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Distance sensors incorporate pulse ranging technology

02 June 2009

Pepperl+Fuchs have refined their pulse ranging technology (PRT) so that for the first time, it can be used in sensors of all sizes for a wide range of industrial applications. Unlike indirect measuring processes such as phase-correlation and analogue chip-based processes, the PRT technique measures distance directly. The superiority of pulse ranging technology is primarily due to the transmission of light pulses containing energy up to a thousand times more intense than sensors emitting permanent light beams.

A laser diode transmits short pulses of light, which are reflected back from the target object and detected by a light-sensitive receiver element, the time-of-flight measurement is then used to calculate distance. Other methods of measurement can be substantially affected by environmental issues such as extraneous light, surface colour & quality, moving objectives and interference from other sensor systems, but PRT is immune to these influences.

The Pepperl+Fuchs portfolio includes several sensors with PRT starting with the cost-effective VDM28 distance sensor enclosed in a standard photoelectric sensor housing with an impressive measurement range of 8m suitable for a wide range of tasks. The VDM100 distance measurement device offers a maximum range of 300m, a repeat accuracy degree of <0.5mm and is ideal for the rapid, precision positioning. The VDM70 has a maximum range of 250m and is suitable for the simple positioning of gantry cranes, lifters, elevator cars or for measurement tasks, while the VDM54 with a maximum range of 6m is optimized for collision prevention applications on overhead conveyor systems.

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