This section provides an overview for proximity sensors as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 40 proximity sensor manufacturers and their company rankings. Here are the top-ranked proximity sensor companies as of December, 2023: 1.Littelfuse, Inc.
Proximity switches are used to determine the proximity of an object in various processes, such as turning things on and off.
They operate by detecting infrared rays, microwaves, magnetism, light, vibration, and pressure. A switch may be activated by mechanical contact or by a change in electrons or resistance emitted when a built-in proximity switch detects light or other stimuli.
Proximity switches are used in stores, residences, products, production plants, and laboratory equipment. When selecting proximity switches, it is necessary to consider size, detection accuracy, noise immunity, and durability.
The following are examples of proximity switches in use:
Proximity switches detect proximity by various methods, including direct contact, magnetism, light, and temperature change.
When sensing contact, pressure changes are measured by the amount of change in resistance of the proximity switch using a diaphragm or other sensing element. Other methods include operation by mechanical contact.
Proximity switches, Hall elements, and magnetoresistive elements are used to detect the amount of change in magnetism and drive the switch. Depending on the type of proximity switch used, some switches do not require a power supply, switches that can respond quickly, and switches with high sensitivity.
Proximity switches are operated by detecting light using a sensing element called a photodiode. A photodiode is a sensing element that converts light into electricity.
These proximity switches are operated by using a thermal resistive element, whose resistance changes with temperature, as a sensing element. A diaphragm or something similar is used to detect the amount of resistance changed by temperature.
There are two broad categories of proximity switches: contact and non-contact.
A contact proximity switch relies on physical force. Since the sensing body directly contacts the switch to the circuit, detection is highly accurate, but the physical contact can cause the proximity switch to malfunction and deteriorate over time.
Non-contact proximity switches use magnetism or light to detect proximity without direct contact and are characterized by a longer service life than contact-type proximity switches.
Proximity switches are classified as Form A, Form B, or Form C depending on the type of internal circuit.
The Form A contact type has no circuit connected when the switch is in the off state, and the circuit is connected when the proximity switch reacts.
The Form B contact type is the opposite of Form A: the circuit is connected in the switched-off state, and the circuit is disconnected when the proximity switch reacts.
Note that non-contact proximity switches are also suitable for use outside of machines and around water because of their low risk of failure and excellent durability, even with a larger sensing body. Additionally, using a waterproof proximity switch can help prevent faulty signals caused by water intrusion from the main body of the proximity switch and the harness connector.
Proximity switches may need to be waterproof depending on the environment in which they are used. Examples include electrical appliances in the vicinity of water, parts of in-vehicle equipment that may come into contact with water, and machines used outside.
Waterproof proximity switches used for driving electrical appliances are mainly contact-type, compact proximity switches.
However, it is not enough to simply select a waterproof proximity switch. Attention must also be paid to the water resistance of the harness connector.
Equipment used outside may have a large sensing element, and small proximity switches have a high risk of failure. Therefore, depending on the situation, a non-contact, waterproof proximity switch should be selected.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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Littlefuse was founded in 1927 and headquartered in the United States. Littlefuse is a diversified industrial technology manufacturing company with customers globally. Littlefuse has products segments which are electronic, industrial, and transportation. Electronic segment products include fuses and fuse accessories, positive temperature coefficient resettable fuses, polymer electrostatic discharge suppressors, and varistors. Transportation products include blade, resettable, and high-current and high-voltage fuses, as well as battery cable protectors; fuses, switches, relays, circuit breakers, and power distribution modules. The Industrial segment offerings include contactors, transformers, and temperature sensors for use in renewable energy and energy storage systems, electric vehicle infrastructure, HVAC systems.
Smith Systems, Inc. was founded in the 1980s and is headquartered in Brevard North Carolina. The company is a manufacturer of speed sensors, motion sensors, temperature sensors, as well as instrumentation and cable harnessing devices for industries such as aerospace, military, and rail industries. The company also offers custom manufactured products, per customer demands, both for quality control purposes and for OEM qualification. Potential design configurations include capabilities unique to railroad or aerospace applications including track sensing, angle sensing, and tolerance to extreme conditions.
