5 helpful facts to know about ultrasonic proximity sensors

‘Ultrasonic proximity sensors’ isn’t new to your ears, but how much do you know about these sensors? Supposing you intend to buy one someday, basic knowledge about these sensors may prove beneficial in making an informed purchase decision.

Here, we’ll give you some relevant facts that you need to know about ultrasonic proximity sensors.

1. They are non –contact

Ultrasonic proximity sensors use a non-contact technology which involves the use of ultrasonic waves (transmitted or reflected) to establish the presence or absence of an object. An ultrasonic proximity sensor emits a short ultrasonic sound burst at a particular frequency in the direction of the targeted object.

When the ultrasonic waves reach the targeted object, they get reflected to the sensor. The sensor then measures the time sound waves take to travel back. Using the time, the detector calculates the distance between itself and the target object.

Ultrasonic proximity sensors are designed to detect the presence of proximate objects without the need for physical contact.

2. Come in different types

Currently, the market boasts of a wide range of ultrasonic proximity sensors. Nonetheless, they differ in matters of mounting settings, electronic features, frequencies, environmental sealing and radiation patterns.

Before you settle for a sensor, first analyze your needs and pick the one that best suits your needs.

3. Have three operation modes

An ultrasonic sensor can work in three styles, namely; diffuse reflective, reflex and thru-beam. In thru-beam, the sensor’s emitter and the detector act as two distinct units. The detector detects the light emitted by the emitter. When a targeted object passes between the two units, it interferes with the standard transmission of light from the transmitter to the detector. The change of the light reaching the sensor makes the unit detect an object.

In the diffuse reflective mode, the sensor emitter and detector are housed in one package with their fields of view crossing one another. The transmitter emits light unceasingly while the detector makes the detection. When a targeted object reaches then the sensor’s operating range, it reflects the light leading to its discovery.

In the retro-reflective mode, the emitter and the detector operate from the same package while retro-reflector is put a bit far. The pair are set in such a manner that the detector only detects the light reflected by the reflector. When a target reaches the area between the sensor and the reflector, it bars the light from entering the reflector. The detector senses the change, resulting in the detection of the target.

4. Use piezoelectric transducer

A piezoelectric transducer, a unique sonic transducer, is an essential component of the ultrasonic proximity sensor. It’s used for the transmission and detection of sound waves.  The inbuilt transducer generates sound waves at a high frequency and assesses the waves reflected by the detector.

5. Sense most materials

An ultrasonic proximity sensor detects a broad range of materials including metal, liquid, glass, and wood. This makes the sensors suitable for diverse uses including liquid level control, stacking height control, automotive assembly, loop control and trash level monitoring, among others.

Hopefully, with the knowledge you’ve gained here, you stand a better chance of choosing the best possible ultrasonic proximity sensor for your needs.

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