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Tough proximity sensors for commercial vehicles

11 May 2009

Pepperl+Fuchs has introduced a range of sensors for use in what is arguably one of the harshest environments, that of industrial & commercial vehicles. The challenges associated with fitting equipment to vehicles are many-fold and sensors must be designed with extensive additional protection to guarantee a lifetime of accurate and dependable operation.

One important consideration is EMC protection, as the electrical noise generated on a mobile vehicle is far in excess of that associated with a properly earthed factory- based machine and in order to operate reliably under these circumstances sensors will require a higher EMC tolerance. The e1 certification defined for mobile equipment specifies an interference immunity of 30V/m, but the new sensors from Pepperl+Fuchs are designed to far exceed this at 100V/m.

Additional protection is provided against shock and vibration, and cable strain is increased to prevent damage by any over enthusiastic installation engineers. Extremes of weather must also be catered for and these sensors have both an extended operating temperature range and high IP rating (IP69K). Furthermore, resistances to common chemical and corrosive substances such a salt spray must be considered and here too Pepperl+Fuchs apply the highest of standards (EN60068-2-52).

In itself, designing a tough proximity sensor is not so difficult, but these extra specifications often come with a significant unit cost increase, as typically demonstrated by military specification components. The difficult part for the design team at Pepperl+Fuchs was to achieve these exacting requirements without markedly increasing costs. The new sensors cost just 10% - 15% more than a conventional type.

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