Automation Update - issue 39

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Issue 39

Website: Email: Tel: 0161 728 3133

Distributor of Mean Well Power Supplies

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AUTOMATION UPDATE Editorial Assistant Laura Sharpe 01843 580 460 Publishing Director Jodie Little 01843 580 460 Sales Director Tim Johnston 01843 448 443 Advertising Exec Jamie Simmons 01843 580 460 Sales Laura Sharpe

Automation Update is an engaging, editorially led publication & directory giving the reader news and updates on new products and services to our ever Progressing industry.

Publishing House Jet Digital Media Ltd The Forge Spratling Court Office Spratling Court Farm Manston, Kent CT12 5AN

Automation Update - 3

Master of All Processes Easily and cost-efficiently connect the Modlight70 signal tower using the Cube67 fieldbus system

The use of cube20 in the control cabinet is a cost-efficient solution: instead of many individual i/o cards, only one module has to be mounted on the din rail. The high packing density makes this possible. “Specifically, we had to install only one module in each control cabinet,” reports oliver behnke. In practice, single-channel diagnostics directly on the module has proven to be advantageous. “If there is an error anywhere in the wiring, the led will light up at the affected port, and we can fix the error quickly without having to constantly look for the error.” Practical modules with a direct modlight signal connection are used to connect the actuators in the cube67 system. These cube cable modules have a 1.5-Meter long connecting cable; the 8-pin m12 connector is connected directly to the signal tower. The individual connection modules are in turn connected to a system line that carries the signal as well as the power.

In the oppenweiler logistics center, murrelektronik does more than ship products to the customer. They are also actively involved in helping processes run without a hitch. Modlight70 signal towers provide clear signaling; the cube fieldbus system allows for effective and efficient transmission of the necessary data. When companies from the automation industry submit an order to murrelektronik, the oppenweiler logistics center operates like clockwork. The ordered products are transported by conveyor belts to the picking and packing stations, and they are packed and on their way to their destination in no time at all. To keep logistics operating at full speed, all picking and packing stations are fully staffed. When one employee goes on break, a coworker takes over the tasks immediately. When packaging material is about to run out, an internal logistics specialist intervenes so that bottlenecks do not occur. A team managed by oliver behnke, department head of the murrelektronik logistics center, undertook the task of simplifying this system. A decision was made to install an entire row of modlight70 signal towers that are easily visible. Since then, employees in the operations area and colleagues in the control room of the logistics 4 - Automation Update

center can see at a glance whether all processes are running on schedule. Employees at the picking and packing stations operate the lamps from their workstation by remote control. When the green led light is illuminated, everything is running well. The yellow light indicates that an employee is taking a break, so a relief person can be ready to step in. Blue stands for a packaging material bottleneck; red means an interruption. The signals are unambiguous — nothing has to be done on call anymore. The large logistics center proved to be a challenge, which became evident in an early phase of planning. Relying on radio signals to be clearly transmitted over long distances or even through walls seemed impractical to oliver behnke’s team. That’s why the team decided to transmit the radio signals digitally through cables using a decentralized installation solution based on the cube fieldbus system. The receivers were in control cabinets at multiple locations within the logistics center. These receivers control the inputs of the cube20 ip20 fieldbus module. These input modules communicate with the plc, which processes the signals and sends them to the cube67 fieldbus system in the field, which controls the modlight70 signal towers.

“With this system, we do not need a separate power supply. This makes installation quick and easy.” The modlight70 signal towers can be assembled in a modular fashion from a connection element and several colored led modules with a 70 mm diameter through a bayonet locking system. “In the logistics center, we assigned colors to certain functions which is why we use the signal towers in the identical configuration,” explains oliver behnke. He values the energy-saving led technology, the long service life, and the maintenance-free modules.

