'Next generation' photoelectric sensors

Paul Boughton

Under the banner 'Connect 3', Sick is launching a new range of photoelectric sensors - its first family of 'third-generation' products. These new sensors offer machine builders and end users enhanced levels of performance and functionality.

Benefits available from the Connect 3 range include improved robustness, IP67-rated protection, higher precision and greater intelligence. By incorporating these features across three different sensor variants, Sick can offer sensors for most major manufacturing applications.

The Connect 3 range is more tolerant to environmental conditions and the various external stimuli that would otherwise prevent other sensors from working to their optimum capabilities. In operation the Connect 3 models are more tolerant to EMC and optical 'distractions', they have an operating temperature range of between -40 to +60 degrees C and are more resilient to detergents and lubricants. They also offer a comprehensive range of object detection capabilities spanning highly reflective to transparent, light to dark and near to far.

The three sensor variants that comprise the Connect 3 range are the W4-3, the W18-3 and the W27-3, all of which offer features that make them attractive to different industrial applications. Thanks to a new Asic developed by Sick, objects located directly behind the target object do not impair the sensors' ability to function and the new Asic also allows exceptional levels of background suppression accuracy. Blind zones in close-range detection applications are also a thing of the past thanks to the devices' auto-collimation principle. Moreover, the W4-3 and W27-3 are considerably quicker than previous models, and increased switching frequencies permit their use in machines with high throughputs.

The W4-3 is the space-saver in the range, but its diminutive size belies its sensing capabilities. It can handle a large variety of target objects while maintaining high detection reliability. It offers reliable detection of small, transparent and highly reflective objects thanks to a new optical concept. It functions under many different environmental conditions such as those that are damp or subjected to regular spraying. Flashlamps and strong electromagnetic interference are also countered; indeed, the series operates largely independently of the local environmental conditions. In general the sensors offer secure and fast alignment through an easily visible, intensive red homogeneous light spot, and a mounting bracket is not required for most installations.

The W18-3 is well suited to packaging applications. Its slender housing and operational readiness - regardless of the machine environment and the operating conditions - allow for its installation in machines and plant with limited space. Auto-collimation allows reliable object detection from zero distance upwards and proximity switches reliably detect objects with critical surfaces or unusual structures. It offers simple operation and can be programmed with a single button push. Its 360-degree indicator LED provides readily available status information during start-up and in operation.

The W27-3 is an 'all-rounder' for materials handling applications. This photoelectric device can handle heavy vibrations or impacts, low-temperatures and can operate in hazardous areas. Programming is straightforward - with simple button pushes adjusting the sensor for the target object within seconds. Thanks to its laser technology, it can reliably detect small objects over long scanning distances.

All three units in the range can be quickly and easily connected to control networks thanks to an optional fieldbus-enabled sensor hub. They also exhibit many standard features that make their installation and subsequent use incredibly simple. These include: standardised connector technology, rapid electronic scanning distance adjustment (by teach-in button or potentiometer) and a user-friendly interface. End users can also save a lot of time, in operation, through the ability to adjust the sensors via a network - either directly from the machine controller or via a remote connection.

For more information, visit www.sick.de


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