Sensor technology to improve efficiency in automation

New sensors not only improve the precision of manufacturing processes, it can help to gather even more information about them than was possible before.

“End users are able to extract more information from the production line(s) about the product they’re manufacturing—and to use that information to fine tune the manufacturing process,” says Bob Tremblay, former applications engineer and current manager of product marketing for Cognex (,  a maker of machine vision and laser displacement sensors. “Using that information, they can realize a huge ROI.”

Other new uses of sensors can be found in the finetuning of production based on sensor intelligence. One newer type of sensor delivering benefits in this way is a laser displacement sensor.

Normal spot-checking is normally fairly invasive and can takes several hour. It can now be done much faster and without contact using 3D laser sensors.

The automated 3D capacity of laser displacement sensors changes that game. “The technology permits contact-free, non-invasive sampling,” Tremblay explains. He emphasizes that, because the new technology can provide continuous online sampling, end users can “forever look at the objects.” And any variance from specifications can be seen in the sub-five-micron range, if required, he adds.

Another application for this new sensor technology comes from the electronics industry. A problem that occurs in this industry is when components are being transferred in containers from one process to another. After the transfer, the laser-displacement sensor permits manufacturers to see if, for example, the corner of an object has been accidentally raised.

These advancements in sensor technology allow for manufacturers to be able to check products more quickly, with greater precision, and more efficiency than before without holding up the manufacturing process.

To read more, visit Automation World.

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