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Beginners Guide

Learning about FA Sensors


and Displacement Sensors

1. What Is an FA Sensor?

4. Displacement Sensor Applications

2. What Is a Displacement Sensor?

5. Displacement Sensor Selection

3. What Can Be Done with


a Displacement Sensor?

6. Support

What is a sensor?

What is a displacement sensor?

This guide will answer the above questions.


Sensors have become commonplace in our daily lives. Some
examples of their uses include automatic doors and lighting.
However, are you aware of FA sensors? This guide is aimed at
people who will use FA sensors and displacement sensors in the
near future. This guide will explain what FA sensors and
displacement sensors are as well as introduce ways that these
instruments can be used.

1. What Is an FA Sensor?
FA stands for Factory Automation and refers to the automation of and reduction of the amount of workers at factories.
By using a large number of industrial robots in place of workers in the operations that were conventionally performed by
people, FA aims to improve productivity (reducing production costs and improving takt time) and quality (increasing yields
and making performance uniform) and to shift the human workers to more productive work.
FA sensors refer to the sensors that perform a variety of operations in the place of human workers.
Some concrete examples are given below.

Sensors That Use Light

The sensor takes the place of a human operator in


inspecting for the presence of workpieces, for the mixing
of different types of products, and for missing parts. The
amount of transmitted light and the angle of the reflected
light are used to detect the presence of the target and to
measure the distance to the target.

Sensors That Use Magnetism

These sensors take the place of a human inspector in


detecting the presence of metallic targets in
environments that are subject to oil. Magnetism replaces
the human eye to detect the proximity of the target. With
light, the sensor is unstable in environments in which
spraying water or oil is present, but magnetism can be
used to accurately perform detections even in these
types of environments.

Sensors That Use Ultrasonic Waves

In place of a human worker, the sensor manages the


height of the fluid level within a tank. The distance to the
target is measured by generating ultrasonic waves,
receiving the ultrasonic waves reflected by the target,
and then calculating the time from the generation to the
reception.

Sensors That Use a Camera

In place of the human eye, a camera is used to inspect


targets for problems such as dirt and printing defects.
By processing images captured by a camera, it is
possible to perform a variety of inspections in place of
the work that would be done by a person. It is possible to
count the number of targets (missing product
inspections) and to inspect for foreign materials,
scratches, and defects.

As shown above, sensors use a variety of principles.


Every sensor has things that it can do and things that it cannot do, things that it excels at and things that it is poor at.
This guide will introduce displacement sensors, which can not only detect the presence of targets but are also capable
of measuring a variety of items such as the position and dimensions of targets.
3

2. What Is a Displacement Sensor?


As shown in the following figures, displacement sensors can not only detect the presence of targets but can also detect
the amount of displacement such as for small/large targets and for near/far targets.

Reflective Type
Photoelectric/proximity switches

Displacement sensors

Not present

Present

Small

Large

Far

Near

Thrubeam Type
Photoelectric/proximity switches

Optical micrometers

Present

Not present

Small

Positioned in the centre

Large

Positioned at the top

Types of Displacement Sensors


The typical types of displacement sensors are the 6 types listed below.
Laser
Displacement
Sensor

2D Laser
Displacement
Sensor

Eddy Current
Displacement
Sensor

Optical
Micrometer

Ultrasonic
Displacement
Sensor

Contact-Type
Displacement
Sensor

Principles of Typical Displacement Sensors


Laser Displacement Sensor
The measurement principle of triangulation occurs when
the position of the target object changes, the beam spot
on the receiving element changes position. This position
change is used to measure distance.
RS-CMOS

ABLE II

HDE lens
Linear collimator lens
Delta cut technology
Cylindrical lens

Target

Optical Micrometer
Optical micrometers use a collimated beam of light to
pass from a light source to a receiving element.
By analysing the shadow cast by the test part,
measurement is possible.
Monitor CMOS

Target Position CMOS


High-speed
exposure CMOS

High performance
condenser

High-intensity
Green-LED

Contact-Type Displacement Sensor


The absolute value scale, with different slit patterns

8 mm

engraved according to position, is captured at high

High-resolution
CMOS
Absolute value
glass scale

speed with a high-resolution CMOS sensor.


