The old adage “seek and ye shall find” pays off once again. UK-based SST Sensing, having invested in research and development, has come up with optical fluid-level sensors at a price point normally associated with float switches. Essentially, the components offer the reliability of an optical device at the price of a standard level sensor.
Definitely no small breakthrough, and one of necessity, the company logically based its research on customer needs. SST Marketing Manager Siobhan Dalziel details the logic and research. “We carried out a consultation program with customers and they told us they’ve always used fluid switches because the price point for optical sensors was too high.”
Float switches use moving parts, which are prone to wear and failure over time. The length of that time depends on several factors (particles and debris in the liquid, corrosive elements, etc.) and, in most if not all cases, failure and interruptions of service are unacceptable.
Optical sensors have no moving parts and perform more reliably in normal to harsh environments. They are often more accurate as well. Addressing these issues, Siobhan Dalziel forges, “We sent our team to design an optical level sensor that targets OEMs for price-sensitive applications and can be manufactured at a price point similar to a float switch, and they did it.”
The optical level sensors are available in a variety of types to meet various application requirements. The Basic Range sensor offers a working voltage range from 3.3 to 24 Vdc over a temperature range from -25ºC to + 80ºC. Typical applications include white goods, vending machines, and automotive.
Optomax Basic Range sensor
With a working voltage range from 4.5 to 15.4 Vdc, the Optomax Digital Range offers a choice of two operating temperature ranges of -25ºC to + 80ºC or -40ºC to +125ºC, and is suitable for low-power signaling of liquid presence/absence.
Optomax Digital Range sensor
The Optomax Industrial Range specifies a working voltage from 4.5 to 15.4 Vdc or 8 to 30 Vdc and operating temperature ranges of -25ºC to + 80ºC or -40ºC to +125ºC. The industrial range sensors can drive high power loads and are able to sink/source up to 1A depending on output type.
Optomax Industrial Range sensor
For more sophisticated and rugged ventures, the LLHP Industrial Configurable Range offers working voltages of 5 to 12 Vdc or 10 to 45 Vdc and operating temperature ranges of -25ºC to + 80ºC or -40ºC to +125ºC. They come in rugged metal housings made of stainless steel or brass or nickel plated brass and have multiple output configurations and several thread types available.
LLHP Industrial Configurable Range sensor
Positioned at the top of the line, the POS Industrial Range sensors operate on voltages from 12 to 28 Vdc and in temperatures ranging from -25ºC to 100ºC or -40ºC to + 140ºC. They come in a stainless steel housing with a simax crystal glass sensing tip, particularly suitable for use in harsh chemical environments.
POS Industrial Range sensor
“These new Optical Sensors have been robustly tested across a number of aggressive and corrosive liquids in applications including tank levels, engine coolants, leak detection, telecoms and even mobile phone masts and have come through with flying colors”, says Siobhan Dalziel,
“we are very excited about this; it’s the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of different people.”
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