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K O L L E G

Training package "SENSORIC"


Manual for theory
1 Introduction

2 Inductive Sensors

2.1 Fundamental Principles

2.1.1 Basic Construction


2.1.2 Reduction Factor
2.1.3 Coil Size and Sensing Range
2.1.4 Installation Problems
2.1.4.1 Housing
2.1.4.2 Flush Mounting
2.1.5 Electronic Circuit

2.2 Types

2.21 Cylindrical and Rectangular proximity switches


2.2.1.1 Definitions
2.2.2 Slotted Types
2.2.3 Ring Types
2.2.4 Bistable Switches
2.2.5 Sensors for use in Welding Magnetic Fields
2.2.6 Sensors to distinguish between different materials
2.2.7 Inductive Analogue Sensors

2.3 Interfaces for Inductive Proximity Switches

2.3.1 Electrical Types and their Positive Effects


2.3.1.1 Direct Current Switches
2.3.1.2 Alternating and All voltage Switches
2.3.1.3 Sensors to DIN 19234 (NAMUR)
2.3.2 Protected and Safety Switches
2.3.2.1 Reverse Polarity and Over Voltage Protection
2.3.2.2 Overload Protection
2.3.2.3 Safety Circuits
2.3.3 Loads and their Characteristics
2.3.4 Bus Connection

2.4 Manufacturing Technology

2.5 Applications

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3 Capacitive Sensors

3.1 Fundamental Principles


3.1.1 Sensor Construction
3.1.2 Sensitivity
3.1.3 Reduction Factor

3.2 Practical Model


3.2.1 RC Oscillator
3.2.2 Interference Suppression
3.2.2.1 Interference Effects
3.2.2.2 Contamination Compensation
3.2.2.3 Cutting out Interference Pulses
3.3.3 Models

3.3 Applications

4 Ultrasonic Sensors

4.1 Fundamental Principles


4.1.1 Propagation of Sound Waves in Air
4.1.2 Generation of Ultrasonic Waves
4.1.2.1 Electrostatic Converter
4.1.2.2 Bending Oscillator
4.1.2.3 Membrane Oscillator
4.1.2.4 L/4- Oscillator

4.2 P&F- Oscillator

4.3 Methods of Operation

4.4 Distance Measuring Ultrasonic Sensors

4.5 Ultrasonic Sensors in Through-Beam Mode

4.6 Possible Errors in distance measurements with Ultrasonic Sensors

4.7 Operating Conditions

4.8 Sensor Types

4.9 Applications

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5 Photoelectric Sensors

5.1 Fundamental Principles


5.1.1 Emitter Element
5.1.1.1 Light Emitting Diodes
5.1.1.2 Solid State Laser Diodes
5.1.2 Receiver Element
5.1.2.1 Photodiodes
5.1.2.2 Phototransistors
5.1.2.3 Position Sensitive Diode
5.2 Methods of Operation of Photoelectric Sensors
5.2.1 Direct Detection Photoelectric Sensor
5.2.2 Reflex Photoelectric Sensor
5.2.3 Through-Beam Photoelectric Sensor
5.3 Signal Processing in Photoelectric Sensors
5.3.1 Interference with Photoelectric Sensors
5.3.2 Stages in the Interference Suppression
5.3.2.1 Interference Suppression using Optical Modulation
5.3.2.2 Interference Suppression with Band Pass
5.3.2.3 Interference Suppression using Blanking
5.3.2.4 Interference Suppression using Digital Filtering
5.3.3 Function Reserve
5.3.3.1 Static Function Reserve
5.3.3.2 Dynamic Function Reserve
5.3.4 Protection against Mutual Interaction
5.4 Types
5.4.1 Reflex Photoelectric Sensor with Polarising Filter
5.4.1.1 Polarising Filter
5.4.1.2 Retro-Reflector
5.4.1.3 Through-Beam Detection
5.4.2 Direct Detection Photoelectric Sensor with Background Screening
5.4.3 Direct Detection Photoelectric Sensor with Light Guides
5.4.3.1 Light Guides
5.4.3.1.1 Principle of Operation
5.4.3.1.2 Glass Fibre Light Guides
5.4.3.1.3 Plastic Light Guides
5.4.3.2 Sensors with Light Guides
5.4.4 Output Stage of Photoelectric Sensors
5.5 Triangulation Sensors
5.6 Phase Correlation Sensors
5.7 Applications

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6 Magnetic Sensors

6.1 Fundamental Principles

6.2 Principal of Operation


6.2.1 Hall Effect Sensors
6.2.2 Magnetic Resistive Sensors

6.3 Saturated Core Probes


6.3.1 Construction and Mode of Operation
6.3.2 Function and Measurement Circuit
6.3.2.1 Evaluation using an Oscillator
6.3.2.2 Evaluation using Impulse Current
6.3.2.3 Evaluation using Impedance Measurements

6.4 Applications

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This handbook is a part of the training pack „SENSORIK“ (SP1).
This training pack part of the complex Automation Technology includes:

- Training case
- Handbook of Theoretical Explanations
- Collection of Experiments
- Solutions and Evaluation of Results
- Data Sheets
- Folio Set SENSORIK
- Video „New Photoelectric Sensors“
- PLC programs
- CBT "Industrial Sensors 1.0"

The training case is the central part of the training pack; with this set of demonstrations and
exercises, experiments with different levels of difficulties, which demonstrate the function,
specific characteristics, parameters and typical application for each sensor type can be
performed.

The theory required for the training pack is contained in the handbook covering: inductive,
capacitive, photoelectric, ultrasonic and magnetic sensors.

The documentation is not only to aid the further education programme, but is also suitable
for self study. The theory presented covering the fundamental physical principles, method of
operation, type and possible uses of the sensors has been designed for use with the training
case but could be used independently to study the application of sensors in automatic
control.

© PEPPERL+FUCHS Kolleg GmbH, Königsberger Allee 87, 68301 Mannheim


1 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Technical - economic importance of sensors

Automatic control has been introduced in production, process engineering, warehousing,


materials handling or administration. The following are the main aims in doing this:

* Improvement in product quality


* Savings in energy and raw materials
* Increase in productivity
* Reduction in damage to the environment
* Humanization of the work place

Usually the required control engineering is achieved using a computer or an PLC as the
central element. In the end the system can only fulfill the required tasks if it is supplied with
reliable process information.
This is achieved with the use of sensors, which operate according to the most widely different
physical principles. These sensors convert non-electrical process measurements such as
distance , angle, position, level, temperature or pressure into electrical signals in order that
the controller or regulator can operate.

At the present time over 100 physical, chemical and biological effects are known for which
„technical feelers“ are on the market or under development. The sensors, because of their
different operating principles, are only suitable for specific range of applications. This must
be taken into account during the planning stage of an installation.

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1.2 Definitions

As stated above, sensors are signal converters, which change a non-electrical magnitude
into an electrical magnitude ( only in a few applications will pneumatic output signals be
produced). In automatic control sensors replace the function of the human sensory organs.

non-electrical signals
mechanical chemical thermal magnetic optical

p l v ω pH % T B,H γ

1 2 3 4 5

E R Q ∆t C E ∆t U E U R U R U W

electrical signal

p = Pressure U = Voltage
l = Distance, Gap R = Resistance
v = Speed Q = Quality factor of a resonant circuit
ω = Angular velocity, ∆t = Time interval
Speed of rotation C = Capacitance
pH = Ion concentration E = Electric field
% = Volume % W = Electrical energy
Gas concentration 1 Ultrasonic sensor
T = Temperature 2 Inductive sensor
B = Flux density 3 Capacitive sensor
H = Field strength 4 Magnetic sensor
γ = photon 5 Photoelectric sensor

Diagram 1.1: Survey of signal conversion with sensors

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Often in automatic control a binary signal is required to signal that an object is in a particular
position or not in that position. Proximity switches, which are a special category of sensors,
are used for such tasks. In these sensors the output is obtained as follows; the signal
converter output is connected to a threshold circuit (e.g. Schmitt trigger), which operates
when the converter signal is greater than or less than a preset value, or an adjustable value,
allowing the output circuit to operate.

Sensors, which operate without physical contact, have a number of advantages over
mechanical contacts:
- no power required, no feedback and no contact bounce
- Greater number of switching operations and high switching frequency
- No contact wear
- Maintenance free
- Resistant to harsh environments

Subsequently explanation of some terms:

Sensor: other names are primary element, detector, measuring transformer,


measuring transducer, pick-up
Initiator: Referred to as proximity switches
Sensor element: the part of the sensor, which detects the quantity to be measured, but
cannot operate alone as the signal processing element and the
connectors are also required.
Example: Coil of the saturated core of a magnetic sensor,or the
transducer of an ultrasonic sensor.
Multi-Sensor System:A sensor system in which a number of the same type of sensors or a
number of different types of sensors are used together to complete the
required task. Due to the concentration the analysis of individual
elements is achieved electronically, by the use of logic or mathematics.
Example: The combination of a number of initiators to distinguish
between production parts of different shapes and materials or a
combination of gas analyses sensors; where the operating ranges of
the sensors overlap and the total of their measurements by intelligent
analysis gives more information than that obtained from individual
sensors.

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1.3 Typical criteria for application

Inductive Sensor: Magnetfeld-Sensor:


- metal objects - magnetic objects
- sensing range up to 50 mm - sensing range up to 60 mm
- switching frequency up to 5 kHz - switching frequency up to 1
- up to 250 °C kHz
- up to IP 68 - up to 70 °C
- high noise immunity - up to IP 67
- DIN 19234 (NAMUR) - high noise immunity
- DIN 19234 (NAMUR)

Capacitive Sensor:
- metallic, non metallic
objects,
solids and fluids
- sensing range up to 50 mm
- switching frequency up to 100 Hz
- up to 70 °C
- up to IP 68
- DIN 19234 (NAMUR)

Ultrasonic Sensor: Optical Sensor:


- objects which reflect or absorb - objects which are light-
sound reflecting or non-transparent
- sensing range up to 15 m - sensing range up to 100 m
- reaction time > 50 ms - switching frequency up to
- up to 70 °C 1,5 kHz
- up to IP 67 - up to 300 °C (fibre optic)
- lower noise immunity - up to IP 67
- color independent - detect smallest objects
- not sensitive to dirt (fibre optic)
- DIN 19234 (NAMUR)
- fibre optic, adaptierbar

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1.3 Forecast for the Future

The Sensor element (that is the measurement detector) and the signal processing are already
very closely connected in sensor systems today. In this sector integration is also time and
money. The technology and experience in the miniaturisation of electronic circuits can be
incorporated in and are ideal for the sensor development.
It is only a matter of time before an integrated circuit and miniature sensor element can be
produced on a piece of silicon, gallium arsenide or another semiconductor material.
An interesting development is the use of enzymes, microbes or whole cells as sensor
elements; known as „Bio-Sensors“.

By the end of this decade contact element, that is control elements, will also be come part
of this development.
Finally, mechanical parts, such as pressure jets, switches or even motors with gears are
already available based on the micro-electronic technology in mini-format.

Sensor materials Technology


• ceramic • Surface mount, hybrid
• amorphous metal • IC design technology
• Fibre optic • Laser alignment
• Bio-components • micro-machining

NEW
SENSORS

Communication
Sensor Idea
• 2 conductor
• Micro-structure
technology
• Smart transmitter
• Programmed wiring
• Intelligent sensors
• Interfaces
• Multi- sensor
• Bus connections
systems

Figure 1.2: Forecast

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K O L L E G

2 Inductive Sensors

2.1 Fundamental Principles

2.1.1 Basic Construction


2.1.2 Reduction Factor
2.1.3 Coil Size and Sensing Range
2.1.4 Installation Problems
2.1.4.1 Housing
2.1.4.2 Flush Mounting
2.1.5 Electronic Circuit

2.2 Types

2.21 Cylindrical and Rectangular proximity switches


2.2.1.1 Definitions
2.2.2 Slotted Types
2.2.3 Ring Types
2.2.4 Bistable Switches
2.2.5 Sensors for use in Welding Magnetic Fields
2.2.6 Sensors to distinguish between different materials
2.2.7 Inductive Analogue Sensors

2.3 Interfaces for Inductive Proximity Switches

2.3.1 Electrical Types and their Positive Effects


2.3.1.1 Direct Current Switches
2.3.1.2 Alternating and All voltage Switches
2.3.1.3 Sensors to DIN 19234 (NAMUR)
2.3.2 Protected and Safety Switches
2.3.2.1 Reverse Polarity and Over Voltage Protection
2.3.2.2 Overload Protection
2.3.2.3 Safety Circuits
2.3.3 Loads and their Characteristics
2.3.4 Bus Connection

2.4 Manufacturing Technology

2.5 Applications

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K O L L E G

2.1 Fundamental Principles

Inductive sensors, in particular in the form of inductive proximity switches, also known as
initiators, are widely used in automation and the process industry.

2.1.1 Basic Construction

The active elements of an inductive sensor are the coil and ferrite core (see diagram 2.1).
an alternating current is passed through the coil producing a magnetic field, which passes
through the core in such away that the field only leaves the core on one side; this the active
face of the proximity switch. When an metallic or magnetic object is near to the active face
the magnetic field is deformed. An exact picture of the magnetic field can be obtained from
computer simulation (see diagram 2.2). The effect on the magnetic field of a conducting
material can be seen, in this case a steel plate. The change in the magnetic field due to the
steel plate, also produces a change in the coil so that it’s impedance changes.
This change in impedance is evaluated by the integrated sensor electronic and converted to
a switch signal. Eddy currents are induced in electrically conducting materials present in the
alternating magnetic field. The damping plate may be considered as short circuited winding,
and the arrangement of damping material and sensor coil can be considered as a
transformer.

Ferrite core

damping plate coin

Diagram 2.1: Principle of an inductive sensor

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damping plate

Diagram 2.2: Diagram showing the lines of force of the magnetic field of an inductive
sensor with and without damping plate made from ST37

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The sensor coil forms the primary winding and the metal plate the short circuited secondary
winding, see diagram 2.3. Because of the inductive coupling, represented by the mutual
inductance M12 the current flowing in the secondary circuit i2 is reflected in the primary
circuit. This manifests itself in the change of the coil impedance Z. This can easily derived
from a comparison with the ideal transformer.

Primary side: u1 = (R1+j·w·L1)·i1 + j·w·M12·i2

Secondary side: 0 = u2 = (R2+j·w·L2)·i2 + j·w·M12·i1.

From the above we have:


u1 ω2·M212
Z = — = R1 + j×ω×L1 + (R2 - j×ω×L2)· __________
i1
R22 + (ω×L2)2

ω2·M212
Re (Z) = R1 + R2· _________
R22 + (ω⋅L2)2

ω2·M212
Im (Z) = ω⋅L1 - ω⋅L2· _________
R22 + (ω×L2) 2

It can be seen that in the presence of a conducting material the real part of Z is increased
above the resistance of the coil R1 the increase is dependent on R 2, L2, M12 and w.
Experience shows that the imaginary part of Z only shows a measurable change with very
small separation between the coil and the metal plate; it is only necessary to draw on the
change in the real part of Z to detect an object made of conducting material.

i1 R1 R2 i2
M 12

Z = U1 U 2= O
L1 L2

Diagram 2.3: Equivalent circuit of the transformer

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2.1.2 Reduction Factor

The increase in the real part of Z by the damping piece is largely dependent on the distance
between the plate and the coil assembly and the material from which the plate is made, in
particular from the material conductivity and permeability u. The largest change is obtained
with damping pieces manufactured from mild steel (St37). The sensing range s of various
materials
is standardised against sn, which is the sensing range obtained with St37 and define a
reduction factor, also known as correction factor:
reduction factor = s/sn.

Diagram 2.4 shows the dependence of reduction factor


on the quotient of electrical conductivity divided by the
relative permeability of the test piece; the example is for
a proximity switch with 5mm sensing range ( no account
is taken of the hysteresis loss of the test piece). The
curve varies for each type of proximity switch, however
it always has the same tendency.

Diagram 2.4: Reduction factor of a proximity switch as a function


of the quotient electrical conductivity / permeability of damping
piece.

2.1.3 Coil size and Sensing range

Diagram 2.2 shows that the magnetic field only extends over a limited distance, which in the
end determines the maximum possible sensing range of an inductive proximity switch. It is
evident that the extension of the field and the sensing range sn increase with increasing coil
diameter. There is a moderate increase in the sensing range with increase in core diameter
for proximity switches with standard sensing range
(diagram 2.5).

Diagram 2.5: Nominal sensing range sn for an inductive


proximity switch, with standard sensing range, as a function
of core diameter d.

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2.1.4 Installation Problems

The surroundings of the coil system, of inductive proximity switches, which includes
conducting material outside of the active area creates a problem, in that this also has an
effect on the shape of the magnetic field and therefore the impedance of the coil.

2.1.4.1 Housing

Where a stainless steel housing is used for a proximity switch, the induced eddy currents.
in the housing, causes an initial damping in the coil system and the oscillator, which in turn
reduces the maximum sensing range. The effect can be reduced by mounting a copper ring
shell core
in the steel housing; the magnetic field in the housing is reduced in this way (see diagram 2.6).
The eddy currents which now flow in the copper ring instead of the housing produce a lower
loss, because the electrical conductivity of copper is approximately 40 times that of usual
housing material V2A (see also diagram 2.4). The pre-damping is reduced to such a degree
that it is possible that the sensing range is increased.

coil

shell core

copper ring

V2A-Housing

Diagram 2.6: Lines of force of the magnetic field of an inductive sensor with integrated copper screening

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2.1.4.2 Flush mounting

Further undesirable losses are produced when a sensor is flush mounted in a conducting
material, e.g. machine parts made from steel. The sensing range is reduced due to the
additional pre-damping of the sensor magnetic field. In unfavourable cases the initiator may
switch by the installation. In this situation the screening produced by the copper ring has a
positive effect in that the eddy currents produced in the installation material are reduced.
Sensors with increased sensing range, for flush mounting are normally provided with copper
ring screening. The effect of the screening however is reduced with sensors with larger
diameters, so that the flush mounting of larger sensors remains a problem. A possible
solution for the future could be that the proximity switch senses it’s surroundings, this will
require an increased technical effort in both the construction and
the control circuit of the sensor.

