Multiple Options for Today’s Industrial Automation Needs
As a manufacturer, you already know how increasing demand and supply constraints have impacted your business. Specifically, demand for wood products and timber has been growing over the past several months, just as the growth in consumer product sales has led to an equally high need for packaging materials such as corrugated boxes and tape. With consumer demand for products rising by the day, it’s more imperative than ever for companies to ensure quality and consistency in their production environments. In these two broad markets, manufacturers looking to improve or achieve production performance should consider leveraging lumber crayon mark and tape sensors.
These sensor types help on a number of fronts, such as identifying material issues, verifying the presence of materials in high-speed lines, confirming overall manufacturing processes, verifying color consistency and accuracy, and more. Let’s break down these two markets further and explore a couple of sensors that can be used in each.
Detecting Lumber Crayon Marks
In the lumber industry and its many subsectors, wood products and raw materials are carefully evaluated for their color, grain patterns, the presence of knots, and other details. Inconsistency in any one of these areas can lead to waste for customers and inconsistent finishes. Think about hardwood flooring — while different saw patterns and tints create a more natural look, significant variances can throw the flooring off entirely. Additionally, heavily knotted pieces require extra labor to fill, so they’re best avoided.
Workers will use lumber crayon marks to identify these issues. This is often done ahead of time before a piece of wood enters a production line. As the wood moves forward, a sensor or other system will see the lumber crayon mark and execute a next-step process, such as stopping the line, notifying someone, or automatically rejecting the piece so it can be used elsewhere. EMX Industries, Inc. offers two sensors that support lumber and wood product manufacturers with identifying and addressing issues in materials before they make it to downstream processes.
Sensors for Lumber Crayon Marks
- UVX Luminescence Sensors — Our UVX series detects the presence of fluorescent tracers in UV lumber crayon marks. The sensor emits a beam of UV light that causes the mark to glow. This reaction is detected, triggering the desired next step. It’s easy for low-skill operators to use but can be fine-tuned depending on how lumber crayon marks are used. It’s one of the fastest sensors available on today’s market, is quick to integrate into your environment, and has three to six times the range of competing sensors — making it flexible based on your line configuration.
- ColorMax Color Sensor — Some applications require the use of color (non-UV) lumber crayon marks to distinguish materials and packages from one another. In these instances, as long as the crayon color is different from the container color, our ColorMax sensor can be used to identify the presence of the crayon. This allows for greater differentiation (e.g. marking containers based on quality or type using different colors), but it’s important to note that the detection tolerance must be loose to allow for lighter or darker variations of the mark (crayon can appear lighter or darker based on pressure used).
Detecting the Presence of Tape
Virtually every business shipping products in containers uses tape — whether it’s for tertiary packaging or secondary product packaging. With millions of packages moving throughout the country and world every day, there’s essentially little to no time for packages to be spot-checked manually before being palletized and shipped. This is even more true when it comes to secondary packaging, where packages are moving by the thousands every minute on high-speed lines. Thus, a tape sensor is crucial to success on both fronts. EMX offers two tape sensor solutions that can support manufacturers based on the type of tape being used.
Tape Sensor Options
- UVX Luminescence Sensors — Just as the UVX sensor supports lumber crayon mark detection by recognizing the reaction between UV light and a tracer, so too does it recognize the presence of adhesives in tapes. Many adhesives will trigger the same reaction, and thanks to the UVX’s high-speed capabilities, even the fastest of production and warehouse lines are unlikely to beat it. Its operating range, small size, and easy integration mean it will fit perfectly into virtually any production environment.
- CNTX Contrast Sensor — For straightforward packaging, such as brown boxes, the CNTX contrast sensor is ideal because it verifies the presence of tape by detecting gloss. The higher level of light reflected from the tape versus the matte, dull signal from the box or container allows for easy, fast recognition. Depending on the application, different light levels may be needed, so we recommend the CNTX-30-0 with a 3mm spot size or a CNTX-05-0 with a 0.5mm spot size. Both of these models are more customizable than others in that you can change light intensity and gain settings.
Get a Complimentary Sample Analysis of Your Product or Material
When it comes to implementing a new industrial automation solution in your environment, we understand the importance of ensuring accuracy and validity. That’s why we offer free sample testing on any of our sensors. With those mentioned here, you’d simply let us know what your material is and what you’re looking to achieve, and one of our expert engineers will conduct a test on it after receiving your sample. You’ll receive a detailed report explaining how the sensor performed as well as any important integration or usage recommendations.