Back to the Basics – What Makes Background Suppression Sensors Capable of Solving Difficult Applications?

Diffuse photoelectric sensors have been and are used to successfully solve numerous applications in automation.  However, there are some applications that are too difficult or impossible to solve with standard diffuse sensors.  In some cases, these difficult applications can be solved with a background suppression sensor that is also based on the diffuse operation principal.  So the question is then raised, what makes the background suppression sensor capable of solving these difficult applications?

This may be a good time to review…  Diffuse sensors operate on the principal that when a light source is shined on a surface, the light is scattered or diffused in many directions. A small portion of the light is reflected back to the sensor receiver. The receiver used in this style of sensor is designed to be sensitive to a smaller or larger amount of light, depending on the sensor configuration, that is reflected back from the target surface.  There are a number of factors that affect how well diffuse sensors operate including, but not limited to, surface finish, color, texture or surface irregularities, target size, dirty or dusty environment and the background of the application.

Background sensors, sometimes referred to as BGS, actually have two receivers built into the sensor.  These two receivers detect the angle of the light reflected back from the target, referred to as triangulation.  If the target is between the focal point and the receiver the light is reflected to one receiver and if the target is beyond the focal point the light is reflected to the second receiver.  The sensor compares the amount of light on each receiver and sets the output accordingly.

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Choose The Flavor Of Photo Eye: Light-On Or Dark-On?

Sometimes the things that seem the simple can be the most confusing. In the world of the photo sensor, the principle of “light-on” vs. “dark-on” is one of these things.  What am I talking about you might ask? Let’s see if I can help define these concepts.

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BGS Photo Sensors Are Here To Stay


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There is always debate of which sensing technology is better to use over a broad range of applications. And for the photo sensor world, BGS or background suppression is one of these. What many users don’t realize is that a background suppression photo sensor is what I will argue as a refined offshoot of the diffuse photo sensor principle, meaning the photo emitter and receiver is in a single housing and it uses the object or target as the reflective source. I say refined because it still uses a basic diffuse methodology, but has added technology that allows for a very specific response/detection zone based on the setting of the optics.

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Shedding the Light on Diffuse Mode Photoelectric Sensors

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Photoelectric sensors have solved numerous industrial applications over the years. There are basically three different sensing modes. The first is diffuse or reflex mode, next is retro reflective, which requires a reflector, and the third is through beam, transmitted or opposed. These field devices provide an excellent means of detecting target at a distance without contacting the object. All of the sensing modes are based on the sensor’s ability to detect a change in light reaching the sensor’s receiver. In this posting, we will review the diffuse or reflex photoelectric sensor.

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