What are Sensors

Cognex Insight checking yellow discs on conveyor

Sensors are faster than human inspectors, more objective, and work continuously

In factory automation, sensors are used in work cells to gather data for inspection or to trigger other devices. These sensors fall into multiple categories: photoelectric, fiber optic, proximity, ultrasonic, and vision are the most common.

Vision Sensor Capabilities

Whereas point source sensors must be perfectly aligned in order to function, vision sensors are designed to handle a high degree of variability. This allows operators to use them in pre-configured cells without needing to make a number of costly and time-consuming changes. Vision sensors:
  • Offer greater flexibility
  • Perform multiple inspection types within a single image
  • Generate additional rich data for quality and process improvement
  • Handle misalignment

Other Sensor Types

Low-cost photoelectric sensors can perform only a limited number of simple tasks, such as position verification and basic counting. They cannot distinguish between patterns or colors. And with their rigid mounting setup, they cannot handle misalignment or variability common in most work cells. In some cases, different types of sensors act as complementary technologies. Photoelectric sensors may be used in conjunction with vision sensors to communicate whether a part is on its way in order to trigger the camera in a machine vision system.

Types of Sensors
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