Guest Contributor: Shawn Day, Balluff
When reviewing or approaching an application we all know that the correct sensor technology plays a key role in reliable detection of production parts or even machine positioning. In many cases, application engineers gravitate to photoelectric sensor offerings as a go-to as they seem more common. Photoelectric sensors are solid performers, however they can run into limitations in certain applications. In these circumstances, considering an ultrasonic sensor could provide a solid solution.
For example, ultrasonic sensor are not affected by color like photoelectric sensors are. Therefore, if the target is black in color or transparent, the ultrasonic sensor will still provide a reliable detection output where the photoelectric technology sensor will not. I was recently approached with an application where a customer needed to detect a few features on a metal angle iron. The customer was currently using a laser photoelectric sensor with analog feedback measurement, however the results were not consistent or repeatable as the laser would simply pick up every imperfection that was present on the angle iron. This is where the ultrasonic sensors came in as they provide a larger detection range matched with emitting and receiving sound energy. This provided much more stable outputs, allowing the customer to reliably detect and error proof the angle iron. With the customer switching to ultrasonic sensors in this particular application they now have better quality control and less downtime.
So when approaching an application, keep in mind to think of all sensor technologies as some will provide better results than others. Ultrasonic sensors are indeed an excellent choice when applied correctly. They can measure fill levels, heights, sag, or simply monitor the presence of a target or object. They perform very well in foggy or dusty areas where some other sensor technologies fall short.
For more information on ultrasonic and photoelectric sensors visit www.balluff.com.