Fiber optic sensors and fibers

Always close to the action

Fiber optics are the ideal solution when detecting tiny objects in cramped or inaccessible places (e.g., robotics).

Advantages:

  • Small, light sensors
  • Easy installation and initial startup
  • Extremely robust, heat- and chemically-resistant sensors
  • Long range - up to 4 meters
  • Reliable detection of transparent media
  • Short response times for the fastest processes
  • Usable in high-flex locations, such as drag chains
  • Portfolio
    • Plastic through-beam fibers

      • Long range - up to 4 meters
      • Small part detection down to 0.1 mm
      • Bend radius up to 1 mm for use in high-flex processes
      • Operating temperature -60 to +350 °C

      Plastic diffuse fibers

      • Long range - up to 4 meters
      • Small part detection down to 0.1 mm
      • Bend radius up to 1 mm for use in high-flex processes
      • Operating temperature -60 to +350 °C

      Plastic fiber optic sensors

      • Fast installation, little wiring required
      • Short response times down to <0.05 ms for the fastest processes
      • Quick and easy setup via teach-in function or potentiometer
      • Analog voltage output available
    • Glass through-beam fibers

      • Range up to 1.4 meters
      • Different geometric patterns available
      • Response time up to 50 ms
      • Fiber optic array for monitoring a range
      • Robust plastic or metal sheaths

      Glass diffuse fibers

      • Range up to 23 cm
      • High temperature stability
      • Robust plastic or metal sheaths

      Glass fiber optic sensors

      • Rugged metal housings
      • Quick and easy setup via teach-in function or potentiometer
      • Long range, high sensitivity, and high-speed versions available
    Areas of Application

    Through their versatility, optical fibers can be used in many different applications. The small, space-saving sensing heads are ideal for use in very cramped spaces. With a different arrangement of the fibers, however, areas can also be monitored or exact positioning carried out.

    • Pick & place tools 
    • Detecting, distinguishing and positioning many different objects
    • Monitoring areas by means of array optical fibers with linear fiber arrangement
    • Detecting fullness levels or leaks, including those of hazardous liquids
    Function
    • Through-beam sensors detect whenever an object interrupts the light beam between the transmitter and the receiver. With a diffuse sensor, the quantity of light reflected back by an object is analyzed. 

      The high-resolution analog-to-digital conversion in fiber optic sensors allows the analysis of very fine changes. This is important when it is a question of detecting very small objects or differentiating very fine contrasts.

      Generally speaking, the optical fibers and the appropriate evaluation units always form one unit, whereby the type of fiber optic head is mainly decisive for the detection of the objects. 

      Plastic fiber optics

      Plastic fiber optics are mainly characterized by the properties of the raw material used – plastic. Progress made in the production of plastic allows bending radii of only 1 mm in optical fibers, which is practically impossible with glass fiber optics, for example. Meanwhile there are also fiber materials that can stand up to dynamic bending forces and so allow their use in drag chains as well.

      Through-beam sensors made of plastic detect whenever an object interrupts the light beam between the transmitter and the receiver. With diffuse sensors, the quantity of light reflected back by an object is analyzed. The high-resolution analog-to-digital conversion in fiber optic sensors allows the analysis of very fine changes. This is important when it is a question of detecting very small objects or differentiating very fine contrasts. Generally speaking, the optical fibers and the appropriate evaluation units always form one unit, whereby the type of fiber optic head is mainly decisive for the detection of the objects.

      Glass fiber optics

      Unlike plastic fiber optics, glass fiber optics contain hundreds of individual fibers. Each individual fiber transmits a portion of the emitted light. Depending on the arrangement of the individual fibers, a homogeneous light spot or a line can be generated. Glass is also a high-quality, durable material, which guarantees a long, constant service life.

      This is one of the reasons why glass fiber optics are also used in the telecommunications industry. The high temperature resistance also makes possible applications that are difficult or even impossible with other sensors. 

      Fiber optic sensors

      The generation of multi-functional fiber optic sensors lends itself in particular to the handling of processes requiring not only very fast operation but also exact positioning or the detection of very small objects. One single sensor assumes the tasks that were previously performed by many different sensors. The user can choose from 3 to 8 different operating modes, from a very short response time to high sensitivity, in order to adapt the sensor ideally to his application. Despite this all-in-one approach, the need for simple operation is still taken into account.

      A special coating on the sensing heads guarantees immunity to chemical substances and oil, allowing reliable detection even under difficult conditions. Fullness levels or leaks in aggressive liquids can also be detected.

      Glass fiber optics in a metal sheath (reinforced) also allow use under harsher conditions, for example greater pressure and tensile strength, as well as higher temperature ranges.