2.1.5 Electronic circuit

The coil system of the proximity switch together with a capacitor forms
a parallel resonant circuit. A simplified equivalent circuit is shown in
diagram 2.7, L represents coil inductance and Rv = Re (Z) the coil
resistance, which is dependent on the damping piece (object sensed).
C is the parallel capacitor considered as an ideal capacitor. The
resistance R v determines the Quality Factor Q of the resonant circuit.

Diagram 2.7: Simplified equivalent circuit for the resonant


circuit of an inductive sensor.

A block diagram of an inductive proximity switch is shown in diagram 2.8. The resonant circuit
is part of an oscillator and the quality factor of the resonant circuit
Q = wL/Rv determines the amplitude of the resulting HF oscillations. With the approach of
the damping piece the quality factor of the coil is reduced due to the increase in the loss
resistance Rv and therefore a reduction in the amplitude of oscillation. When the amplitude
falls below a preset value a comparator operates, which in turn operates the output circuit
and the sensor switches.

compa- output
rator stage

Diagram 2.8: Block diagram of an inductive proximity switch

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In diagram 2.9 the change in quality factor Q, as a function of distance s from damping piece,
for a coil system of a flush mounting proximity switch with a nominal sensing range of 10 mm
is presented.

Diagram 2.9: The change in quality factor Q,


as a function of distance s from damping
piece, for a coil system of a flush mounting
proximity switch with a nominal sensing range
of 10 mm.

Diagram 2.10 Shows the relative change in quality factor ∆Q/Q for the same case, with
reference to the undamped coil. The change in quality factor, which is taken as the switch
point, is in the region of 10% to 50% (in this example 10%) for sensors with standard sensing
range. In the case of initiators with double the sensing range only a change in quality factor
of 1% to 6% is available, which demands a higher specification of the sensing electronic
particularly with regard to temperature sensitivity.

Diagram 2.10: Relative change in quality factor


∆Q/Q, of the coil system of an inductive
sensor with 10mm sensing range, as a function
of the sensing distance s of the damping
piece, with respect to the undamped system.

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A basic oscillator circuit is shown in diagram 2.11. The resonant circuit comprises L and C.
Transistor T is connected in the common collector configuration and operates as an non-
inverting amplifier with a voltage amplification less than 1; because of this the transformer
feedback is necessary to produce the required voltage boost. The transformer is formed by
tapping on to the coil. Rb and diode D determine the DC operating point of the transistor.
Continuous oscillation of the oscillator is ensured by RE, which is also used to adjust the
switching point. In practice this circuit exhibits a number of disadvantages, in particular with
reference to temperature stability; because of this a slightly modified version is used as
shown in diagram 2.12.

Diagram 2.11: Principle of the oscillator circuit Diagram 2.12: Oscillator circuit

Here the diode is replaced by the base emitter of a second transistor. When both transistors
are at the same temperature, which can be best obtained with a dual transistor, the
temperature drift of one is compensated for by that of the other. The capacitor C in the
resonant circuit is connected so that the inductance of both coil windings is used. In this way
the required capacitance is reduced for a given frequency of oscillation f. This is given by :
1
f = ————.
2·p·(LC)½

Depending on the switch type this ranges from a few kHz to a few MHz and is to a large extent
dependent on the size of the coil core and therefore the sensing distance sn (diagram 2.13).
The current taken by the output of the oscillator is high in the undamped condition and low
in the damped condition. Diagram 2.14 shows the current taken by the oscillator, for an
initiator using this circuit, with 10 mm switching distance, as a function of the distance of the
damping object.

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The switch point lies in the area of the rapid change in current, which offers the greatest
sensor sensitivity.
Various temperature effects cause unwanted drift in the coil quality factor. The ohmic
resistance of the coil, which is wound with copper wire, increases with temperature. The
hysteresis loss in the core, which increases with frequency, is also effected by temperature,
this can be positive or negative depending on the ferrite material. These effects determine,
together with other effects e.g. skin effect in the coil, frequency and temperature behaviour
in the coil system. An attempt is made, by experiment, to determine a frequency at which the
counter acting temperature effects cancel one another so that a constant quality factor of
the coil is obtained. Diagram 2.15 shows the change in Q, of a coil system for an initiator with
10 mm switching distance, as a function of frequency for different temperatures. The curves
are closest together at a frequency of approximately 550 kHz, therefore this the operating
point at which the least temperature drift occurs.

Diagram 2.13: Oscillator frequency f, of inductive sensors, as a function of the rated


sensing range s n

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Diagram 2.14: Current taken I of an inductive proximity switch, based on the circuit of diagram 2.12, with 10
mm switching distance as a function of the distance from the damping piece

Diagram 2.15: Quality factor Q of the undamped coil system, of an inductive proximity switch with 10 mm
sensing range, as a function of frequency f, for different temperatures.

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2.2 Types of Proximity Switches

2.2.1 Cylindrical and Rectangular Proximity Switches

The basic form of an initiator is the cylindrical form. One of the end faces of the cylinder being
the active face. The same circuit is also supplied in a rectangular housing (Diagram 2.16).

Diagram 2.16: Examples of Cylindrical and Rectangular Sensors

Cylindrical proximity switches have a steel or plastic housing. The coil system with the ferrite
core is mounted at the front active face and is protected by a plastic cap. Behind this is the
electronic circuit mounted on a printed circuit board or as a thick film circuit assembly. An
LED serves to indicate the sensor switched condition. The housing is sealed with an end cap,
which holds the connecting cables. The whole of the inner space is filled with plastic
encapsulating material (Diagram 2.17).

Coil Encapsulating material


LED O- Ring-Seal
Plastic cap Covering paste

Ferrite core Support IC Component carrier Housing Holding Ring


Diagram 2.17: Assembly principles of a cylindrical inductive sensor

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2.2.1.1 Definitions

The terms used in the specification and classification of inductive proximity switches, as well
as the methods used to measure the most important parameters are defined in DIN EN50010
and 50032. A standard test plate is required made from a square piece of 1mm thick mild
steel grade 37; the side length is dependent on the nominal sensing range sn of the initiator.
The nominal sensing range is a theoretical characteristic, which is used to classify proximity
switches, without taking account of tolerances in the devices (diagram 2.18). The actual
sensing ranges s r is determined with rated voltage and at an ambient temperature of 20 °C.
A deviation of + 10% from the nominal sensing range sn is permitted.

0,9·sn < sr < 1,1·sn.

The effective sensing range s u is the useful sensing range, which can be set, within the
specified temperature and voltage range. It must not deviate more than + 10% from the
actual sensing range:

0,9·sr < su < 1,1·sr.

The operational sensing range s a is the sensing range within which the sensor operates under
the permissible operating conditions. The value lies between 0 and the smallest value of the
effective sensing range.

0 < s a < 0,81·s n.

Test Plate
1,21 sn su max
+10 % sr max
1,1 sn +10 %
sn sn
-10 %
0,9 sn -10 % sr min
0,81 sn
Sensing range sa su min = sa

sn = Nominal sensing range


sr = Actual sensing range
su = Effective sensing range
sa = Operational sensing range

Diagram 2.18: Definitions of Sensing Range

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2.2.2 Slotted Initiators

The slotted initiator consists of two coil systems facing each other, this forms a transformer
with a large air gap and and poor flux linkage (diagram 2.19). The two coils each represent
a winding of the transformer in the oscillator circuit diagram shown in diagram 2.12. In the
undamped condition the coupling between the two coils is sufficient to allow the oscillator
to oscillate. The inductive coupling is reduced when a metal object is placed in the slot
between the two coils. At a particular depth of the object in the slot the feedback in the
oscillator reaches a critical value and the oscillations cease, the initiator then switches. Due
to it’s construction the slot initiator is insensitive to changes in position of the metal object
in the direction of the core axis, so that in this direction the system is inexact. The sensitive
direction is perpendicular to the core axis.
Coil 1

In this type of sensor it is mainly the change in coupling


between the two coils which is evaluated; the increase in
resistive loss is of little importance. For this reason the
material parameter of the damping object has much less
effect on the switching point, as compared to the case of
Coil 2

cylindrical initiators.

Diagram 2.19: Construction of a Slotted initiator (principle)


Housing

2.2.3 Ring Initiators

Ring initiators have a toroidal core instead of a pot core, which is mounted cylindrically
around the coil (diagram 2.20). It shields the magnetic field from the surroundings, so that
the active area lies within the coil. Here again the oscillator circuit of diagram 2.12 is used.
The oscillator circuit is damped as soon as a metallic object enters the space inside the ring.
One application is the recognition and counting of small metallic objects, which pass through
the initiator. Ferrous and non-ferrous metals can be detected, as with the reduction factor
for cylindrical proximity switches, the smallest non-ferrous object must be larger than the
smallest ferrous object in order to initiate switching.
Ferrite Ring
Diagram 2.20: Coil system
and section through a Ring
Metal Object
Initiator

Coil

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2.2.4 Bistable Switch

The bistable switch has two stable switched conditions, in which it can remain unchanged,
even when the initiating object is removed. In principle this achieved with a bistable ring
initiator; the coil system and schematic block diagram is shown in diagram 2.21. Two
separate coils are mounted within a ferrite ring, each is connected to a separate oscillator.
The two oscillators are linked to oppose each other so that only one can oscillate at a time.
The circuit design ensures that on switching the supply on oscillator 1 operates. When a
metal object approaches the initiator, from the left, coil 1 is damped and oscillator 1 stops
oscillating and oscillator 2 commences oscillation; if the object enters coil 2 this will also be
damped and oscillations will cease. As soon as the damping is removed from coil 1, by further
movement of the object, the oscillations in oscillator 1 will recommence. When a conducting
material passes from left to right through the bistable initiator, oscillator 1 will oscillate
according to the initial stable condition; when the object passes from right to left through the
initiator oscillator 2 oscillates, the second stable condition. It is therefore possible to use
bistable initiators for direction detection. The oscillators are so designed that they require
different operating currents, therefore the switched condition of the initiator can be detected
from it’s operating current.

Ferrite Ring

Metal Object

Coil 1 Coil 2

Coil 1

Coil 2

Diagram 2.21: Coil system and Block Diagram of a bistable Ring Initiator

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2.2.5 Proximity Switches for use in A.C. and D.C. Welding Fields

When inductive proximity switches are used near to electric arc welding equipment, two
detrimental effects occur. The strong alternating magnetic fields produced by the welding
currents influence the magnetic core of the proximity switches, effecting the core up to the
point of saturation or at least shifting the operating point, since the reversible permeability
is noticeably reduced, thereby reducing the Q factor. In other words the coil system is
damped, which may cause the sensor to switch. This can be remedied by using special cores
made from sintered iron granules, which saturate at a flux density 2 or 3 times the saturating
flux density of the conventional ferrite cores. However the cores have a lower permeability,
so that the coil Q Factor is reduced. The second detrimental effect is that the alternating
magnetic field produced by the welding equipment induces voltages in the sensor coil.
These voltages effect the oscillator and may lead to an uncontrolled switching characteristic,
which must be prevented by effective circuit design. Proximity switches for use in welding
applications indicate the rough working conditions encountered particularly by their robust
mechanical construction.

2.2.6 Sensors for distinguishing between different materials

Diagram 2.2 illustrates the principle of an inductive sensor, which is capable of distinguishing
between ferrous and nonferrous metals. In addition to that shown in diagram 2.2 the sensor
in this case has a closed metal ring is fitted around the core to ensure pre-damping.

Pre-damping
Object

Coil

Core

Diagram 2.2: Principle of the Material distinguishing Sensor

The operating current of these sensors in the undamped condition can be reduced to
approximately half of that of a standard sensor, by the choice of the ring material and it’s
dimensions. If the sensor is damped by a ferrous material, e.g. mild steel St37, then the
operating current falls to the minimum value.

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Type 1 (Standard) Coil

Core

Object
Pre-damping
Type
2

Object: Aluminium
Object: Iron

Diagram 2.23: Current draw with and without pre-damping

When a nonferrous material enters the sensor field the current draw increases, with
decreasing distance from the sensor, up to the maximum value. Technically this behaviour
can be used in various applications. This switch is suitable for safety circuits, where the
opposite switching characteristic is required to that of a standard sensor. In this case the
damping material must be a nonferrous material e.g. aluminium. Another application is as a
selective inductive sensor. Here the evaluation unit two switching thresholds are defined, one
lies above and one below the current draw in the undamped condition. By including two
independent outputs, which are controlled from the different evaluation units, the assigned
output will operate depending on the damping material.

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2.2.7 Inductive Analogue Sensors

The inductive analogue sensor occupies a special position among inductive sensors,
because instead of a switch signal at a particular distance of the damping piece from the
sensor, an
output signal is produced, which is proportional to the distance from the sensor. The output
current, of the sensor, is proportional to the distance s of the object from the sensor over a
definite operating range (see diagram 2.24). The mechanical construction and the coil system
takes the form of a cylindrical proximity switch. The principle of operation is shown in diagram
2.25. The oscillator circuit supplies the resonant circuit with an alternating current of constant
amplitude i. The following is true for the voltage u of the resonant circuit:

u ~ (1 + Q2)½ .

For Q factor greater than 10 u is almost proportional to Q and within certain limits to the
distance of the damping piece from the sensor. In some types of analogue sensors an
additional linearisation circuit is included, which increases the useful upper end of the
operating range; this is not necessary in other types. In the output circuit the sensing signal
is converted to a current which is proportional to the distance s. As in the case of standard
proximity switches the data for analogue sensors is with reference to a standard mild steel
test plate. Where nonferrous materials are used the operating range shifts and is reduced
correspondingly. The inductive analogue sensors, as well as being suitable for contactless
distance measurement, are also suitable for the identification of different materials.

with linearisation
Ia/mA
20
without linearisation

10
Diagram 2.24: Output current IA
of an inductive analogue sensor
as a function of the distance s of
s/mm the damping piece.
0
0 3 5,5 8

i = constant

Output Output Signal


Lineari-
sation circuit proportional
IA to distance

Diagram 2.25: Block circuit diagram of an Analogue Sensor

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2.3 Inductive Proximity Switch Interfaces

Inductive proximity switches are divided into two basic groups, AC sensors and DC sensors.
Two, three and four wire sensors are available. They may have normally open, normally
closed or changeover functions. On the sensor side the interface is provided by the output
stage of the sensor, which provides the link between the sensor and the customer interface
(diagram 2.26) and fulfills numerous tasks:
- Energy supply of the sensor
- Interpret the sensor signal
- Changing voltage level and amplification
- Interference suppression (filter)
- Optical Indicator (LED)
- Protection against incorrect connection
- Suppression of erroneous signals (e.g. due to switch on impulse)
- Drive different loads on different circuits.

Diagram 2.26: Function of an Inductive


PLC Sensor Output Stage as
the link between the Sensor and the
Customer Interface.

Sensor Output Stage Customer Circuit

2.3.1 Electrical Types and Effective area of operation

The standard DC switches are available for the operating voltage ranges 10-30 V and
10-60 V. AC Voltage switches work over the range 20 V to 250 V. All current sensors (AC/DC
sensors) operate over the range 20-300 V with DC voltage and 20-250 V with AC supplies.
Initiators with an interface to DIN 19234 (NAMUR) are a special case.

2.3.1.1 Direct Current Switches

DC switches are available in two, three-or four-wire versions (Diagram 2.27). Two wire
switches are operated in series with the load and require only two connecting cables for this.
They can be connected with reverse polarity and are therefore similar to a mechanical switch.

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In order to supply the sensor itself with electrical energy a small residual current flows in the
OFF condition through the load and in the ON condition a voltage drop is present. This must
be taken into account in the selection of suitable loads. Three and four wire switches have
separate supply connections and one or two outputs for the load; so the limits referred to
above are removed. The decision to use positive or negative switching versions depends on
whether the switch output connects the load to the positive or negative of the supply
(diagram 2.28). Many two or three wire switches are available as normally closed or normally
open switches. In the case of normally closed the load is switched off when the oscillator is
in the damped condition, in the case of normally open the load is switched on. Four wire
sensors have both functions, that is each has a normally closed and a normally open output.

Diagram 2.27: Principle of


the output stage of a three
wire DC Switch, positive and
Load
Output negative switching versions.

Output
Load

Diagram 2.28: Various Connections of Inductive DC Voltage Switches


2 - Wire - Technology 3 - Wire - Technology 4 - Wire - Technology

Load Load Load

p-switching p-switching

Load
Load Load Load

n-switching n-switching

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2.3.1.2 AC and AC/DC Voltage Switches

AC and AC/DC voltage switches are available in two wire and three wire versions. What has
been said above for the DC sensor types is also applicable for these sensor types.

2.3.1.3 Sensors to DIN 19234 (NAMUR)

These sensors are simple 2-wire DC sensors without the output stage. They contain only the
oscillator as shown in diagram 2.12. DIN 19234 describes how the 2-wire sensor works
together with a switching amplifier; it specifies the characteristics of the amplifier, the sensor
and the switch point. The amplifier supplies the sensor with power, which in turn controls the
amplifier due to a variable internal resistance which results in a variable current consumption.
The operating values are kept so small that it is possible to install these proximity switches
in potentially explosive atmospheres, taking account of the pertinent regulations and guiding
principles for intrinsically safe apparatus in ignition protection zones.
The sensor produces a output signal which is proportional to the distance of the influencing
object to the sensor. An example of a stable output characteristic is described in diagram
2.29.

