Page 21 - MetalForming May 2019
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                                target vibrates or wobbles. Such sys- tems find use not only for blanks, but for stamped, double-stacked brackets and parts as well.
Also of significance: the miniatur- ization of metal-face sensors. A fantasy only a few years ago, internet-compat- ible wristwatches are now common- place. As electronic components con- tinue to shrink, so do sensors. A direct result of this technology advancement: increasingly smaller metal-face induc- tive designs. The smaller the sensor, the closer it must be to the target mate- rial, and the more likely it will experi- ence abrasion and impacts, making durability an important characteristic for miniature sensors.
MetalForming: With new technol- ogy often comes challenges. Is the same true of sensors?
Ulrich: Similar to when proximity sensors first began appearing in dies roughly 20 years ago, today’s mainte- nance personnel and engineers need to familiarize themselves with the next generation of sensing technology. Adaptations always are slow, as no one wants to be the first to embrace an unknown. One such unknown is IO- Link—a gateway to unlocking sensor IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) pos- sibilities on the shop floor. While tra- ditional sensors tell if a product is pres- ent or absent, IO-Link models do that and more. Sensing windows can be preset to identify if a part is in-place, too close, or too far away. They can provide other data, such as the tem- perature at the sensing point. Replace- ment sensors with customized param- eter settings are instantly cloned upon plug-in, so there’s no need for recali- bration. It should be noted that a tra- ditional sensor PLC can’t access this higher-level information. An IO-Link controller or input card is required.
While it sounds like a great idea to have usage data and temperature feed- back for the sensors within a die, it also can be information overload. It will be interesting to see what sensor diagnostic information metal formers truly need down the road, and what is superfluous.
MetalForming: What about ROI and payback?
Ulrich: Efficiency improves when you eliminate the time spent replacing sensors because you can focus on big- ger issues. When it comes to inductive sensors, designed to detect objects without physical contact, with proper installation and process control, the sensor should never experience dam- age. However, here’s the reality: posi-
tional tolerances sometimes make sen- sor-target impacts inevitable. In such instances, inductive sensors with stain- less steel sensing faces dramatically outlast their plastic-face counterparts. While they cost roughly 25 percent more than traditional sensors, their life expectancy, as much as 20 times longer, makes up for that. We tell our customers to place them in their worst- case applications. MF
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