Machine Vision

Fast and Accurate Laser Triangulation Sensors with Ethercat/Ethernet

Laser Sensors for High-precision Distance Measurement

19.09.2022 - For exact distance measurements, laser triangulation sensors are the means of choice. For direct integration into the manufacturing environment, one manufacturer now presents laser sensors with Ethercat and Ethernet/IP interfaces. This combines precision and integrability in a very compact sensor.

Measuring sensors used in factory and plant automation must meet numerous requirements. In addition to accuracy, high measurement and processing speeds, as well as measurement results that are as ­reproducible as possible, are required. There is an increasing demand for modern interfaces that allow easy integration into existing control environments. The cost-effective laser sensors enable accurate displacement, distance and position measurements in a wide range of measurement tasks.

Precision and Flexibility for Line Applications

With the introduction of the new Opto NCDT 1900 laser triangulation sensor with Ethercat, Micro-Epsilon offers a powerful solution for use in factory and plant automation.

The latest models are now equipped with an integrated Ethernet/IP interface enabling easy integration of Micro-Epsilon sensors into Industrial Ethernet control systems. This offers advantages especially in high-speed processes and in the networking of several devices and machines. Integration via Ethercat or Ethernet/IP facilitates communication, especially in modern plants. Thanks to direct data output, the measured values are available in real time. An oversampling function also contributes to fast acquisition of measurement values.

Highest Signal Stability for Dynamic Measurements

For the first time, the Opto NCDT 1900 sensors offer a two-step measurement value averaging feature to optimize the signal. The averaging enables a smooth signal at edges and steps while avoiding signal overshoots. This is particularly favorable for fast measure­ments of moving parts, as a precise signal curve is ensured.

Intelligent Control for Changing Surfaces

The Opto NCDT 1900 sensors are also equipped with intelligent surface control. The Advanced Surface Compensation feature operates with new algorithms and enables stable measurement results even on demanding surfaces. For example, if the target surfaces change from matt black to glossy or from light to dark, the smart technology ensures that the exposure time adapts to the conditions presented by the respective measuring object.
In order to determine the measured values, the laser sensor projects the red laser point with a wavelength of 670 nm onto the target. The laser light is reflected in a certain reflection angle and hits an optical system on the CMOS line in the sensor. With quickly changing objects from bright to dark, only a small amount of light would reach the receiving matrix without intelligent surface control. In contrast, the intensity would be too high when quickly changing from dark surfaces to shiny objects. In both cases, the result would be inaccurate or even useless. Therefore, the Advanced Surface Compensation regulates the exposure time, and also the intensity of the light emitted during the measurement task in such a way that the reflection on the CMOS line is in the perfect range. Then the sensor calculates the distance values with micron accuracy via the three-point relationship between the laser diode, the measuring position on the object and the depiction on the CCD line. The values determined can be fed into the plant and machine control system as analog or digital output signals via the fieldbus interfaces. The sensor is also extremely resistant to ambient light and can be used in highly illuminated environments.

Simple Mounting and Initial Operation

For reproducible mounting, the Opto NCDT 1900 is based on a patented mounting concept. Mounting is achieved via fitting sleeves that automatically align the sensor to the correct position. This enables both easy sensor replacement and even more accurate laser alignment. This is a decisive advantage, particularly when replacing sensors. No external control unit is required to operate the sensor, as the controller is completely integrated in the compact sensor housing. Due to its small dimensions, the laser sensor can also be integrated in confined spaces.

Application Diversity in Factory and Plant Automation

The innovative laser triangulation sensors are used wherever high demands are made on precision and ease of integration. The sensors are used, for example, in sophisticated factory automation, automotive manufacturing, 3D printing and measuring machines.

High-resolution Fine Positioning when Printing PCBs

In printing, soldering and assembly processes of printed circuit boards, the exact height positioning of the print head is crucial for a flawless process. Opto NCDT laser sensors enable precise positioning of the print head. Regardless of surface reflections, these sensors provide precise measurement results which are used to adjust the height and to detect the edges.

Positioning Gauge Heads in Measuring Machines

Coordinate measuring machines are often used to measure components. Opto NCDT laser triangulation sensors are used to ­position sensor heads quickly. Thanks to their advanced technology, the laser sensors enable fast and accurate positioning of the sensor head.

Measuring the Wear of High-speed Railway Lines

For the inspection of high-speed railway lines, special measurement wagons are used. They are equipped with Opto NCDT 1900LL laser displacement sensors, which detect the distance to the track at a high measuring rate. Their small laser line compensates for irregularities to generate smoothed measurement value curves. This is particularly suitable for determining the longitudinal trend of the rails. These robust sensors are insensitive to fluctuating reflections and ambient light.

Position Detection of the Car Body

For automated processing of car bodies, an exact determination of the car body position relative to the machining tool is necessary for e. g. drilling, punching or mounting of assemblies. For high precision distance measurement onto metallic or painted surfaces, laser triangulation sensors are used. Here, their insensitivity to ambient light and their high measurement accuracy in particular are decisive advantages.

Conclusion

The Opto NCDT 1900 laser triangulation sensors with Ethercat or Ethernet/IP offer maximum surface diversity with the highest signal stability. The combination of high measuring rate, extremely compact size with integrated electronics and extremely high measurement accuracy allows numerous fields of application. Predefined and individual presets in the web interface as well as fitting sleeves for mounting, allow a quick and easy commissioning with correct alignment of the sensor. For flexible connection to controllers, the Opto NCDT 1900 sensors also have an integrated Ethercat or Ethernet/IP interface. They are used, among other things, in automation technology, automotive manufacturing, 3D printing, coordinate measuring machines, injection molding, packaging and CNC machines, the battery industry, smartphone production, robot applications, and wood processing.

Author
Erich Winkler
Product Manager

 

Contact

Micro-Epsilon Messtechnik GmbH & Co. KG

Königbacher Strasse 15
94496 Ortenburg
Germany

+49 8542 168 0
+49 8542 168 90

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