I/mA
Difference in distance
3 of switch points
Switch points
Difference in current at
the switch points
2 2,1
∆I

1 1,2
∆S

0
s/mm

Diagram 2.29: Relationship Distance/current according to DIN 19234

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Here is defined that the characteristic curve must be identical regardless of the direction of
movement. The switching point, which is determined by the switching amplifier, must lie in
the range 1.2 mA to 2.1 mA and must exhibit a difference in switching current (hysteresis) of
0.2 mA (typical 1.6 mA and 1.8 mA). The required switching distances are dependent on the
damping material and the nominal sensing range of the sensor. The two wire connecting
cable represents a resistance between the sensor and the switching amplifier; this resistance
should not exceed 50 ohms. When the sensor operates in potentially explosive areas the
maximal cable length is limited by it’s inductance and capacitance. The power supply of the
amplifier, which supplies the sensor usually has a linear output characteristic with an open
circuit voltage of approximately 8.2 volts and a short circuit current of approximately 8.2 mA.
The sensor design is such that the internal resistance of the sensor is approximately 10kohms
in the damped condition and approximately 1kohm in the undamped condition, which results
in a maximal current in this circuit of approximately 4.1 mA. If the sensor current falls below
the above value by 0.15 mA, this will be taken as an indication that there is an open circuit
in the wiring or that a fault has developed in the sensor. If the current demand of the sensor
rises above 6.0 mA a short circuit will be diagnosed. Both faults can be recognised by the
monitoring circuits built into the amplifier, indicated and further processing of the information
prevented.

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2.3.2 Protection and Safety Circuits

Various protection circuits are used to protect inductive proximity switches from damage
from external sources by overloads or incorrect handling. The safety circuits guarantee that
no incorrect signal appears at the sensor output, which could cause incorrect operation of
the next stage.

2.3.2.1 Reverse polarity and Over voltage Protection

In the case of sensors with reverse polarity protection swapping the connecting cables at will
does not lead to damaging the sensor. This is achieved by wiring protection diodes, or diode
bridges, to the connections. An over voltage impulse on the supply voltage due to poor
regulation of the power supply on switch on, or random disturbances, do not damage or
cause incorrect operation of a switch with over voltage protection. Over voltage protection
is achieved with a resistor and zener diode or by means of a varistor. From time to time in
the electrical wiring of motor vehicles with generators (alternator) high voltages are produced,
particularly where mechanical regulators are used. For example, if at maximum charging
current the battery connection is loose causing an intermittent connection, which could
result in a voltage transient on the supply of 100 to 200 volts approximately, due to the inertia
of the regulator. Even in normal operating conditions over voltage transients can occur due
to on and off switching of system components. Special circuit techniques such as a larger
series resistor in the over voltage protection, higher voltage rating of the semiconductors and
a higher rated over voltage protection element prevent damage to the switches intended for
use in motor vehicles.

2.3.2.2 Overload Protection

Sensor with overload protection are not damaged when the load resistance reduces even
to a short circuit, this is true for the complete specified voltage and temperature range of the
device. The danger of overloading the output stage is the increased power loss in the output
semiconductor and the increase in the device temperature above the maximum allowable
temperature, which could result in damage to this component. The cheapest overload
protection is the use of a thermistor with a positive temperature coefficient in series with the
load; this had however certain disadvantages, a very high peak current flows in the case of
a short circuit, the switch off current is very much dependent on the ambient temperature
and this results in a high thermal load on the switch. This type of protection therefore can only
be usefully applied with small load currents (Il < 100 mA) and low supply voltages
(Us < 30 V). The recovery time after an operation is very long (approx. 1 minute).

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The principle is robust and free from interference, because of it’s sluggish operation.
Because of it’s inertia it can be used to switch large capacitive loads. Another method of
overload protection is to limit the output current to a constant value. This is the cheapest
electronic solution; this leads however to a large power dissipation, particularly in the case
of a short circuit. For this reason it is only used for small load currents (Il < 10 mA) and low
supply voltages (Us < 30 V). It’s advantage is that it is immediately ready to operate once the
overload is removed. In applications where large loads must be switched it is of particular
importance that overloads are immediately detected and switched off. The switch off can be
self-locking, that is after the removal of the fault the sensor does not automatically start to
operate but requires a reset signal. This allows a simple localisation of the fault and in addition
is desirable in relevant safety applications. In this case there is no thermal load on the sensor.
The most flexible, also the most costly, solution is the pulsed overload protection. When an
overload occurs the output switches off and after a short period (tp) switches on again, if the
overload is still present the the current is limited to a value Ik and switch off again after a short
time (9tk milliseconds), see diagram 2.30. The cycle is repeated as long as the fault is present.
This produces an autonomous switch on after the fault is removed. The time required for the
sensor to be again operational is the off period tp. There is only a small thermal load on the
switch as the ratio of impulse (I = Ik) to off period (I = 0) can be small (tk /tp » 1/100).

Diagram 2.30: Principle of the pulsed overload and short circuit protection of a direct current switch.

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2.3.2.3 Safety Circuits

In the case of high resistance loads, that is without a definite On/Off signal level, e.g.
measurements with a digital voltmeter, the reverse current of the semiconductor switching
component in the output, which is approximately 10 µA, must be safely by-passed. In
addition three and four wire switches for DC voltages have a base-load, which without an
external load, cause a current of approximately 1 mA to flow through the conducting output
stage; so that a break in various cables does not produce incorrect switching, undefined
switching impulses are suppressed internally. During the starting period of the sensor circuit,
after the supply voltage is switched on all outputs are suppressed in order to prevent any
undefined output pulses. After the so called initialisation period, approximately 10 ms, the
sensor is ready to operate.

2.3.3 Loads

Pure resistive loads add no special demands on the output stage of an inductive proximity
switch. Neither over-currents or over-voltages occur during switch on or switch off. On the
other hand inductive loads produce problems due to induced voltages. During switch off the
load current IL continues to flow, due to the inductance L, through the overvoltage protection
components (e.g. zener diode, varistor), the current decreases exponentially. The energy
transferred during this time is proportional to L and IL2 so that the maximum allowable
inductance must be specified. If this is exceeded the overvoltage protection components will
be damaged and therefore the switch will be damaged, independent of whether the output
stage is protected against overload or not. For this reason to switch high inductance loads
a free-wheel diode should be mounted in parallel with the load, however this increases the
dropout time of the relay, or contactor, because the stored energy,

W = 0,5 × L × IL2

is slowly dissipated in heat. The inductance can then be as large as required. The requirement
for reverse polarity protection prevents the diode being mounted in the sensor. Relays
behave as inductive loads however it should be taken into consideration that the inductance
in the pull-in condition is different to that in the drop-out condition. Since switch off occurs
in the pull-in condition this is the determining inductance. It should be noted where
contactors are used as AC loads that the impedance in the Off condition is very much smaller
than that in the On condition, since the inductive portion of the impedance is very much larger
than the resistive part; this results in a pull-in current 5 to 8 times the rated current.

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The pull-in time is in the region of 10 ms. If the power switch is a thyristor or a triac it is only
possible to break the circuit in the region of zero current (IL < 20 mA), because of the device
holding current; therefore at switch off only a small amount of energy must be dissipated in
the overvoltage protection components. In practice the load inductance does not have to be
taken into consideration. Special consideration must be given to capacitive loads. At switch
on the capacitor load appears as a short circuit, the load current is only limited by the output
stage design. Often in the case of switches without short circuit protection the short circuit
current is not defined and in these cases only small capacitances in the region of 100 nF can
be switched. By exceeding the maximum allowed capacitance causes the overload
protected switch to revert to pulse operation and leads to damage in the case of switches
without overload protection. Incandescent lamps also require special consideration. The
data provided by the lamp manufacturer, rated current and wattage, refers to lamp in the
illuminating condition. On switch on the tungsten filament is cold and the lamp draws 8 to
12 times the rated current in the case of vacuum lamps or gas filled lamps and in the case
of Halogen lamps 10 to 15 times the rated current. The cold start current falls to about twice
the rated current after 10 ms.

Example: Lamp: Rated voltage Un = 24 V; Pn = 2 W.


From this: Rated current In = 83 mA, P n/U n = 83 mA
Cold starting current I k = 12 83mA » 1A

This means that the output stage in the switch must carry 1A for short period, without damage
or change over into pulse mode operation. Output stages with overload protection,which are
not designed especially for incandescent lights warm the lamp filament with a number of over
current pulses, however analysing units such as relays, SPS or counters record these pulses.
The effect is that relays oscillate, incorrect counter pulses generated etc..

2.3.4 Bus Connection

As automatic production systems are become increasingly complicated, the trend is more
and more to decentralised systems. Thereby the communications requirements, at all levels,
increases, down to the level where the sensors are established. On the other side components
found at this level sensors, multiplexers etc. are increasingly supplied with digital electronics
it would be advantageous to provide these with a serial Bus interface. This results in a number
of advantages; one the system is clearer as with a star shaped individual wiring of all
components; the system remains flexible, since modifications and extensions are possible
without great expense.

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In addition the bidirectional Bus system makes it possible to transmit additional information,
such as configuration, initialisation and parameter data, status and fault messages. It is
increasingly possible to perform functions, which are at present handled by the central
control, at the sensor, examples are signal pre-processing, linearisation, temperature
compensation, calculating the mean value and analogue to digital conversion. Lastly not to
ignore the saving in cable. In the future these advantages, and the introduction of standardised
Bus-systems for this level, will lead to basic sensors, such as inductive proximity switches
or distance indicators having a bus interface available.

2.4 Manufacturing technology

The various rising electronic manufacturing technologies are to be found in proximity


switches. Therefore parallel to standard printed circuit board technology are found surface
mount technology, hybrid and integrated circuit design technology. The complexity and
reliability of the circuits increases in the order of the technologies given above. In the past
,because of the limited space available in a proximity switch, only relatively simple circuits
with few components could be produced. Today with Standard- or Custom ICs technology
it is possible to have hundreds or thousands of transistors on one chip with a few millimeters
edge length. To a large scale SMT- and hybrid technologies are used in the manufacture of
inductive sensors today. For many years standard integrated circuits have also been
available, which contain in addition to the oscillator the signal evaluation and conversion to
a switching signal functions. in addition these ICs offer auxiliary functions such as voltage
regulation, suppression of switch on transients, short circuit and overvoltage detection and
processing, which enables a simple design of a high quality sensor. On the other hand the
use of customer specific ICs for inductive proximity switches is in it’s infancy.

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2.5 Applications

Application 1: Determination of position with the use of two inductive sensors.

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Application 2: Interrogation of a camshaft gear with inductive sensors.

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Application 3: Determinationof the speed of rotation with a slotted inductive sensor.

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3 Capacitive Sensors

3.1 Fundamental Principles

3.1.1 Sensor Construction

3.1.2 Sensitivity

3.1.3 Reduction Factor

3.2 Practical Model

3.2.1 RC Oscillator

3.2.2 Interference Suppression


3.2.2.1 Interference Effects
3.2.2.2 Contamination Compensation
3.2.2.3 Cutting out Interference Pulses

3.2.3 Models

3.3 Applications

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3.1 Basic principles

Capacitive sensors, as do inductive sensors, without touching, non-interacting and contactless.


They add to the range of sensor applications, where the inductive operating principle is
unsuitable. Capacitive sensors can also detect nonconducting materials. Capacitive sensors
are mainly available as proximity switches, recently however analogue sensors have also
become available, which give an output signal proportional to the separation.

3.1.1 Sensor Construction

The active component of a capacitive sensor is the arrangement of a disc shaped electrode
inside a cup-shaped screen (Diagram 3.1).
These two electrodes form a capacitor with a basic capacitance Cg. When a target
approaches the sensor (distance s) the capacitance changes by an amount ∆C.
The capacitor is part of a RC oscillator, the output voltage of which is dependent on the
effective capacitance Ca= C g + ∆C between the sensor electrode and the screen potential.
A block diagram of a capacitive proximity switch is given in diagram 3.2.
The oscillator output voltage is rectified, filtered and interference pulses suppressed. This
forms a switch signal which is converted to an output signal in the output stage.

Screening
Sensor Electrode

Target

Diagram 3.1: Principle of a capacitive sensor

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In principle there are three different possible methods of operating a capacitive sensor: with
a nonconducting target, an isolated conducting target or an earthed conducting target.
A nonconducting target (e.g. glass or plastic) can only increase the capacitance Ca by
changing the dielectric in the field area of the capacitor. This increase in capacitance is very
small and depends on the size and permittivity εr of the target. This enables only small
switching distances. If an insulated conducting target (metal) approaches the sensor in
addition to the basic capacitance C g two series connected capacitors are formed, that is
between the target and sensor electrode and between the target and the screening. The
increase in capacitance dC is greater than with the nonconducting target; this produces an
average response sensitivity. The largest increase in capacitance, therefore the greatest
sensing range, is obtained with an earthed metal target. The additional capacitance between
the sensor electrode and the target is in parallel with the capacitance C g.

Target Sensor electrode

s Screening

Diagram 3.2: Block diagram of a capacitive sensor.

Target Screening Target Screening

Sensor electrode Sensor electrode

Sensor electrode
a) b) Sensor electrode
Screen
Screen

Target Screening

Sensor electrode

Diagram 3.3: Methods of activating


capacitive sensors
c) Sensor electrode a) non conducting target
b) isolated conducting target
Screen c) earthet conducting target

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3.1.2 Sensitivity

The sensitivity is found by determination of the change in capacitance ∆Cs, at which the
switch signal at the output of the sensor occurs. In order to have an impression of the order
of magnitude of the change, we consider the case of an earthed conducting target. The
problem is reduced to a plate capacitor with round plates of d= 30 mm diameter. The switch
point for axial approaching targets should be s1 = 15 mm and the switch hysteresis h = 1.
The switch point for targets moving away is then s2 = s1 + h = 16 mm.
The capacitance of a plate capacitor is calculated from:

ε0× A
C = _____ ;
s
A = Area of plate, s = distance apart of the plates, εr = 1.

From this the capacitance at the switch point s1 is

ε0⋅ π × d2
C1 = ________ = 0,4 pF ;
4×s

At switch point s2 the capacitance has a value of

ε0⋅ π ⋅ d2
C2 = ________ = 0,39 pF.
4 × s2
The change in capacitance which produces a signal change at the output is therefore
∆Cs = C1 - C2 = 0,03 pF. Due to parasitic elements the basic capacitance Cg = 5pF
approximately, this gives a relative change in capacitance of :

∆Cs ∆Cs 0,03 pF


____ × 100% = ________ × 100 % = _______ × 100 % = 0,5 %.
Ca Cs + C1 5,42 pF

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3.1.3 Reduction Factor

Depending on the material of the non-conducting target, as shown in chapter 3.1, different
changes in capacitance ∆C are produced.
This effect can be observed at the capacitive sensors output as a change in the switch point.
A material dependent reduction factor is defined analogues to that of the inductive proximity
switch. The factor indicates by how much the nominal switching distance sn, which is
obtained using an earthed metal target, must be reduced for a given material.
In diagram 3.4 is shown this

reduction factor = s/sn,

as a function of the permittivity r, for various materials.


Where the permittivity is temperature dependent a drift in the switching distance must be
taken into consideration. Some sensors have the facility of adjusting the sensor range in
order to compensate for the different sensing ranges, resulting from the reduction factors of
various materials. For reliable operation of the sensor care should be taken not to set the
sensing range to too high a value, as in this condition the RC oscillator can become unstable.
This condition would become noticeable through an increase in the hysteresis (h > 0,1·s).

Reduction factor
Ceramic

Alcohol

Water
Glass
PVC
Ice
Oil

Diagram 3.4: Reduction factor of a capacitive sensor as a function of the permittivity εr of the target.

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3.2 Practical Example

3.2.1 RC Oscillator

The circuit used is a two stage RC oscillator (Diagram 3.5). The amplification of the first
stage is:
U1 Z1 + Z2
V 1 = ____ = ______ ; (U3 » U2).
U2 Z2

The second stage, a common collector circuit, has an amplification of :


Ua
V 2 = _____ = 1.
U1

Feedback of the output voltage is achieved via P and C k; with P is the ratio:
U2
A = —— adjusted.
Ua
Setting the switch point with the potentiometer P, in the absence of a target, the
following condition is produced:
Z1 + Z2
V 1·V 2·A = ———— · A < 1
Z2

This means the oscillator cannot oscillate. The approach of a target leads to a reduction of
Z2; with this V1 increases and the circuit amplification becomes V1 . V2 . A > 1.
The oscillator starts to oscillate. The relationships are opposite to those of the inductive
proximity switch, in which the oscillator without target oscillates and is damped by the
approaching target. In the case of the capacitive sensor there is no oscillation without the
target, in the presence of a target the system oscillates.

first stage second stage

Diagram 3.5: Principle of


the RC oscillator of a
capacitive sensor.

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3.2.2 Interference suppression

3.2.2.1 Interference Effects

Important interference factors are alternating electrical fields. These are coupled in the high
resistance input circuit of the oscillator through the sensor electrode and can cause
oscillation. The source of these interference fields are, for example, fluorescent lamps,
solenoid valves, thyristor drives and radio transmitters. Continuous interference can only be
eliminated by changing the oscillator frequency, providing the field is not too strong.
Transient interference can be eliminated by the interference filter, which is described in
3.2.2.3 below, providing the pulse length lies within an adjustable time window. Another
source of interference is the temperature effect. Changes in temperature effect the RC
oscillator particularly. This effect can be minimised by setting a suitable operating point.
Humidity, dust and other forms of contamination effect the sensor by changing the
permittivity in the area of the active surface. Compensating for the contamination, described
in 3.2.2.2 below, leads to a satisfactory improvement in many applications.

