A sensor can best be explained as a device capable of detecting physical changes and occurrences in the environment, and using these as variables in processing and generating a signal.
Sensors hold a pivotal role in the manufacturing industry where they are used for controlling the speed and position of different actuators found on automated machines. The positioning and mounting of the sensors must be done carefully to improve their accuracy when detecting changes like presence of objects, speed or location.
Types of Sensors
Sensors are categorized as either digital or analogue. Digital sensors produce a digital signal following the conversion of analogue to digital signals. On the other hand, analogue sensors are characterized by continuous output voltage or signal in a proportional measure to the detected effect.
Both analogue and digital sensors should be placed in an environment where it can work for the expected duration, and detect signals with good consistency and where the linear output range capability of the sensor can be ascertained.
Proximity sensors are sensors that are able to detect an oncoming object without being in physical contact with it. The most common inductive sensors are ultrasonic, capacitive and capacitive proximity sensors, but there are also other less known sensors that belong to this group including vision, radar and optical sensors.
Proximity sensors have a wide range of sensing capabilities. They are typically used in varied applications and in a range of industries including building and construction, discrete manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, chemical processing and food and beverage.
Proximity sensors are able to suit the requirements of a wide range of applications owing to the fact they they’re non-contact. These sensors are highly flexible, have varied functionality and aptly reliable. And because they work without touching the target, they are naturally protected from quick wear and tear that’s seen in sensors that brush themselves with objects repeatedly. This increases their usability and shelf-life.
Inductive proximity sensors can be roughly classified as either capacitance (use differences in capacitance), magnetic (use magnet) and high frequency oscillation sensors that use electromagnetic induction. They also come in different shapes like through-hole styles, rectangular and cylindrical which are the most popular.
Cylindrical inductive proximity sensors have an outer body threading that smoothen their adjustment. Their shape and outer design also allow them to be mounted in different ways when used in industrial applications.
Best Features of Inductive Proximity Sensors
Inductive proximity sensors are used for detecting metal targets through an opaque plastic. They can’t detect targets in other forms like ceramic, paper, wood or plastic. They are highly resistant to environmental factors and their detection can’t be affected by oil splash or accumulated dust. Another plus for these sensors is they have a low current consumption (can be as low as 1 mA in the EV series.)