Flush or Non-Flush – What’s the Difference?

In a previous blog Flush or Non-Flush, Looks Can Be Deceiving, Jeff mentions the two common housing designs of inductive sensors, flush and non-flush. So what does this mean to you when you are applying an inductive or even a capacitive sensor?

Flush-style sensors actually have a shield that restricts the magnetic field so that it only radiates out of the face of the sensor. Flush-style, or shielded sensors, can be mounted flush in a metal bracket or even in your machine without the metal causing the sensor to false trigger. When mounting two shielded inductive proximity sensors next to each other, you should typically leave one diameter of the sensor between adjacent sensors. The shielded-style of sensor will typically have approximately one-half of the sensing distance that a non-shielded version will have. For example, a 12mm shielded inductive sensor will have a sensing distance 2mm whereas a non-shielded version will have a sensing distance of 4mm. Although shielded style sensors have a shorter sensing range they can be buried in a machine or a bracket that will offer protection against damage.

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Visit Automation Tradeshows for Free!

I am experiencing the future of tradeshows; a networking & educational conference without the travel, the expense, and the suit!  I can sit at my desk and make contact with future vendors and customers.  The online database GlobalSpec hosts multiple times per year industry specific virtual tradeshow events.  There are presentations and exhibitors.  A place to sit and drink virtual coffee with your peers and of course the token giveaway raffles.

Today I am working the Balluff booth in the Sensors and Switches Virtual show.  It is a collection of companies and attendees from many different industries.  I really enjoy these events because we can contact quickly with potential customers and potential vendors right from the comfort of our conference room and at a much reduced cost. Here you can see our hard working staff chatting with customers.

Check out the Balluff booth at the  Sensors & Switches Virtual Tradeshow, it will be available to visit for 90 days from today.

Mechanical Probe Eliminates Impact for Inductive Proximity Sensor

Written by: Jeff Himes

An inductive proximity sensor is meant to be a non-contact device.  If contact is made with the face of the sensor by its metal target – it will typically fail.  What if you want the reliability of an inductive proximity sensor – yet you want physical contact with the device too?  Is this really possible?  Yes – by using a mechanical device I call a Banking Screw.

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Upgrade Sensors…Upgrade Automation Performance


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In many cases, the mechanical components of an older machine can basically operate forever.  Critical surfaces can be remachined, and bearings and gears can be replaced again and again to restore lost accuracy and repeatability.

But what about the control system?  Sometimes older machines are retrofitted with a new controller to enhance its productivity and extend its useful life.  Such refits should not stop with the controller alone.  Many of the greatest improvements in machine performance can be obtained by upgrading the entire sensor package as well.  Sensors are at the heart of today’s automation systems.  They provide the critical information and feedback about what the system is doing, and the status and condition of products being handled and produced.

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Save Space with Miniature Rectangular Proximity Sensors

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Historically the most popular selling housing style for an inductive proximity sensor has been the tubular style.  The more popular sizes tend to be M8, M12, M18 and M30.  Smaller tubular sizes of 3 mm, 4 mm, M5, and 6.5 mm are also available and have seen increased sales in the most recent years.  One issue that may affect a tubular sensor’s application is its length.  Most standard models are 50 mm to 65 mm long while some shorter body types may be in the 30mm range.  What if your application requires 1.5 to 3 mm of sensing range, but you only have 10mm of depth to allow for the sensor?  Try looking at a block or rectangular style inductive proximity sensor.

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Inductive Proximity Sensors for Special Applications

Written by: Jeff Himes

Inductive proximity sensors can be used in a variety of applications.   Many special use inductive sensors exist in the market, but you have to be aware these unique models are available.

An overview article addressing this topic was just published in Design World Magazine.  Check out this article to learn more about these unique models:  Special Application Inductive Proximity Sensors

3 Common Applications for Discrete Output Inductive Proximity Sensors

Written by: Jeff Himes

Discrete (off/on) output inductive proximity sensors are used in a multitude of markets and industries.  The number of inductive sensors sold each year is in the millions.  With that many pieces being sold each year, one has to ask – how are all of these sensors being used?  Their uses break down into 3 common applications.

The 3 most common applications for discrete inductive proximity sensors are:

1.) Machine position verification

2.) Part position verification

3.) Part feature verification

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Inductive Sensor Protection and Positioning Made Easy – Use a Prox Mount

Written by: Jeff Himes

“Downtime” is never a good word in any manufacturing facility.  It means something has malfunctioned or broken, parts are not being made, production is reduced, and money is being lost.  In some cases this downtime may be caused by a physically damaged inductive proximity sensor.  If this failure mode is happening on a regular basis to the same location, it may be time to look at the advantages a prox mount can provide.

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The 3-Tiered Position Sensing Hierarchy

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There are three general classes of position sensors that – taken together – form a position sensing hierarchy.  This hierarchy applies to any underlying sensing technology, for example inductive, capacitive, ultrasonic, or photoelectric.  Going from the most basic to the most advanced sensor operation, the hierarchy includes:

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The Pros and Cons of End-of-Stroke Detection with Reed Switches

Pneumatic cylinders are used in many applications as prime movers in machinery, material handling, assembly, robotics, medical, and the list could go on. One of the challenges facing OEM’s integrators and end users is to detect reliably whether the cylinder has been fully extended or retracted before allowing machine movement. Solutions include the use of inductive sensors with some sort of target and internally mounted magnet (by the cylinder manufacturer) on the cylinder piston. In my previous blog, I discussed the two primary magnets, axially and radially magnetized magnets, used by cylinder manufacturers. Now, we will review one of the most commonly used magnetic field sensors to detect extension and retraction of the cylinder…the well-known reed switch.

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