3.2.2.2 Contamination Compensation

The aim of the contamination compensation is to maintain a constant sensing range s, when
the surface of the sensor is contaminated (e.g. by drops of water or a film of water).
This is achieved through an additional cup shaped compensation electrode between the
sensor electrode and the screen, which is connected to the oscillator output (diagram 3.6).
The contamination increases the capacitance between the sensor electrode and the screen;
this leads to an increase in the amplification V1. At the same time the capacitance between
the sensor electrode and the compensation electrode increases. This effect reduces the
circuit amplification V = V1. V2 . A. The amplification V remains constant by suitable geometric
design of the sensor, compensation and screen electrodes, providing the contamination is
homogeneous.
Housing
Contamination

Sensor electrode probe

Compensation electrode screen

Diagram 3.6: Principle of contamination compensation

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3.2.2.3 Interference Filter

As described in section 3.2.2 electric fields can lead to malfunction of the oscillator. Following
the rectification and the low-pass filtering of the oscillator output signal it passes through an
interference filter (see diagram 3.2); which suppresses interference pulses, by the use of
nonlinear filter components providing these do not exceed a maximum, selectable, period
of time. This has however has the disadvantage that required switching signals, which have
a longer pulse width, can not be detected; this means that the maximum possible switching
frequency of the capacitive sensor is reduced. Normally the frequency is in the range 1Hz to
10 Hz.

3.2.3 Models

Capacitive sensors are mainly available as cylindrical or rectangular proximity switches, with
an active face at the front end (diagram 3.7). The construction principle of a cylindrical sensor
is shown in diagram 3.8. There are however special forms , for example, flexible sensors,
which can be glued to level or curved surfaces. The manufacture of sensor electrodes on
sheets or flexible copper laminated foil offers a large choice in the sensor construction. All
the familiar electrical interfaces of the inductive proximity switches can be used. Available
are two, three and four wire models for DC and AC voltages with normally open , normally
closed and changeover functions. Also models to DIN 19234 (NAMUR) are available. Detailed
information about the different interfaces can be found in the chapter „ Inductive Sensors“.

Diagram 3.7: Examples of a cylindrical and a


rectangular capacitive sensor.

Sensor
electrode Housing Case Diagram 3.8:
Principle of the capacitive
sensor construction.

head housing component carrier


Screen cup (brass)

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3.3 Applications

Application 1: Position recognition with a capacitive sensor

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Application 2: Determination of the full limit for plastic components.

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4 ULTRASONIC SENSORS

4.1 Fundamental Principles


4.1.1 Propagation of Sound Waves in Air
4.1.2 Generation of Ultrasonic Waves
4.1.2.1 Electrostatic Transducer
4.1.2.2 Bending Oscillator
4.1.2.3 Membrane Oscillator
4.1.2.4 λ/4- Oscillator

4.2 P+F- Oscillator

4.3 Methods of Operation

4.4 Distance Measuring Ultrasonic Sensors

4.5 Ultrasonic Sensors in Through-Beam Mode

4.6 Possible Errors in distance measurements with Ultrasonic Sensors

4.7 Operating Conditions

4.8 Sensor Types

4.9 Applications

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4.1 Fundamental Principles

4.1.1 Propagation of a sound wave in air

Ultrasonic waves denotes sound waves in the range above 20 kHz; the outside of the human
hearing limit. As opposed to electro-magnetic waves sound waves can only be propagated
through matter.
The sound wave is dependent on changes of density ρ in time and space, the pressure P and
the temperature T of the medium and with local changes and changes of speed of the
medium particles.
All the above values vary around a fixed average value.
A prerequisite for sound waves in a medium is it’s elastic properties.

The propagation velocity for an ultrasonic wave in gas is given by:

c = (k · P/ρ) ½ = λ · f,

P denotes the gas pressure and k is the adiabatic coefficient of the gas. For air the adiabatic
coefficient k = 1.4 and the density r has the value of 1.29 Kg/m3 at an air pressure of 1013Pa.

Since the density of a gas decreases with increasing temperature the velocity of sound is also
temperature dependent.
For air the relationship is given by:

c = c0·(1+T/273)½,

where c0 = 331.6 m/s (velocity of sound at T = 0°C) and T is the temperature in degrees
centigrade.
The change in the velocity of sound per K at room temperature, from
this formula, is approx. 0.17%/K. The following table summarises the values of the velocity
of sound against temperature.

T [°C] -20 0 20 40 60 80

c [m/s] 319,3 331,6 343,8 355,3 366,5 377,5

In addition to being temperature dependent the velocity of sound is also heavily dependent
on the air pressure, such that the speed increases with increasing pressure. The relative
change in the velocity of sound with the normal changes in the atmosphere is approximately
5%. The following diagram, diagram 4.1, shows clearly the relationship between temperature,
air pressure and the velocity of sound.

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pressure velocity of sound

Diagram 4.1
Effect of temperature and air
pressure on the velocity of
sound

In addition to these dependencies, the velocity of sound is also dependent on the air mixture,
for example, the percentage of CO2in the air and on the relative humidity. The effect of relative
humidity is less than that of temperature and pressure and produces an additional change
in the sound velocity of about 2% between dry and moisture saturated air.

4.1.2 Production of Ultrasonic sound in air

In ultrasonic sensor technology the majority of transducers use a


piezoelectric ceramic transducer. Ultrasonic transducers which use the magnetostriction
effect are only used in ultrasonic welding technologyand therefore will not be further
discussed here.
Apart from the piezo electric transducer the electrostatic transducer is widely used; because
of this it will be briefly covered here.

Piezo-electric crystals have the property of changing there dimensions when a voltage is
applied to the surface, also electrical energy can be converted to mechanical energy.
Conversely when pressure is applied to the outer surface a charge is produced on the upper
surface which can be measured as a voltage, which is typically in the order of 100V-.
The materials used for these piezoelectric crystals are lead titanium oxide (PbTiO3) and lead
zirconium trioxide.
Because the production technology to grow macro crystals is difficult piezo ceramics have
found many applications.

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Piezo ceramics are obtained from the sintering of piezoelectric crystals with additives
(binding agent). The ceramic produced by the sinter process must be polarised by applying
a high polarisation voltage at high temperature, since at first the dipole of the micro crystals
are arranged in a random manner.
The elongation in the polarisation axis is a maximum due to the polarisation. Typical
elongation in such ceramics, by the application of a few hundred volts, is dl/l = 10-4 , during
this the forces produced are in the region of 106 Pa.

The transition between the ultrasonic generator and the surrounding air is very important
during the production of ultrasonic waves in air. To obtain efficient radiation of ultrasonic
waves in air the ultrasonic generator must produce a large surface amplitude. An adaption
mechanism is necessary, which transforms the high energy, but small amplitude, of the
piezoelectric ceramic into a low energy, large amplitude movement.
In the following different adaption methods are compared:

4.1.2.1 Electrostatic Ultrasonic Transducer

The transducer (diagram 4.2) in principle consists of a thin metallized plastic foil and a
grooved metal plate, which together form a capacitor. When voltage is applied an electrostatic
force acts on the foil.
Metal support
Metallized
Plastic Foil Grooved
Metal Plate
Perforated Diagram 4.2 Schematic
Metal Plate representation of a electrostatic
Flat Spring ultrasonic transducer.

Foil and plate attract each other. An alternating voltage, which is superimposed on a DC
voltage, causes the foil to oscillate at the same frequency. The DC voltage is necessary
because the force on the foil is proportional to the square of the applied voltage, and with
a pure AC voltage the frequency of oscillation would be twice the frequency of the applied
voltage.
The foil is held under a constant pressure by means of a flat spring. A frequency tuning up
to approx. 500 kHz is possible through the air cushion ,which is trapped between the foil and
grooves in the metal plate.Characteristics:
Wideband, very short decay time and build-up period, relatively low acoustic pressure, open
construction ( disadvantage in that a high voltage is applied to the outside).

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4.1.2.2 Bending Oscillator

A piezo ceramic disc is glued to a metal disc. When voltage is applied the diameter of the
piezoelectric disc changes, creating shearing forces and bending of the whole system
occurs, with a large amplitude.

Metal (Alu)
Diagram 4.3: Schematic representation
of a bending oscillator

Ceramic

Characteristics:
Wide radiation characteristic, relatively low frequency, low sound level, narrow-band,
because it is a resonant system, very long decay time, encapsulated construction is possible.

4.1.2.3 Membrane Oscillator

An elastic membrane, for example made from metal, is activated into it’s natural period
of oscillation by a piezoelectric ceramic.

Metall membrane

Diagram 4.4: Schematic representation


of a membrane oscillator

Ceramic
Characteristics:
Wide radiation characteristic, relatively low frequency, low sound level, narrow-band
since it is a resonant system, very long decay time, open construction (high voltage).

4.1.2.4 λ/4 - Oscillator

During the transition of an acoustic wave from a piezo ceramic to air the acoustic wave
passes through materials of different acoustic impedances. The transmission coefficient is
the decisive factor for the efficiency which can be obtained. The transmission factor between
ceramic and air however is in the region of 10-5 to 10-4, that is very small, so that no radiation
of any consequence occurs. The transmission coefficient is considerably increased by
means of an intermediate layer between the piezo ceramic and air.

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A material which comes close to meeting these requirements is a mixture of hollow glass
beads and epoxy resin. This material is a compromise with regard to impedance matching,
but it is suitable because of it’s resistance to environmental effects, it’s small internal
damping and other mechanical properties.

In addition to the measures taken for the impedance matching the decoupling layer is
designed to have a thickness of exactly λ/4.
The λ/4 layer causes amplitude gain, at the surface, by resonance rise so that large surface
amplitudes are achieved.

λ/4-decoupling layer
Diagram: 4.5 Schematic
representation of a λ/4 oscillator

Ceramic
Characteristics:
High acoustic pressure, narrow radiation characteristic, average decay time, small wave-
band, high frequencies achievable, no conducting parts on the surface.

4.2 P&F-Oscillator (according to Becker)

In most cases of distance detection with ultrasonic sensors a narrow radiation characteristic
is required. The direction characteristic of an ultrasonic sensor depends on the dimensions
of the radiating surface, particularly the size, the transmitted frequency and the phase
relationship of the oscillating surface.
If a good directional beam is to be achieved with a fixed wave length, then the diameter of
the emitting surface must be chosen, which is large compared to the wave length in air.
In practice the problem exists that with increasing ceramic diameter the natural frequency
decreases. In order to maintain the condition L << D a piezoelectric ceramic with a small
diameter must be combined with a larger decoupling layer, also the complete radiating
surface of the decoupling layer should oscillate in phase. With large decoupling layers not
only pure transverse vibrations but also other oscillating modes occur, which in practice
make it difficult to achieve the phase condition. An ultrasonic transducer, which almost
achieves the phase conditions is the P&F-Oscillator (according to Becker), shown in diagram
4.6.

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decoupling layer
Diagram 4.6: Schematic representation
λ/4

of the „P&F-Oscillator“

Ceramic

The amplitude of oscillation in the glued plane piezo ceramic / decoupling layer is very small
(λ/4-Resonator) compared to the surface amplitude of the decoupling layer and can be
considered as the nodel plane of the oscillation. In the case of the P&F oscillator, parasitic
oscillations outside of the ceramic are avoided, because the nodel plane is continued
outwards by a L/2 layer. On the front and rear sides of theλ/2 layer are found antinodes and
in the middle of this layer a nodel point (Diagram 4.7).
The actual oscillation amplitude achieved in practice is shown in diagram 4.8.

Antimode of Oscillation

Oscillation mode

λ/2 Diagram 4.7: Oscillation antinodes and


nodes

Decoupling Layer
λ/4
λ/2

Ceramic Diagram 4.8: Diagram of Amplitude of


Amplitude oscillation, which can be achieved in
practice with a P+F-Oscillator.

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It can be seen clearly from the amplitude curve that in phase oscillating area of the decoupling
layer extends outwards.
The phase relationship only reverses in the boundary zone and then with minimal amplitude.
Diagram 4.9 shows the measured radiation characteristic for a P&F-Oscillator, which is used
for a range of 4 metres. The figure shown are normalised to the sound pressure level at 0°.

With all ultrasonic transducers a more or less large mass is involved in the oscillation, so that
with pulsed excitation there can always be observed an exponential build-up and decay of
the oscillations, with a characteristic time constant.
For the transducer referred to above the decay time, time required for the amplitude to fall
to approx. 1/10, is in the region of 500 µs.

90 80 70 60 50 40 30 Angle (Degrees)

20

10
Diagram 4.9: Measured radiation
characteristic for ultrasonic
transducer UJ-4000-FP-H12
0,0 -0
(Pepperl + Fuchs)
0,5 Transducer diameter: 50mm, Range
1,0
D C B A 4m Oscillator frequency 90 kHz
1,5 -10
2,0
2,5
3,0 -20

3,5
-30
4,0 4,5 5,0 5,5 6,0 6,5 7,0 7,5 8,0 8,5 9,0 Range (m)]

4.3 Methods of Operation


Add to the ultrasonic transducer other components to produce a device, with which
distance, or the shape, of neighbouring objects, can be measured and recorded; then the
device is referred to as a sensor.
There are various methods of operating ultrasonic sensors:
- Distance measuring sensors
Pulse operation with single head system (Transceiver)
Pulse operation with two head system
- Sensors in through beam operation
Two way/reflection -direct detection operation
Through beam with two head system

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4.3.1 Direct Detection with a transceiver

This method of operation enables a compact sensor to be produced.


In this case the same ultrasonic transducer is used as emitter and receiver. For this reason
the transducer is referred to as a transceiver (Transmitter + Receiver).
The disadvantage of this method of operation is the relatively large minimum range, which
is limited by the relatively long minimum sensing distance, which is due to the continuation
of oscillations after the transmitter voltage has been switched off.
Only after the oscillations faded sufficiently can an echo be received and processed. Echoes
from objects too near to the sensor arrive before the end of the decay time of the transducer,
and for that reason cannot be processed.

4.3.2 Direct Detection with a two head system

By using two separate transducers the close range operation can be reduced compared to
that of the single head system. When the receiver transducer (receiver) is acoustically
uncoupled from the transmitter transducer (transmitter), then in principle an echo can be
received directly after a transmission. In this case the response time of the receiver
transducer is important and must be considered as dead time.
Both transducers can be mounted in one housing or installed separately.

4.3.3 Retroreflective Operation

The retroreflective mode of operation is especially free from interference. The space between
a sensor and a fixed reflector is monitored, with this method it is also possible to detect sound
absorbing materials.
Most of these sensors have adjustable sensing ranges and are provided with two outputs and
two LEDs.
Also in this case the sensor is operating in the direct detection mode, therefore it is not
possible to detect objects near to the sensor.

4.3.4 Through beam detection with two sensor heads

Long sensing ranges are possible with this method of operation, since the sound wave must
only cover the distance between transmitter and receiver once. The interference immunity
is better than that of the direct detection method of operation, because only the transmitted
pulse, which arrives at the receiver, or which is absent, must be evaluated. Reflections and
interference signals are easier to cut out.
However higher installation costs are necessary.

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4.4 Distance measuring Ultrasonic Sensors

Principle of operation: The following descriptions of distance measuring ultrasonic sensors


are all based on the principle of measuring the echo transition time.
As the evaluation of the echo is performed at the same point, form which the ultrasonic wave
was transmitted, this is referred to as direct detection.
An ultrasonic transducer transmits, at a point in time t0, a short train of pulses of length Dt,
which are propagated in the surrounding medium with the speed of sound c. If the train of
pulses hit an object a part of the waves will be reflected and reach the sensor after a period
of time 2 (see diagram 4.10).
The echo, which is returned to the sensor at time t1, will be detected by the same or a second
transducer and in a following amplifier amplified to a signal, which can be evaluated.
The evaluation electronic ,which determines the distance of the object, measures the transit
time of the echo, in that at time t0 the time measurement is started and at time t 1 the arrival
of the echo is stopped.

When a single ultrasonic transducer is used for transmitter and receiver, this is referred to
as a single head system, when two separate transducers are used for transmitter and
receiver this referred to as a duel head system.

The single head system has the disadvantage that after transmitting a number of ultrasonic
pulses a dead period must pass, during which the transducer oscillations decay, before it is
possible to receive an echo.
As a consequence of the dead period ultrasonic transducers with single head operation have
an unusable close range, within this limit echoes cannot be detected.
The build-up of the transducer oscillations is influenced by various factors, such as the total
oscillating mass, inner damping, the decoupling material and the mechanical suspension of
the transducer. The close range for P+F-ultrasonic sensors for object detection range of 1m
and 6 m is in the region of 0.2 m and 0.8 m; this corresponds to a decay time of about 1ms
for a 1 metre system and 5ms for a 6 metre system.

The close region can be greatly reduced when a two head system is adopted, that is two
different ultrasonic transducers are used one for the transmitter and the other for the receiver.
In the construction care must be taken to ensure that the maximum transmitting sensitivity
of the transmitter and the maximum receiving sensitivity of the receiver are at exactly the
same frequency.

The variation of voltage with time for a single head system on a ultrasonic transducer is shown
in diagram 4.10.

