Optical Sensor provides inspection and error proofing.

Press Release Summary:



Measuring 58 x 52 x 40 mm, Sharpshooter can be placed virtually anywhere photoelectric sensor can be mounted to provide part and product detection, part configuration, and dimensional and/or position confirmation. Unit includes built-in and lockable focus adjustment lens ring, as well as red LED ring light for image lighting. Configurable discrete I/O can be used to trigger sensor and external lighting, signal pass/fail status to external controls, and change internal operational jobs.



Original Press Release:



Balluff Introduces Sharpshooter, a New Class of Optical Sensor for Inspection and Error Proofing



Florence, KY (November 2007): Balluff has introduced a new class of sensors - an optical sensor - that fills the gap between conventional discrete sensors and vision systems. Sharpshooter is a true optical sensor that combines the flexibility of a vision system and the simplicity of a photoelectric sensor. It is not a simplified vision system; it's a sensor that uses vision technology to provide more powerful sensing capability. Sharpshooter's small size (58x52x40 mm) allows it to be placed virtually anywhere a photoelectric sensor can be mounted to provide reliable part and product detection, part configuration, and dimensional and/or position confirmation.

Sharpshooter makes an effective error proofing inspection tool. It can provide positive verification of product count, part inclusion or identification, product configuration, and label inclusion, plus verification of virtually any specific product feature. It can replace a more complex array of sensors, each typically only checking one aspect of the product. It is also useful when quality control and error proofing functions are necessary on parts or products that are presented in different attitudes or configurations.

Sharpshooter's compact size and simple hardware platform allows quick set up like a sensor allowing lower cost detection applications. Its built-in and lockable focus adjustment lens ring makes it easy to aim and focus. It has an integral red LED ring light for simple and dependable image lighting. Four projectable LED marks define the target area for fast and easy initial alignment of the camera image area.

Sharpshooter provides configurable discrete I/O that can be used to trigger the sensor and external lighting, signal pass/fail status to external controls, and change internal operational jobs. It also has an Ethernet TCP/IP port that is used for easy configuration via PC directly or over a network topology.

An easy to use and intuitive windows-based configuration GUI software uses a step-by-step configuration process to guide the user through the set-up process, including an interactive on-line help and a multiple image viewing buffer to identify optimum reference images for part location and measurement tool setup. The GUI software also includes emulation capability to allow users to set the device up off line for greater flexibility.

Background: A New Class of Sensor
Sensor suppliers are providing more sophisticated sensors and application techniques advancing up the curve towards vision solutions. Meanwhile vision providers are trying to expand down the curve towards the discrete sensor world. But instead of a crash of technologies, there is evolving a new stratum of technology that combines the best of both worlds. Now with the combination of a vision based imaging method, but a more simplified approach to its usage and configuration, a new breed of sensing is available to bridge this gap and eliminate the need for a user to make such a dramatic choice in technologies, expertise, capability and cost.

Simplified Vision Technology
These new vision products bridge the gap by providing a simple, practical and cost effective way to error proof production by simultaneously checking several aspects of the product with a single device that uses a simple configuration interface that can be learned quickly by in-house staff. New sensors with simplified algorithms driving multiple sensing options and simplified configuration interfaces provide more information than a single function "smart sensor" or a standard discrete sensor. At the same time, they avoid the traps of complex vision systems in cost, complexity, and needed expertise for achieving reliable error proofing.

Balluff Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Balluff GmbH, Neuhausen, Germany, is a leading manufacturer of a wide range of inductive, optical, capacitive and magnetic sensors as well as linear position transducers and ID systems. Balluff products for OEM and factory floor solutions are used to control, regulate, automate, assemble, position, and monitor manufacturing, assembly, and packaging sequences for industries including metalworking, automotive, plastics, material handling, wood processing, aerospace, electrical, and electronics.

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