Archive for the ‘Omron’ category

How to Choose a Photoelectric Sensor

June 23, 2015

Photoelectric sensors may seem rudimentary to a lot of people out there especially if you’re a seasoned vet. If you’re a new guy it may seem a little daunting since there’s so many different options, so many different shapes, sizes, options available, and boy if you pick the wrong one you’ll know it quick. It can definitely be the difference between being a stable logic program that depends on that sensor to make decisions, and also just the stability of the throughput on the line. So you really want to make sure you pick the right photo electric sensor, and it’s not rocket science as there’s really 3 basic types of photoelectric sensors.

The first type is a through beam sensor, which is basically an emitter and a receiver that just look right at each other. So, if you break the beam there’s an output, or there may be an output whenever the beams see each other. That’s one way to look at it.

There’s also what’s called retroflective and that’ll be where you use a reflector and a sensor. The sensor basically sees its light source bounce off the reflector and come back to the receiver that’s in the same housing.

The third type is diffuse reflective which requires no sensor so the light will bounce off the object and come back into the receiver itself.

The differences between the three typically are gonna affect your sensing distance and also it can really hinge on the reflectivity of the object that you are trying to sense. So really you just need to take a look at your application, the mounting location of the sensor, how far away you can be or how close you can be to the object your trying to sense. Those factors can really help determine which one of those 3 are going to be the best for you.

There are different light sources inside of the sensor and that can affect the sensing distance. It can also affect the stability of the signal, and also in certain environments where there can also be contaminants in the air or light pollution, external light pollution that affects the receiver, you might need a different light source to mitigate some of those. Your typical light sources that you’re going to find in today’s market are gonna be LED lights, infrared lights, laser lights, and every now and then you’ll run into an application that calls for an ultraviolet light inside of a sensor. And again that’s just gonna affect the sensing distance, the stability, things of that nature.

Really the number one thing I can recommend when trying to find a sensor and make sure that it’s right is to get a sample and test it, and retest it, and test it with different types of sensors and different types of environments. Always remember to test for the extreme. Don’t test under normal operating conditions because if one day it’s cloudy out or one day the sun is right in your eyes, if you didn’t test for that, if you were just testing for the normal operating environments you’re gonna get an unstable signal. So always test for the worst case scenario, the extremes are what you really want to look for. Another good rule of thumb if you can, is to try to use models with quick disconnects on the back. That’s a major plus for your maintenance staff whenever you need the ability to change a sensor quickly without having to replace the entire wire all the way back to the cabinet it’s wired into –  that’s why they designed these. And most sensor manufacturers are going to give you the option to either have a flying lead coming out of the sensor or on the back end of it you’ll have a little M12 or M8 through your 4 pin quick disconnect that this can just hook right into.

And so like I said it’s not rocket science, just make sure that you test. I can’t stress enough how many times people think that they know that a sensor will work in an application, they never tested it, and then we get a call saying they need to return the model for a different one because for some reason it didn’t work for one reason or another that would have been easy to test. Omron even manufactures a checker, which is basically a DC power supply that you can wire a sensor into with a little light output that tells you when the output of a sensor turns on. You can even turn on a little buzzer so it’s really handy to be able to hook up a sensor, go out on your line and just start testing stuff and see when you get your output and make sure its stable.

If you have any questions, you need help with this, there’s always new sensors coming out, all kinds of new technology that makes them more powerful, gives them extended range, and that’s something Innovative-IDM can really help you with because it’s our job to know that kind of stuff and to be able to help you with any applications that come up. We also have a sensor specialist we can bring in if necessary, you can also find a lot of this information on our website which is innovativeidm.com. Go to our Knowledge Center, where you can find white papers for our different types of sensor applications and best practices. After all we are Home of the Legendary Customer Experience.

