Extended-range proximity sensors get industry specific, extra rugged


Exton, Pa.- One manufacturer has found that a single design for proximity sensors wasn't meeting the varied demands of industry applications. Satisfying all needs would result in an overbuilt, overpriced sensor; not meeting enough criteria wouldn't make it universal enough.

On May 22 ifm efector inc. announced availability of efector ' m ' sensors. The three families of sensors are intended to leverage their developer's extended-range proximity sensing technology, bringing benefits into new and previously unworkable applications. The three environments targeted by the initial offerings include the machine tool industry; the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries; and general industrial automation.

The major reason for proximity switch failure is physical damage caused by impact from the target. Extended range technology gives efector m sensors twice the sensing range of conventional switches of the same size. However, to bring this advantage into the three targeted arenas, efector redesigned the devices to meet a new series of environmental tests (shock; vibration; thermal shock; resistance to high-pressure washdown; and long-term immersion in corrosive, high temperature coolant).

The resulting families of sensors reportedly exceed industry design-test ratings in all these areas, including IP67, IP68, and IP69K. For example, IEC standards specify up to 6 g vibration at 0-50 Hz; this sensor design tested to 40 g and 0-3,000 Hz, efector says. For shock, the IEC standard is up to 30 g; this design tested to 500 g.

Automated manufacturing includes another series of tests. These color-coded modular-construction sensors feature two-wire circuitry, laser-etched part numbers, a set-up LED, and specialized hookup cables depending on specific applications.

A set-up option using the LEDs helps install the sensor in blind applications. Smaller electronics inside allows a more rugged housing, for up to 2.5 times the previous installation torque. Two-wire circuitry is now compatible with all programmable logic controllers, says the company.

A variety of mounting accessories are available, including a style that 'remembers' where the sensor was located, avoiding the need to be re-ranged if replacement is necessary.

M12 and M18 sizes are available with ranges of 4-12 mm, depending on model, at prices said to be competitive with other sensing options.

ifm efector inc.

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