This worlds first detection principle delivers the highest
accuracy in its class with no tracking errors during
high-speed movement.

CMOS sensor detects


the position of the
absolute value scale.

Ultrasonic Displacement Sensor


Ultrasonic displacement sensor emits ultrasonic waves
from the sensor head and receives the ultrasonic waves
reflected off the target object. The distance is measured
by detecting and calculating the time from the emission
of this ultrasonic wave to the receipt of the ultrasonic
wave.
Transmitted wave
Received wave

L
5

HL-LED

3. What Can Be Done with a Displacement Sensor?


Displacement sensors can be used to perform a variety of measurements.
This chapter will introduce concrete examples grouped into the six major types of measurements.

Thickness

Height/Level
ht/L
Level
erence
difference

Outer
ute
er
me
eter
diameter

Positioning/
tionning/
Position
sitioon
ureement
measurement

Stroke
rokke
tan
nce
Distance

Runout/
nou
ut/
Vibration/
ation/
entrricity
Eccentricity

Wave/Curve
Flatness

Shape
Sh
hap
pe

3D
measurement

3D

Thickness

Substrate thickness measurement of


solar cells

Measurements of glass sheet thickness,


curvature, and parallelism

Thickness measurement of a wafer

Height and Step Height

HDD arm assembly position

Height and width measurement of rubber overlap Height control of dispenser

Width and Outside Diameter

Drill bit outer diameter measurement

Roller outer diameter measurement

Film width measurement

Eccentricity and Vibration

Disk rotor warpage measurement

Tyre runout measurement

Ultrasonic welder monitoring

Feedback control of a welder

Position tracking of high temperature steel pipe

Ampoule shape inspection

Thermal expansion of a lithium-ion battery

Position Measurement

Precision stage positioning

Profile and Contour

Warpage measurement of a circuit board

4. Displacement Sensor Applications


Displacement sensors are used in a variety of applications and for a variety of purposes.
This chapter explains how to use displacement sensors in inspections and when checking machine operations.

About Inspections and Measurements


Inspection means two things: inspection of individual parts and inspection of assembled parts.
To create a product, a great number of parts are necessary.
In order to assemble all these parts to create the correct product, each and every part also has to be
correct. Also, inspections must be performed when the parts are assembled to check that they have been
assembled correctly.

Inspection Example (Image)


Example: A process in which a grey part is set within a grey part, and then a transparent glass lid is set on top.
Case 1
Case 2
Case 3

There is no problem.
The dimensions of the grey part are too large, and the lid cannot be set on top correctly.
The grey part is attached while tilted at an angle, so the lid cannot be set on top correctly.

1 No problems

2 Incorrect grey part


dimensions

3 Incorrect grey part


attachment

Checking Machine Operations


Displacement sensors are also used to check the machine operations performed during the assembly of
parts. It is possible to prevent defective products from being released
by checking whether the machine is operating normally.
Example: A robot transports the material to the
prescribed position while a sealer applies
sealant to the material.
The robot cannot transport the material to the
prescribed position.
There will be misalignments in the locations that
sealant is applied to, which will lead to a defective
product being released.

So, what can be done to prevent failures from occurring?

Method 1
Check whether the dimensions of each part
are correct.
This prevents the failure shown in 2 .

Method 2
When the grey part is attached, check the status of the attachment.
This prevents the failure shown in 3 .

Method 3
Finally, check whether the lid has been set on top correctly.

As shown above, failures can be prevented by performing all the inspections.


For example, performing only method 3 prevents defective products from being released, but if the defect is
detected in the final step after the lid has been attached, all the parts must be disposed of and the time
spent assembling the parts will have been wasted. To reduce this wasted time and the wasting of parts, it is
beneficial to implement the method 1 and method 2 inspections. In this manner, inspections are performed
in a variety of locations during the different process steps.

So, what can be done to prevent failures from occurring?


The problem can be solved by using
a laser displacement sensor.
Use a laser displacement sensor to measure the
targets position.
If the position is misaligned, feeding back the amount of
the misalignment to the robot can enable it to transport
the material to the correct position again, which solves
the problem.

5. Displacement Sensor Selection


When selecting a displacement sensor, it is necessary to consider accuracy.
This chapter will discuss accuracy.

