Special-purpose machines exploit the versatility and convenience of sensor technology for tasks that range from simple position sensing to complex feature detection and identification, in applications as diverse as electronic assembly and plastic molding. Sensor adaptability is also crucial to the economics of one-off and customized machine production.
A leading producer of powered handling components for the automation industry supplies gripper systems to end-users throughout the world. To ensure maximum flexibility and reliability for end-users, particularly regarding space constraints when mounting the grippers, Series 300 miniature (3 mm diameter) inductive sensors are supplied as an accessory.
A German company specializes in x-ray systems for evaluating weld seams in pipes. X-ray systems provide manufacturers with the most comprehensive data, but precise control of the distance between the x-ray source and the surface of the pipe is critical for imaging data quality.
A small book press uses Safetinex light curtains for finger protection to monitor the press opening. Whenever a person’s hand is detected between the sender and the receiver unit, the book press will not operate; hence it will not present any hazardous situation to the operator.
A German manufacturer of industrial timing belts uses inductive sensors with analog outputs to measure the position of steel reinforcing bands during continuous production. Two long-range, high-resolution sensors, mounted above the extruded belt profile, give real-time positional data. The customer’s process-control system monitors the analog voltage outputs, alerting the operator and halting production if the values are outside allowable limits.
A Malaysian manufacturer of PC motherboards uses presence sensing immediately after reflow soldering to trigger a subsequent operation. A long-distance inductive sensor is mounted above the exit conveyor of the reflow oven and detects each motherboard as it passes out of the oven. The customer’s control system accepts the NPN sensor output, initiating the next process stage.
Zinc is produced by electrolysis, during which acidic vapors are generated. This harsh environment severely limits the lifetime of sensors used for positioning cathodes in the electrolyte. By using a special type of steel for the sensor housing, long sensor life is achieved.
An induction heating plant supplier, IAS GmbH, has developed a patented system for cooling inductive proximity switches in a ceramic tube. This allows normal commercial sensors to be used in extreme, high-temperature applications. In this cooling system application, Contrinex Series 700 outperformed other commercial inductive sensors.
A tannery uses Safetinex light curtains at the point of access to a large rotating drum in which leather is dyed. Frequent washing of the drum is required both inside and outside, during which large quantities of water are present.
A tannery uses Safetinex access control barriers to protect the entrance to its automated stock handling area. Safetinex access control barriers detect any operator entering the area and stop the leather stock moving at high speed in the automated handling system. Furthermore, damage to company vehicles and the stock handling installation itself is also avoided.
A German supplier of automated laboratory equipment for in-vitro diagnostics exploits the long operating distance and high resolution of analog Series 3#30 photoelectric sensors to detect the 1 mm signal bounces that indicate where the cap sits on the test-tube.
A manufacturer of injection molded parts for the automotive industry uses inductive sensors from the Extra Distance family (500 series) to check that threaded inserts have been correctly mounted inside molded plastic parts. This ensures zero-fault delivery to the automobile producer.
When performing robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery, surgeons use sensors to verify that a cannula or trocar of the correct length and diameter has been loaded in the robotic member before insertion into the body cavity.
A manufacturer of dancer systems for web tension control uses an inductive sensor with analog output to register constant, small changes in web tension and transmit them to the tension control system, which in turn provides continuous feedback to a variable speed drive.
A US manufacturer of aerosol cans needs to ensure that, for each can, only one bottom is inserted into the press that applies and crimps the bottom to the can body. This checking must be accomplished without physical contact while the product is moving.