This section provides overview, applications, and principles of laser sensors. Also, please take a look at the list of 30 laser sensor manufacturers and their company rankings.
A laser sensor is a non-contact type of sensing device that uses a laser to measure the distance between the object to be measured and the sensor, as well as the thickness and height of the object itself.
Since they are commonly used sensing devices, their measurement methods and accuracy vary.
Laser sensors can be used to measure the distance between a processing or conveying device and the object to be measured when the distance to the object needs to be accurately determined.
They are also used in situations where thickness information of the object to be measured is required, such as in product appearance inspections. Thickness measurement can be performed with contact-type calipers, but if the object has a complicated shape or is inconvenient to touch, a non-contact laser sensor can be used for nondestructive inspection.
In principle, laser sensors enable non-contact measurement, but there are several types of methods.
When measuring the distance to a certain object to be measured, either a diffuse-reflective or a normal-reflective laser sensor is used. In both cases, light from the laser source is reflected off the surface of the object to be measured, and the light receiving part detects the reflected light to determine the distance.
The photosensitive area has a certain area width, and the photosensitive area varies depending on the angle of the reflected light. When the photosensitive area changes, a corresponding electric current is detected, and this information is used to convert it into a distance value.
Due to its structure, if the light source is incident on the surface of the object to be measured that is inclined beyond a certain angle, the reflected light will not be returned to the photosensitive area and therefore cannot be detected. This allowable tilt depends on the design of the displacement sensor, and in general, laser sensors with a diffuse reflection method have a wider detection angle.
First, check whether the application is distance detection or acquiring shape information such as thickness and height. If it is for distance detection, select a product that can measure at an angle greater than the assumed inclination of the surface of the object to be measured from among those that meet that measurement range. For thickness measurement, check the detection range.
Then, depending on how accurate you want the measurement itself to be, select the specifications for resolution, detection accuracy, and linearity. All of these factors affect measurement accuracy, and in general, the higher the accuracy, the more expensive the product, so be careful not to over-specify.
In addition to measurement accuracy, it is also a good idea to note whether the unit itself can be installed. If there is not enough space for the mounting area, it may be necessary to select a smaller laser sensor.
Security purpose sensors are used to prevent the intrusion of a suspicious person. They are utilized in all kinds of places such as condominiums, offices, and factories, and are designed to sound an alarm when an intruder touches the sensor. Laser sensors are currently widely used as security sensors.
There are two types of laser sensors:
The laser beam is emitted horizontally at 180 °C and can cover a wide area. This type of monitoring system is suitable for open areas such as outdoors and detects moving objects. The monitoring range can be set to define areas to be excluded in advance.
This is a security sensor in which a laser beam is emitted vertically, covering a surface perpendicular to a wall or ceiling. This type of monitoring system is suitable for localized areas such as a passageway or in front of a door, and detects objects that pass in front of the surface on which the sensor is working. The height of the object to be detected can also be set.
Although laser sensors are convenient non-contact sensors that use light rays, they can malfunction under some conditions.
Laser sensors with a small spot may malfunction due to fluctuations in the amount of light received due to reflections caused by the unevenness of the surface of the object to be detected. If the surface of the object to be detected is uneven, use a sensor with a large spot.
Vibration applied to the laser sensor may cause the optical axis to shift, resulting in a malfunction. Review the installation of the laser sensor and fix it with screws or auxiliary fittings, and install it as close to the object to be detected as possible to minimize the effects of optical axis misalignment.
Pulse lighting is a lighting method that repeatedly turns on and off. Since the light is turned on at a high frequency, it appears to the human eye as if the light is continuously turned on, even though it is actually blinking. Since most laser sensors use pulsed lasers, they may malfunction with surrounding LEDs that pulse on like themselves. If there is a pulsing light nearby, it is necessary to install a shield between the sensor and the light receiving part or adjust the angle of the light receiving part so that it does not hit the sensor.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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