Not long ago ifm electronic made its first foray into the world of ultrasonic sensors and, not surprisingly, this move was well received. Expectations are therefore running high with the news that customers can now benefit from the advantages of IO-Link in ifm's ultrasonic sensors.
The ifm ultrasonic range is a natural complement to the company's market-leading sensor offering of inductive, magnetic, capacitive and photoelectric sensors. As one of the main innovators and motive forces behind IO-Link, it is also natural for ifm electronic to incorporate this technology into its ultrasonic sensors.
The now well-established EN 61131-9 IO-Link standard offers many recognised benefits, from virtual teach-button setting of the switch point to secure transmission of the distance value. The IO-Link signal is a digital 0 or 24V and therefore less susceptible to interference than an analogue 4-20mA, and as the digital value is the real measured distance, there are no conversion losses. Other useful aspects of the IO-Link connectivity cover switch-on delay and switch-off delay and diagnostics. If need be, an IO-Link sensor can easily be replaced because the transfer of parameters is automatic, with the settings saved locally.
The versions with IO-Link are produced in an industry-standard M18 body, with long and short housings in both plastic and stainless steel. A more compact housing is also part of the range, featuring an M18 thread at the front, but electronics housed in a rectangular section, offering a space-saving installation. Importantly, ifm electronic also understands the significance of connectivity, so has equipped the ultrasonic range with standard M12 connectors and supplies a vast range of suitable moulded cables for different applications.
ifm supplies two different sensing principles in ultrasonics: the UGT series consists of diffuse sensors, ie the sensor detects pulses of sound reflected from a target object or level, while the UGR types detect when the reflected sound from a surface is interrupted by an object. Five different sensing ranges cover distances of up to 2.2m, or shorter spans of 300mm with more in between.
The bigger picture of solving applications is not lost on ifm; they know that the device alone may not be perfect. To resolve further sensing issues, ifm electronic supply accessories to aid sensing in difficult situations.
One of the accessories is a simple deflector; fitted in front of the sensor, the deflector enables the device to 'see around corners.' To put it another way, it redirects the beam, so that the footprint of the unit is transferred to another axis, preventing it from obstructing movement or being damaged.
Other accessories include the 'sound tube' that attaches to the M18-threaded body and reduces the spread of the sound waves. By doing so, the sensor can be used to detect levels of substances inside small containers, by looking down the neck of a bottle, for example.
ifm is committed to working closely with its customers to develop products that precisely match their needs, and the company provides expert, readily accessible technical support to help users maximise the benefits they gain from ifm products.
For further information, go to www.ifm.com/uk.