How Capacitive, Inductive and Photoelectric Sensors Work

May 12, 2015

Hi, I’m Adam Ring with Innovative-IDM. You know, I was just teaching a class last week and a topic came up about different types of sensors that are used for industrial automation. So I thought, well, I’ll take a few minutes and go over some of the basics of how these types of sensors work.
The first thing I would like to talk about is the inductive proximity sensor, these are very widely used in automation, they’re used to sense various metal objects. So, basically any kind of metal objects that we need to know that’s present or absence or is there a part in place, is that part missing? Is an actuator retracted or extended? Anyway in which we need to sense something that is a ferrous metal we can use this.
Basically what it does, it has this tractor beam that emits from the tip of the sensor, and it’s really what we call an eddy current killed oscillator. What that means is that, there’s this electrical field generated outside the tip of this sensor, and when a ferrous object comes near-by, it actually absorbs that field and the sensor is then able to detect that there is something there and it gives us a signal.
Another type of sensor that is similar to the inductive proximity sensor is the capacitive proximity sensor. This uses a different sensing technology, in that, instead of looking for a ferrous metal object, it actually looks for a difference in the capacitance of an object. So, in other words, how much does it absorb electricity and so, a real common application for this is that we can mount this on a plastic tank that contains water. And we’re able to detect the level of water that’s inside the tank. So it can actually look through the outer surface, and see the material that’s in, as long as the capacitance properties of that material are different enough from the outer material, to where we can just tune out what that outer material is and figure out “Hey, is there something inside or not?”
Then we have another really common type of sensor that is used in automation; that’s called the photoelectric sensor. As its name implies, it basically uses light in order to detect objects. Something like this has an emitter and receiver, so it emits a light beam and it bounces off of an object and comes back to the receiver and if it sees the light, then it knows that there’s an object there. If it doesn’t get an object back, then it knows that there’s nothing there. So it’s able to easily detect when there’s an object present or absent. Real common use for these is on conveyors, if you want to detect if there’s a box moving on a conveyor, and as soon as it passes by, the photo eye reflects the light and says that object’s there. Very common use in the industry.
If you’d like to learn more about these types of sensors and others, please take a look at the Innovative-IDM knowledge base, our website is innovativeidm.com, and we’d love to share some information with you. Remember, we’re Home of the Legendary Customer Experience.

Why You Should Use Safety PLC

April 23, 2015

I’ve heard a lot of talk recently about safety PLCs. When should I use a safety PLC and when should I just use individual safety controllers? Well a lot of that has to do with your particular machine that you’re trying to guard.

If you have multiple zones on a machine, for example there’s 3 or 4 different doors that can be opened in order to clear a jam or maybe there’s some covers over different components that are spinning or possible pinch points, you’re typically going to protect those with some sort of safety device. Maybe it’s a safety switch or safety light curtain, each one of those are typically going to have a controller tied to it in order to monitor it and check for faults and ensure if someone opens a door or removes a cover that the machine stops in a safe manner.

If you’re dealing with a large machine where there may be multiple zones or multiple covers that you want to be guarding at the same time, you might choose to shut down only part of a machine if a certain event happens. In that case you can use a safety PLC. Just like its counterpart, the regular programmable logic controller or a PLC, you can wire in various inputs which would be like safety interlock switches, safety mats, safety light curtains and actually write a program that decides how to respond when it gets an input from one of those devices. For example, you can have a guard on one end of the machine open and it shuts down just that portion of the machine while it leaves the rest of the machine free to run.

Typically the breaking point is if you got more than 3 safety controllers on a given machine you probably want to start looking at a safety PLC. Very, Very, easy to implement, easy to program, and gets the job done.

If you’d like to learn more about how safety PLCs could help you in your application, take a look at innovativeidm.com. We would be glad to help and remember we are Home of the Legendary Customer Experience.

5 Ways Temperature Controllers Help Industrial Automation

January 28, 2015

Hi, my name is Andy Lewis with Innovative-IDM, and today I’d like to talk to you about that dime-a-dozen controller located in your plant that is often overlooked, and generally serves its purpose day in and day out. Although they may break down occasionally, I want to make sure that you’re choosing the right temperature controller for the right application.

