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Washdown rated 700 Series inductives keep compost machine on track

Washdown rated 700 Series inductives keep compost machine on track

Agriculture is increasing its use of complex automation in its machinery and an unusual example application is in the tracks of composting machines. Contrinex’s robust V4A/ 316L stainless-steel sensors are trusted to operate reliably inside the track drive rotor. Withstanding dust, humidity and high temperatures, the sensors enable the machine to provide the fast drying of materials and optimal decomposition with reliable sanitisation being ensured.

The efficient turning of organic materials – loosening, lifting and aerating – is vitally important in industrial composting. Special mobile equipment ensures fast drying of materials, optimal decomposition and reliable sanitisation, processing between 500 and 6800 cubic metres of earth per hour. A manufacturer has introduced machine speed monitoring using a sensor located in the rotor, that counts the passing teeth of a rotating mechanical disk. From the number of teeth per second, the controller then calculates the final speed.

Perfect sensor operation is required under these particularly harsh conditions. In addition to permanent vibration and shaking, the inductive sensor is also constantly exposed to dust, moisture, and temperatures from 70 to 80°C. Since the location of the sensor in the rotor is hard to access, the sensor must be very durable and low maintenance to avoid time-consuming repairs.

Contrinex inductive sensors from the ‘washdown’ range, are made from a single piece of V4A stainless steel, including the sensing face, with no covers, caps or welding seams. They are designed to resist shock, vibration, impact and abrasion and almost any exposure to dirt, gases, or liquids such as oil, water and cleaning agents. Functionally stable at temperatures from -25 to +85°C (-13 to 185°F), they are also insensitive to core breakage. 

Thanks to the long operating distances of these sensors (three times greater than the norm) a compact and efficient design was possible using the M12 size. A long operating distance allows the sensor to be mounted well away from the rotating disk’s passing teeth. Setup is also straightforward, as installation tolerances are less critical. A sensor version with a plug connector was chosen to allow speedy replacement if necessary.


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