Intelligent fibre optic sensors

30 August 2022

SICK has launched its next generation, intelligent WLL80 Fibre Optic Sensors, designed for easy configuration and versatile integration into machinery and conveyor systems in applications where rapid, high accuracy detection is required in confined spaces.

The WLL80 fibre optic amplifier can be teamed with the company’s new LLX portfolio of fibres. Any length of flexible LLX fibres up to 20m can be specified alongside a versatile range of sensor heads. With IO-Link communication as standard, the WLL80 enables easy integration, reduces cabling, and ensures efficient and responsive machine control. 

A user-friendly OLED pushbutton display makes setting or adjusting application parameters quick and easy. Set up over IO-Link is also straightforward, enabling sensor data to be output in real time for diagnostics and troubleshooting, as well as rapid replacement. By using Smart Tasks for pre-defined parameter configurations, reliable detection of fast-moving, small or transparent objects is assured, as well as precise detection of leading edges.

The SICK WLL80 is said to be suited for reliable detection duties in tight spaces, such as detecting the leading edges of printed circuit boards, detecting and counting rapidly falling small metal components or pharmaceutical products, or performing presence detection duties on small robot grippers. 

The sensor can achieve very high detection rates with rapid response times. Repeatability is assured thanks to the WLL80’s continuous threshold adaption (CTA) function, which enables the sensor to stay operational for extended time periods without intervention while adapting the signal strength – for example in a dusty environment, or because of contamination build-up on the fibre heads.  

By being able to switch between PNP, NPN or push-pull outputs on the same device, users need only one type of fibre optic amplifier for all machine controls, reducing inventory. The sensor is compatible with common bus protocols and its internal logic also enables several sensors to be networked together, without the risk of interference. The sensors can be organised in banks in a master-slave configuration to enable automatic cloning of parameter settings for multiple devices.

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