There are four categories of temperature controllers. There’s the general purpose, the economy, a modular version and the PLC version. All of these have features, benefits and advantages. For the most part, they are all going to have a basic alarm system. Some of them are going to have a more advanced PID-Loop, ramp, soak, temperature changes. And, for the most part, whenever it comes down to the alarms that they put out or the amount of thermo-regulators that they can input within their own controller, the number increases.

General purpose controllers meet a wide range of applications; generally needs for the food processing industry, packaging, extruders, semi-conductors, etc. They’re around there, they’re a dime-a-dozen, you see them all the time.

Next up, is more the economy type and they are relatively simple in function. They don’t have all the bells and whistles that all the other ones are going to have. They are basically going to be able to tell you “Hey! My temperature is this, I need to be at this level, and I’m going to get to this level over this amount of time.” That’s it.

Next, is a modular type, which allows you to have increased capability or decreased capability based upon changes in the application, changes in the product, etc. It all comes down to how many thermo-regulators and controllers you use in conjunction with each other.

Finally, is the PLC version, which is the most advanced version and has the PID instruction in it. Basically, what it means is that it’s very advanced in the way it controls, how tightly it controls the temperature, how quickly it raises it, how quickly it lowers it, etc. That’s whenever the application has a very crucial temperature that can’t go above or below say one or two percent.

I hope this set of categories for the temperature controllers helps you out. If you need any more information, please go to our Knowledge Center at innovativeidm.com and once again, my name is Andy Lewis. Remember, Innovative-IDM is Home of the Legendary Customer Experience.

Reduce Your Liability Risk with Machine Safety Labels

December 26, 2014

Safety Label reduces liability risk

Calling all Machinery Manufacturers – Reduce Your Liability Risk with Machinery Safety Labels

Do the machines your company builds have potential hazards associated with their transportation, installation, use, maintenance, decommissioning or disposal?

As simple as it may sound, properly designed safety labels can go a long way toward protecting machine operators – as well as your company’s bottom line.

Read The Importance of Machinery Safety Labels (September 2014, Control Design) to learn about three tools you can use to help ensure your machine safety labels reduce risk and improve safety – for your company and your machine’s end-users.

For help with your safety system or to order your Omron STI safety equipment, call Innovative-IDM at 877.906.2100 or send us an email at info@iidm.com.

New OSHA Regulations for Reporting Serious Injuries

December 8, 2014

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Effective January 1, 2015, workplaces under federal OSHA jurisdiction will be required to report all serious work-related injuries within 24 hours of their occurrence.

These include in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye; fatalities will require that OSHA be notified within eight hours.

Read Revised OSHA Rule Requires Employers to Report All Serious Injuries within 24 Hours (September 2014, EHS Today) to learn more about the change, and its intended impact on employers, workers and injury rates.

Prevent serious injuries at your plant with safety equipment from Omron STI. For help with your safety system or to order Omron STI equipment, call Innovative-IDM at 877.906.2100 or email us at info@iidm.om

Selecting the Right Safety System

November 26, 2014

Omron STI Safety Interlock Switches

Selecting the Right Safety System will Maximize Safety and Operate (Nearly) Transparently

Safety is the number one responsibility of every manufacturer – and it’s a particularly challenging and important task in operations where personnel work with potentially hazardous machinery.

That said, the best safety device is one that offers maximum safety with minimum impact on machine operations at the lowest possible cost.

Read How to Select the Right Safety System for Manufacturing Applications (October 2014, Manufacturing Business Technology) for practical tips to select the most appropriate safety devices for typical manufacturing applications.

For help in selecting the right safety system for your application or to order Omron STI safety products, call Innovative-IDM at 877.906.2100 or send us an email at info@iidm.com.