Visit Automation Tradeshows for Free!

I am experiencing the future of tradeshows; a networking & educational conference without the travel, the expense, and the suit!  I can sit at my desk and make contact with future vendors and customers.  The online database GlobalSpec hosts multiple times per year industry specific virtual tradeshow events.  There are presentations and exhibitors.  A place to sit and drink virtual coffee with your peers and of course the token giveaway raffles.

Today I am working the Balluff booth in the Sensors and Switches Virtual show.  It is a collection of companies and attendees from many different industries.  I really enjoy these events because we can contact quickly with potential customers and potential vendors right from the comfort of our conference room and at a much reduced cost. Here you can see our hard working staff chatting with customers.

Check out the Balluff booth at the  Sensors & Switches Virtual Tradeshow, it will be available to visit for 90 days from today.

Are Limit Switches Obsolete?


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Being the “product guy” for mechanical or limit switches I am often told that I have the obsolete products. Well I am here to say that mechanicals are still around and definitely have their place in automation.

Mechanical switches, at least the ones I deal with, are precision limit switches. How can a mechanical switch be a precise device? These switches use a cam or trip dog and once the switch and cam are secured in the application, the repeatability, with a chisel plunger, can be .002mm – that’s two microns. Applications for these switches include actuators for automatic controls, positioning and end of travel for machine tools, transfer lines, transport equipment, and gantries.

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Save Space with Miniature Rectangular Proximity Sensors

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Historically the most popular selling housing style for an inductive proximity sensor has been the tubular style.  The more popular sizes tend to be M8, M12, M18 and M30.  Smaller tubular sizes of 3 mm, 4 mm, M5, and 6.5 mm are also available and have seen increased sales in the most recent years.  One issue that may affect a tubular sensor’s application is its length.  Most standard models are 50 mm to 65 mm long while some shorter body types may be in the 30mm range.  What if your application requires 1.5 to 3 mm of sensing range, but you only have 10mm of depth to allow for the sensor?  Try looking at a block or rectangular style inductive proximity sensor.

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Inductive Proximity Sensors for Special Applications

Written by: Jeff Himes

Inductive proximity sensors can be used in a variety of applications.   Many special use inductive sensors exist in the market, but you have to be aware these unique models are available.

An overview article addressing this topic was just published in Design World Magazine.  Check out this article to learn more about these unique models:  Special Application Inductive Proximity Sensors

Inductive Sensor Protection and Positioning Made Easy – Use a Prox Mount

Written by: Jeff Himes

“Downtime” is never a good word in any manufacturing facility.  It means something has malfunctioned or broken, parts are not being made, production is reduced, and money is being lost.  In some cases this downtime may be caused by a physically damaged inductive proximity sensor.  If this failure mode is happening on a regular basis to the same location, it may be time to look at the advantages a prox mount can provide.

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Capacitive Sensors – Part III

Written by: Bjoern Schaefer

Typical Dielectric Material Factors

Typical Dielectric Material Factors

The general sensing principle across this myriad of applications is nearly the same. As seen in last months post, the total amount of capacitance, as we remember, the ability to store a charge within an electrostatic field, depends on mainly three factors. Those factors are the ones which determine the success of your application.

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Capacitive Sensors – Part II

Written by: Bjoern Schaefer

In a previous post we saw the myriad of different applications capacitive technology is involved in. We will discuss today the underlying physical principles of these sensors.

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