Basics of Automation > Fundamentals of Automation
Basics of Automation

Man as a paradigm for automation

A machine works – to put it simply – like a person. Just as we humans perceive our surroundings using our sensory organs, a machine detects its environment using sensors, devices and distance measurement systems. The machine continually picks up signals and sends them over the network to the controller. The controller interprets them as input signals and sends them as output signals to the actuators. For example to valves, drives or stack lights which in turn trigger an action and set the machine in motion.

Our body and its technical counterpart

A machine is the technical counterpart to the human body:

  • Sense of sight, taste, smell, touch – Vision, pressure, photoelectric, inductive, capacitive sensor, position/distance measurement system
  • Sense of hearing – RFID read head, ultrasonic sensor
  • Nerves – Network, cable, connector
  • Brain – Controller, PLC
  • Language – RFID read head, horn, SmartLight
  • Muscles – Valve, drive, motor, stack light, horn

Suitable Products

Photoelectric sensors from Balluff
Photoelectric sensor for object detection using light/laser
Pressure sensors from Balluff
Pressure sensor for detecting pressure in liquids and gases
Network modules from Balluff
Network module for connecting to the controller
Valve terminal connectors from Balluff
Valve connector for linking values to the controller

Topic overview:

Function, construction and technologies of sensors
Electrical wiring of sensors
Difference between switching and measuring sensors
Resolution, non-linearity and accuracy
Powering sensors