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Diagram 4.10: Variation of transducer voltage with time for a single head system

Echo
Ultrasonic Transducer
Receiver electronic

Control Output
clock Board
Electronic

Transmitter Amplifier

Interface

Diagram 4.11 Block diagram of a Single head system Ultrasonic Sensor

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Block circuit diagram: The principle of the electronic circuit of a direct detection mode
ultrasonic transducer is shown in diagram 4.11
The transmitter output circuit is switched on with a trigger pulse, a train of pulses, of
approx. 250 V peak to peak, is delivered to drive the ultrasonic transducer. The train of
pulses is applied at the same time to the input of the receiver amplifier overrides it. After
switching off the transmitter the receiver amplifier requires a recovery time of approx.
300 µs, in order to come out of saturation and be ready to receive signals again. The
recovery time is generally smaller than the decay time and therefore does not effect the
close region.
When an object, with a sufficiently large echo, is the detection zone a high frequency
echo alternating voltage is produced, after the echo transition time. The signal is
amplified by the receiver amplifier, rectified and with a comparator converted to a square
pulse. The evaluation electronic produces the trigger pulse, determines the period
between trigger pulse and arrival of the echo and controls functions such as the control
of switched or distance proportional outputs. Following the arrival of the first echo pulse
the evaluation electronic must delay further transmission until echoes from more distant
objects can no longer be expected (Time out).

Switch Oscillator Amplifier

clock Ultrasonic
Transducer

TRANSMITTER AMPLIFIER

Limiter Control Selection Rectifier Amplifier Comparator


Amplifier Amplifier

Echo

Ultrasonic
Transducer clock
RECEIVER
AMPLIFIER

Diagram 4.12 Block circuit diagram of transmitter and receiver stages

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Interference Suppression: Following echoes can lead to false information and must be
suppressed. For this reason the gain of the receiving amplifier with increasing time following
the trigger pulse is continuously increased by means of a control voltage.
By this means the following is achieved, immediately after transmitting a pulse the echo, of
the last but one pulse, arrives from a long distance at an insensitive receiver amplifier and
is not registered.
The control voltage has another function to counteract the large decrease in the echo
amplitude with increasing distance of the object.
The control voltage is generated in the receiver amplifier and is synchronised by the clock
(see diagram 4.12).

Variable Cycle time: A further measure to suppress multi-echoes and background echoes
is to increase the trigger pulse width and therefore the transmitted pulse length. Use is made
of the fact that on applying a square wave voltage pulse the surface amplitude does not rise
suddenly but increases over the build-up time. The relationship between the transmitter
pulse length and the maximum generated sound pressure is used to match the transmitter
energy to the distance of the object.
For small object distances the pulse width is shortened, by doing this background echoes
from long distances are reduced.

Electronic Assembly of transmitter stage and receiver amplifier:(diagram 4.12).The transmitter


comprises an electronic switch, an oscillator and an amplifier output stage, which delivers
the necessary 250 V required to drive the piezoelectric ceramic. The oscillator is set, only
once, to the resonant frequency of the ultrasonic transducer in order to obtain the best
possible efficiency. The resonant frequency of P+F-ultrasonic transducers depends on the
sensor type; it lies between 70 kHz for 6 m transducers and 170 kHz for 1m transducers. The
electronic switch switches the oscillator on and off, depending on the trigger pulse width,
enabling the generation of short transmission pulses.
Since the transmitter electronic and the ultrasonic transducer are limited in their energy
conversion, the ratio of on time to off time must be maintained at a maximum of 1:50.

The Receiver consists of a limiter, a controllable amplifier, a selective amplifier, output


amplifier and a comparator.
Since the received ultrasonic signal can be between a few microvolts and a few volts, it is
limited to +/- 0.7 V by the limiter circuit; this also protects the amplifier from too high a value
of peak voltage. The background echoes, referred to above, are suppressed by means of the
controllable amplifier and the control voltage generation, which in turn counteract the
reduction in echo amplitude with increasing distance.
The function of the selective amplifier is to filter out stray sound signals of other frequencies
and allow only the useful signal to be further processed.

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In order to produce a low cost amplifier it is necessary to have a low frequency signal; for this
reason the ultrasonic signal is demodulated and rectified and only the resulting envelope
further amplified. The amplitude of the envelope voltage is compared with a preset threshold
voltage by the comparator; when the threshold voltage is exceeded a pulse appears at the
echo output, equal in magnitude to the supply voltage, for processing by the evaluation
electronic.

Evaluation unit: in addition to the transmitter and receiver, which have been described, a
complete ultrasonic sensor also requires an evaluation unit to control the timing and the
output function of the sensor. As the evaluation electronic has to perform complex control
tasks it is advantageous to use a microprocessor system. A further advantage of such a
system is that the evaluation algorithm is not hard wired but is flexible in the form of a
program, which can be stored in a program memory. The same electronic circuit can be used
control various output stages or carry out changes in the evaluation algorithm.

Functions which are performed by the evaluation electronic are the generation of the, already
mentioned, clock rate, control of the transmitted pulse width, determination of the echo
propagation time recognition of noise, control of the output signal and circuit self-test. In
addition a microprocessor control system can communicate with a central computer via a
suitable interface.

Correction of measured values: with the determination of the echo propagation time there
are slight differences in the measured distance of the object from one measurement to the
next due to changes in the air. A more accurate measurement can be obtained by taking the
average of a number of measurements; however the results will not be very often repeatable.
The effect of interference echoes can be suppressed by comparing each value with the
momentary average and rejecting measurements, which exhibit a large difference.

In applications where a higher rate of measurement is required a different algorithm can be


used to suppress interference. The difference in the last two measurements is taken and
stored. If the difference is zero, then the object is stationary, a constant difference indicates
an object moving at constant speed and a changing difference indicates an object, which is
accelerating.

A measured distance is accepted as valid when the last two measured differences are almost
identical, in this way accelerating objects can also be detected with certainty.

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Mechanical construction: The housing is in three parts: the transducer assembly with the
analogue transmitter and receiver stages, the housing part with the evaluation unit and
output stage and the base of the housing with the terminal compartment for the electrical
inputs and outputs. The part of the housing, which contains the ultrasonic transducer can
be plugged into the main housing at different angles, so that with the base fixed different
directions in space can be monitored. The plug-in connection between the main part of the
housing, which contains all the electronic, and the base enables the easy interchange of
sensors, without the need of installation.
Housing for the evaluation unit
and output stage

Transducer Assembly

Housing base with


terminal ompartment for the
electrical connections
Decoupling layer

Rotatable Housing for the analogue


Integral foam transmitter stage and receiver stage
Piezo Ceramic

Diagram 4.13: Mechanical assembly of an ultrasonic sensor (UJ 2000+U1+H12+P1, Pepperl + Fuchs)

The sensor can easily be recognised in diagram 4.13. The section shows the piezo ceramic,
the decoupling layer, the P+F-oscillator as shown here and the suspension of the transducer
in integral foam. The function of the integral foam is to support the transducer so that the
oscillating system is damped as little as possible. At the same time the internal parts of the
housing are sealed against the effects of humidity by the integral foam.

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4.5 Ultrasonic sensors in through beam mode

Method of operation: the through beam method of operation has an advantage over the
direct detection ultrasonic sensor in applications of room surveillance. In through beam
operation (see diagram 4.14) there are two different methods of operation, retroreflective
mode, here the receiver and transmitter are at the same point and a reflector is mounted
opposite (two way operation) and through beam operation where the transmitter and
receiver are opposite each other (one way operation).

In both types of operation the transmitter and the receiver are supplied with a pulse, which
has a defined length. From this pulse (clock) the transmitter produces a burst of pulses and
in the receiver the control voltage is generated. The electronic assembly is
the same as that of a direct detection ultrasonic sensor.

Two way operation: In the reflex mode the distance between an ultrasonic sender and a fixed
reflector is constantly monitored.
The evaluation electronic measures the propagation time of an echo coming from the
reflector or an object between transceiver and reflector.
When the measured distance is different to that of the distance of the reflector the switch
output changes over. Due to unavoidable changes in the air the measured reflector distance
can not be exactly constant, but a range of times tr +/- dt of the reflected echo must be
allowed for (diagram 4.14).

In the determination of the rate of repetition f three different cases are considered:
- Object detected in the beam
- No object detected
- No echo is returned.

1. In the case where an object is in the sensing area the repetition rate is :
f=1/(2·to),
where t0 is the propagation time of the ultrasonic pulses between sensor and object.

2. The repetition rate when there is no object present is less than that with an object present
and is calculated from twice the propagation time to the reflector :
f=1/(2·tr).

3. When an object, with sound a absorbing properties, or an object


with an angled surface, which reflects the ultrasonic wave to one side, approaches the beam
then no echo is returned to the receiver. In this case after a time tr + dt, which corresponds
to the reflector distance, the next pulse is transmitted, so that the repetition rate approaches
that obtained when no object is present, that is :
f=1/(2·(t r+dt)),

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One disadvantage of the retroreflective mode of operation is that since the sound wave must
travel twice the distance the reaction time is double that of a through beam system, another
disadvantage is that because of the high damping loss of the wave only relatively short
distances between sensor and reflector are possible.
Through beam operation: the above disadvantages can be avoided by the use of through
beam operation, in which the transmitter and receiver are opposite each other. The maximum
operating distance is 2.5 to 3 times that of the retroreflective mode due to halving the
propagation distance and the elimination of the reflector loss.
The minimum through beam operating distance depends on the reaction time of the
transducer with it’s associated electronic and is in the region of a few centimetres.
In through beam operation the propagation time is measured from the start of the transmitted
pulse. The evaluation electronic only analysis pulses received, within the propagation time
tE, which corresponds to the distance between the transmitter and the receiver (diagram 4
.14). When the beam is interrupted no further pulses are recorded by the receiver and the
evaluation electronic switches the switch output. In this situation a new measurement cycle
is initiated after a time tE + dt. In the case where the beam is not interrupted a new
measurement cycle is started after time tE, so that regardless whether the beam is interrupted
or not the repetition rate :
f=1/(tE+dt) bzw.
f=1/tE
remains almost constant.
Retroreflective Operation Through Beam Operation
Object
Object
Transmitter
Transceiver
Reflector Receiver

Diagram 4.14 Schematic illustration of through beam and retroreflective operation of ultrasonic sensors

In order to suppress interference noise the evaluation waits for a number of valid echoes
before switching over the switch output; this reduces however the maximum switching
frequency of the through beam system. For a through beam distance of 30cm and a waiting
time corresponding to 5 echoes a switching frequency of approx. 200Hz can be achieved.
Variable clock pulses: to further suppress interference noise the evaluation electronic varies
the width of the clock pulses depending on the distance between transmitter and receiver,
this is similar to retroreflective detection where the change was with respect to the reflector
distance. In this way the transmitted pulse amplitude is adapted to the through beam
distance. The control voltage in the receiver amplifier serves the same purpose, as in the
direct detection sensor, and is generated in the same way.

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4.6 Possible errors in measurement with ultrasonic sensors

The general problem of measurements based on ultrasonic timing as the measured results
are dependent on the velocity of sound. The velocity of sound in air depends on a number
of factors such as temperature, air pressure, humidity and the air composition.
To eliminate the effect of all these factors on the results a costly sensor could be used, which
would calculate the size of the effects and the correct velocity of sound. In practice it is
sufficient to compensate for temperature, as this has the greatest effect on the sound
velocity. The disadvantage here is that the temperature is only determined at certain points,
therefore the temperature distribution over the whole measurement range cannot be taken
into account.

It is better to use a reference sensor, which determines the actual sound velocity from the
echo propagation time over a reference range. The so determined sound velocity must either
be transmitted, via an interface, to the individual sensors, or the calculation of the distance
of the object from the echo propagation time and the actual velocity of sound must be
performed by an external central evaluation unit.

When two ultrasonic sensors, with almost the same frequency, are positioned opposite each
other the evaluation electronic cannot distinguish as to whether the signal arriving is an echo
or another sender signal. It follows that sensors which are mounted within each others
detection range can interfere with each other.
There are various methods of reducing this type of interference.

One possible method is the use of narrow band sensors which operate at different
transmitting frequencies. This method is disadvantageous because a suitable transducer
must be designed for each transmission frequency.

A better method of avoiding mutual interference is a method of pulse coding; here the
different ultrasonic sensors don’t transmit individual pulses but a series of pulses, where
each ultrasonic sensor has it’s own pulse sequence. The individual pulse sequences or
transmission codes differ in the different mark space ratio relationships. Each receiver
detects the codes received, but only evaluates the one which has been transmitted by the
same transmitter. By this method a number of sensors with the same transmitting frequency
can be operated next to each other without mutual interference. A disadvantage of this
method is that by transmitting different codes compared to individual pulses more time is
required and thereby the maximum switching frequency is reduced.

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Another possibility of avoiding the mutual interference of a number of sensors is the use of
fixed but different clock rates.
Here the different ultrasonic sensors transmit individual packets of pulses of the same
frequency but with different repetition rates.

In practice the catalogue contains safe operating distances, which should be adhered to in
order to avoid mutual interference (diagram 4. 15). The values given should be taken as
guidelines. The actual distance X which is necessary depends on the alignment and the
position of the object, which is in the sound cone.
Where the object alignment is unfavourable to be detected by the ultrasonic wave a
correspondingly larger distance X must be selected.

When two sensors are opposite each other a separation XX is recommended (diagram 4.16).

4.7 Operating Conditions

Response curve: The main cause of interference in the application of ultrasonic sensors are
interference echoes from objects in the surroundings of the sensor or unfavourable
properties of the object. For this reason the manufacturer offers response curves for the more
important sensors in the catalogue. With the help of the response curves (diagram 4.17) it
is possible to estimate which objects can produce a switching operation, in which regions.

Diagram 4.17 Response Curve

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To determine these curves characteristic objects are approached at regular distances at


right angles to the sensor axis and the switch point recorded.
The following objects have been tested:

A: Flat plate 700 x 700 mm


Outer envelope, this means that usually objects outside this boundary cannot be
detected.
B: Flat plate 100 X 100 mm
Standard plate used as reference for technical data
C: Plastic tube, 160 mm diameter, clad with felt, standard trouser leg.
D: Wooden piece 25 mm diameter
Test object, for example to ensure reverse travel detection

To ensure interference free operation no other object other than that to be detected must be
within the area enclosed by the outer envelope.
Conversely the object to be detected must be in a region where it can be detected, when it’s
size and shape is taken into consideration.

X
X Seperation "X" must be
experimentelly
determined

Detection range X Detection range X


mm m mm m
60 bis 300 > 0,15 300 bis 3000 > 1,2
200 bis 1000 > 0,6 500 bis 4000 > 2,0
Diagram 4.15: influence between simular sensors
800 bis 6000 > 2,5 4000 bis 6000 > 2,5

Detection range XX Detection range XX


mm m mm m
60 bis 300 > 1,2 300 bis 3000 > 8,0 Diagram 4.16: influence of sensors opposite
200 bis 1000 > 4,0 500 bis 4000 >16,0
800 bis 6000 >25,0 each other

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Surface inclination: the surface of the object should be large, if possible , flat and not tilted
more than 3° to the sensor axis, so that the sound wave is not reflected in an unwanted
direction (diagram 4.18).
This can also cause problems with round objects or wavy surfaces of liquids (agitating).

Diagram 4.18: Surface tilting

Angle of slope: Granulated material and heaped material can also be detected with
ultrasonics. The surface of the heaped material should not have a slope of more than 45° to
the sound cone axis. The grain size or the rough surface is responsible for the diffused
reflection producing an echo which can be evaluated. However at too great a distance the
echo is so weak that the object can no longer be reliably detected.

Sonic beam deflection: a sonic beam can be reflected easily by simple reflectors made from
almost any material (diagram 4.19).
The detection range remains the same, if the reflectors are large enough and the sonic beam
is not be deflected more than twice. The reflectors must be accurately aligned.
In this way the sensor, for example, be kept away from corrosive media or the close range
suppressed.

Diagram 4.19:
Sonic beam deflection
123
123
123
123
123
123
123
123
123

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4.8 Sensor Types

Analogue output: Since the direct detection ultrasonic sensors for distance measurement
determine the propagation time of the sound wave, from which the object distance can be
immediately calculated; then the sensors are also suitable as analogue sensors.
Combinations are offered which have an analogue output as well as a switched output, with
an adjustable window range.
The evaluation window/ the measuring range is adjusted differently in different sensors:
- with two potentiometers
- via a coding switch
- parameters entered via the interface
The analogue output can be supplied with a current output (4-20 mA)
or with a voltage output (2-10 V); also it is possible to have automatic switch over from current
to voltage output depending on the load.
Digital interface: in ultrasonic sensors the evaluation of the signal is almost always a digital
calculation. For this reason particularly with this type of sensor a digital interface is provided;
usually the serial interface RS232 is used. By using the RS232 interface a wide range of
possibilities are available, since this enables a dialogue between sensor and controller.
In this way the parameters required for the evaluation of the signal can be entered. For
example the range limits for the evaluation (switching range), the switching behaviour of the
output (normally closed/normally open), continuous or single interrogation or the parameters
for the sound velocity, e.g. temperature, can be changed externally.
It is possible with only one sensor available to check if an object is present in the detection
zone and when the object is present to determine the distance of the object.
Here two additional switched outputs are also planned.
8-bit-output: The basic digital interface has 8 bit parallel logic output, the object distance is
represented by two 8 bit words. The individual solutions correspond to 1/256 of the
adjustable evaluation range.
Intelligent Sensors:As opposed to sensors with adjustable parameters which have to be
adjusted to the surroundings by the controller, there are sensors which have their own
„intelligence“.
These self teaching sensors are able to store the echo pattern at switch on or by activating
the learn input. After the learning process is complete the echoes received are compared
with those which have been stored. In this way interference objects in the detection region
can be cut out. The sensor responds only to echoes which are different to those stored.
Example: Ultrasonic sensors which have been specially designed for level detection store
the echo of the empty tank, this profile detects all the interference echoes from objects built
into the tank such as mixer, heating coils or safety ladders.
When the level is measured the stored pattern is compared to the measured echo; only
changing signals are evaluated. Sporadic interference signals are cut out with „plausibility
control“

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4.9 Applications

Application 4.1: Monitoring the filled height in a vibration transport container.

