Sensors > Photoelectric sensors
Optoelectronic sensors

Impressive specialist sensors that check for presence, shape, colour, distance and thickness

Photoelectric sensors check presence, shape, colour, distance, and thickness - optimised for robotics, automation, assembly, and handling. They are real experts with various strengths: detecting and counting parts, monitoring stack heights, through-glass detection, aligning small parts, detecting marks, fill level detection, and much more!

The wide Balluff spectrum offers every light type, whether red light, infrared or laser technology, in different ranges. With and without background suppression. Various designs – also in mini version – ensure a wide variety of possible applications. Our photoelectric sensors are optimized for robotics, automation, installation and handling.


  • Part recognition and counting
  • Stack height monitoring
  • Detection through glass
  • Small parts detection
  • Brand recognition
  • Fill level detection and much more

Product families

Standard sensors

Versatile, proven solutions for reliable detection

Photoelectric standard sensors

Photoelectric sensors check presence, shape, colour, distance, and thickness - optimised for robotics, automation, assembly, and handling. They are real experts with various strengths: detecting and counting parts, monitoring stack heights, through-glass detection, aligning small parts, detecting marks, fill level detection, and much more!

Through-beam sensors

  • Ideal for positioning tasks with excellent repeatability
  • Large functional reserve, very resistant to dirt
  • Reliable recognition independent of surface, colour or material – recognizes even very reflective objects
  • Ideal for long ranges
  • Transmitter and receiver in separate housings

Retroreflective sensors

  • Simple alignment by generous mounting tolerances
  • Large reflectors for long ranges
  • Reliable detection independent of surface, colour or material
  • Also with a polarity filter suitable for detecting shiny objects
  • Only one electrical device plus reflector to be mounted

Diffuse sensor

  • Ideal for recognition of contrast variations, as recognition is dependent upon surface, colour and material
  • Economical and easy to mount and align
  • Shorter ranges as compared to retroreflective and through-beam sensors
  • Only one device to mount

Diffuse sensor with background suppression

  • Reliable recognition that is virtually independent of surface, colour and material – also suitable for the recognition of objects in front of a very close background, also for dark objects in front of a light background
  • Almost constant pulse width even with different reflectance
  • Only one electrical device
Colour sensors

Reliably determine colour and contrast

Colour sensor

Colour sensors open up a wide range of various applications, such as in the packaging industry, robotics, automation, quality assurance or in the process industry.

Automated processes can be simplified and accelerated using the versatile colour sensors for detecting colour nuances in carpets and textiles or for colour markings on packagings or labels.

The Balluff series of colour sensors operate using pulsed white light, making them particularly insensitive to ambient light. The light reflected back from the object is received and processed by three different receivers (red, green, blue).

The various light spot geometry configurations of the respective sensors (round, rectangular or square) can reliably detect even the smallest colour markings.

Numerous special functions such as colour scanning, pulse expansion and blanking input provide additional application flexibility.


  • High switching frequency
  • With or without display
  • Robust and industrial grade
  • High ranges of up to 400 mm thanks to a strong white light
  • Optionally with IO-Link interface for simple parameterization
  • Differentiation between any number of objects (255 can be learned)
  • High colour resolution
  • Application-specific parameterization
Fork sensors

Through-beam light barriers offer clear advantages

Fork sensors

Above all, fork light barriers are unbeatable when it comes to operational reliability and precision. Since the transmitter and receiver are in a single housing, assembly and adjustment efforts are low and safe processes are ensured

In terms of precision, Balluff's fork sensors are unrivaled for small-component and detail recognition as well as operational reliability. You can achieve the best results with our laser fork sensors – in particular when it comes to precise positioning as well as with secure detection of fast movement sequences and small parts. For example, in robotics and automation.

Our comprehensive portfolio also offers you reliable solutions for difficult applications. Or for special applications like transparency recognition, water detection and web edge control.

The features

  • Different light types (red light, infrared, Laser)
  • Robust metal housing
  • Simple alignment to the object
  • High optical resolution and repeatability
  • Fork widths from 5…220 mm standardized mounting holes
  • Identical mechanical and optical axes
  • High process reliability as the transmitter and receiver are firmly aligned with each other
  • Spare time and expense – only one electrical connection is required
Fork sensors
Counting transparent bottles with the BGL for transparent detection.
Contrast sensor

For fast and reliable print mark detection

Contrast sensor

Contrast sensors are high-resolution light sensors that distinguish between objects on the basis of their greyscale values. Hence, colour, brightness, and glow have a strong effect on measurement results. In the case of minor differences in greyscale values, a constant measuring distance must be ensured. The sensor resolution decreases as the sensing range increases. Several ranges with different light types and functions are available to enable a diverse field of use for these sensors.


