Industrial Identification – Barcodes

Written by: Andrew Bollinger

In the realm of manufacturing and industrial automation, the need to easily track products and collect information about their whereabouts has been a problem faced by many businesses. The complexities surrounding the details of successfully identifying and recording products’ information have traditionally been solved by implementing codes on the product’s label or package.  The most widely use code today is the one-dimensional barcode. While advances in one-dimensional code reading have continued to improve, new hardware, code readers, and symbology have made an emergence and are proving to be a more reliable means to track information.

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Industrial Sensing Fundamentals – Light/Dark Operate

A key step in choosing an industrial sensor is to understand the operating mode of the sensor. With digital photoelectric sensors, the input and the output are characterized by one of two sensing terms: Light Operate or Dark Operate. Light Operate (LO) describes a condition in which a photoelectric sensor’s output energizes its load when the sensor “sees” a sufficient amount of light; in other words, no target is present or detected by the sensor. Dark Operate (DO), the complement of LO, is a condition in which the sensor output energizes its load when the target is present.

Click Here to view a chart for further clarification.

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Industrial Sensing Fundamentals – Back to the Basics: NPN vs PNP

What’s the difference and why should anyone care? If you’re confused by the terms PNP and NPN, then hopefully this post will shed some light on the differences between the two.  In the context of this post, they refer to the construction of a sensor’s transistor and whether it has a p-type or n-type semiconductor.

When it comes to wiring a sensor, you can think of the “N” as standing for “Negative” and the “P” as standing for “Positive”. With respect to sensors, an NPN device is one that can switch the negative side of the circuit while a PNP device switches the positive side.

The next question to ask is, what direction do you want the current to flow?

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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.

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Finding Good Machine Vision Resources Isn’t So Hard Anymore

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Finding information that is not biased or a shrouded sales pitch for a companies products can sometimes be a difficult proposition in today’s open communication society. The world of machine vision is no exception. So when seeking un-biased information, sometimes it can seem like the deck is stacked against you.

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Sensors in Action – Automatic Size Changing

Written by: Andrew Bollinger

Opportunities for improvement are present wherever there is production of products. Within in the worlds of automation and manufacturing, industrial sensors have played a vital role in providing solutions and controlling various key functions.  Advancements in processes often require multiple technologies to be incorporated together to detect specific details of the production operation. The following is a list of proven examples of how industrial sensors have been instrumental in providing solutions.

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BGS Photo Sensors Are Here To Stay


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There is always debate of which sensing technology is better to use over a broad range of applications. And for the photo sensor world, BGS or background suppression is one of these. What many users don’t realize is that a background suppression photo sensor is what I will argue as a refined offshoot of the diffuse photo sensor principle, meaning the photo emitter and receiver is in a single housing and it uses the object or target as the reflective source. I say refined because it still uses a basic diffuse methodology, but has added technology that allows for a very specific response/detection zone based on the setting of the optics.

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Reducing Planned/Unplanned Downtime with Vision Sensors; Part 3

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In parts one and two of this blog series, I described the typical packaging process, how actual runtime is defined, how vision is used to improve runtime, and how vision compares to the use of discrete sensors. In this last installment of this series, I will show some specific examples of how vision sensors have been used in packaging and show two case studies exemplifying the benefits customers achieved with the use of vision in their processes.

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