Scan the QR code to download the Modlight Signal Towers Brochure

Add sAfeTy quickly And wiThouT errors

EMErgEncy stop and rEsEt Buttons

M12 h t i w tion c E n con

Murrelektronik's emergency stop and reset buttons can easily be integrated into electronic installations. These control devices are connected with pre-wired M12 cables (4-, 5- or 8-pole). They are a timesaving solution that eliminates the risk of wiring errors. The port allows you to simply Plug & Play and provides a safety solution for a wide variety of machines and systems.

Easy to install F lat surfaces and different materials

Quick assEMBly in thrEE stEps

Error-free connection with standard M12 cables

screw MeTAl cliP

suitable for almost all safety applications

1 42 MM ModEls Compact design Ideal for connecting to standard aluminum profiles (40 mm) P ossible to combine two control devices, such as emergency stop and reset button

72 MM ModEls

snAP on housing

E stablished standard housing for emergency stop buttons


Optional light ring P rotected model to prevent accidental triggering

connecT The M12

3 5 Albion St, Pendlebury Ind. Estate Swinton, Manchester, M27 4FG Phone 0161 728 3133

Date Announced For UKIVA Machine Vision Conference and Exhibition 2018 The UKIVA is delighted to announce that its next Machine Vision Conference and Exhibition will be held on Wednesday 16 th May 2018 at Arena MK, Milton Keynes, UK. It will follow a similar format to the highly successful inaugural event held in 2017, which attracted more than 300 visitors.


esigned to provide an educational experience, the Machine Vision Conference and Exhibition will once again feature a comprehensive program of technical seminars across multiple presentation theatres. This will be supported by an exhibition of the latest vision technology and services from the leading companies in the world of vision. Paul Wilson, UKIVA Chairman, commented: “The date for the 2018 event was only announced at the recent PPMA Show, held right at the end of September. We already have 25 companies signed up for the exhibition, including several who are not UKIVA members. This year we had 57 exhibitors, so this early take up suggests that we are on track for an even bigger exhibition component in 2018. Key to the success of this year’s event, however, was the educational seminar program, which ran throughout the day,”

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he continued. “Visitors could choose their own timetable from 56 presentations held in 7 themed presentation theatres. The program was carefully designed to cover a wide range of topics and provide interest both for newcomers to vision and to highly experienced vision users and engineers. By co-locating the exhibition with the presentation theatre area, it was easy for attendees to switch between the seminar sessions and exhibition according to their own personal schedule. This format also provided excellent opportunities for networking between presenters, exhibitors and other visitors.” Keynote speakers for 2018 will be announced in due course, and the full seminar program will be published early in 2018 at Companies interested in exhibiting at this event should contact Chris Valdes: +44 (0)20 8773 5517 (

From sensor to SAP IO-Link from ifm electronic connects smart sensors to your field bus and beyond • • • •

Correct process value – Digital transmission of the measured value; 23.3° at the sensor = 23.3° at the PLC without conversion losses. Stable signal - Data transfer uses an interference-free 24 V signal. Screened cables and analogue input cards belong in the past. Error-free set-up and operation - set devices remotely and disable potentiometers or pushbuttons; change recipe easily. Device identification – interrogate device to ensure correct type; prevent down time due to incorrect unit. ifm Telephone (020) 8213 1111

The Machinery Management People (TMMP) Welcome to the UK’s largest independent machinery management company- Having lived and breathed engineering for over 40 years, working with leading OEM’s, machine tool agents and end users to create and build the ‘go to’ place for machinery purchase, sales and engineering support. The Machinery Management People offer you a total machinery management service that allows you to buy, sell, repair, maintain or service your machinery, all in just one place! Customer service sits at the heart of The Machinery Management People who believe buyers, sellers and owners of machinery and equipment should get not only the fairest price but best service no matter where they sit in the ownership of equipment. Our support services for collection, delivery and installation plus ongoing management, not only give confidence in the purchase but also for the long-term ownership. Our services can be broken down into two key areas industry leading trade platform and our machinery support services.

