Block Vs. Tubular Photo Sensors

We do periodic training for our products and company as many industrial suppliers do. These trainings are typically for new hires, distribution staff and sometimes just to refresh our own minds. As a part of the photoelectric sensor training segment, we try to introduce the many different types of sensors we sell. But the most common types typically fall into two categories: Block or Tubular body types. And inevitably the question gets asked: “which one should I specify to the customer?” Great logical questions, but unfortunately no simple answer.

But why you ask? Because there are many factors that can determine which one is best for the application. The one common factor that comes into play is observation and listening.

18K Tubular Photo Sensor

Observe what is most commonly installed and listen to what the maintenance staff prefers to use. They may tell you it is a tight space without a lot of room for a deep sensor body which can mean that a shorter block type photo sensor may work best.

5K Block GlobalEye Sensor

Sure, there are differences in performance and functionality. But you will also find that there is an overlap in performance and functionality between the block and tubular sensor types. This is intentional in order to try to provide the best photo sensor for the application.

And, just when you think you got it down, you may also find that a hybrid photo mount type is ideal, like the 11K, which provides an 18mm mounting face with a block sensor enclosure. So in the end, note the performance and functionality needed, and then use observation and/or listening to determine the right body type, and then choose the best product for what you need.

For more information on block and tubular photo sensors, click here.


Mark Sippel is the North American Product Marketing Manager for Object ID and Photoelectric sensors with Balluff NA.

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