Broadcom Inc., established in 1961, and headquartered in San Jose, California, is a manufacturer and supplier of semiconductor and connectivity solutions. The company specializes in producing products, such as semiconductors, infrastructure software, networking products, storage products, wireless products in which their products cater to industries such as telecommunications, data centers, and consumer electronics. Their products are used for various applications, including wireless communication, networking equipment, data storage, and multimedia devices, providing components for advanced technologies in numerous industrial and commercial sectors.
Electro-Sensors, Inc. operates as a manufacturer of precision sensors and monitoring systems, established in 1968 and headquartered in Minnesota. The company specializes in providing products and services for industries such as industrial manufacturing, agriculture, and material handling.Its offerings include speed sensors, temperature sensors, and hazard monitoring systems. These products are used for precision monitoring and safety assurance, enhancing operational efficiency and safety measures in the industries it serves through its precision sensor and monitoring solutions.
Monarch Instrument, founded in Amherst, New Hampshire, in 1977 is a supplier of portable speed measurement products such as tachometers and stroboscopes. The company's product portfolio includes sensors, data loggers sound generators, recorders and vibration meters. The company serves industries such as Oil and Gas, Aerospace and Defense, Automotive and Transportation, Construction, and Power Generation. The company also provides services including national distribution, product selection, customized services, technical support and customer service.
OMEGA Engineering Inc., founded in Norwalk, CT, in 1962 is a manufacturer of products used to measure temperature and humidity, flow and level, and pressure. The company's product portfolio includes thermocouple probes and assemblies, pressure gauges and switches, and air velocity measurement systems, wireless systems and portable optic sensors. The company serves markets including Automotive and Electric Vehicles, Renewable Energy and Energy Storage and Electronics and IT Infrastructure. The company also offers customer services that include support, custom research projects and customized services.
Sick AG, founded in 1946 and headquartered in Waldkirch, Germany, is a manufacturer of sensor and sensor solutions that aid in in production, logistics, and processes automation. The company’s expansive product portfolio includes industrial sensors, encoders, and analyzers. It has over 50 subsidiaries and equity investments as well as several agencies worldwide, and in the 2022 fiscal year, it generated around €2.2 billion. The company established the first subsidiary in France in 1972 and opened another subsidiary in USA in 1975. It changed to a joint stock company in 1996 and the first employee shares were issued in 1999.
Pepperl+Fuchs, Inc. was founded in Mannheim, Germany in 1945 developing the forerunner of the proximity switch. Pepperl+Fuchs continues to develop proximity sensors as well as other industrial sensors including ultrasonic sensors, rotary encoders, positioning systems, display and signal processing, vibration monitoring, industrial communication, and signal processing as well as related accessories and software. Explosive protection products include safety barriers, surge protection, wireless solutions, HMI systems, power supplies, electrical explosion protection equipment, level measurement, and related software.
ifm efector (ifm) is a subsidiary of ifm electronic, founded in Germany in 1969. ifm has developed, manufactured and marketed sensors and controls technology to industries that include assembly and robotics, automotive, material handling, metal forming, mobile equipment, plastics, and food and beverage. Ifm produces sensors, condition monitoring equipment, image processing, safety technology, industrial communication, IO-link, systems for mobile machines, displays, software, connection technology, voltage supplies, as well as other accessories.
Honeywell International Inc. was founded in 1885 and headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Honeywell is a diversified technology and manufacturing company to global customers in many industries such as aerospace, building technologies, performance materials, manufacturing, and safety. Honeywell produces hardware and software solutions for each industry it serves. In building technologies, Honeywell designs access controls, electrical and wiring, fire life safety, and employee training services. In aerospace, Honeywell designs cockpit systems and displays, engines, cabin management and cleaning, and health and usage monitoring.
