Inductive Proximity Sensors

Inductive proximity sensors are a type of sensor that provide non-contact detection of metallic objects. Some sensors can target both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, while some sensors specialise in sensing only one type (ferrous or non-ferrous). Inductive proximity sensors can be cylindrical, rectangular, or encapsulated in flat housing.

Common types of inductive proximity sensors:
  • Long life/rugged – these ’metal face’ sensors feature a stainless steel enclosure that protects against abrasion, impact, aggressive fluids/solvent and explosive environments
  • Analogue output – alongside sensing metallic objects, this type of sensor can also provide information on the distance of the object from the sensor
  • Miniature – miniaturised solutions are available and ideal for use where space is limited
  • Pressure resistant – pressure resistant sensors are perfect for use in hydraulic cylinders and actuators
  • Bus enabled – these sensors can be attached to a network and used to help coordinate other systems such as diagnostics or supply line monitoring. They can be connected to programmable logic controllers

How do they work?
Inductive proximity sensors contain a coil and an oscillator that create an electromagnetic field close to the sensing surface. When metal enters this field, a change occurs in the oscillating amplitude. This in turn changes the sensor output, showing the user and/or corresponding equipment that metal has been sensed.
The operating distance varies between sensors, and can be affected by the target, the shape of what is being detected and what environment or material you are using the sensor in. These are all things to bear in mind when choosing the right sensor for your application.

Who uses them?
Inductive proximity sensors are suitable for use in virtually any industry. Common applications include the food and beverage industry, robotics, machine tools, packaging and materials handling among many others.

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