Accuracy and Tolerance


Tolerance refers to the difference between the maximum and minimum values that is permitted for the reference.

Reference product: 25 mm, tolerance: 0.1 mm

24.9 mm

Minimum size permitted

25 mm

Reference product

25.1 mm

Maximum size permitted

0.1 mm

Tolerance:

Accuracy is a scale that indicates the degree to which a measurement is correct.


To what degree of accuracy should the tolerance of 0.1 mm in the above figure be measured?
The following table shows the ratio to the tolerance of 0.1 mm and the target size that can be judged to be OK for
accuracies of (1) 0.001 mm, (2) 0.01 mm, and (3) 0.03 mm.

The red parts are the areas in which


Displacement
sensor accuracy

Tolerance ratio

Actual size of OK target

(1)

0.001

1/100

24.901 to 25.099
(Range = 198 m)

(2)

0.01

1/10

24.910 to 25.090
(Range = 180 m)

(3)

0.03

Approx. 1/3

24.930 to 25.070
(Range = 140 m)

This shows how the better the accuracy of the displacement sensor,
the more accurately judgements can be made.

10

OK products are seen as being defective.

6. Support
We hope that you now understand just what FA sensors and displacement sensors are.
In addition to this guide, KEYENCE has a rich variety of contents related to measuring instruments for people who are
planning to select a displacement sensor in the near future. Feel free to download these materials from the KEYENCE website.

Applications
We have grouped together examples of improvements according to different processes, manufactured products, and
applications. These materials are packed with know-how for implementing improvements.

Improve
Improve

Increase

Increase

Yield Rates

T
EXPER IONS
SOLUT
AU TO

MO TIV

US
E IND

TRY

Impro

Yield Rates

EXPERT
SOLUTION
S

RESI N PRO
CES

SING /MO

LDIN G

Increa

Inspecti nologies
and Tech

ve Qu
ality

Redu
ce Co

Inspection
and Tech Methods
nologies

EX
SOLPERT
U TI
ON S

EL EC

TR O

N IC

NESS/
For THICK
WIDTH ent
Measurem

Com
Veh plete
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Bod
ie

sts

se Yie
ld Ra

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MEASUREMON
APPLICATI
GUIDE

Mobile
Phones
and
Smartpho
nes

s
Bearing
hods
on Met

Qualit y

Reduce Costs

Quality

Costs
Reduce

Insp
and ection
Tech Met
nolo hods
gies

tes

MEASUREM
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APPLICATIO T MEAS
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GUIDE
P
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GUID LICATION NT
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For PROFIL
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Measuremen
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OUTER
DIA ME /INNE
Measu TER R
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3
P.2 to

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P.4

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to 7
t Glass,
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P.6

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P.8

Measurem

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P.8
One
Films and
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a Roll
Measurem
Sheet on
y Thickness
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a Workpiece
Measurem
P.9

y Thickness
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P.10

Measurem

y Thickness Two Sensors


Material)
P.10
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Measurem
P.11
Sheet (Thin
y Width
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Point
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Measurem
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y Selection

y Measurem

Examples grouped according to


different processes

Examples grouped according to


different manufactured products

IN
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X

INDE
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y Selection
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y Measuremen

t Principle
P.2

y Profile Measuremen

P.3
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to 4
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y Profile Measuremen

P.5
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t Using
P.5
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a Displacemen t Sensor

y Successful
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Applications
P.6

P.7

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P.3
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Meas r Diam
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Objec
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P.4

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P.5

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P.6

P.7

P.7

Examples grouped according to


different applications

Contents for Learning How to Select Displacement Sensors


We have gathered together the features of various measurement principles and the key points for selecting displacement
sensors. These contents make clear the way to select a displacement sensor.
KEYENCE website

How to Select
Your Measurement Equipment
Displacement Meters and Measurement Systems

Selection Catalogue

1. Types of Measurement Equipment


2. Measurement Principles
3. Type of Measurement
4. Information Required for Selection
5. Determining the Measurement Method
6. Example of Selecting a Displacement Meter or Measurement System

Selection catalogue

Selecting sensors according to applications

Free-of-Charge Tests
On-site tests

Scale tests

Free lending of test machines

Demonstrations using actual machines

Lending of mounting jigs for testing

and performed by salespeople

etc.

etc.

11

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