Machine Design

Optical fibers keep an eye on sensor connections

With Omron's new E3X-DA-N digital fiber-optic amplifier, up to 16 sensors can be easily stacked together.

With this setup, a "master" amplifier distributes power to "slave" amplifiers via a "master" connector. As a result, the power lines that each slave amplifier normally requires are eliminated, minimizing wiring and reducing wiring time. A detachable connector design eases maintenance in that typically, users not only have to remove the sensor, but also disconnect the output wires. With the new design, users can simply detach the amplifier without disturbing the output wiring and fiber optics. Further, the amplifiers can be used with more than 60 types of fibers. With built-in mutual interference circuitry and an optical communications, up to 10 amplifiers can be closely mounted without mutual interference.

After some time, LEDs degrade and conventional sensors need their threshold points readjusted to ensure proper detection. With the new amplifier's APC circuit, however, users no longer need to readjust the sensor's threshold point, says Omron. The APC continuously monitors the LED's light intensity level. When it detects a reduction in the LED's light incident level, it supplies current to offset the reduction so that the incident level remains constant. A monitor-focus feature increases the sensor's resolution by defining the upper and lower limits of the incident level.

The E3X-DA-N senses an object on a conveyor line.

Moreover, because some locations are dangerous for operators to adjust a sensor, the E3X-DA-N can be programmed with a remote control with either a 5 or 16-ft cable. Copy and paste functions duplicate settings from one amplifier to another easily. It also lets users upload various settings into the remote controller's 10 memory banks. With the remote-control programmer, the sensor's hysteresis can be adjusted for more accurate sensing. The programmer can also be used to activate a function lock, which locks and protects the sensor's settings.

In addition, users can create a simpler display by selecting the number of digits the amplifier should show, saving power that would otherwise be used displaying unnecessary digits. The digital display can also be set to dark to reduce current consumption.

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