement or stoppage of parts, people, etc. and supply signals to the inputs of control or display devices. Typical applications of motion detection are detecting the stalling of conveyors or the seizing of bearings.

Ultrasonic Sensors

Ultrasonic Sensors use sound waves rather than light, making them ideal for stable detection of uneven surfaces, liquids, clear objects, and objects in dirty environments. These sensors work well for applications that require precise measurements between stationary and moving objects. They accurately measure displacement of objects of any color, including transparent objects.


Proximity Sensors

Proximity Sensors detect an object without touching it, and do not cause abrasion or damage to the object. Proximity sensors are used in countless manufacturing operations to detect the presence of parts and machine components. Detection takes place with almost no effect from dirt, oil, or water on the object being detected and can be used in a wide temperature range. While proximity sensors normally are used in short range applications, there are long distance and long-range proximity sensors available.


Photoelectric Sensors

Photoelectric Sensors can be used to detect virtually any object, including glass, plastic, wood, and liquid. On a production line or conveyor, photoelectric sensors can detect items’ sizes to spot any errors or spot their absence. They can identify problems like misaligned caps on bottles. They are widely used in the food and pharmaceutical industries, and in packaging plants. Some photoelectric sensors are oil resistant and spatter resistant. And there are many small photoelectric sensors for particular applications.

Measurement Sensors

Measurement Sensors measure the dimensions of an object by converting changes in amount of light into electrical signals when the object interrupts a wide laser beam.

Vision and Imaging Sensors/Detectors

Vision and Imaging Sensors/Detectors are electronic devices that detect the presence of objects or colors within their fields of view and convert this information into a visual image for display. Vision sensors typically rely on CCD, infrared, or ultraviolet cameras to produce images that can be interpreted by software systems to detect flaws, sense barcodes, etc.

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