Contrinex’s inductive sensors are trusted in an astonishingly wide range of applications and industries for reliable position detection. With the introduction of SMART sensors as well as providing reliable detection, the sensor can also provide the system’s designer additional functionality.

Looking at the final machine in this Smart manufacturing cell, a pick-and-place station, transfers shrink-wrapped cartons from a conveyor, stacking them onto an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV), which takes them to a finished goods storage area.

Customer application

A Contrinex high-precision Digital distance-Measurement smart Sensor, also known by the acronym of ‘DMS’ is used to sense the precise position of the push-rod in a pneumatic cylinder, halting its travel when fully extended. Routine process data from the sensor is transmitted to the PLC via IO-Link.

When an AGV approaches the docking bay of the pick-and-place transfer station, a Contrinex inductive Basic Smart Sensor detects its presence. The simple, low-cost Basic smart sensor does not measure the distance to the AGV, because presence detection is sufficient for this application. The sensor communicates via IO-Link to a central PLC when an AGV is approaching and the PLC slows the AGV as it docks. Being able to operate the AGV at two speeds greatly improves their cycle times and their availability.

Contrinex smart sensors like all of its other IO-Link sensors can be automatically configured by the PLC when installed, which reduces the downtime needed to replace a damaged sensor. The capability and flexibility of Smart sensors mean that fewer sensors can perform a larger variety of tasks, reducing the number of sensors that need to be stocked to enable the immediate replacement of damaged units.

Customer solution

A high-precision DMS inductive sensor is embedded into the side wall of the pneumatic cylinder. The sensor measures a distance of up to 6mm to a longitudinally inclined face at the end of the circumference of the push-rod. A dynamic resolution of ±5.5 micrometres is delivered in a highly accurate 16-bit digital output to the PLC, which determines the cylinder’s position in real-time.

Inclined planes and eccentric cams are just two methods of utilising the precision measurement offered by Contrinex’s DMS and AMS (Analogue) smart sensors:

With the inductive sensor being embedded into the side wall of the cylinder, its dual-channel capability is utilised for secondary monitoring of the cylinder’s temperature. If an over-temperature event is detected, a high-speed serial input/output (SIO) alarm is sent to the PLC, calling for action before there is a risk of wear or damage.

The Basic smart inductive sensor in the docking bay of the pick-and-place machine not only switches its output state to signal the PLC when it detects an AGV approaching, but it also uses its secondary output to initiate the start-up of the transfer station. The integration of equipment from different manufacturers is made much easier by the sensor being able to communicate via a wireless hub to the pick-and-place machine, awakening it from an energy-saving hibernation, now that there is an AGV available to load. Contrinex Smart Sensors are designed to help OEMs and system integrators include value-adding services that are quick to design and implement in reliable fit-and-forget solutions.