Light band technology allows sensor to detect irregular shapes

Moving items on a conveyor belt can be quickly recognized (Pixabay)
Both large and small items on a conveyor belt can be quickly recognized (Pixabay)

One sensing challenge in industrial applications is the ability to reliably detect objects with irregular or asymmetrical shapes. Germany-based wenglor has designed a retro-reflex sensor with a continuous, homogenous light band, making it possible to recognize various shapes. The ability to detect dark, transparent, or glossy objects increases productivity by preventing bottlenecks and jams in warehouse processes. 

Wenglor’s  retro-reflex sensor employs a continuous, homogenous light band, making it possible to recognize various shapes.
Wenglor's  retro-reflex sensor employs a continuous,
homogenous light band, making it possible to
recognize various shapes. (wenglor)

The sensor is offered in three models for different light band heights. Retro-reflex sensors with light band P1EL100 (27 mm light band height), P1EL200 (42 mm light band height) and P1EL300 (54 mm light band height) have been developed as two-dimensional light barriers with homogenous laser light band. Detection distance is up to 1.6 m. 

The sensors with light band can be taught quickly in an uncomplicated manner by simply pressing a key, located at a slightly recessed area on the housing. External teach-in is also possible via the controller using a 24 V voltage signal. The teach-in function is also advantageous for use on conveyor belts: Uneven conveyor belt areas can be easily suppressed. Even extremely small parts as little as 4 mm can be reliably detected in the precision teach-in mode.

The sensors combine emitter and receiver in a single narrow housing with a width of just 27 mm, which can be mounted to the side panels of conveyor systems in just a few easy steps. The sensor's plug can be rotated up to 180° for flexible installation and matching mounting brackets, M4 through-bolts and press-fit sleeves, as well as reflector sets, simplify precision installation and alignment of the retro-reflex sensor.

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