Tuesday, 16 April 2024
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Smallest, award-winning laser motion control sensor

Home Engineering Automation & Control Smallest, award-winning laser motion control sensor

SICK Automation’s new Speetec laser motion control sensor – a non-contact optical sensor that accurately measures the speed, length and position of almost any material, from metal sheeting to newsprint paper – is now available in South Africa.

Ideal target applications include cutting processes, packaging and printing, mechanical engineering, tire building or measurement and cutting of construction materials, among others.

Following the October 2020 launch of Speetec in Europe, it won an iF Design Award in the Product Category.

“It’s one of the smallest – if not the smallest – devices that offers non-contact measurement, as well as a host of other benefits,” said Stephen Eltze, Market Product Manager, Sick Automation.

Since Speetec doesn’t make contact with the material it measures (or with the conveyor moving the material), it delivers slip-free measurement with enhanced accuracy, boosting productivity. Additionally, it does not contaminate or damage the material, making it ideal for measurement of sensitive, soft or smooth materials.

It also boasts a measurement resolution of up to 4 µm and high reproducibility.

Eltze said the unit is priced at between a third to a quarter of that of existing laser speed sensors. “Additionally, the minimal engineering effort and maintenance requirements translate to further cost savings over time.”

The unit’s small size, basic mounting requirements and simple electric connections make it easy to install and wire up (whether for a retrofit or a greenfield project). For optimal performance, it should be mounted 50 mm from the target material.

“It does, however, have a decent tolerance should the mounting deviate from this ideal positioning.”

With no moving parts (and zero contact with materials), Speetec is not susceptible to wear and tear. “All that’s required to ensure optimal performance is to keep the measurement screen clean.”

Eltze said many laser-equipped motion control sensors use Class 3 lasers which are hazardous for eyes and therefore require specialised housing to prevent harm to operators. Additionally, operating personnel require specialised safety training and PPE.

Speetec, by contrast, comprises Class 1 lasers, which are safe for eyes and thus, it does not require additional operational safety measures.

Local testing has yielded positive results. “A roof sheeting metal manufacturer ran Speetec in parallel with their existing wheel encoder and found its performance exceeded expectations. Speetec measured lengths of metal in 4 µm increments and it was found to be precise. Additionally, it’s a laser sensor so there was no issue with measuring different colour roof sheeting,” Eltze said.

The Speetec is available for purchase from Sick Automation South Africa and its distribution partners. Purchase is supported by Sick Automation’s 24-hour tech support line and stockholding.

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