Sensors perform a variety of tasks on the packaging line, from object detection to full-blown motion control. Whatever their function, though, real estate is scarce. Here's a look at three diminutive new sensors introduced at the Pack Expo Show in Las Vegas this fall.
VERSATILE PHOTOELECTRIC SENSOR
Tri-Tronics EZ-Eye miniature push-button photoelectric sensor uses either an 880-nm infrared or 660-nm visible red light source and ten interchangeable molded plastic optical blocks to make different types of measurements from a single sensor. Units are 47.4 mm high, 14 mm wide, and 32.4 mm deep with the smallest lens. The sensing range depends on the selected optical block. Options include diffuse, retroreflective, polarized retroreflective, convergent, and either glass or plastic fiber optic configurations. For example, the reflective block provides either a 40-ft range with an infrared source or a 20-ft range with the red LED source. Convergent units range from 0.5 to 1.5 inches. A push button control with one touch Autoset routine provides calibration, gain adjustment, flash rate alignment, and light or dark On selection. For more information, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4401-513.
LASER DISTANCE MEASUREMENT
Measuring 42 x 42 mm, ifm efector's Photonic Mixer Device (PMD) laser sensor has a sensing range of 10m for non-contact measurements. The sensor measures the time it takes the transmitted light to travel to an object and back as a directly proportional indication of the distance traveled. The sensing element, which is a smart-pixel receiver, and its associated electronics are integrated on a 0.25-mm square CMOS silicon chip. This integration enables a smaller sensor housing and a less expensive measurement system. The sensor indicates the measured distance within a few millimeters. For more information, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4401-512.
MINIATURE PHOTOELECTRIC SENSOR
Banner Engineering's WORLD-BEAM Q12 Series ultra-miniature photoelectric sensors are 22 mm long, 8 mm wide and 12 mm deep. Despite its minimal width, the opposed version's 5.7-mm effective beam has a 2-m sensing range. The unit has a visible red (640 nm) light source with a current sourcing (PNP) and a current sinking (NPN) output and is offered in either Light Operate or Dark Operate models. Other versions include retroreflective, polarized retroreflective, and fixed-field modes. For confined locations, the Q12 Series provides an option to fiber optics. For more information, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4401-514.
//Check out other manufacturers of small photoelectric sensors//
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.