We supply machinery support services offering customers: •

Breakdown & Repair Services- You can count on our extensive support to help maintain your equipment and to be there when you really need us. With optional guaranteed response times, maintenance support packages we’re here to help.

Manufacturing Support ServicesWe offer a bespoke manufacturing support service, tailored to organisational improvement and efficiency. Delivering increased outputs and importantly ongoing cost savings. These services offer manufacturing businesses: •

Business Improvement Analysis and Implementation

Ongoing Training and Support for all employees

Assessment, support and any remedial works for all Legislative Requirements

Responsive engineers to attend all Machinery Servicing and Support

Our online trade platform offers:•

Sell Your Unwanted/Unused Machinery- sell your surplus machinery for FREE and receive more of the assets true market value than that of trade-in, dealer or auction sale. You are able to ‘list your items’ independently via the simple online upload or through an ‘assisted’ or ‘fully managed’ listing service, with a dedicated team to support you as needed. Buy Pre-Owned Machinery- Buyers have immediate purchasing ‘peace of mind’ with our optional Management Services, which include; collection, transport, install and long term ownership support. The Machinery Management Team are on hand to help you as needed.

For a FREE market valuation of your machinery please telephone or email us at any time – remember it’s your asset so why not get its true value? 8 - Automation Update

Give your machinery the best treatment with regular expert maintenance from TMMP, call us today on 0333 202 0850 or send us your details to

Seven machine HD VMC range launched by XYZ Machine Tools

The ongoing development of its machine range continues at XYZ Machine Tools with the announcement of the arrival of its seven machine HD (Heavy-Duty) range of vertical machining centres. These new machines supersede the previous range of box-slideway machines in the XYZ range and compliment the new Linear Rail machines that have been added to its catalogue. The XYZ HD range will allow maximum metal removal rates thanks to their solid Meehanite cast beds and columns, along with induction hardened, ground and Turcite-coated box slideways. With X-axis travels ranging from 660 mm through to 3000 mm there is a machine in the range to suit a majority of machining applications across a variety of industry sectors. The range starts with the XYZ 660 HD which features increased X and Y travels over its predecessor of 660 mm and 450 mm, yet retains a compact footprint making it ideal for most machine shops. The other machines in the range are the XYZ 800 HD, 1100 HD, 1510 HD, with three ‘super-heavyweight’ machines, the XYZ 2010, 2510 and 3010 HD completing the range. The four smaller HD machines all feature increased axis travels, as well as increased spindle power where it was deemed necessary. For example, the XYZ 660 now has a 25 kW spindle, an increase of 123 per cent over its predecessor. Spindle speed is also improved by 25 per cent to 10,000 revs/min, with other machines in the range gaining around 66 per cent extra spindle power. As with all machines from XYZ Machine Tools, the HD range is well specified, using the Siemens 828D ShopMill control with 15inch touch screen fitted as standard, with the control pendant-mounted on several machines in the range for further ease of use. In addition to the standard specification across the range users have a series of options, such as 4th and 5th axis attachments, swarf conveyors and on-machine tool and workpiece probing. “With our decision to add linear rail machines to our range in 2017 the opportunity to upgrade our HD machines was one that we did not want to miss. This new range sees performance and productivity enhanced, while maintaining the XYZ reputation of value for money. With the HD machines now in place we have a solution for every metalcutting application, from those company’s making their first steps into CNC machining with a ProtoTRAK controlled lathe or mill, through machining and turning centres to the flagship of the XYZ range the UMC-5X Gantry-style five-axis machining centre. Of course, XYZ now extends beyond the world of metalcutting with our partnership with Hewlett Packard and HP Jet Fusion 3D printing technology,” says Nigel Atherton, Managing Director, XYZ Machine Tools.

