Photoelectric Sensors

Photoelectric sensors detect and measure physical objects or quantities by emitting a field or beam of electromagnetic radiation, an object is detected by measuring alterations in the return signal. There are 3 main types of photoelectric sensors which provide reliable detection, these are through-beam, retro-reflective and diffuse. The basic function of each is to detect the presence or absence of objects or measure the distance to the object.

Through-beam Sensors

Through-beam sensors (aka thru-beam) rely on two separate housings, one for the transmitter and one for the receiver, with the transmitter providing a continuous beam of light to the receiver. Each time an object passes through the beam this interrupts the signal between the transmitter and receiver, which in turn causes the receiver to send an electrical signal to the output. Through-beam sensors are suited to long-distance sensing and are capable of detecting almost any object, irrespective of colour or angular motion.

Retro-reflective Sensors

Retro-reflective photoelectric sensors (retroreflective) have both the transmitter and receiver contained within the same housing but require a reflector opposite to the sensor. The reflector bounces the light beam back to the transmitter until an object breaks the beam. Objects which are highly reflective such as aluminium require sensors with polarising filters. The filter allows the sensor to acknowledge that the reflected light from reflecting materials is different from the reflector.

Diffuse Sensors

Diffuse sensors (proximity sensor) are easier to install as only one device has to be mounted. This is because the transmitter and receiver are contained within one housing. Diffuse sensors use the reflection from the target object within a predetermined sensing range. The transmitter sends out a continuous beam of light, once this hits the target it is diffused in all directions, a part of this light is reflected back and recognised by the receiver, the receiver then sends an electrical signal to the output.

A special type of diffused mode is background suppression which enables the user to precisely control the sensing range. A diffuse mode sensor with background suppression is less sensitive to the target colour. They can also use a visible red light or infrared light sources.


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Description Price Sensor Style Detection Type Detection Range Output Type Electrical Connection Maximum AC Voltage Maximum DC Voltage Terminal Type Light Source IP Rating Maximum Current Interface Response Time Housing Material
RS Stock No. 775-4228
Mfr. Part No.E3FBRP21
BrandOmron
$150.34
Each
units
Barrel Retroreflective 0.1 4 m PNP 4-Pin M12 Connector - 30V - LED IP67, IP69K 25 mA - 0.5 ms Nickel Plated Brass
RS Stock No. 800-4031
Mfr. Part No.OD1-B100H50I14
BrandSick
$1,819.89
Each
units
Block Background Suppression 50 150 mm Analogue 4-Pin M8 Connector - 24V - Laser Light IP67 20 mA - 2 ms, 4 ms, 8 ms, 16 ms Stainless Steel
RS Stock No. 358-7926
Mfr. Part No.WL260-R270
BrandSick
$314.49
Each
units
Block Retro-Reflective 0.01 15 m Relay Cable 240V 30V - LED IP67 3 A - <=20 ms ABS
RS Stock No. 768-5951
Mfr. Part No.E3FALP21
BrandOmron
$156.05
Each
units
Barrel Background Suppression 100 mm PNP 4-Pin M12 Connector - 30V - LED IP67, IP69K 25 mA - 0.5 ms ABS
RS Stock No. 808-9442
Mfr. Part No.CX-491-P-Z
BrandPanasonic
$178.83
Each
units
Block Retroreflective 3 m PNP M8 Connector - 24V - LED IP67 100 mA - 1 ms PBT
RS Stock No. 784-6692
Mfr. Part No.DT50-P1123
BrandSick
$719.21
Each
units
Block Background Suppression 200 10000 mm Analogue 5-Pin M12 Connector - 30V - Laser Light IP65 100 mA - 20 ms, 30 ms Die Cast Zinc, PMMA
RS Stock No. 812-8213
Mfr. Part No.CY-192A-P-Z-Y
BrandPanasonic
$65.80
Each
units
Barrel Retroreflective 4 m PNP M12 Connector - 24V - Infrared IP67 35 mA - 1 ms PBT
RS Stock No. 185-2234
Mfr. Part No.FHDM 12P5001
BrandBaumer
$448.05
Each
units
Block Diffuse 15 300 mm PNP 4-Wire Cable 2m - 30V - LED IP67 100 mA - <1 ms Die Cast Zinc
RS Stock No. 741-7622
Mfr. Part No.VTB18-4P1240V
BrandSick
$321.32
Each
units
Barrel Diffuse 140 mm PNP 4-Pin M12 Connector - 30V - LED IP67, IP68, IP69K 100 mA - <=0.5 ms Stainless Steel
RS Stock No. 399-1943
Mfr. Part No.FHDK 14P5101/S35A
BrandBaumer
$346.69
Each
units
Block Diffuse 20 350 mm PNP 4-Pin M8 Connector - 30V - LED IP67 100 mA - <1 ms PA12
RS Stock No. 743-1313
Mfr. Part No.E3Z-LS86
BrandOmron
$329.50
Each
units
Block Background Suppression 20 200 mm PNP 4-Pin M8 Connector - 26.4V - LED IP67 100 mA - 1 ms PBT
RS Stock No. 768-5920
Mfr. Part No.E3FADN132MOMI
BrandOmron
$123.43
Each
units
Barrel Diffuse 1 m NPN Pre-Wired Cable - 30V - LED IP67, IP69K 25 mA - 0.5 ms ABS
RS Stock No. 847-9075
Mfr. Part No.QS186EQ8
BrandBanner
$97.18
Each
units
Barrel Through Beam (Emitter) 20 m - 4-Pin M12 Connector - 30V - LED IP67 <25 mA - 375 (OFF) μs, 750 (ON) μs ABS
RS Stock No. 458-569
Mfr. Part No.E3ZMB86
BrandOmron
$398.08
Each
units
Block Retroreflective 500 mm PNP 4-Pin M8 Connector - 30V - LED IP69K 100 mA - 1 ms Stainless Steel
RS Stock No. 768-5910
Mfr. Part No.E3FADN122M
BrandOmron
$132.57
Each
units
Barrel Diffuse 300 mm NPN 4-Wire Cable 2m - 30V - LED IP67, IP69K 25 mA - 0.5 ms ABS
RS Stock No. 909-2881
Mfr. Part No.Q4XTBLAF300-Q8
BrandBanner
$880.55
Each
units
Barrel Diffuse 25 300 mm Bipolar NPN/PNP M12 Connector - 30V M12 Laser Light IP67, IP68, IP69K - - 50 ms Stainless Steel
RS Stock No. 480-4985
Mfr. Part No.EQ501
BrandPanasonic
$277.17
Each
units
Block Diffuse 0.1 2.5 m Relay 4-Terminal Screw 250V 30V Screw Infrared IP67 3 A - <=20 ms ABS
RS Stock No. 447-131
Mfr. Part No.GL80-RT/32/40A/98A
$425.07
Each
units
Fork Through Beam (Fork) 80 mm PNP 3-Pin M8 Connector - 30V - LED IP67 200 mA - 1 ms Aluminium
RS Stock No. 768-5866
Mfr. Part No.E3FA-TN11 2M
BrandOmron
$169.37
Each
units
Barrel Through Beam (Emitter and Receiver) 20 m NPN 2/4-Wire Cable 2m - 30V - LED IP67, IP69K 40 mA - 0.5 ms ABS
RS Stock No. 816-0380
Mfr. Part No.E3FCRP21
BrandOmron
$157.85
Each
units
Barrel Retroreflective 0.1 4 m PNP M12 Connector - 30V Cable LED IP67, IP68, IP69K 25 mA - 0.5 ms SUS 316L
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