Sensors that won’t quit – one Balluff customer’s experience

We often hear companies talk about how great their products are or how well they hold up under adverse conditions, but many of us wonder just how much of that is hype.  While I cannot vouch for all the claims out there, I can relate to you (the reader) and share my Balluff prox story and how I’ve seen them survive.

Inductive proximity sensor face damage
Example of proximity sensor face damage – not actual picture of sensor from story.

I was working in the industrial maintenance field when I came across the prox in this tale.  The prox was being used to sense motion of sanding tape in a polishing machine.  This system was designed to polish the part in two directions and the purpose of the prox was to ensure that a proper amount of sandpaper had advanced with each direction change. The sandpaper was on rolls, which threaded through some rollers, including a plastic one that had a piece of metal embedded inside.  The prox was set up to monitor this plastic roller and register when the metal piece rotated by and thereby indicating to the system that the sandpaper had advanced.  If this prox did not change states, the system would fault out and turn on an error/alarm light.  To reset the alarm the operator had to hit a reset button and then start the system again.

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