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Maintaining an ideal atmosphere in panels & enclosures is key to preventing corrosion. STEGO the specialist for Thermal Management provides a solution to this problem: The Electronic Thermostat DCT 010 offers high usability and variability.

Thermostat with integrated switching function The Electronic Thermostat DCT 010 with integrated switching module is used to control high-performance electrical DC devices in switch cabinets. Heating and cooling devices, filter fans or signal heads can be controlled directly via the internal electronic switching circuit. Precise temperature measurement is achieved by placing the external sensor freely within the control cabinet. The setting range is 60 °C, available in two versions: -10 to +50 °C and 0 to +60 °C. The DCT 010 is designed for a wide voltage range from DC 20 to 56 V.

Thermostat with additional function The switching module of the DCT 010 is available in versions as normally open (NO) contact, for example for controlling filter fans and also in versions as normally closed (NC) contact, for example for controlling heaters. In addition, the NC versions offer a secondary switching function which monitors humidity of the ambient air. The proven threshold value of 65% relative humidity is fixed. This setup protects sensitive electronics even better against corrosion.

response times and reliable switching of high DC power. The lifetime expectancy exceeds 100,000 switching cycles. The needs of the technical staff for installation and wiring were also taken into account. The DCT 010 is safely and quickly placed on DIN rails via DIN Clip. The electrical connection is tool free. A 6-pin push-in terminal efficiently takes up cables with cross-sections up to 2.5 mm2. The external sensor facilitates exact measurement and decouples disturbing influences. Its cable length of 2 m with snap-in connector allows for individual placement via screw or clip attachment. An LED light indicates the functional status. STEGO’s new Electronic Thermostat is rated with protection class IP20, and carries the EAC mark. Approvals from VDE and UL round off the specification of the DCF 010 comprehensively.

Proven and user-friendly The STEGO DC Line of products - such as the Electronic Thermostat DCT 010, the Switching Module DCM 010 and the Electronic Hygrostat DCF 010 - were developed simultaneously on one platform and therefore share high quality features. The redundant design with high-quality MOSFET technology ensures maximum reliability, short Automation Update - 11

Got MODBUS? Then get the Internet of Things on us! If your product or equipment already has Modbus, then the NanoULTRA from Caption Data gives you the immediate ability to join them to the Internet of Things. From single units to 1000’s of units, with on line & real time control through the CDL SmartHub™ rental fleet of products, speeding up commissioning and reducing complaints Every NanoULTRA will appear as a pin marker on your own SmartHub portal as soon as it is powered up. From the SmartHub you can name individual units, manage the MODBUS registers to poll, set alarm thresholds and monitoring frequencies, add users and alarm recipients, monitor audit trails, download data and graphics, etc.

We have clients around the world using the NanoULTRA in their thousands to manage products with Modbus and increase value, for example: •

A Leading global Air Processing OEM uses the NanoULTRA on products throughout Europe Middle East and Asia, to manage customer SLA’s

A Leading US/UK water instrumentation company use the NanoULTRA in challenging field locations to give their clients real time data on Smart Water Grids

A Leading maker of UPS systems use the product to provide award winning levels of service to their customers

A Leading maker of chillers uses the NanoULTRA to manage their

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The SmartHub is available with no software to load via any internet device via any browser.

So how does it work? The NanoULTRA is pre-configured to handle MODBUS. So the unit can be polling your chosen MODBUS registers in no time, using its on board intelligence to compare high and low thresholds. It will report in via its own secure GSM modem at user defined intervals, as well as any time a threshold is breached, so you can monitor assets via your own personal dashboard.

See at a glance if all is as it should be, and drill down into any unit to see detailed data and make informed decisions in real time.