Allied Electronics Inc., founded in 1991 with headquarters in the USA, is a distributor and supplier of fuel and vehicle servicing station equipment and accessories. The company's extensive product line of over 57,000 products includes forecourt controller parts, fuel dispenser parts, air compressors, and power conditioners. The company also provides rebuilt parts by brands that include Bennett, Daktronics, FE-Petro, and Gasboy. The company's services include equipment financing, primarily serving the retail petroleum industry, including car wash and price sign manufacturers.
PHD Inc. was founded in 1957 and is a manufacturer of automation solutions based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States. The company manufactures various automation system products such as tri-axis tooling, rotary actuators, linear slides, blow molding, and tie rod cylinders. The products have been applied in various industries such as material handling equipment, stretch blow molding, aluminum, glass, and medical. The company has obtained the certificate of ISO 9001:2015 and complied to REACH and RoHS standards.
elobau Elektrobauelemente GmbH & Co., founded in 1972 with headquarters in Germany, is a manufacturer of contactless sensor technology, operator controls, machine safety, and level measurement. The company's products include multi-axis joysticks, multi-function handles, push buttons, sensor components, and continuous level measurement. elobau’s products are used in both mobile (off-highway) and industrial applications. The company’s products can be found in aircraft, off-road vehicles, agricultural machinery, and industrial machinery. elobau Elektrobauelemente GmbH & Co. has been carbon neutral since 2010.
ZF Friedrichshafen AG, founded in 1915 in Germany, is a manufacturer and supplier of switches and sensors. Their product range includes a wide variety of switches and sensors used in automotive and industrial applications, such as automotive sensors, position sensors, and safety switches. ZF's switches and sensors play a crucial role in ensuring the safe and efficient operation of vehicles and industrial machinery. With a rich history of technological expertise and a global existence, ZF is poised to deliver great solutions that meet the highest quality standards and customer requirements.
The Azbil Corporation (formerly the Yamatak Corporation) aims to realize safety, comfort, and fulfillment in people's lives and contribute to global environmental preservation through "human-centered" automation. They provide their customers with timely solutions via an integrated structure that extends from planning and development to maintenance and service, capable of responding rapidly to customer needs.
Capella Microsystems, located in New Taipei, Taiwan, is a manufacturer of optical electronic products, founded in 2002. Their product line includes smart sensors used for light, color, proximity, and gesture sensing. They also provide IrDA devices for wireless communication, optical encoders for precise position and velocity measurement, and PDICs specifically designed for photodiode array applications. Capella Microsystems' products have wide-ranging applications, serving industries such as consumer electronics, industrial automation, robotics, and medical devices.
Rotork Controls Inc, established in 1957 in New York, USA, is a manufacturer of industrial actuation and flow control equipment. The company offers customized and advanced actuation solutions for valve automation and flow control management. Their product line comprises Electric actuators, fluid power actuators, gearboxes and valve accessories, pneumatic valves and manifolds, and instrumentation and control products. These equipment are used in applications such as oil and gas, water and wastewater, power generation, and industrial automation for precise operation, enabling seamless regulation of fluid flow and process control in critical applications.
Telco Sensors, established in 1975 and headquartered in Brovst, Jammerbugt, is a designer, developer, and manufacturer of industrial automation and sensing products. Some of its products include photoelectric sensors, photoelectric amplifiers, light curtains, and optical fork sensors. These products find application in various industrial processes and machinery for object detection, safety, and automation. The company is ISO 9001:2015 certified, and all of its products carry a 3-year warranty. The company's network spans six continents and provides around-the-clock service.
SENSATEC Co. Ltd., established in 1988 and based in Kyoto, Japan, is a manufacturer and supplier of OEM sensors. The company specializes in crafting electronic detection and control devices, medical tools, and beauty equipment, including various sensors, A/D/D/A converters, and optical fiber data systems. Its diverse product range also includes cable and coil winding processing, and it provides support for metal mask manufacturing. The company also offers tailored designs emphasizing miniaturization and handles everything from standard strips to soldering and assembly.