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Application 4.2: Blockage control on a conveyer belt for the transportation of loose material

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5 PHOTOELECTRONIC SENSORS

5.1 Fundamental Principles


5.1.1 Emitter Element
5.1.1.1 Light Emitting Diodes
5.1.1.2 Solid State Laser Diodes
5.1.2 Receiver Element
5.1.2.1 Photodiodes
5.1.2.2 Phototransistors
5.1.2.3 Position Sensitive Detector

5.2 Methods of Operation of Photoelectric Sensors


5.2.1 Direct Detection Photoelectric Sensor
5.2.2 Reflex Photoelectric Sensor
5.2.3 Through-Beam Photoelectric Sensor

5.3 Signal Processing in Photoelectric Sensors


5.3.1 Interference with Photoelectric Sensors
5.3.2 Stages in the Interference Suppression
5.3.2.1 Interference Suppression using Optical Modulation
5.3.2.2 Interference Suppression with Band Pass
5.3.2.3 Interference Suppression using Blanking
5.3.2.4 Interference Suppression using Digital Filtering
5.3.3 Function Reserve
5.3.3.1 Static Function Reserve
5.3.3.2 Dynamic Function Reserve
5.3.4 Protection against Mutual Interaction

5.4 Types
5.4.1 Reflex Photoelectric Sensor with Polarising Filter
5.4.1.1 Polarising Filter
5.4.1.2 Retro-Reflector
5.4.1.3 Through Beam Detection
5.4.2 Direct Detection Photoelectric Sensor with Background Screening
5.4.3 Direct Detection Photoelectric Sensor with Light Guides
5.4.3.1 Light Guides
5.4.3.1.1 Principle of Operation
5.4.3.1.2 Glass Fibre Light Guides
5.4.3.1.3 Plastic Light Guides
5.4.3.2 Sensors with Light Guides
5.4.4 Output Stage of Photoelectric Sensors

5.5 Triangulation Sensors

5.6 Phase Correlation Sensors

5.7 Applications

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5.1 Fundamental Principles

5.1.1 Emitter Element

The fundamental characteristics of the components described here is the conversion of


an electric current into an electromagnetic wave (light), or the reverse.
Under the heading light is understood the electromagnetic spectrum from near to the
ultra-violet range ( λ = 0.3µm) through the visible range (0.38µm < λ < 0.78 µm) up to the
infra-red region ( λ = 1.2 µm).
Important modern emitter components are light emitting diodes (LED,IRED) and solid
state laser diodes as emitter components; receiver components are photodiodes (P-N
diodes, PIN-diodes), photo-transistors and lateral effect diodes (PSD).

5.1.1.1 Light emitting diodes (LED, IRED)

Light emitting diodes are basically semiconductors components, which consist of a PN


junction. When a voltage is applied in the forward direction of a PN junction the electrons
are excited and move easily into the p-side. Gallium Arsenide is the semiconductor ma-
terial mainly used to produce light emitting diodes, which have a high efficiency. Gallium
Arsenide has a wavelength of λ = 0.9µm. This wavelength lies near the infra-red region,
for that reason GaAs is suitable for infrared diodes (IRED) with a high quantum efficiency
(efficiency of a luminous source).

An important representative of indirect semiconductor is GaP;by doping with Nitrogen


(N) or Zinc Oxide (ZnO) recombination of electron-hole pairs is achieved with emission of
light ,which is related to these impurities. The rest of the energy is lost as heat. It can be
seen from this that the efficiency as a luminous source( quantum efficiency) of an impure
or extrinsic semiconductor is less than for an intrinsic semiconductor.
Through the choice of semiconductor and by doping with equipotential recombination
centres it is possible to adjust the wavelength. The quantum efficiency of light emitting
diodes in the visible spectrum is very much less compared to that of an IR-Diode.

Providing the power dissipation limit and the maximum junction temperature of the semi-
conductor crystal are taken into consideration the light emitting diode can be modulated
with a high impulse current Id; the associated momentary radiated power is many times
that produced in continuous operation. Diagram 5.1 shows a typical maximum permiss-
ible pulse current for given duty cycles and known pulse widths ti.

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Infrared light emitting diodes have typical rise and fall time in
the region of 400ns to 1µs and are therefore suitable for
optical modulation.

Diagram 5.1 : Pulse Loading

One distinguishes between component types with an optical glass window and those
with an optical system. The first have a very large aperture angle (diagram 5.2).

window crystal
window crys window crystaltal
Diagram 5.2: LED with optical glass
window;
left: sketch of package,
right: Intensity Distribution

These components indicate a relatively small radiated intensity, but with the addition of
an optical system they demonstrate a well defined radiated intensity distribution (direc-
tivity characteristic). For reflex photoelectric sensors, whichrequire as far as possible a
parallel radiation distribution, light emitting diodes with an optical glass window are
particularlysuitable. In the case of components fitted with a lens the radiated intensity is
relatively high and the aperture angle is small (Diagram5.3).
Another area of application for these components can be found in the direct detection
sensors for middle and smalldetection ranges, equally they can be adapted for use with
light guides.

Lens Crystal

Diagram 5.3: LED with lens;


left: sketch of package,
right: radiated intensity distribution.

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5.1.1.2. Semiconductor Laser diode

In the simplest example a semiconductor laser consists of highly doped p-n junction
made from Gallium Arsenide (intrinsic semiconductor).
Two important effects give the semiconductor laser it's typical property of emitting
coherent light, they are the so called induced emission and the optical resonator in the
semiconductor crystal. Coherence means that the wave trains of light have the same
frequency and have a rigid phase relationship to each other. As opposed to the
spontaneous emission of light emitting diodes in the case of induced emission the
recombination process is started by the external influence of light with the correct
frequency.
For example an electron can start to emit at the moment when the influencing light
wave oscillation rises, in this way all the emission processes are automatically coherent.
Amplification also occurs, in that a weak primary radiation induces a strong secondary
radiation. An optical feedback must be provided to maintain this process. An optical
resonator, which is tuned exactly to the transition frequency fulfills this requirement,
since a standing fundamental frequency wave is produced, which is again a fundamental
condition for induced emission.

In semiconductor lasers the optical resonator is produced by the parallel planes of the
end surfaces of the Gallium Arsenide crystal in which the p-n junction is formed. The
reflection at these cleavage planes is about 30% and therefore large enough to achieve
the required feedback effect. The remainder of the light passes out of the crystal at both
ends (Diagram 5.4).

Metal Contact
Mirror 2

Mirror 1
Active Zone
p-n junction

Heat Sink

Diagram 5.4: GaAs Semiconductor Laser

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In contrast to light emitting diodes the emission spectrum of semiconductor lasers is very
much smaller, as a result of the induced emission and the amplification in the resonator.
The spectrum of the laser is different to that of light emitting diode, which has a continu-
ous spectrum, in that the spectrum in most cases consists of discrete spectrum lines, pro-
duced by a large number of natural
oscillations of the fundamental frequency
together.
By the use of special light guide
techniques the spectrum can be
compressed to prac-tically a single line.
(Diagram 5.5)
Semiconductor lasers are very sensitive to
changes in temperature. The threshold
current has a temperature coefficient of
typically 1.5%/°C. Especially by falling
Diagram 5.5: Spectrum of an :LED and a Laser
temperatures is this effect critical, here the
laser characteristic curve is very steep, because of this the diode reaches a region of high
power, which results in damage. For this reason it is necessary to provide sufficient
temperature stabilisation for the crystal. A further possibility is to control the output power
and keep it constant. Many semiconductor lasers have an integrated monitor diode to
enable the output power to be regulated.

Semiconductor laser diodes have typical rise times and fall times in the region of 1ns to
5ns, which makes them especially suitable for high frequency optical modulation. In the
case of laser diodes the beam forming exit slit is very small compared to that of the usual
light emitting diode, so that by the inclusion of suitable optics almost parallel radiation can
be produced. As well as laser diodes with integrated monitor diode, there are com-plete
laser units with diode and optics available (Diagram 5.6).

Optics Laser

Diagram 5.6: Laser diode with Optics

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5.1.2 Receiver Elements

5.1.2.1 Photodiodes (p-n and PIN diodes)

The task of the photodiode is the conversion of a received optical signal into an electric
current. In light emitting diodes a radiating recombinations process is brought about by
the injection of charge carriers in the p-n junction, in the photodiode the opposite
process occurs (Diagram 5.7).

Photons of different Wavelengths


blue Contact
Optical red infra-red
Compensation p + - region

Oxide

Space Charge Region RLZ

N-Region
N+ -Region
Metal contact

Diagram 5.7: Method of operation of a photodiode

Due to the different carrier concentrations in p- and n-regions a, so called, space charge
region is produced, without any external influence, which is free from moving charge
carriers.

Penetrating photons lead to the production of electron hole pairs close to the p-n
junction. Carrier pairs, which are produced in the space charge region, are separated by
the electric field present and at the same time transported to the other side. Holes are
attracted to the p-region and electrons to the n-region. In this way a photocurrent (drift
current) flows in the reverse direction, without an external voltage being applied. Hole-
pairs, which are created outside of the space charge region must first diffuse into the
space charge region, there separated and contribute eventually to the photocurrent
(diffusion current).
While in the case of the drift current the separation and transport of the carrier pairs takes
place quickly in the case of the diffusion current the carrier pairs must first reach the
space charge zone by the comparatively slow diffusion process. By means of a suitable
internal construction of the photodiode the type of photocurrent and therefore the
dynamic behaviour of the device can be controlled.

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In the case of the, so called, PN-diode the space charge zone is very small. Charge
carrier pairs are formed outside of the space charge zone, mainly in the border region.
For this reason the diffusion current is predominant, so that PN diodes are distinguished
by a relatively low frequency limit and a large rise time. On the other hand the so called
Dark Current is relatively small. Hence the PN-diodes are particularly suitable for
measuring very low levels of illumination. PN-diodes have rise times and fall times in the
range of 1µs to 3µs and junction capacities from 100pF to 1nF.
In the case of PN-diodes with wide space charge regions the resulting small junction
capacitance Cj together with a selected load resistance produces a low-pass
characteristic, which influences significantly the frequency behaviour of the system.
These PIN-diodes have a higher frequency limit and a small rise time.

As in the case of light emitting diodes the photodiodes are separated into two important
types:
Photodiodes with plane window have a very wide directional characteristic (Diagram 5.8);
therefore they are suitable for measuring intensity of illumination. A narrower and better
defined directional characteristic can be obtained by the introduction of an optical
system, so that these elements can be used in reflex photoelectric sensors, where this
directional characteristic is required.

Radiation Sensitive
Surface Cristsal Diagram 5.8: Photodiode with
plane window,
left: sketch of package,
right: Intensity distribution

Photodiodes with integrated lens have a relatively narrow directional characteristic (Dia-
gram 5.9). These elements are preferred in direct detection optical sensors with small and
medium detection ranges; especially when a possible adaptation for use with light guides
is required.

Lens Cristsal

Diagram 5.9: Photodiode with lens;


left: sketch of the package
right: Intensity distribution.

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5.1.2.2 Phototransistors

Phototransistors are basically photodiodes connected to a transistor which amplifies the


photo current.

The dynamic behaviour compared to the photodiode is comparatively poor. A photo-


transistor has a rise and fall time typically of 20us. The reason for this is to be found in the
amplification mechanism, here the junction capacitance, due to the Miller effect, is in-
creased by a factor B, because of this the maximum frequency, which can be achieved, is
greatly reduced.

As opposed to the photodiode the relationship between the incident radiated power and
the resulting photocurrent is not strictly linear in the case of the phototransistor and can
vary between 4 % to 20% from the ideal characteristic. Similarly detrimental is the tem-
perature dependency.

This large temperature dependency can also be an advantage. Namely, if a optical sensor
is made with an IR-light emitting diode and a phototransistor the two temperature
relationships almost cancel each other out.

Phototransistors are available of similar construction and with similar optical properties to
photodiodes. Simple and especially small phototransistors have only collector and emitter
connections. In addition phototransistors are available with an additional base
connection, which enables the operating point to be adjusted.

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5.1.2.3 Position Sensitive Detector (PSD)

An interesting variation of a photodiode is the so called position sensitive detector (PSD).

In principle the PSD is a photodiode with a strip shaped light sensitive surface. Contacts
K1, and K2 are mounted at each end of the device; the common substrate contact K0 is
connected on the bottom face of the device (Diagram 5.10).

The PSD has, in addition to the blocking layer resistance, a so called cross section
resistance R q , in the longitudinal direction parallel to the light sensitive surface, therefore
this resistance lies between K 1 and K2
If the PSD is radiated with a spot beam of light from a light source a current Iges is
produced. The cross section resistance Rq is divided at this point into two section
resistances Rq1 and Rq2. Similarly the current Iges is divided into two current
components I 1 and I2, which can be measured at the terminals K1 and K2.

Of interest is the relationship between the point p1, radiated by the spot beam, on the
light sensitive surface and the components of current I1 and I2.

Light sinsitive
surface

Diagram 5.10: Position sensitive detector

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In diagram 5.10 a normalised abscissa p is inserted of which the points 0 and 1 corres-
pond to the ends of the light sensitive surface. The position of the spot of light p1 can be
defined using this abscissa.
The following is true for the component resistances Rq1 and Rq2:

R q2 = p1·R q und Rq1 = (1-p1)·Rq

R q2 I1
From the relationship — = —
R q1 I2

I1
which finally gives p1 = —— .
I 1+I2

From this it can be clearly seen that by measuring the two components of current I1 and I2
the position p1 of the spot of light, on the PSD, can be calculated.

The relationship between the penetrating radiated power Fe and the photocurrent is
almost linear, as in the case of a conventional photodiode. Here it is interesting to note,
that changes or variation in the incident radiated power have theoretically no effect on
the position calculation from the above relationship, since these variations effect both
components of current I1 and I2 in the same proportion and are therefore eliminated from
the quotient.
In most cases PIN diodes are preferred, for large surface area position sensitive
detectors, in order to keep the rise and fall times small. Depending on the size of the
optical surface switching times from 500ns to 50µs are to be found.

In addition to the one dimensional position sensitive diodes described here there are also
two dimensional devices.
It is possible with these components to set up a two dimensional coordinate system,
which can be used to determine the
position on a surface.

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5.2 Methods of Operation of Photoelectric sensors

5.2.1 The Direct Detection Photoelectric sensor

In the case of the direct detection photoelectric sensor (Diagram 5.11)light is radiated
from the emitter E, diffused light is reflected back to the receiver R from the optically
rough object O. When the received amplitude exceeds a fixed value the switch output Q
is activated. Direct detection sensors have a typical range from 0mm to 500mm. Special
models are available, which have a sensing range up to 10 metres.
Direct detection sensors can detect all optically rough objects. Since a simple alignment
of the sensor with the object is sufficient the installation and adjustment required is mini-
mal. When combined with light guides the detection of the smallest objects is possible.

Since here an evaluation of the received signal amplitude takes place dirty optics or
changes in the objects reflection characteristics can have a detrimental effect on the
stability of the sensing range. The received light intensity after a diffused reflection is very
small; for that reason the individual sensing distances are relatively small.

Due to the operating principle of the direct detection sensor, namely the evaluation of the
reflected light from the object, transparent or reflecting objects cannot, or can only
partially, be detected.

Direct detection E
Sensor
R

Diagram 5.11: Direct detection Photoelectric Sensor

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5.2.2 The Reflex Photoelectric Sensor

In the case of the reflex photoelectric sensor (Diagram 5.12) light is radiated from the
emitter E and reflected from the retro-reflector back to the receiver R. When the optical
path is broken by an object O the sensor switched output Q is activated.
Ranges of from 0.1m to 20 m, or more, can be achieved with reflex photoelectric sensors.
Reflex photoelectric sensors can detect all non-transparent objects. As opposed to the
diffused reflection obtained with direct detection sensors here a much greater radiated
power is returned to the receiver because of the retro-reflector,so that the detection
range is relatively large. Dirty optics and changes in the optical properties of the object
have much less effect than in the case of the direct detection sensor.
However the adjustment and installation costs are higher, especially by greater distances
between sensor and retro-reflector, because accurate alignment is required. Transparent
objects can only be partially detected, the eventual reduction in reflected light, when an
object enters the optical path, may be insufficient to allow detection. Reflecting objects
can produce an inadmissible condition in the optical path; this occurs when the emitted
light is reflected back to the receiver by the reflecting object. In this case there is no
difference between the object and the retro-reflector.

Reflex photoelec- E
tric Sensor
R

Diagram 5.12 Reflex Photoelectric Sensor

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5.2.3 Through Beam Photoelectric Sensor

The operating principle is shown in diagram 5.13. Light is emitted from the emitter E and
reaches the receiver via the optical path. When the optical path is broken by an object O
the switch output is activated. With through beam sensors distances up to 100 metres
can be bridged.
As with reflex photoelectric sensors all non-transparent objects can be detected; in
addition with the through beam principle reflecting objects can be detected without
difficulty. Dirty optics and changes in the properties of the object have the least effect
using this operating principle. In most cases an electrical connection is required between
the emitter unit and the receiver unit. In general the installation costs are highest with
through beam photoelectric sensors. As with reflex sensors the alignment cost is also
high. Here again transparent objects cannot, or can only partially, be detected.

