Answer: Because it has the extreme potential to save a lot of money. The general mentality these days, with regards to inductive proximity sensing, has been, “Lowest price wins the business”. Some manufacturers and industrial consumers alike have been accused of treating these devices as true commodities. Some salespeople have also caved in over the years with regards to price pressures in exchange for the big win. We’re all guilty to a degree, for leaving money on the table and hastening price degradation for this category of automation device over the years!
Maybe a little of this is justified. As electronic device manufacturing volume increases, prices for sub-components used to make these sensing devices decrease while manufacturing methodologies become more streamlined. The result is that cost comes out, prices drop and the game becomes more globally competitive. But with regards to application specific, hostile sensing applications, there must be a paradigm shift otherwise consumption can become gargantuan, both for material and for labor costs in the real world of factory automation. Using “generic” non-application-specific sensors in rotten environments, like welding for parts presence or Poke-Yoke applications, creates a problem. “Generic” sensors fail with regularity, change out becomes a massive maintenance issue, machine down time becomes costly and even bad parts can potentially be made (a really bad problem….audits and everything associated with shipping bad parts must obviously be avoided as much as possible).