Modbus configuration in brief •

Quickly create new modus data maps for new controllers/ instruments/PLC’s

Add virtually unlimited Modbus registers to these controllers

Choose to read or write to registers allowing you to control set points on remote equipment

Poll up to four Modbus slaves each with different register sets

Read more technical details of our Modbus solutions HERE

Tel +44 (0) 1905 754078 Email


Joins Forces With “Strategic Outsourcing Specialist”

WAGO, the automation, interconnection and electrical interface specialist, has agreed a deal to supply components to PP Control & Automation for use in their electrical assemblies. The agreement is the latest in a series of new supplier partnerships struck by WAGO. As one of the global leaders in electrical control systems, cable harnesses and sub-contract manufacturing solutions, PP Control & Automation serves building services, food and beverage, medical, energy, security, semiconductor manufacturing, printing and others. Customers are increasingly demanding more complex machines with shorter lead times. “Production capacity of particular machine configurations often has to be ramped up and ramped down at short notice. For this reason, the company needs suppliers that it can trust to provide reliable components to specification in a short space of time,” says Tony Hague, managing director of PP Control & Automation. WAGO, whose interconnection and automation products provide the backbone for critical applications are supplying DIN rail-mounted terminal blocks, power supplies, electronic circuit breakers, and automation controllers and modules. “Customers require a higher degree of configuration than ever before,” continues Hague, “And it’s up to us to provide exactly what they need. Things can move quickly in industry, and the increasing need for agility means that good product design and effective specification at component level are critical. Even the


highest standards of workmanship can’t save you from inferior components, which is why partnerships with suppliers like WAGO are so important to us. “In every case PP Control & Automation recommends and makes use of CAGE CLAMP® technology and the security of connection that it provides. We have already, on a number of occasions, replaced more traditional screw clamp connections with CAGE CLAMP, and our customers have seen an immediate and significant improvement in connection reliability.” Tony Hoyle, managing director, WAGO Limited, adds; “We are always pleased to know that industry-leading OEMs such as PP Control & Automation choose WAGO products, and it demonstrates the high regard in which we are held within the market. A major benefit for us is that customers who may not ordinarily have specified WAGO get to see just what our products are capable of.” WAGO Limited T: 01788 568 008 W: E:

New installation redefines productivity levels at food packhouse A new automated palletising solution from Pacepacker Services is delivering significant productivity, efficiency and throughput gains at Nottingham-based food packaging company, The Sherwood Group. Replacing a manual operation, the new end-of-line packaging technology has been installed as part of an ongoing modernisation and automation programme. Utilising a FANUC M410iC/185 robot capable of 1,700 cycles per minute with a 185 kg payload, the installation accurately, neatly and efficiently packs a huge variety of different case sizes. Harnessing the latest advances in servo technology, the robot’s 3.143m reach allows it to service two cells effortlessly. Coupled with Pacepacker Services’ new Pallet+ packaging software and technology, the new packing cell can call upon various pre-programmed recipes to stack two pallets at a time with different products arriving from two different gluing lines. The solution has proved so efficient that The Sherwood Group is looking to invest in new automated pre-feeders to keep pace with the capacity and throughput of the palletiser, plus a second palletising cell. “Our food packaging segment is growing 25% per annum,” explains Graham Garrod, Operations Director at The Sherwood Group. “As a result of this we have been examining our production and packaging capabilities, looking to invest in technology that will not only handle the increased throughput, but also offer the agility needed for increased order variations.”

The new FANUC M410iC/185 robot in operation at The Sherwood Group to accurately, neatly and efficiently pack a huge variety of different case sizes

Describing the previous manual packaging system as incredibly labour intensive, Graham elaborates on the benefits of deploying specialist packaging software that calculates the product size and how many packs can be inserted into a particular carton size without it getting too heavy. “Our staff define the optimum size of carton and optimum number of cartons per pallet and then program the robot to place them on the pallet. We use SP numbers to identify a particular outer carton for a certain product. Feeding this into the robot’s controller we programme the robot to efficiently stack the cartons, before saving the routine a packaging recipe. “The Pacepacker solution with the FANUC robot certainly does what it says on the tin,” Graham concludes. “It has performed to our expectation, without any disappointment or dissatisfaction.” Having reviewed the upstream processes, the deployment of a second palletising cell will give The Sherwood Group scope to add a fourth gluing line and increase its end-of-line packaging capacity, he notes. 14 - Automation Update

