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Sensing a clear solution

14 October 2014

Transparent and reflective packaging can pose problems when it comes to detecting them accurately and reliably with optical sensors. SICK offers a solution in the form of its TranspaTect photoelectric distance sensor, which is said to achieve the most advanced clear material detection to date without the need for a reflector.

The SICK TranspaTect’s high optical performance and detection accuracy promise better production efficiency, cost-savings, and quick and easy commissioning for packaging and bottling processes such as picking, placing, labelling and printing.

"Transparent and semi-transparent materials now pose no problem,” Phil Dyas, SICK UK industrial sensor specialist. "The sensor is also quicker and easier to install.  A key development was eliminating the need to mount the reflector on the conveyor to return the light beam. Operators no longer have the time-consuming task of mounting the reflector and aligning the sensor to it. The push button teach-in process also facilitates rapid commissioning and set-up.

"Instead of a reflector, the metallic surface of a convenient machine component is used a reference surface. This innovation also opens up extra design freedom for packaging machine builders.”

A new AutoAdapt feature automatically compensates for sudden contamination of the lens by dust or product residue, and then re-establishes the original threshold levels when it is are cleaned up.  False readings and line downtime are therefore minimised and intervals between cleanings can be extended.

The SICK TranspaTect photoelectric sensor is based on a high performance PinPoint LED which emits a tight, highly visible spot for easy visual reference.  The detecting range for transparent objects is 0 – 400mm and the background reference range is 150 – 700mm.

IP66/67 rated, the SICK TranspaTect has ECOLAB certification of its resistance to aggressive cleaning regimes, disinfectants and chemicals for a long, reliable working life. The compact (15.6 mm x 48.5 mm x 42 mm) rugged die-cast zinc housing is available with an optional PTFE chemical resistant coating.