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New Solartron Non-Contact Sensors Boost Productivity and Cuts Downtime

New Solartron Non-Contact Sensors Boost Productivity and Cuts Downtime

Product News Thursday, June 13, 2013: Ametek Solartron Metrology

Solartron Metrology, a world leader in linear measurement and innovation, reports customers in automotive, electronics, medical, automation and other industries with high-volume production are significantly increasing their output due to Solartron’s new non-contact product offering. While their gauging probes have driven their business for over 65 years, they are now stepping into the non-contact sensor arena, with cutting edge laser systems for applications where touch sensors are not feasible.

With their Orbit® Network, installation and use of the lasers is seamless, providing simplicity and cost savings no other system can provide.

Now in its third generation, the Orbit Network is a proven, reliable, calibrated network in which each probe or laser has a module at the end of the connecting cable. The sensors can then be stacked together, up to 150 at a time, and then interfaced to a computer or PLC via a USB, RS232, or Ethernet Interface Module. (More interface modules are on the way. A Modbus interface module will be introduced in the summer of 2013, with other PLC formats to follow.) Customers can download free software drivers, and communicate to the sensors via an SPC software package or their own created program. Third party sensors can also be networked onto Orbit using Analogue or TTL type interface modules.

On this network, Solartron could provide fully calibrated gauging probes. You can easily rig the probe to a piece of automation or custom gauge, master the probe, and go! Customers in the Automotive, Aerospace, and Electronics industries had eagerly used the Orbit network, as it reduced costs associated with integration and setup. The network can operate in static or dynamic scanning modes.

Now, with two new non-contact offerings, Orbit LT and Orbit LTH, you can have calibrated Laser Triangulation sensors stacked next to gauging probes or other sensors on Orbit. No other system in the world can do this! The lasers are also available with the Orbit ACS SI 100 and SI 200: small single and dual channel modular readouts with quick I/O and PLC outputs.

Solartron is starting with two non-contact models. The first is Orbit LT, a basic laser triangulation sensor with 0.1% F.S. Accuracy. The second, to be released at the end of June, is Orbit LTH, a high performance sensor for higher precision and scanning applications.

With non-contact now tied to the Solartron Orbit network, customers will have easy integration for their laser sensors into the PC or PLC when performing in-process or post process quality checks. The reduced integration time and quick operation of the lasers in conjunction with the Orbit network means faster in-process or post process quality inspection, leading to higher cost savings from quicker productivity, as well as the reduction of quality returns or product recalls, as you’ll be able to check 100% of your product on the fly!

Non-Contact Sensors

Non-contact sensors are solid-state electronic devices that create an energy field or beam and react to a disturbance of that field; no physical contact is required so there is no friction or wear. There are no moving parts that can jam, wear, or break and therefore require less maintenance and provide an unlimited number of operating cycles.

Laser Triangulation

Laser Triangulation Sensors (LTS) are composed of a laser, detector and a lens to focus a beam on a detector. The detector is usually a Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) array. To measure height for example the laser emits a light on the surface and is reflected from the surface to the detector through the lens. The angle of the beam helps calculate the height from the sensor to the target surface. As the height increases the angle decreases and vice a versa.

Typical Applications

Non-contact sensors generally operate faster and allow greater application flexibility, accuracy, speed and reliability. They are also capable of reliably measuring very small distances and large measuring ranges. Because there is no physical contact wear is eliminated. In some circumstances however it is possible to have an interaction between the sensors and the target material and non-contact sensors can be susceptible to energy radiated by other devices or processes nearby. Here are some applications of Orbit LT being integrated with Orbit or an SI 100 unit.

  • Checking the Height of a Microchip
  • Checking the Height of a Piston
  • Networking with other Sensors via USB Interface Module
  • Lasers added to existing Automotive Flexure Gauge

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