Every time I enter tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers, there seems to be a common theme of extreme sensor and cable abuse. It is not uncommon to see a box or bin of damaged sensors along with connection cables that have extreme burn-through due to extreme heat usually generated by weld spatter. This abuse is going to happen and is unavoidable in most cases. The only option to combat these hostile environments is to select the correct components, such as bunker blocks, protective mounts, and high temperature cable materials that can withstand hot welding applications.
In many cases I have seen standard sensors and cables installed in a weld cell with essentially zero protection of the sensor. This results in a very non-productive application that simply cannot meet production demands due to excessive downtime. At the root of this downtime you will typically find sensor and cable failure. These problems can only go on for so long before a culture change must happen throughout a manufacturing or production plant as there is too much overtime resulting in added cost and less efficiency. I call this the “pay me now or pay me later” analogy.
Below are some simple yet effective ways to improve sensor and cable life:
- Apply flush sensors vs. non-flush sensor in fixtures
- Bunker the flush sensors to protect the face of the sensor (Let the bunker block take the spatter)
- Apply sensors with special coatings to combat weld spatter
- Apply sensors with steel faces for added insurance against contact damage
- Apply high temp cables such as full silicone high durability offerings
- Protect cables with silicone tubing and high temperature weld jackets
- Wrap cables with weld repel tape to insure spatter will not penetrate the ends of the cable
If these simple steps are followed, uptime and efficiency will result in increased productivity with immediate improvements and positive results.
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