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IO-Link fork and inductive sensors keep ketchup fresh

IO-Link fork and inductive sensors keep ketchup fresh

Food production utilises automation to achieve high-efficiency. As an example, a processing plant uses photoelectric sensors and extended-distance inductive sensors to help it ensure plastic ketchup bottles are hermetically sealed and capped.

In the continuous production of fast-moving items, line stoppages are both costly and time-consuming. After filling, sealing and capping, bottles of ketchups and sauces are labelled and packaged. Previously, if the seal or plastic cap was missing it could go undetected, risking an entire batch of production potentially being rejected.

Prior to fitting plastic caps, a Contrinex long-distance inductive sensor positioned directly over the packaging line confirms the presence of an aluminium-foil hermetic seal is present over the top of every container. Next Contrinex’s highly versatile photoelectric fork sensor, is positioned over the conveyor to sense and confirm the presence of a cap on each bottle prior to labelling, triggering an alarm if a cap is missing.

Customer solution

Contrinex’s new generation of LG fork light-barrier photoelectric sensors were chosen because they combine simplicity of installation, with a choice of four modes of operation. The compact sensors provide high-resolution and high-speed sensing, plus the convenience of a push-pull output and IO-Link connectivity. Ideal for detection of the lids, these the robust die-cast metal sensors provide high-performance and reliability. The choice of four preconfigured operating modes enable the new Contrinex LG fork sensors to fulfil a wide spectrum of application needs: ‘Standard mode’ provides switching frequencies up to 5,000Hz with a resolution of 0.3mm, while ‘High-resolution mode’ ensures precise detection of small objects down to 0.1mm in size.

Where the production batch requires it, switching to ‘Power mode’ increases the transmission power of the sensor, reducing its sensitivity to dirt or other contamination. For high-speed applications, ‘Speed mode’ raises the switching frequency as high as 14,000Hz, ensuring reliable sensing of fast-moving targets. The implementation of the industry-standard IO-Link communication protocol enables remote set-up and adjustment of the fork-sensor between production batches.IO-Link stores the sensor’s configuration on a local IO-Link Master, which enables plug-and-play operation, eliminating the need to stock pre-configured sensor variants in spares inventory. The compact design and placement of the photoelectric emitter and receiver in a single housing, saves space, ensures precise alignment and removes the need for on-site adjustment.

 Fast and easy installation is provided by the choice of clearance mounting holes for M4 fixings. and an integrated M8 connector. Robust and highly versatile, these metal-cased devices are backwards compatible with previous Contrinex LGS models.


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