Autonics Corporation, established in 1977 and based in Busan, South Korea, is a developer and manufacturer of automation products, which are marketed worldwide. Some of its products include sensors, peripheral connection equipment, motion devices, control devices, and process automation instruments. The automation products are used in various industries, including automotive, packaging, machine tools, metal, and marine. The company has 12 international offices spanning over 100 countries, a fully automated warehouse system, and various international quality certifications, including RoHS, CE, UL, and EAC. Its safety products meet the functional safety standards IEC 61508 and mechanical safety standards ISO 13849.
Omron Corporation, started in 1933 and headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, is a manufacturer of automation components, equipment, and systems, and it developed the first contactless proximity switch in 1960. It has four domains, including industrial automation, electronic components, healthcare, and social systems, and it provides products and services in around 120 countries and regions. Some of its products include microsensing devices, access control systems, industrial robots, surveillance cameras, and blood pressure monitors. In 1971, it developed the first online cash machine, and in 1972, it established Japan’s first welfare factory.
Koyo Electronics Co., Ltd. was founded in 1955 and began manufacturing and selling portable radios, and in 2022 the company name changed to JTEKT ELECTRONICS CORPORATION. Based on human respect, KOYO uses wisdom and imagination to provide good value and contribute to developing a safe and fulfilling society.
Rockwell Automation, Inc. was founded in 1903 and is headquartered in Milwakee, WI. Rockwell Automation provides industrial automation and digital transformation solutions around the world. Rockwell Automation operates through their intelligent devices, software & control, and lifecycle services segments with both hardware and software products and services. The Intelligent Devices segment offers drives, motion, safety, sensing, industrial components, and configured-to-order products. The Software & Control segment provides control and visualization software and hardware, information software, and network and security infrastructure solutions. The Lifecycle Services segment provides consulting, professional services and solutions, and connected and maintenance services through independent distributors.
ROHM Semiconductor was incorporated in 1940 and is headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. ROHM manufactures and sells electronic components worldwide. ROHM operates through the segments ICs, discrete semiconductor devices, and modules. ROHM provides ICs comprising memory, amplifiers and linear, power management, clocks and timers, switches and multiplexers, logic, data converters, sensors and MEMS, display drivers, motor/actuator drivers, interfaces, communication and speech synthesis LSI, audio and video, and microcontrollers. ROHM also offers discrete semiconductor products include MOSFETs, bipolar transistors, and diodes; power devices, including power transistors and diodes, SiC power devices, IGBT, and IPM; passive devices, such as resistors, and conductive polymer and tantalum capacitors; and various modules among others.
Fargo Controls Inc., an American company founded in 1983 and headquartered in Eatontown, New Jersey, is a manufacturer and supplier of industrial controls. The company's product portfolio includes proximity sensors, counters, rate meters, timers, and controls. These products are utilized by various industries, including material handling, packaging, agriculture, manufacturing and industrial automation, and construction and heavy equipment. The company provides services, including product customization, technical support, product catalogs, and product updates.
Locon Sensor Systems Inc., founded in 1986 with headquarters in Maumee, Ohio, USA, is a manufacturer and distributor of sensors and related accessories. The company's product line includes photoelectric sensors, inductive proximity sensors, connecting cables, fiber optic cables, and capacitive switches. These products are used in applications that include color detection, small part detection, mobile equipment, and printing machine vision. The company serves various markets, including automotive, construction, dental, medical, and commercial industries.
Classic Automation based in Webster, New York is a parts distributor and repair servicer for installed controlled systems, drives, and servo motors, as well as a purchaser of well-maintained surplus systems. Parts that Classic Automation distributes and repairs include DcS, PPLC, and CNC control systems, panel controllers, HMI panels, display panels, drives, encoders, resolvers, and power supplies. Classic automation also offers hard drive repair services and support for customizing functionality in Panelicity controllers.
630 products are listed.