In order to maintain a competitive advantage within the manufacturing arena, businesses that employ innovative technologies designed to improve production processes and reduce downtime will prosper. But with manufacturers’ production scales and ranges increasing with the growing industry, technologies must keep up. Enter, proximity switches.
Proximity switches open or close an electrical circuit when they make contact with or come within a certain distance of an object. Most commonly used in manufacturing equipment, robotics and security systems, inductive proximity switches sense distance to objects by generating magnetic fields; resulting in the switch opening or closing accordingly.
However with proximity switches being used across industrial automation, mobile and machine tool applications, they can struggle to keep up with the needs of functioning across such a wide range of temperatures, protection settings, sensor ranges, shock and vibration resistance and EMC performance requirements.
Common issues associated with proximity switches
EMC – Sensors can be influenced by electromagnetic fields by VSDs, radio communication and RFID systems, resulting in false switching which can affect a system’s effectiveness and reliability.
Extreme temperatures – Sensors can only withstand a certain degree of temperature variation depending on their application. If a proximity sensor is used at a temperature higher or lower than the specified operating temperature range, the sensing distance may drift outside the specified range, and also result in eventual failure and ensuing downtime.
Shock & vibration – Excessive shock and vibration can damage the components of a proximity sensor and render it non-functional. Therefore, applications involving high shock and vibration require special attention when selecting the appropriate solution.
Water ingress – Damp or humid industrial environments can be challenging for sensors, particularly when rapid temperature changes also occur in the process. Ensuring sensors have an adequate IP rating and are capable of handling temperature shocks will ensure water does not ingress and result in failure of the sensor.
Next generation proximity switches and inductive sensors
A newly developed generation of inductive sensors is the first to present one sensor that can be used for three different applications; industrial, mobile and machine tools. This new ifm technology platform distinguishes itself with universal and permanent usability while guaranteeing high performance, temperature stability and higher sensing ranges.
A large temperature range of -40 to 85°C ensures greater flexibility across applications and minimises sources of error resulting from temperature variations. Protection ratings including IP67, IP68 and IP69K guarantee maximum reliability and increased machine uptime. Increased sensing ranges and EMC performance assure reliable detection, and a new foam potting delivers high shock and vibration resistance.
This new generation meets the user’s increased machine uptime requirements while offering a reliable switching function that assures the avoidance of standstills. All in all, it is a universal sensor for permanent use.
For more information on next generation proximity switches and sensors, visit the ifm website here or call 800-441-8246.