By harnessing the latest advances in servo technology, the robot delivers best-in-class performance on every front: speed, payload, energyefficiency and reach

Multi-everything enters food inspection world Food manufacturers operate in a world of multi-platform, multi-sites, multi-brands, multi-revenue, and even multi-business models. Phil Brown, Managing Director of metal detection specialist Fortress Technology Europe looks into some of the ‘multi’ terminology being used in the inspection marketplace. Multi-checkpoints


HACCP guidance states that critical control points (CCPs) should be located at any step where hazards can be prevented, eliminated, or reduced to acceptable levels. Some may insert more than one metal detector between the beginning and end of the production and packing process. Checkpoints should correspond to the identified CCPs, depending on the predominant risks.

Food metal detectors generally have three technology options - fixed frequency, multi-frequency and simultaneous frequency. A single tuned fixed frequency device is used when consistently inspecting the same product, e.g. samesized butter portions. Multifrequency metal detectors perform well on a range of products, with the machine dialling into a select menu of frequencies. However, sensitivity and performance may be compromised. With simultaneous frequency used on Fortress’ Interceptor range, two frequencies operate at the same time, helping to deliver higher sensitivity and hugely reducing product effect. This technology is ideal for wet products that vary in size and density, e.g. meat cuts. Multi-memory

Checking incoming raw ingredients can increase the likelihood of identifying metal contaminants in larger forms, saving businesses from recalling an entire batch of product.

Cost of product at each checkpoint needs to be factored in. If inspection is pushed solely to the end of the line, any contamination will be caught at the most expensive part of the production process. Checking incoming raw ingredients can increase the likelihood of identifying a metal contaminant in its larger form, rather than it being processed and potentially contaminating an entire product batch.

To increase speed and ease of set up, plus eliminate human error, food inspection metal detectors might feature preprogrammed settings that operatives can select from. Alternatively, user-friendly features like automatic single pass learning and calibration can deliver accurate metal detection set-up within seconds. Multi-heads Widely used in weighing systems integrated with metal inspection systems, up to 20 weighing heads can be found on gravity systems where free flowing products, like snacks are bagged and inspected. Fitted beneath

the checkweigher chamber a single metal detector head works independently inspecting for contaminants. The weighing system and metal detector may share a single user interface.

Phil Brown, Managing Director at Fortress Technology

Multi-lane/multi-aperture Many of today’s food factories are working around legacy equipment and have severe spatial limitations, making compact a prime consideration. To save footprint, manufacturers can channel multiple lanes through a single metal detector. However, larger apertures mean sensitivity is sacrificed and higher false rejects. Positioning individual metal detectors over each lane means more systems to maintain. The Fortress alternative multi-aperture technology - comprises multiple lanes travelling through a single search head, inspecting and independently auto-rejecting packs. Each aperture is smaller, coping better with orientation and product effect. Consolidating this multi-aperture technology into one unit cuts equipment footprint by over 50% compared to five individual metal detectors, saves around 17% of installation cost, and up to 65% of TCO with reduced maintenance and parts requirements.