E R

Diagram 5.13: Through beam Photoelectric Sensor

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5.3 Signal processing in Photoelectric Sensors

5.3.1 Interference sources with optical sensors

Diagram 5.14 shows clearly that an opto-electronic system can be placed in a very
hostile environment. Good signal processing should be able to suppress or eliminate the
interference effectively. For a closer examination it is an advantage to separate optical
from other interference mechanisms.

Interference from
constant light source
Object
optical
switch
Interference from
variable light-intensity
source

Dirt
Out of
adjustment

Defect Incorrect setting

EMI

Voltage
variations

Diagram 5.14: Many interference factors effect an optical sensor

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The main source of optical interference are light sources which can be subdivided into
constant and variable light sources. The constant light sources include the Sun, which
radiates light close to the infrared region and artificial light sources (incandescent lamps).
They induce a direct photocurrent in the receiver element, the size of which can be many
times greater that the useful signal itself. In addition this direct current produces noise in
the receiver component, which has the effect of reducing the signal/noise ratio. Incorrect
operation of the optical switch can not be ruled out under very
unfavourable conditions.

Fast artificial light sources (fluorescent lights), lightning, welding arcs and neighbouring
optical switches are examples of interference from variable light-intensity sources. These
produce a photocurrent in the receiver with a very small direct current component but
with a high alternating component, which as before can be many times larger than the
useful signal. The frequency spectrum of these interference sources is unlimited and can
lead to incorrect operation of the switch.

Diagram 5.15 depicts the induced photocurrent for different interference sources as a
function of distance d; as a comparison the useful signal of a direct detection
photoelectric sensor is also shown in the diagram.

Incandescent lamp 100W

Sun

fluorescent Tube 40W

Useful Signal

Diagram 5.15: The level of induced photocurrent for different sources.

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In diagram 5.16 the variation in light intensity with time for an incandescent lamp and a
fluorescent tube is shown. The incandescent light source shows a relatively large direct
current current component and a very small alternating current. For this reason it can be
considered in general as a source of constant light interference. The opposite is true in
the case of a fluorescent lamp, the intensity curve of which has superimposed phase
related impulse spikes, due to fast gas discharge in the in the tube. The frequency
spectrum of these impulses is very large and can, as will be seen later, interfere with the
sensor sensitivity.

Attenuation in the optical path, due to dirty optics and reflectors can also be counted as
optical interference. The resulting loss in the receiver power can be so great as to cause
the optical switch to drop out.

An important non-optical interference variable are temperature changes which above all
effect the efficiency of the optoelectronic components. The result of these temperature
effects are changes in the sensing range of direct detection sensors and in the case of
reflex photoelectric sensors a loss of reserve signal power.

Variations in the supply voltage can have a similar effect.

In critical applications, for example, a reflex photoelectric sensor is used when a strong
background reflection must be taken into account, in these conditions an incorrect
sensitivity adjustment, so that the error signal lies close to the decision threshold means
that only another very small interference effect is required to cause incorrect switching.

External electromagnetic radiation can induce interference in the signal processing circuit
which leads to incorrect operation.

Fluorescent Tube
Incandescent Lamp

Diagram 5.16: Graphs of photocurrent against time produced by Incandescent lamp and
Fluorescent Tube.

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5.3.2 Stages in Interference Suppression

5.3.2.1 Interference suppression by optical modulation at the Emitter.

As opposed to continuous operation the emitter diode of the optical sensor is supplied
with a time variable current iLED and therefore optically modulated. In most cases a
rectangular pulse is chosen (Diagram 5.17). This simple measure offers three immediate
advantages.

Diagram 5.17: Square-wave modulation of diode current and therefore the light.

One result of the optical modulation is the noticeable difference between interference
from extraneous constant light and the alternating voltage pattern of the useful signal. In
this way interference from extraneous constant light can be eliminated (Diagram 5.18).
First the useful signal is is increased by the constant interference current id. In the subse-
quent signal processing unit, which has a high-pass characteristic, the continuous
current component can be eliminated. The alternating component is (useful signal)
remains, this can the be unambiguously interpreted by further signal processing.

A further advantage of optical modulation is the possible increase of the emitter power
Φs. The receiver power increases by the same amount, all other conditions remaining
unchanged, also the signal/noise ratio is similarly increased. In pulse mode operation light
emitting diodes can be driven with a high current i LED.

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Using the simple assumption that for the maximum power dissipation given a constant
diode current iLED is permissible; then for optical modulation:

T
iLED = - · ILED.
ti

The radiated power Φs is increased by the same ratio, for the same operating conditions,
also the signal /noise ratio of the receiver signal.

Finally the third advantage of the optical modulation should be mentioned, that it is he
requirement for so called "blanking", which is described later.

Constant light interference

Without constant With constant


light interference light interference

No Object Object No Object Object

Diagram 5.18:Filtering out the current due to constant light using optical modulation.

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5.3.2.2 Interference suppression after reception by band-pass

The band-pass characteristic reduces the frequency range of the total system. In the
upper frequency range the noise and interference alternating light are attenuated, in the
lower frequency region interference constant light (e.g. Day light), low frequency inter-
ference light (e.g. 50Hz modulated light from incandescent lamps) and noise are also
attenuated.

Due to the optical modulation at the emitter the receiver current ir has a pulse width of ti.
The pulse shaped receiver current ir is transformed into a voltage U a by the high and low
pass characteristic of the circuit. Diagram 5.19 shows a simplified view of the process.

ir

ir

Interference component: Useful component:

Diagram 5.19: The low frequency interference is filtered out by the band-pass filter.

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5.3.2.3 Interference suppression using blanking

The processed signal from the receiver amplifier is the digitised by an A/D interface. The
interface consists of a comparator with a decision threshold Ues (See diagram 5.20).
Interference components greater than Ues pass unimpeded to be also digitised and
remain part of the total signal. A useful signal can be expected a very short time after an
emitted light pulse. The blanking suppression utilises this fact.

Interference Useful component:


component:

Diagram 5.20: Weak signals are filtered out by the comparator.Interference component
Useful component

The symbolic switch in Diagram 5.21 is closed for a very short time only following an
emitted pulse, when an useful signal is expected. For this reason the switch is
synchronised with the emitter. A number of interference pulses are in this way eliminated
during the emitter "off" time. It should be noted, that if by chance an interference pulse
occurs at the emitter "ON" time then it will remain part of the total signal as before and
without further measures could lead to incorrect operation of the optical switch.

Intergference Useful component:


component:

Diagram 5.21: By clocking the receiver interference pulses outside


the time field are filtered out

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5.3.2.4 Interference suppression by digital filtering

In order to suppress the disturbance a statistical evaluation of the frequency is required.


The decisive assumption here is that the previous signal processing has eliminated
interference signals to the level that the frequency of these signals is small compared to
the useful signals.

A simple and very effective method consists of connecting the data stream to a digital
up/down counter, which is synchronised with the emitter pulse generator. If immediately
after an emitter pulse the receiver data bit logic "1", then the counter increments, the
opposite occurs if a logic "0" is present and the counter counts down.
When the counter reaches the maximum or minimum value it is reset. The output Q of
these Flip-Flops represents the switch output of the optical switch (Diagram 5.22).
Interference
component

Object No Object Object

Counter

Counter State

Flip-Flop

Diagram 5.22: Interference suppression using Digital Filtering

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A delay time ts is associated with this technique between the occurrence (Object/No
Object) and the reaction of the output Flip-flop. When no interference is present this time
is given by:

ts = T·(2n - 1),

here n is the "filter depth", this means the maximum counter steps and T the emitter
pulse repetition rate.
When interference is present the time ts is increased by amount depending on the
frequency of the interference. It can be seen that as n increases the noise immunity of the
system increases, since more interference pulses can be tolerated before incorrect
switching occurs. On the other hand with increase in n the delay time ts is greater and
the maximum switching frequency is reduced.

1
fs = —-
2·ts

From the above relationships we can obtain the product

1
fs·(2n - 1) = —-
2·T

1
which leads to the expression : ~ -
Switching Frequency * Noise Immunity T

The product of switching frequency and noise immunity should be large. The emitter
cycle time T must therefore be as small as possible; to achieve this it is indispensable
that emitter pulse time ti is as short as possible, because of the pulse loading of the
emitter diode. For this reason in high performance optical sensors the relatively slow
phototransistor is not used as the receiver (detector), instead a fast PIN diode together
with a receiver amplifier is used, which has a higher frequency limit.

Some sensor types have the facility to select the "filter depth" depending on the
application. A selector switch in the terminal compartment of these sensors enables
selection of the switching frequency between 200Hz and 1.5kHz. Internally the "filter
depth" is changed correspondingly. At 200Hz the counter reaches it's highest value after
15 pulses, with 1.5kHz the highest value is reached after 3 counter
pulses.

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5.3.3 Function Reserve

5.3.3.1 Static Functions Reserve

For the input amplitude an upper good region (OG) is defined, in which information
"sufficient reflection" is available, also a lower good region (UG) is defined related to the
information "no reflection"(Diagram 5.23).
Between these two regions is the region of the Function Reserve (FB). The switching
thresholds also lie in this region.
When the amplitude lies in this region incorrect switching may occur due to external
factors (temperature, dirt, reflections, etc.). In this situation a special output FRA indicates
that the received signal lies in this unfavourable region FB; this enables suitable
precautions to be taken in time.
The static reserve indicator FRA is unsuitable for dynamic applications, where there is
continuous switching of the switched output, since with each switching operation the
signal passes twice through the function reserve region and the FRA indicator operates
even though the optimal conditions exist. Here the dynamic function reserve indicator is
used.

Empfangspegel
Receiver Level

Switch ON point
Einschaltpunkt Function
Schalthysterese
Switching hysteresis Reserve
Range
Switch OFF point
Ausschaltpunkt

Switched output(N.O.)
Schaltausgang (Schließer)
LED gelb
LED yellow

DUAL-LED
Green - Supply voltage
Red - Function Reserve

Function Reserve Output


Funktionsreserveausgang

Diagram 5.23: Static Function Reserve

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5.3.3.2 Dynamic Function Reserve

Following each switching operation the signal amplitude is checked to see if it lies within
or without the function reserve region.
The interference output is set when the receiver level, before a switching operation, has
not left the function reserve range.

The report is independent of time, that is it is independent of the speed of the object and
the frequency of the switching of the functions reserve indicator due to dirt or
maladjustment.

The interference indication remains on until the correct switching conditions are again
provided. A switching operation can take place even if the ideal level has not been
reached (Diagram 5.24).

Receiver Level

Switch "ON" point


Funktions-
Switching Hysteresis
reserve
Switch "OFF" point

Switched output (N.O.)


LED yellow
DUAL-LED
green-supply voltage
red-Functions Reserve

Function reserve Dirt Poor reflecting object Background reflection


Output

Diagram 5.24: Dynamic Functions Reserve

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5.3.4 Protection against mutual interaction

A number of optical sensors may be found in the same effective optical field.
From a sensor, here called the interference, pulses are emitted and received and
processed by a second sensor, the operation of which is then disturbed. The emitter
pulse repetition time of the interference is T1 and of the disturbed switch is T2.

Under the ideal conditions that T1 and T2, are at all times the same size, if in addition a
time shift t0 is present there would be no mutual interference, since the received pulse of
the interference arrives in the blanking space of the other sensor.

These ideal conditions are highly improbable. In reality the times T 1 and T2 will always be
different from one another. This produces a form of beat frequency, with periodic
repeating time zones, in which the received interference pulse can pass the interference
blanking unhindered.

A remedy is to produce different but fixed times for T 1 and T2, as is possible with some
sensors switching from frequency 1 to frequency 2 with the selection switch in the
terminal compartment.

T 2 = T1 + ∆Tv

The number S of the interference pulses which occur can be calculated:


ti
S = —-
∆Tv

By suitable selection of ∆T a good compromise can be found between on the one hand
the filter depth n and on the other hand the highest possible switching frequency of the
optical sensor.

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5.4 Types

5.4.1 Reflex photoelectric sensor with polarisation filter

5.4.1.1 Polarisation Filter

In addition to the propagation direction or characteristic the oscillating behaviour can be


modified.
This is achieved using optical filters, which are only translucent to light of a definite
wavelength or definite range (e.g. red filter, UV filter). The filtering out of a component of
light can be achieved by reflection, absorption or deflection. A part of the energy is
always lost with these methods of filtering, since only a portion of the light is allowed
through.

Linear polarisation filters are of special importance to optical sensors, because they only
allow light waves a particular oscillating plane to pass through (Diagram 5.25).

Diagram 5.25: Polarisation filter

With polarisation filters the light is split by either reflection or refraction, during which one
of the two beams or both are linearly polarised. This effect, for both reflection and
refraction, is dependent on the optical properties of the medium used.
These filters also absorb or reflect a part of the light, so that only part of the light energy
available can be used. Polarisation filters are used with reflex photoelectric sensors.

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5.4.1.2 Retro Reflectors

While with the two optical surfaces, a mirror or contact surface, an angle is produced
between the incident and the reflected light beam, with a retro reflector the reflected light
is parallel to the incident light. This is achieved either by an arrangement of many three
sided pyramids (tetrahedron) or by the use of special folia coated with hollow glass balls.

Triple reflectors consist of extremely exact cube corners (pyramids) of glass or plexiglass
(Diagram 5.26). Here the specular reflection is produced by three total spatial reflections .

Diagram 5.26: Triple Retro Reflector

Retro Reflectors, because of the multiple refractions or reflections, are capable of turning
polarised light into depolarised light and/or rotating the polarised plane through 90°.
Retro reflectors are used, for example, to improve the recognition of objects in traffic
(reflecting signs) and are used with reflex photoelectric sensors.

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5.4.1.3 Reflex Photoelectric Sensor

With reflecting objects, which are to be detected using a reflex photoelectric sensor,
there is only one position in the optical path where the light from the emitter is reflected
back to the receiver. Since the reflex sensor is activated by a break in the light beam in
this special case it cannot distinguish between the reflecting surface and retro reflector.

To prevent this fault occurring polarised light is used. In diagram 5.27 the principle of
operation is shown.

The emitter and receiver are provided with 90° displaced polarisation filters F1 and F2.
The non-polarised light leaving the emitter has only a horizontally oscillating component
after passing through the linear polarisation filter F1. The receiver can only receive light
polarised in the vertical plane, since the filter F2 is arranged perpendicular to filter F1.

Retro reflectors have not only the property of mainly depolarising light, but also to rotate
the oscillating plane through 90°. Both effects now enable the vertical component of light
to reach the receiver. In this way the reflector is recognised.

Ideal reflecting objects however rotate the polarisation plane through 180°, so that the
horizontal oscillating plane is maintained. Since the receiver filter F2 blocks horizontally
polarised light the light reflecting object is detected with certainty, based on the criteria
"receiver beam is interrupted".

Linear-
polarised filter
F1
Mineral glass-
window Diagram 5.27:
Reflex photoelectric sensor with
F2 polarised light
Retro Reflector

Reflecting
Object
Only 90o roated light
passes through

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5.4.2 Direct detection sensor with background scattering

As already mentioned optical sensors evaluate the intensity of the reflected diffused light,
whatever the source of the light. In unfavourable applications it is possible that the
interference reflection from the background scene has an amplitude at the receiver
similar to the object itself. In this case it is difficult, if at all possible, to detect the object.

A remedy is the so called background scattering, where a clear boundary between the
sensing range and the background region is provided. There exists a series of
procedures, from which one will be described here:

The emitter and receiver optics are arranged so that their optical axes cross (diagram
5.28), because the two cones of light intersect an optical active space R is formed. It can
be seen clearly, that an object can only produce a diffused reflection in this space, while
the background light is effectively cut out. By turning the optical axis the useful space
can be selected for a particular application as required.

Diagram 5.28: Cutting out the background light.

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5.4.3 Direct detection sensor with light guides


5.4.3.1 Light guides
5.4.3.1.1 Principle of operation

Light guides are fibres of glass or plastic, which are capable of transmitting light fed into
it. The light follows the shape of the light guide even when it is bent. This achieved by the
use of the total reflection at the boundary surface of two media (diagram 5.29). The light
is fed into a fibre of optically "dense" medium (e.g. glass or plastic), the diameter of which
is selected so that at the optically rarer surrounding medium the critical angle for total
internal reflection is exceeded. The light beam is reflected back from, the boundary
between the optically dense fibre and the rarer surrounding medium, into the core and
travels in a zig-zag course to the other end of the fibre.

Mantle
Diagram 5.29: Principle of
operation of a Light Guide

Core

5.4.3.1.2 Glass fibre light guides

Glass fibre light guides are normally combined together in a bundle of a large number of
single fibres (approx. 0.05mm) within a sheath made from PVC, Silicon or stainless steel.
In this way the required flexibility is guaranteed. The individual fibres can divided in
various ways between emitters and detectors (Diagram 5.30).

Depending on the application various arrangements can be chosen. Usually a half circle
arrangement is used; for the detection of small objects a concentric or segment shaped
arrangement is useful.

The diameter of the light beam which can be transmitted depends on the number of glass
fibres available; with this the loss increases or decreases and the sensing distance at the
end of the light guide which can be achieved. Tables in the catalogue give the relation-
ship between the sensing range determined by the sensor, the glass fibre diameter which
should be selected and the distance which can be covered with the light guide.

