Fifty years ago this week, Contrinex was founded by Peter Heimlicher in Switzerland. What began as a one-man operation, is now a technology-leading, innovative global company, serving over 60 countries and employing more than 500 people worldwide, and is led by Peter’s daughter, CEO Annette Heimlicher.
The foundation of the company’s commercial success is undoubtedly its range of 3-times and 4-times sensing range inductive sensors, which, on their launch in the 1980s, marked a significant innovation in the market. The launch of the first miniature inductive sensor (3mm diameter) and its twin, the miniature photoelectric sensor (4mm diameter) soon followed. Both underlined the innovative strength of the company.
Contrinex built on these technologies to develop a highly capable range of inductive sensors, which includes many specialist variants for harsh environments – for example, high-pressure, full-stainless steel robust, and weld-immune devices. Over the years, an equally versatile and innovative range of photoelectric sensors has added to the overall strength of their portfolio.
Contrinex is also a digital pioneer, starting with the development of ASIC technology for standard inductive sensors in the late 1990s. In 2009 Contrinex introduced IO-Link on its ASIC platforms to build a huge choice of IO-Link sensors.
The addition of the IO-Link digital communication protocol, which is provided free of charge, brought an entirely new set of features, which were the first step toward integrating advanced logic into the sensor. The ability to set alarms moved the industry toward using primary process sensors alongside diagnostic tools for the smooth running of machines or automated cells.
Today Contrinex also offers a range of multi-functional, multi-mode smart sensors. These intelligent devices are changing the perception of the common position sensor, adding value in areas that include predictive maintenance, production monitoring and process control.
A smart sensor not only provides the same routine process data, accuracy and performance as a traditional Contrinex device, but it also reports exception-based events, including the gradual deviation of the sensing target, unhealthy over-temperature and other sensing anomalies. Smart Sensors also benefit from dual-channel communication, for example, enabling an emergency shut-down to be initiated in the event of an imminent failure.
Annette says: “With all these colourful experiences of the past 50 years, we look towards the future, as we continue to develop the extensive capabilities of our smart sensors and other highly innovative products and services. We have a clear vision to grow our business and our teams globally and to continue our journey while creating a lasting impression in the world of automation.”