Minnesota Mining Part 2: Pushing Prox

E-mail Barbara Goode

Powerhouses in their respective camps, Banner Engineering Corp. (developer of photoelectric and vision sensors) and Turck Inc. (known for its proximity, flow, and pressure sensors) have a history of partnering. While I was in Minneapolis recently I had the opportunity to meet with both companies. Let me tell you the most interesting news I learned from them.

Uh, Sorry
Well, actually, I can't tell you the most interesting news about Banner. Sorry, I'm sworn to secrecy for the moment. Let's just say the company is working on some new technology that hopes to make a major impact in an exciting way-and that I'll be back to give you details as soon as I can.

Turck, too, has some work in progress that I can't discuss yet-but a couple of things that I can tell you about. (Thank goodness, this was looking to be a very short report!)

The Latest-and the Big Leap
Turck's latest news is an AC/DC junction box that contains an integrated DC power supply to allow use of cost-effective DC sensors in AC applications. This'll make life easier for some.

But another Turck product demonstrates a trend--and a fairly big leap--in proximity sensing technology. Joseph Schwartz, director of Turck's sensor division, notes that metal detection hadn't seen a technology improvement in many, many years--until just recently. The newest proximity sensors from Turck (as well as from ifm effector and Balluff, for instance) now replace conventional wound coils with multicoil technology. This results in an extraordinary improvement in sensing distances--up to 250% greater range, the company says, of its Uprox+ line. Perhaps better, it means that all metals can be detected at the same rated distance, meaning that you can switch targets on the production line without having to adjust the sensor.

That improvement is extended by niceties that allow Turck's Uprox+ sensors to work better and in more situations than metal proximity detectors have before. First is the size advantage (dramatically smaller) and the related ability for use in nontraditional housings. Then there's the integrated predamping that allows the sensors to be recessed in metal (a feature that is sure to save the lives of many a sensor), and the immunity to high levels of EMI.

Please stay tuned for the announcements I can't make quite yet. They'll be worth the wait.

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