  • For fast processes thanks to highly accurate switching – high switching frequency up to 30 kHz
  • Different light types (laser/red/green/blue or white light)
  • Large ranges with laser
  • Clearly visible light points for easy alignment
  • External Teach-in possible
  • Also available with analog output signal
  • Available with or without display
  • Different models for different applications
Contrast sensor
Multiple series with various light types and functions are available for a multitude of uses.
Light band

Identify parts, determine positions and count objects with high precision

Light band

If various objects have to be identified in production, when packaging or in quality control, the new high-resolution Light band BLA is ideal. Because it identifies, compares or sorts objects based on minimum size or height differences. The intuitively operated device can be put into operation easily. It consists of a high-performance red-light laser and a receiver and operates entirely on its own. It does not need any other accessories such as a controller, a computer or special software. The range encompasses up to 2 m. The consistent and well visible lighting strip provides an excellent resolution of 0.01 mm.


  • Robust metal housing for stable mounting and precise alignment
  • 50-mm wide light band
  • Up to 2 m distance between transmitter and receiver
  • Excellent resolution from 0.01 mm
  • Two freely configured analogue outputs
  • Three programmable digital outputs
  • Intelligent interference contour masking at the touch of a button
  • Simple, intuitive operation via a display with clear text
  • Only one power supply for both – saves on wiring effort, power supply units and expenses
  • Self-contained device – no additional accessories such as controller, PC or software required
Light band
Monitoring wire thickness, position and thickness in a wire winding machine.
Light grid

Count objects and measure large areas

Light grid

Light grids are available with different measuring field heights and with short and long ranges. This enables wide and really large objects to be detected reliably. Our light grids are also available with a low or high resolution. To directly indicate the height or width of an object, the system has an analogue voltage output. An additional switching output indicates whether an object is within the monitored range. The light grids are supplied with a mounting bracket so that you can mount them quickly and easily. The setup process is just as user-friendly as the assembly process.


  • Different lengths available
  • Also suitable for large objects up to a range of 2.1 m
  • Ideal for counting due to its short reaction time
  • Robust metal housing
  • Invisible infrared light
  • Switching output (PNP) and analog output (0…10 V)
  • Simple connection, easy installation without the need for additional equipment
  • Ready for immediate use – no parameterization necessary
Light grid
Light grids are suitable for reliable detection of wide and large objects.
Fiber optic sensors

Maximum flexibility thanks to plastic or glass-fiber optics

Fiber optic sensors

Balluff's Fiber optic sensors are used if the usual optical sensor is too large or too rigid for the application. Our fiber optic sensors are optionally combined with plastic or glass fiber optics for a complete sensor. Thanks to their different properties, you have maximum flexibility depending upon the application.

Or large selection of plastic fiber optics can be used especially when there is no great requirement for robustness or resistance to environmental temperatures or chemicals. We do, however, have high-temperature-resistant fibers in the program. In glass fiber optics, we also offer tread-resistant, temperature-resistant and chemical-resistant variations.


  • Recognition of subtle contrast differences
  • Very fast – up to 8 kHz
  • High positioning precision
  • Flexibility in mounting, simple to install
  • Additional functions available (freely configurable parameters)
  • Mechanically robust
  • Highly-accurate switching
  • With one-way or detecting principle
  • Straight or angled optics
  • Compact configuration for mounting on top-hat rails
  • With or without display
  • Different light types (red or infrared)
  • Also optionally with analog output signal
  • Different series for glass or plastic fibers
Fiber optic sensors
A broad selection of base devices with different capacities and different functions are available for a variety of uses: From simple implementation with potentiometer to high-end devices with display.
Luminescence sensor

Reliably detect invisible marks and markings

Luminescence sensor

If you need to detect marks that are invisible to the human eye, luminescence sensors are ideal. They can detect all kinds of fluorescent substances, even if the marks are only faint.


