Why Sensors are Needed in Manufacturing Environments

Sensors used in manufacturing play a critical role not only in ensuring overall quality but also in helping companies confirm the performance of their manufacturing processes. They achieve this through two common functions:

  • Detection — Fluctuations in the process are often undetectable to the human eye, so sensors are needed to identify them. Even a very minor variation can indicate that an upstream process is at risk. It’s important to catch these as soon as they occur before they cause more voluminous and costly problems.
  • Verification — In addition to catching potential issues, sensors used in manufacturing are also integrated into production environments so they can confirm that current processes are accurate. This helps manufacturers know that everything leading up to verification is working as it should be.

Here, we’ll explore several different types of sensors used in manufacturing, whether for detection or verification and provide additional resources that you can use to determine if this sensor type is right for your application.

Sample, select, succeed — Unsure which sensor is right for you? Get a complimentary sample analysis and recommendation. Learn more about sample testing here.

1. UVX Luminescence Sensor

The UVX luminescence sensor is ideal for detecting and verifying the presence of materials or markings that fluoresce (glow) when they are hit with ultraviolet light. Examples include greases, inks, paints, adhesives, and optical brighteners. The sensor sees this reaction and can trigger an output response as needed. A number of models are available depending on your specific application and detection needs.

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2. ColorMax Color Sensor

Countless applications require confirming the value and luminosity of color on parts and components. The ColorMax color sensor line is ideal for these and is available in two models based on the need: one for standard color detection needs and one for translucent materials (ColorMax VIEW). Multiple models are available within these categories, allowing you to choose from models that detect up to 15 colors, different outputs, and different spot sizes. The sensor comes with PC-based configuration software, enabling extremely precise thresholds and usage settings.

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3. BriteX Brightness Sensor

Applications requiring an understanding of the brightness level of a material — such as paper, textiles, and even sugar — will benefit from the BriteX brightness sensor. The BriteX line can detect differences in color, brightness, and surface texture and features up to 99 different levels of relative brightness, allowing for precise measurements and thus greater quality control. It’s fast and easy to set up, configure, and operate, and even has greater operating range options than any competing sensor in the market.

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4. CNTX Contrast Sensor

Contrast sensors are ideal for a number of high-speed verification and detection purposes. They help to measure not only different levels of grayscale (for example: registration marks in printing, bar codes, etc.) but also the differences in surface sheen (glossy vs. matte). This makes them incredibly flexible. At EMX, our CNTX contrast sensor is one of our fastest solutions available with a rapid 40 kHz switching speed. Multiple models are available with various spot sizes, gain selections, and more.

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5. LabelX Label Sensor

The LabelX label sensor is ideal for applications requiring the detection of different label types. The sensor is configured to measure the gap between labels and can be used on a variety of label types and adhesive backings. Two models are available: one for standard, low-contrast labels (LBX-50) and one for nearly-clear or more difficult labels (LBX-100). The latter model also features a Custom Teach-In mode for more precise configuration.

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6. OPAX Opacity Sensor

In industries such as food, pharmaceutical, and personal care, understanding how light interacts with packaging and affects the products within is crucial to maximizing longevity and protecting them. The OPAX opacity sensor helps you do exactly that. Consisting of a transmitter and receiver, the OPAX measures how much light passes through materials such as HDPE, LDPE, films, and more.

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7. PMX Particulate Monitoring Sensor

A number of industrial and commercial applications require understanding the amount of particulate matter, or PM, in the air at any time. Examples include commercial kitchens, production facilities, and environmental monitoring. For these applications, the PMX particulate monitoring sensor is the most ideal solution. It measures the amount of light transmission in the air; as PM increases, light decreases — and the PMX measures this difference. Additionally, it enables greater energy savings by only triggering an output once transmission levels hit a certain point versus keeping ventilation systems on 24/7.

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Next Steps: Talk to Our Experts

Whether you already know what kind of sensor you need or you’re just getting started in your search, our team is here to assist you. We offer complimentary sample testing on our sensors to help you find the right model and to identify the best configuration settings for your material and application. 

Reach out to us to get started today.