Process monitoring ensures productivity
Machine data can be decisive when it comes to efficiency and quality in manufacturing. To implement predictive maintenance, repair or replacement work, it is essential to have information about the condition of the sensors, the process chain and the workpieces.
Continuous process monitoring enables you to properly control and utilize production resources, all while saving you money. Our sensors not only provide information about system control. They also gather machine data which serves as information in higher level systems: For logistics and procurement, planned service activities, static process monitoring, and in general for documentation purposes.
Balluff process sensors and systems developed for machine monitoring can be installed directly in the desired production system or retrofitted simply. Balluff distinguishes between diagnostics-capable sensors and sensors for process monitoring. The former monitor their own condition, whereas sensors for process monitoring are designed to check ambient conditions such as pressure or temperature.
Inductive sensors with self-diagnostics
Inductive sensors have long been used in industrial applications to detect metallic target objects. But over time, the sensors have been further developed to take on a variety of diagnostics tasks. Depending on the version, the sensors detect short-circuits in their cables, damage to the sensor coil, or report when the distance to a detection object is within a specified range.
In metalworking, DESINA sensors per ISO 23570-1 are often used. These inductive sensors can visualize the sensor status (self-diagnostics) via an additional monitor output. Dynamic Sensor Control Sensors, or DSC sensors for short, output switching and error signals along with warning and trend messages. The sensors provide a picture of quality deviations during production in real-time. Inductive sensors with IO-Link technology provide additional information such as sensor temperature data. Inductive sensors offer many advantages over mechanical switches: They are non-contact, short-circuit proof, contamination resistant, and wear-free.
Thermal flow controllers provide thermal stability
For industrial machining processes to achieve the highest possible product quality, machines and their components must maintain a defined, optimal temperature.
To ensure that the temperature remains constant, our thermal flow controllers offer effective process monitoring. They measure flow with technology based on the calorimetric principle. The temperature of the process medium, such as water or another coolant, is slightly increased by a small heater element built into the sensor. Depending on the flow velocity and heat capacity of the medium, there is a brief and slight temperature change. An integrated temperature sensor delivers the machine data to a processing unit for analysis. The values are compared with a preset value and reported via a signal output. In this way, flow sensors can warn you before a machine overheats.
You can easily integrate thermal flow controllers thanks to their compact sensor housing. One sensor type can be used for a variety of tube diameters. The sensors are low-wear and economical, since they are associated with only a very slight pressure loss. They are also suited for harsh applications with high operating pressures up to 100 bar.
Media-contacting temperature sensors
“Keep cool” is the motto for machining. As the machines and their components are cooled, the medium in the cooling circuit heats up. This heat must be dissipated to keep the machine temperature constant. To regulate cooling units, our temperature sensors provide measurement values that can be sent to higher level systems for process monitoring. The temperature is measured directly in liquid or gaseous media and output as analog signals or predefined switching points. The process sensors are available with or without rotating display, so that you can meet your visibility requirements when installing them in various space conditions.
Pressure sensors for process monitoring in hydraulics
Pressure sensors provide machine data from hydraulic systems. You can also use them for process monitoring and error detection within production processes. In process monitoring of hydraulically controlled processes, measurement of the pressure reflects the condition within the control loop. The often-high cycle rates deliver a large amount of machine data within the shortest amount of time so that deviations from normal levels can be immediately identified.
Pressure sensors can also be used for hydrostatic level measurement of process fluids. They detect slowly changing levels to enable automated triggering and running of logistics and procurement processes. This takes the burden off employees, and it reduces the risk of inventory shortages.
HEARTBEAT® power supply units with diagnostics functions
The Heartbeat® power supply units from Balluff power process sensors, actuators, controllers and Human Machine Interfaces reliably and efficiently. Developed especially for challenging applications, they meet the highest requirements for quality, long service life and diagnostic capabilities. These power supply units are available in power classes of 60, 120, 240 and 480 W. You can regulate their output voltage, which has very low ripple. The Power Boost function enables a 150% reserve capacity for peak demands. Our Heartbeat® power supply units use the highest quality components.
A three-color LED status indicator provides you with continuous information about the current load or equipment. Thanks to its continuous internal process monitoring, the power supply unit gives an outage warning before a failure occurs. The indicator also communicates the amount of stress on the internal devices and the remaining service life of the power supply. This lets you get the longest possible useful life from the unit. Versions of the power supply with IO-Link can indicate the current consumption at any given moment for process monitoring. Any slow increase in current consumption is detected, which may be caused by wear factors.
The narrow footprint of the Heartbeat® power supply units in IP20 housing allows them to be installed efficiently and easily in control cabinets while taking up the least possible space. IP67 versions for powering modules in the field are also available.
Tool identification with RFID
RFID is an important component of process monitoring. Tool identification using this non-contact technology has become indispensable to modern production. RFID makes it possible to store tool-relevant machine data (i.e. specific information about the respective tool) without contact on a data carrier which is integrated into the tool holder. This ensures accurate identification of the tool in every process step.
Balluff’s industrial BIS C RFID systems (low frequency) or BIS M (high frequency) provide the CNC controller in milling machines and machining centers with the correct tool data. The parameters are continually recorded as the tool is loaded and unloaded. This reliably guides subsequent use of the tool. In addition, machine monitoring with RFID allows you to document the amount of life the tool has used and to optimize its use accordingly. This is especially advantageous in series production with medium lot sizes. Tool identification is also used more and more for logistics and procurement purposes.
For many machining companies, the tools are also a relevant component of asset management. Modern manufacturing demands maximum transparency in process monitoring. This is the only way to meet the high requirements for flexibility and quality while keeping costs at a minimum. This makes RFID a key technology for tool tracking.
When it comes to Industry 4.0, generating, transporting and processing information are indispensable parts of the process. This makes local intelligent sensors all the more important. Our opto-electronic multifunction sensors record real operation conditions and collect and process information. Via IO-Link, they provide far more data than just the switching signal.
The BOS 21M ADCAP multi-function sensor with LED red light is ideal for optimally positioning your workpieces for assembly. To meet your functionality requirements, you can use IO-Link to conveniently select between four different sensor modes. These allow you to utilize the best and most reliable detection method depending on your application.
The sensor simultaneously sends diagnostic data as well. Now you can evaluate the light emissivity value and detect increasing contamination of the sensor. In this way, maintenance and cleaning schedules can be designed so that the sensor is cleaned before malfunctions occur. You also know whether the sensors are still optimally adjusted after a cleaning.
But the BOS 21M ADCAP can do even more: it continuously monitors the light beam transmitted by LED for luminosity and brightness, almost entirely eliminating faulty sensor switching. The built-in count function with various counting and reset modes also allows the controller to check quantities without any additional programming effort.
If your detection requirements are even more demanding, Balluff offers a photoelectric High-Precision Laser (BOS 21M HPL) with numerous additional functions. Thanks to various detection and processing modes, this high-performer also detects complex objects and tiny details with precision.
Using our BSP pressure sensors, you can simply determine the pressing force via the accumulated pressure.
Thus, you as the user of hydraulic presses get a high quality tool for the dynamic monitoring of these forces.
By automatically documenting mold utilization via RFID you can reduce unplanned downtimes. A separate shot counter records all production cycles. All the data is available on a data carrier either directly on the mold or on the multi-coupling. This way you can see the mold condition directly on the machine and always keep an eye on the life cycle of the current mold.
In the brewing process, after fermentation green beer matures for an additional time in storage tanks before it can be bottled. Balluff BSP pressure sensors reliably detect the level in the tank.