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Distance sensors use three ‘breakthrough’ technologies

03 January, 2014

The German manufacturer Pepperl+Fuchs has developed a photoelectric distance-measuring sensor that, it says, combines three breakthrough technologies into one device. The R2100 sensor, unveiled at the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, is aimed at applications such as object positioning, and collision avoidance on robots and gantries.

The first technology is a detection system that evaluates objects in two dimensions using a multi-beam scanner. Unlike most 2D laser scanners that use a motorised system to rotate a mirror, the new device evaluates a 2D area over 90 degrees by using multiple emitter elements arranged side-by-side. The system is less complex than a rotating mirror system, and eliminates the need for moving parts that can break down or wear out.

The R2100 performs its measurements using eye-safe, ultra-infrared LED emitters. These LEDs offer an alternative to costly, temperature-sensitive, and potentially harmful laser emitters, without sacrificing power or needing extra cooling at high temperatures.

P+F says that the R2100 is the first distance measurement sensor equipped with the ultra-IR LED technology and has an 8m operating range without needing a reflector. Also, the LEDs produce a larger light spot than laser emitters, which makes it easier to detect objects with irregular surfaces or textures.

Pepperl+Fuchs' LED-based distance sensor

The sensors’ third technology is pulse-ranging time-of-flight measurement, which is said to offer precision and reliability over large distances, even in harsh ambient conditions. The sensors emit short, high-intensity light pulses and calculate distances based on time taken for light to be reflected back from an object.

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