Glass fibre light guides have a lower attenuation with infrared light, therefore they are
preferentially combined with sensors operating in the infrared range.
Diagram 5.30: Examples of the
cross-sectional area of light guides

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5.4.3.1.3 Plastic Light guides

Plastic light guides in contrast to glass fibre light guides usually consist of a single 1mm -
2mm thick fibre for emitter and receiver. The bending radius possible is less than that of
glass fibre light guides, with the same flexibility, because of the soft material. The optical
properties are poorer than the glass fibre light guides. In particular the attenuation is
considerably larger than that of glass fibre light guides. Optimal use of these light guides
is only possible with sensors operating in the red light region. The most important
advantages of plastic light guides is the favourable price and hardiness to mechanical
wear and tear. Particularly application friendly is easy on-site connections, with a low
priced tool (cutter).

5.4.3.2 Sensor with light guide

The use of optical sensor together with light guides increases the application spectrum as
follows:
By the suitable choice of light guide diameter and the use of ancillary optics very small
objects can be detected. Applications where temperatures up to 300° C occur can be
covered with the use of glass fibre light guides. Light guides can be used in areas where
there is the danger of explosion providing certain limiting factors are taken into account.
Finally the following layouts enable three basic methods of operation (see diagram 5.31):

1. The basic direct detection operation is possible with a parallel arrangement.


2. Through beam operation can be achieved when the light guides are opposite each
other.
3. When the light guides are arranged at a particular angle to one another, then only
two optical axes can be detected.
Objects or other reflections, which lie outside of this region are cut out.

O
SE S E

O S E

Diagram 5.31: Reflex and through beam detection with light guides.

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5.4.4 Output Stage of Optical Sensors

Optical sensors can operate as normally open (N.O.) or normally closed (N.C.) switches.
In the N.O. mode detection of an object is indicated when the switch closes.
The opposite switching operation with the N.C. output takes place, that is the switch
opens when an object is detected.
The method of operation depends on the application, and different sensors have different
methods of operation, which can be selected by the user:
- by reversing the polarity in the case of a wired operating programme.
- by reversing the operating mode, that is reversing the selector switch in the connection
compartment.

Other features already mentioned are

- Sensitivity adjustment EE
- Filter depth FT
- Functions reserve indicator (static and dynamic) FRA
- Protection against mutual interference (T1/T2) GS
- Switching time function
- Switching time adjustment
- Detection range adjustment

which can be selected either with a DIP-, Rotatory switch or via a bus connection.

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5.5 Triangulation Sensors

The dependence of the sensing distance, with basic optical sensors, on the reflecting
properties of the object (colour), can be avoided by the use of the triangulation principle.
A distance measurement independent of colour can be obtained using this measuring
technique.
Emitter and receiver are mounted in a common enclosure at a definite separation B and a
precise angle to one another (Diagram 5.32).
A position sensitive diode (PSD element) is used as the receiver. Depending on the
distance of the object the reflected light is incident at the receiver at different angles and
therefore at a definite position on the PSD. At this position photocurrents I1 and I2 are
produced in the PSD component, from which the position X1 or X2 can be determined;
from these values together with the given values B and f the distance of the object
can be calculated. This assumes the object produces a diffused reflection and that the
intensity of the reflected light is sufficient to enable detection. The possible detection
range is determined by the geometrical dimensions ( length of PSD element, focus,
distance emitter-receiver, angle of tilt of emitter to receiver optic) and the available
emitter power (in the case of poor reflecting objects).
Objects directly in front of the sensor cannot be detected, because of the relatively large
distance between emitter and receiver light is not reflected back to the receiver.
Distances up to 300mm can be achieved with close measurements using triangulation
sensors. Depending on the evaluation electronics, sensors using the triangulation
principle can be produced with an analogue or digital interface for distance
measurement.
Due to the presence of a decision threshold or a window range these sensors can also be
used as direct detection sensors with adjustable, reflection independent, switching
distance or switching range.

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D1

D2

Lenses

B
f

x1 Position
Sensitive
x2 Photodiode PSD

Ermitter
Diode

Diagram 5.32: Triangulation principle

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5.6 Phase Correlation Sensors

Optical distance measurement using phase measurement is based on an indirect


measurement of the transit time.

The optical emitter radiates a beam of light the intensity of which is modulated by a high
frequency sine wave.
If the light strikes an object it will be reflected. For non-reflecting objects this will normally
be more or less a diffused reflection. After travelling the distance Emitter- Object-Recei-
ver, which is twice the distance object to sensor, the reflected light is received at the
receiver. The reflected sinusoidal modulated intensity light is converted into a sinusoidal
electrical signal.

Due to the final propagation velocity of the light the output signal of the receiver has a
phase shift with respect to the emitter modulation. This phase shift is directly proportional
to the distance to be measured (diagram 5.33). The sinusoidal reference and receiver
signals are converted to square wave pulses, with the appropriate phase shift, by means
of "clipper or limiter" amplification. A following Exclusive OR gate serves as a phase
comparator. The output is a square wave with a frequency of twice that of the input
signal, the mark/space ratio of which depends on the phase shift between the two input
signals. A low-pass filter produces an average direct current signal, which is proportional
to the phase shift and therefore the distance, this then delivered to an interface for further
evaluation.

One advantage of this technique is that for the small dimensions of the sensor
comparatively large distances can be measured. Further, a low cost construction of the
sensor is possible by avoiding the direct measurement of the propagation time.
Within certain limits the shape, colour, therefore reflected light intensity, does not effect
the measured results. It is only important that a measurable signal is received. That is
why this measurement technique is universally applied.

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∆t ~ ϕ

Usend

Ud
Uempf

Ermitter and Receiver Signals


UBegr

t
Output Signal of the Limiter Amplifier

UEXOR

Diagram 5.33: Monitoring the flow of material in a Store.

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5.7 Applications

Diagram 5.34: Press line with Mechanical Handling

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Diagram 5.35: Scanning Coil Formers

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Diagram 5.36: Monitoring the flow of material in a Store.

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6 MAGNETIC SENSORS

6.1 Fundamental Principles

6.2 Principal of Operation

6.2.1 Hall Effect Sensors

6.2.2 Magnetoresistance Sensors

6.3 Saturated Core Probes

6.3.1 Construction and Mode of Operation

6.3.2 Function and Measurement Circuit


6.3.2.1 Evaluation using an Oscillator
6.3.2.2 Evaluation using Pulsed Current
6.3.2.3 Evaluation using Impedance Measurements

6.4 Applications

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6.1 Fundamental Principles

Normally the measurement of magnetic fields has no application in the automation


industry. Usually magnetically branded or ferrous objects are detected by magnetic field
sensitive sensors.
The following are determined in this way:

- Distance (analogue)
- Numbers of piece goods (digital)
- Number of revolutions (digital)
- Turning angle (analogue)

Magnetic fields are produced by electromagnets or permanent magnets. Permanent


magnets are predominantly used in sensor technology, because they do not require a
power supply. Diagram 6.1 shows the magnetic field of a cylindrical permanent magnet.

Permanent magnet

Diagram 6.1: Magnetic field of a cylindrical permanent magnet

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The lines of magnetic force outside of the magnet run from the north pole to the south
pole and close internally. Diagrams 6.2 and 6.3 show the value of the flux density as a
function of the axial and radial distance from the magnet.

z/mm

Diagram 6.2: Value of the flux density of the permanent magnet, shown in diagram 6.1, as a function of the
radial coordinate z (r=0).

r/mm

Diagram 6.3: Value of the flux density, of the permanent magnet shown in diagram 6.1, as a function of the
radial coordinate r(z=0)

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The magnetic lines of force discontinuous at the boundary surface of two materials, with
different permeabilities, providing they do not penetrate perpendicular to the surface
(Diagram 6.4).

tanß µ1
We have: = .
tanα µ2
<

Diagram 6.4: Discontinuity of the magnetic lines of force at a boundary surface.

This effect can be utilised to divert or lead the magnetic lines of force through ferrous
materials such as ferrite or steel.

Diagram 6.5 shows the magnetic field of the same magnet in diagram 6.1, but in this
case the magnetic field is deformed by the presence of a steel plate.
This deformation can be measured by a suitable magnetic field sensor, so that the plate
is detected. In automatic control technology Hall sensors, magnetic resistive sensors and
saturated core sensors are mainly used. They will be described in that order.

Steel Plate

Permanent Magnet

Diagram 6.5: The effect of a steel plate on a Permanent magnet magnetic field.

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6.2 Principle of Operation

6.2.1 Hall-Effect Sensors

The following phenomenon is understood as the Hall effect (E. Hall, 1879).

When a current

I = b·d·n·e·v,

b,d - Width and thickness of the Hall lamina,


n - Concentration of the conducting electrons e,
v - drift speed of the electrons,

flows through a conducting lamina a Lorentz force is produced at right angles to the
current I, providing the magnetic field B passes vertically through the lamina.

E = v·B

Diagram 6.6: Principle of a Hall-Effect Sensor

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The open circuit Hall voltage can be obtained from the two equations

1 B·I
(1) UH = · .
n·e d

The Hall coefficient RH , the dimensions are cm3/As

In the case where B is not perpendicular to the lamina but at an angle a to the normal
then :

B·I
(2) UH = RH· · cos α.
d

The concentration of conducting electrons by the various materials used is heavily


temperature dependent and for pure metals RH is too small to be used for measuring
purposes. The semiconductors GaAs, InSb, InAsP and InAs are preferred for Hall
Laminae.

Hall effect sensors made from GaAs or Si are becoming of increasing importance, due to
advances in planar technology it is possible to integrate other functions such as current
source, temperature compensation and output amplifier with the Hall-effect
element. In the data sheet the so called open circuit sensitivity KH is given instead of the
Hall coefficient RH, this can easily be obtained from equation (1):

1 UH
(3) KH = = .
n·e·d B·I

In the equivalent circuit of a Hall-effect sensor given in diagram 6.6 the following
dimensions can be recognised:

R1 - Bulk resistance in the current path,


R2 - Internal resistance of the Hall generator,
UH - Open circuit voltage of the Hall generator,
UR - DC voltage of the Hall electrodes when B=0.

all these parameters are temperature dependent. The numerical value of individual
parameters can vary greatly between sensor type to sensor type; this may be due to the
material, method of manufacture or the geometry (e.g. thickness d).

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6.2.2 Magnetoresistance Sensors

Magnetic field dependent resistances are capable of fulfilling the same functions as Hall-
effect sensors, because of this they are mainly found in the automation sector as
proximity switches or position sensors.

Diagram 6.7: A magnetoresistance sensor Frequently semiconductor materials are used for
made from InSb semiconductor material magnetoresistance sensors. The ground material
(for the field direction illustrated the is for instance InSb. Conducting needle shaped
maximum R is dependent on B)
inclusions of NiSb are embedded in the semicon-
ductor, at right angles to the current flow (Dia-
gram 6.7).

When no magnetic field is present the current


takes the shortest path through the semiconduc-
tor. As in the case of Hall-effect sensors, with a
magnetic field present the current is laterally
deflected, which increases the length of the current path and a greater resistance has to
be overcome. The needles of NiSb have a very high conductivity compared to the base
material InSb and therefore function as short circuits; this results in an almost homo-
geneous electrical field within the semiconductor and a homogeneous distribution of
charge carriers is achieved.

The current paths run in a zig-zag form through the semiconductor. For low values of
magnetic field the resistance increases in proportion to the square of the flux density.

The active material is arranged in a twisted form, in order to achieve a resistance of a few
hundred ohms (thickness approx. 25µm). The sensors produced are also known as
magnetoresistors.

Various firms use the ferromagnetic material Permalloy (80% Fe, 20% Ni) for their
magnetic sensors. This material is treated during manufacture so that the elementary
magnets are mainly in the direction of the thin sensor strip ( x axis in diagram 6.8 ).

Diagram 6.8: A magnetoresistance sensor


made from ferromagnetic permalloy (The
maximum value of R is dependent on B, for
the illustrated direction of the field)

The maximum strip resistance (R=R o) is obtained when no external field is present. The
value of the resistance decreases in the presence of a magnetic field, that is proportional
to the square of the field. By careful construction of the sensor strip the characteristic
can be symmetrically linearised about the point B = 0.
For both the sensor types described above care is taken to ensure that effective magne-
tic fields in various directions are indicated.

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6.3 Saturated core probes

6.3.1 Construction and method of operation

Instruments for the measurement of magnetic fields, which use saturated core probes,
are widely used where weak magnetic fields have to be measured. For example in
geophysics for the exact measurement of the earths magnetic field and in space. These
have been known, for a long time, under the name Forster Probe or flux-gate-
magnetometer method, utilise the non-linearity of the magnetisation curve of high
permeability of soft magnetic materials. Here the probe consists of a high permeability
rod or ring core (Diagram 6.9).

Core
Magnetising winding
Sensing Winding

Diagram 6.9: Principle of the saturated core probe

The core material is periodically saturated by means of an alternating current i in the


magnetising winding. This induces a voltage u in the sensing winding. Diagram 6.10
illustrates the relationship for the ideal case for a magnetisation curve constructed from
the three linear portions.
The flux Φ in the core is proportional to the field strength H, and therefore to the current i
and the permeability of the core. In saturation Φ is almost independent of i. The induced
voltage u in the sensing winding is proportional to the rate of change of flux Φ with time.
In the absence of an external magnetic field the changes in H, therefore Φ, are
symmetrical about zero. Φ and u contain therefore only the fundamental frequency and
odd harmonics. If the probe is placed in an external magnetic field the curve of the field
strength is displaced ( dotted line). The flux Φ and the induced voltage u are no longer
symmetrical and now contain even harmonics, the amplitudes of which are almost pro-
portional to the DC field.

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A resolution of up to 10-6 A/cm can be achieved with saturated core magnetometers. This
is approximately onehundredthousandth of the earths magnetic field strength. These
sensors were for a long time limited to expensive measuring instruments, because of
their complicated construction extensive evaluation electronic. Advances in electronic
integration and most important the development of high permeability materials have
made this principle of interest to the automation industry.

Diagram 6.10: Function of a saturated core probe

1) The magnetising force H produced by the current i


in the magnetising winding (superimposed the DC magnetising force H0 shown dotted)
2) Magnetising curve of the core
3) Variation of magnetic flux in the core
4) Induced voltage u in the sensing winding

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6.3.2 Function and Measuring circuit

New saturated core probes use a amorphous metal as the core material, which has a
number of advantages over the conventional crystallised alloys. Amorphous metals are
characterised by a high permeability (up to 500000), small coercive field strength, as well
as low eddy current and hysteresis losses. They are manufactured as thin strip (20-50 µm
thick), they are very elastic and therefore insensitive to mechanical wear and tear.

Diagram 6.11 illustrates the construction principle of a magnetic position sensor. It


consists of a strip of amorphous metal encapsulated together with a single coil in a
plastic housing.

Coil
Amorphous metal

Housing
Connecting cable

Diagram 6.11: Principle of a Magnetic Sensor

6.3.2.1 Measurements using an oscillator

When a saturated core coil is a frequency determining component of a circuit, similar to


an inductive sensor, then the oscillating frequency, that is the change in the amplitude of
the LC oscillations is evaluated. The approach of a magnet increases the magnetic field
which in turn causes a change in the coil impedance and a change in the Q-factor of the
oscillator.

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6.3.2.2 Measurements using pulsed current

In this simple evaluation the core is driven into saturation by a pulsed current ( e.g.
100kHz) (diagram 6.12).

Sensor element

Diagram 6.12: Basic circuit for pulsed current operation

At each edge of the current pulse a voltage pulse is produced in the coil, the height of
which depends on the stored magnetic energy, which in turn depends on the value and
direction of the magnetic field to be measured. The induced voltage is rectified and
passed through a low pass filter. The signal u which is produced is, to a close
approximation, proportional to the magnetic field, providing the sensor core is not
already saturated by the external magnetic field. Typical data for these sensors are:
measuring range 0.5mT, sensitivity 10V/mT, linearity 1% , frequency limit > 20kHz.

6.3.2.3 Evaluation by impedance measurement

A further possible method of evaluation lies in the measurement of the inductance or the
Q- factor of the sensor coil. The coil inductance is dependent on the reverse permeability
of the core material. This is the alternating field permeability for a small modulation
change dH and superimposed ∆C field H0:

1 ∆B
µrev = · für ∆H → 0.
µo ∆H

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For a small change ∆H the hysteresis loop is lancet shaped and with a superimposed DC
field moves along the magnetisation curve (Diagram 6.13). The tilt of the lancet axis
corresponds to the reversible permeability.
Diagram 6.14 Illustrates the relationship between the reversible permeability and the DC
field HO.

Diagram 6.13: Definition of the reversible permeability

Diagram 6.14: The reversible permeability of an amorphous metal

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The dependence of the resulting coil Q-Factor on the flux density B is shown in
diagram 6.15.
A simple evaluation method is to measure the coil impedance; this decreases with
increasing field strength as the inductance and the Q-Factor fall in value. When the
sensor coil is supplied with an alterating current i, of constant amplitude, the resulting
voltage u is a measurement of the field strength (diagram 6.16).

Diagram 6.15: Variation of the coil Q-Factor with changes in flux density, for the magnetic sensor shown in
diagram 6.11

Diagram 6.16: Basic circuit for impendance measurement

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K O L L E G

6.4 Applications
By using amorphous soft magnetic alloys and further development in control technology
the saturated core probe principle can find new applications particularly in automation
and the automotive industry. Compared to Hall-effect sensors and magnetoresistance
elements they are an order of magnitude more sensitive. In comparison to inductive
sensors the greater sensing range, with a smaller physical size and the possibility of
totally encapsulating the sensor in a metal housing stand out.

Interesting applications could be:

- distance and position sensors,


- speed of ratation and angle of rotation sensors,
- Current sensors,
- Sensors for traffic and vehicle counting,
- Navigation and earths magnetic field measurements.

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