Automatic single pass learning and calibration can deliver accurate metal detection set-up within seconds

Shards of metal, still the most likely contaminant in food processing, can find its way into products at many stages

Fortress remains the only known company to offer a multi-aperture, multi-lane metal detector configuration, with ability to monitor performance remotely across multiple sites

“Managed well, multieverything technology can boost operational effectiveness and make a business more responsive,” notes Phil. Automation Update - 15

SICK Rethinks the Optical Sensor SICK has revealed its most radical upgrade of optical sensor technology for many years, in response to extensive feedback from customers. SICK’s UK Product Manager for Presence Detection, David Hannaby explains how the highflying W16 and W26 photoelectric sensors with “BluePilot” alignment got ready for a dramatic take-off. Where would you begin if you had to completely rethink the optical sensor? What would be top of your wish list? When SICK consulted users of photoelectric sensors all over the world and asked them what they considered most important to the future development of object detection, the answer we got was a little surprising… You might have expected users to insist, above all, on robust reliability and maximum availability or that Industry 4.0-ready smart sensing would be their future goal. But these were not top of their list. What our customers really demanded was simple selection, quick configuration and ease of use – this was their ‘dream ticket’ to an easier, more efficient and productive working life whatever their industry, from automotive to food processing, from machining to timber manufacture.

Then, we realised our customers already took it for granted that SICK sensors would deliver robust performance every time. However, all the great technological advancements and incremental improvements that sensing technology has enjoyed in recent years have had the unintended consequence that there are now many different products to select from, many different ways to set up, align and program sensors, with different designs, detection types, LED displays and light spots. So, at SICK we decided to set out on a journey towards simplification of our optical sensor range. We developed the new, easy-operating concepts our customers wanted, as well as bringing together all of SICK’s leading optical sensing technologies. The result is the SICK W16 and W26 smart sensors with “BluePilot” alignment. The radically-upgraded family of sensors are at the helm of a new streamlined portfolio which optimises ease-of-use while achieving complete detection reliability. The new proximity, reflex and through-beam photoelectric sensors will be manufactured at a purpose-built, fully-automated production facility in southern Germany. They mark the culmination of a two-year, €multi-million research and development project involving extensive consultation with SICK customers worldwide.

BluePilot Alignment The first and most significant development is SICK’s BluePilot assistant. Sensor applications that use a reflector, or a transmitter and receiver, need careful adjustment to ensure optimal alignment - tricky especially over longer distances. 16 - Automation Update

as bottles and plastic trays. Intuitive mode selection on the device make it easy to set up the sensor according to the characteristics of object to be detected. •

With SICK’s revolutionary OptoFilter technology onboard, the sensors are immune to interference from unwanted light sources and reflections, including LED lighting, hi-viz safety workwear or reflections from machinery.

SICK’s AutoAdapt function means if the reflector or the front screen of the sensor becomes contaminated, the photoelectric sensor automatically adjusts its switching thresholds for reliable detection.

Bluetooth Communication A new industry-first in-built Bluetooth wireless option also allows easy monitoring and advanced commissioning from smart phones or tablets.

Smart Sensors Finally, the new streamlined portfolio incorporates IO-link two-way communication as standard on all devices. These Industry 4.0 ready sensors therefore offer rapid set up and plug-and-play replacement. The IO-link connection also enables each sensor to be located and its diagnostics made visible to the control system, so maintenance can be planned and any faults addressed immediately.

The Future of Sensing If the light spot is not in the correct position it could lead to production failures or stoppages. The BluePilot assistant uses a line of five LEDs mounted on the top of the sensor for quick, easy and accurate alignment of the light spot even over long distances. The blue LEDs also provide an ongoing status indication to verify that the sensor is still in alignment. Thus, both set-up and maintenance time is minimised.

Best-in-Class Optics

The W16 and W26 sensors represent the future of sensing. Easy to set up and maintain, they all work in the same way, with the same design, to save time and costs. Any detection challenges are handled easily, every time, no matter what the manufacturing conditions. For more information on SICK’s W16 and W26 sensors, contact Andrea Hornby on 01727 831121 or email

Next, we looked for the best technologies in our existing photoelectric sensing ranges and developed new technologies alongside them. We incorporated them in the new W16 and W26 family to deliver the best of all worlds. •

SICK’s patented Twin-Eye technology achieves reliable detection for reflective materials such as films, foils, contrast-rich or uneven surfaces. The TwinEye’s unique second receiving channel builds in high process stability reducing the risk of false or missed signals due to deflections of the light beam.

