Magnetic field positioning systems are increasingly popular due to their ability to provide reliable, accurate, and repeatable absolute position feedback.
These systems use magnetic field sensors to get a larger range of feedback across a pneumatic cylinder – a great alternative to traditional cylinder prox switches that may not work well in certain applications. They also allow for continuous monitoring of piston position in tight spaces, providing feedback in the form of analog voltage, current output, and IO-Link interface. And in many cases, these systems can replace the need for a linear transducer, making them a cost-effective solution for many industries.
One of the key benefits of magnetic field positioning systems is their versatility. They can be used in a wide range of industrial applications, such as:
Ultrasonic welding to validate set height with position feedback
Nut welding to verify set height with position feedback
Gripping for position feedback for different parts
Liner position indicators
While using these sensors greatly improves productivity in areas where prox sensors cannot provide the reliability needed, when selecting the magnetic field position system, it is important to consider the application requirements. The accuracy and feedback speed, for example, may vary depending on the application.
Magnetic field position systems are also available in different lengths. If the standard length does not meet requirements, you can choose a non-contact type that can be mounted on a slide with a magnetic trigger.
Overall, magnetic field positioning systems are an excellent choice for any industry that requires reliable, accurate, and repeatable absolution position feedback. With their versatility and flexibility, they are sure to improve productivity and efficiency in a wide range of applications.
Initially I started to write this blog to compare photoelectric sensors to ultrasonic sensors for level detection. This came to mind after traveling around and visiting customers that had some very interesting applications. However, as I started to shed some light on this with photoelectrics, sorry for the pun but it was intended, I thought it might be better to begin with some application questions and considerations so that we have a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of solutions that are available. That being said I guess we will have to wait to hear about ultrasonic sensors until later…get it, another pun. Sorry.
Level detection can present a wide variety of challenges some easier to overcome than others. Some of the questions to consider include the following with some explanation for each:
What is the material of the container or vessel?
Metallic containers will typically require the sensor to look down to see the media. This application may be able to be solved with photoelectrics, ultrasonics, and linear transducers or capacitive (mounted in a tube and lowered into the media.
Non-metallic containers may provide the ability for the sensors look down to see the media with the same technologies mentioned above or by sensing through the walls of the container. Capacitive sensors can sense through the walls of a container up to 4mm thick with standard technology or up to 10mm thick using a hybrid capacitive technology offered by Balluff when detecting water based conductive materials. If the container is clear or translucent we have photoelectric sensors that can look through the side walls to detect the media.
Single point level or point level sensing. This is typically accomplished with a single sensor that allows for a discrete or an on-off signal when the level actuates the sensor. The sensor is mounted at the specific level to be monitored, for instance low-low, low, half full (the optimistic view), high, or high-high. These sensors are typically lower cost and easier to implement or integrate into the level controls.
Continuous or dynamic level detection. These sensors provide an analog or continuous output based on the level of the media. This level detection is used primarily in applications that require precise level or precision dispensing. The output signals are usually a voltage 0-10V or current output 4-20mA. These sensors are typically higher cost and require more work in integrating them into system controls. That being said, they also offer several advantages such as the ability to program in unlimited point levels and in the case of the current output the ability to determine if the sensor is malfunctioning or the wire is broken.
Because of the amount of information on level detection this will be the first in a series on this topic. In my next blog I will discuss invasive vs non-invasive mounting and some other topics. For more information visit www.balluff.com.
When maintenance technicians replace linear position sensors (also known as probes or wands) from hydraulic cylinders, it can leave a terrible mess, waste hydraulic oils, and expose the individual to harmful hot fluids. Also, the change out process can expose the hydraulic system to unwanted contaminants. After the sensor replacement has been completed, there can also be more work yet to do during the outage such as replacing fluids and air-bleeding cylinders.
Hydraulic linear position sensors with field-replaceable electronics/sensing elements eliminate these concerns. Such sensors, so-called Rapid Replacement Module (RRM) sensors, allow the “guts” of the sensor to be replaced, while the stainless steel pressure tube remains in the cylinder. The hydraulic seal is never compromised. That means that during the replacement process there is no danger of oil spillage and no need for environmental containment procedures. There is also no need to bleed air from the hydraulic system and no danger of dirt or wood debris entering the open hydraulic port. Finally, there is no danger of repair personnel getting burned by hot oil.
The RRM is an option for Balluff’s BTL7 Z/B Rod Series used in applications for the lumber industry, plastic injection and blow molding, tire and rubber manufacturing, stamping presses, die casting, and all types of automated machinery where a continuous, absolute position signal is required. Applications in industries such as Oil & Gas and Process Control are especially critical when it comes to downtime. For these applications, this Rapid Replacement Module capability is especially advantageous.
Here on SensorTech, we frequently talk about the need for high performance, rugged, reliable position feedback in modern industrial applications. A recent article in Valve Magazine, entitled “The Case for Magnetostrictive” illustrates how linear feedback transducers using non-contact magnetostrictive technology help to improve the performance and reliability of valve actuators used in the petrochemical industry.
It’s worth a read. See a variety of linear feedback transducers here.
Plural of Giz-mo. A noun. Defined as a gadget, one whose name the speaker does not know. Customers call us and ask for this or that “gizmo” all the time! I think we should consider creating a product category simply called “GIZMOS”.
I like to call these things “Enablers” because these devices are very much helping hands that optimize the function of sensors. A sensor of any brand and manufacturer performs only as well as it’s mounted, matching the fixture to the demands of the application at hand. But how often does this happen in a price-driven world? They often end up in below-par mounting that fails with regularity, in both pristine environments as well as in hostile environments. Some examples:
Here’s one example below. These inductive proximity sensors in plastic brackets, showing an exposed coil on one, with corroded mounts on the sensor caused by being beaten to death during parts loading and heat.
With a few “Gizmos” like an application-specific quick change mount, some care in gapping the sensor and guarding the cable/connector system, it could look much different. Check out the examples below.
Photoelectric sensors can suffer the same fate. In this case, a plastic bodied photoelectric sensor, originally used to replace a fiber optic thru beam pair also suffered abuse. With a little extra beefy mounting, these photoelectric sensors can be expected to last a long time without failure.