  • UV light – no external lamp or light source required
  • Programmable with the touch of a button – without separate software
  • Robust, industrial-grade designs
Luminescence sensor
Objects are marked with fluorescing material, these markings are not visible to the human eye, but are recognized by the luminescence sensor using UV light.
Optical windows

Record parts dynamically

Optical windows

Optical window sensors have a series of parallel beams of light. This design makes it possible to sense object not only at a point but also over an area (window). The special design of the optics ensures that the outstanding resolution remains the same at any location in the window. Our optical window sensors work dynamically, which means that parts are only detected in the active area if they are moving.


  • Consistently high resolution
  • Dynamic method: only moving objects are detected. Feed shafts etc. do not affect the measurement
  • Detection of parts as small as 0.8 mm
  • Adjustable output signal length
  • Adjustable sensitivity
  • Three frame sizes
  • Standard M8 connector
Optical windows
Optical window sensor for counting parts.
Angle sensors

Looking round the corner

Angle sensors

When it comes to precision and the detection of small parts and details, angle light barriers are unbeatable. Since they are a further development of the fork light barrier, they also have practically the same data. But their special design makes them really useful in lots of more challenging applications. Their design and beam geometry enable impact and the detection of objects from practically any direction. Balluff angle light barriers are available as red light and laser variants.

Installation is also easy in difficult confined spaces: The transmitter and receiver are firmly aligned with each other. Therefore, there is no need for complex attachments, also time-intensive adjustments are eliminated.


  • Ideal for every application thanks to different light types (red light, infrared, laser)
  • Robust metal housing
  • The angled form makes for extremely flexible mounting
  • High optical resolution and repeatability
  • High process reliability since the transmitter and receiver are firmly aligned with each other
  • No time-intensive adjustment
  • Large selection of different shapes and sizes
Angle sensors
Design and emitter geometries enable start-up and recognition of objects from almost every direction.
Photoelectric Global Sensors for Standard Applications

Precise object detection and positioning - even across large distances

Our universally usable photoelectric Global sensors guarantee reliable object detection and are available in a wide assortment with a large number of different modes of action, designs and sizes.

In addition to various housing forms, such as cylindrical or cuboid forms, you can choose between visible red light, non-visible infrared light or high-performance laser light.

All photoelectric sensors from Balluff are quick to install and simple to operate. The high-quality technology also has an attractive price/performance ratio.

The features

  • Diffuse sensors with ranges up to 900 mm
  • Retro-reflective sensors with ranges up to 16 m
  • Through-beam sensors with ranges up to 60 m
Photoelectric Global Sensors
Surface-independent package detection using a retro-reflective sensor
Photoelectric mini-sensors

Detect small parts at a distance of up to 3 m with precision

Photoelectric mini-sensors from Balluff are the right choice if small parts need to be detected in limited space with precision and long ranges are important. This is because they work absolutely reliably from less than one millimeter to distances of up to three meters.

With their wide range of product variants, they are a reliable solution to all applications and offer a great degree of freedom in design.

Advanced laser technology, homogeneous red light or innovative pinpoint technology stand for high process accuracy. Diffuse sensors with background suppression reliably eliminate interfering influences.

And our photoelectric mini-sensors are extremely easy to operate.

The features

  • Long ranges: up to 3 m
  • Large range of product variants
  • High process accuracy
  • Easy to operate
Photoelectric mini-sensors
Precisely detect small parts from a distance.
MicroMote Sensors

Especially flexible system having a plurality of sensor heads for your specific requirements

MicroMote Sensors

The MicroMote system of Balluff is especially small and, therefore, can be very flexibly used. It combines an external processor unit (amplifier) with exceptionally small optoelectronic sensor heads. As a result it is suitable even for extremely constricted spatial conditions and moving machine elements.

The modular system of the MicroMote sensors with innovative sensor elements meets your individual requirements: a variety of housing configurations ensure an especially high degree of design freedom, precise optoelectronic modules ensure a high process precision with each application.

The features

  • Large selection of sensor heads with maximum precision: MicroSpot, NanoSpot, lasers, infrared, classic red-light LEDs
  • Amplifier for analog, digital, dynamic
  • Display indication of target and actual values
  • Convenient operation
  • Extremely flexible sensor cable
  • Outstanding technical parameters
  • Robust – can be used under difficult environmental conditions
  • Optimum use in grippers using light components
  • Elegant, seamless integration in the machine
  • Adaptation to application at easily accessible points using separate amplifiers