SICK has incorporated LineSpot linear optics to provide highly-reliable detection where the object has mesh, perforations, integral gaps or breaks.

SICK ClearSens optical filter technology makes light work of semi-transparent and transparent objects, such Automation Update - 17

Lasers - Cutting Through The Choices There is little doubt that lasers have become a firmly established production tool for cutting within many industries and applications. Choosing the correct laser cutter however can seem like a daunting task, especially for those planning to use the technology for the first time. In addition, even although lasers have been mainstream for many years, there are still issues with incorrect perceptions and assumptions surrounding the technology. In this article, TLM Laser’s Andy Toms discusses the different laser types, applications and materials, reinforcing the fact that there is no “one size fits all” approach to laser cutting.


ven in our technologically enlightened age, it is still possible to hear the phrase “a laser is just a laser – right?” Whilst the term laser does apply to all variants, the differences between types of lasers, their capabilities and how and where they are applied are vast, requiring careful consideration by prospective purchasers. Laser cutting systems can be found in areas as diverse as school technology laboratories and high volume, state of the art manufacturing sites. The lasers used at these extremes of the application range are very different, as are the materials that they are likely to be expected to process. For those who have been cutting wood, fabrics or plastic on a small desktop flatbed laser system, it is more than just a leap of faith to decide to move into metal cutting, there is a subsequent leap in technology and cost.

18 - Automation Update

Today, the two main technology choices for cutting metal are CO2 or Fiber lasers. The decision on which to select will be based upon a number of factors, including the types of metal to be cut and material thickness. A further consideration however, is the type of work to be undertaken by the laser. For example, sub-contractors and job shops need high levels of flexibility, due to the potentially wide range of products, and material thicknesses they are likely to encounter, where as an OEM may have a well defined range of regular products of similar material and section, at higher volumes, therefore requiring a more focused approach. The differences here mean that in certain instances, the sub-contractor may decide that a CO2 laser, with its capability to cut thicker material, might be better overall. The advantages of the CO2 laser when compared with the Fiber alternative, mainly relate to the cutting speed when processing thicker materials, typically above 8 mm. In these instances, the CO2 machine is faster in a straight line cut and also has the advantage of a smoother surface finish when cutting thicker materials. So, if a subcontractor is to have just a single laser, and they are being asked to cover a wide range of medium to thick material sections, perhaps

a CO2 laser might be their preferred choice. In practice however, a number of sub-contract companies employ both technologies, allowing them to select and take advantage of, the most appropriate laser for each application. The OEM on the other hand may choose the Fiber laser system, which will deliver higher cutting speeds, especially on thinner materials. Typical estimates show a fiber laser cutting 1 mm thick steel will be approximately 3.5 times faster than an equivalently powered CO2 system. Fiber lasers are also able to process reflective materials without fear of damaging the system, meaning that brass, aluminium and copper, as well as traditional steels and alloys, can be safely cut by the laser. Fiber lasers do not have any moving parts or mirrors etc. therefore they require much less maintenance. They also have significantly higher levels of electrical efficiency, making them much less expensive to run. The IPG Fiber lasers, distributed in the UK and Ireland by TLM Laser, typically use 70% less electrical energy than traditional CO2 alternatives in metal cutting applications.

Small Footprint Does Not Necessarily Mean Small Price There are some perceptions that there is a correlation between the physical size of the laser system…

>>> Read more on Engineering Update


March 2018

25-27 SEPT 2018 NEC, BirmiNgham

FREE TO ATTEND REGISTER NOw! THE UK’S LEADING PRODUCTION LINE EVENT See the latest processing and packaging machinery in action, network with industry peers and gain valuable insight at our must attend seminars. proCEssiNg & paCkagiNg maChiNEry 42| matErials i roBots i iNdustrial VisioN

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