Photoelectric Sensors

Photoelectric sensors detect and measure physical objects or quantities by emitting a field or beam of electromagnetic radiation, an object is detected by measuring alterations in the return signal. There are 3 main types of photoelectric sensors which provide reliable detection, these are through-beam, retro-reflective and diffuse. The basic function of each is to detect the presence or absence of objects or measure the distance to the object.

Through-beam Sensors

Through-beam sensors (aka thru-beam) rely on two separate housings, one for the transmitter and one for the receiver, with the transmitter providing a continuous beam of light to the receiver. Each time an object passes through the beam this interrupts the signal between the transmitter and receiver, which in turn causes the receiver to send an electrical signal to the output. Through-beam sensors are suited to long-distance sensing and are capable of detecting almost any object, irrespective of colour or angular motion.

Retro-reflective Sensors

Retro-reflective photoelectric sensors (retroreflective) have both the transmitter and receiver contained within the same housing but require a reflector opposite to the sensor. The reflector bounces the light beam back to the transmitter until an object breaks the beam. Objects which are highly reflective such as aluminium require sensors with polarising filters. The filter allows the sensor to acknowledge that the reflected light from reflecting materials is different from the reflector.

Diffuse Sensors

Diffuse sensors (proximity sensor) are easier to install as only one device has to be mounted. This is because the transmitter and receiver are contained within one housing. Diffuse sensors use the reflection from the target object within a predetermined sensing range. The transmitter sends out a continuous beam of light, once this hits the target it is diffused in all directions, a part of this light is reflected back and recognised by the receiver, the receiver then sends an electrical signal to the output.

A special type of diffused mode is background suppression which enables the user to precisely control the sensing range. A diffuse mode sensor with background suppression is less sensitive to the target colour. They can also use a visible red light or infrared light sources.


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Description Price Sensor Style Detection Type Detection Range Output Type Electrical Connection Maximum AC Voltage Maximum DC Voltage Terminal Type Light Source IP Rating Maximum Current Interface Response Time Housing Material
RS Stock No. 326-7240
Mfr. Part No.E3TSL132M
BrandOmron
TWD3,280.00
Each
units
Block Retroreflective 5 15 mm PNP Pre-Wired Cable - 26.4V - LED IP67 50 mA - 1 ms PBT
RS Stock No. 729-5117
BrandRS PRO
TWD3,017.00
Each
units
Barrel Retro-Reflective 0.05 7 m PNP Cable - 30V - LED IP67 100 mA - <=0.5 ms Nickel Plated Brass, PC
RS Stock No. 818-1722
Mfr. Part No.EE-SX670-WR 1M
BrandOmron
TWD1,365.00
Each
units
Fork Through Beam (Fork) Maximum of 5 mm NPN - - 24V Pre-Wired Infrared IP50 35 mA - - PBT
RS Stock No. 627-6556
Mfr. Part No.OPB704W-Z
BrandOptek
TWD129.00
Each
units
Block Retroreflective 3.8 mm NPN 4-Wire Cable 0.61m - - - Infrared - - - - Plastic
RS Stock No. 463-8384
Mfr. Part No.RLK39-54/31/40A/116
TWD8,316.00
Each
units
Block Retro-Reflective 7 m Relay 4-Terminal Screw 240V 240V - LED IP67 3 A - <=20 ms PBT
RS Stock No. 818-0299
Mfr. Part No.DS35-B15821
BrandSick
TWD15,293.00
Each
units
Block Background Suppression 50 3100 mm NPN/PNP 5-Pin M12 Connector - 30V M12 Connector Laser Light IP65, IP67 - IO-Link 2.5 ms, 6.5 ms, 12.5 ms, 24.5 ms, 96.5 ms Acrylic Glass, Plastic PC/ABS
RS Stock No. 170-0724
Mfr. Part No.OPB704W-Z
BrandOptek
TWD124.40
Each (In a Bag of 100)
units
Block Retroreflective 3.8 mm NPN 4-Wire Cable 0.61m - - - Infrared - - - - Plastic
RS Stock No. 818-1621
Mfr. Part No.EE-SX672P
BrandOmron
TWD739.00
Each
units
Fork Through Beam (Fork) Maximum of 5 mm PNP 4-Pin Connector - 24V Connector Infrared IP50 12 mA - - PBT
RS Stock No. 763-7889
Mfr. Part No.VTF18-3F1412
BrandSick
TWD4,066.00
Each
units
Barrel, Elbow Background Suppression 3 100 mm PNP 3-Wire Cable 2m - 30V - Infrared IP67 100 mA - 2 ms Nickel Plated Brass
RS Stock No. 289-0158
Mfr. Part No.VT18-2T1410
BrandSick
TWD4,900.00
Each
units
Barrel Diffuse 2 100 mm Triac 4-Pin M12 Connector 253V - - Infrared IP67 300 mA - <=20 ms PBT, PC
RS Stock No. 157-7062
Mfr. Part No.E3JMR4M4TG
BrandOmron
TWD5,454.00
Each
units
Block Retroreflective 4 m Relay 5-Terminal Screw 250V 5V - LED IP66 3 A - 30 ms ABS
RS Stock No. 617-0672
Mfr. Part No.E3ZLL812M
BrandOmron
TWD4,450.00
Each
units
Block Background Suppression 20 300 mm PNP 3-Wire Cable 2m - 26.4V - LED IP67 100 mA - 1 ms PBT
RS Stock No. 219-2410
Mfr. Part No.EE-SY672
BrandOmron
TWD764.00
Each
units
Block Retroreflective 1 5 mm NPN - - 24V - Infrared IP50 100 mA - - PBT
RS Stock No. 908-7110
Mfr. Part No.OPB745
BrandOptek
TWD95.00
Each
units
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
RS Stock No. 701-8783
Mfr. Part No.WL4S-3F2130V
BrandSick
TWD6,000.00
Each
units
Block Retroreflective 4 m PNP 3-Pin M8 Connector - 30V - LED IP69K 100 mA - <0.5 ms Stainless Steel
RS Stock No. 609-0813
Mfr. Part No.XUX1ARCNT16
TWD4,240.00
Each
units
Block Retroreflective 14 m Relay 5-Terminal Screw 240V 240V - Infrared IP65, IP67 3 A, 500 mA - <25 ms PBT
RS Stock No. 530-0866
Mfr. Part No.WTB27-3P2411
BrandSick
TWD12,000.00
Each
units
Block Diffuse 30 1600 mm PNP 4-Pin M12 Connector - 30V - Infrared IP69K 100 mA - <=1.5 ms ABS
RS Stock No. 812-8395
Mfr. Part No.PM2-LH10-C1
BrandPanasonic
TWD2,347.00
Each
units
Block Diffuse 2.5 8 mm NPN Cable - 24V Wire Lead LED - 80 mA - 0.8 ms PC
RS Stock No. 403-963
Mfr. Part No.GLV18-6-S/59/102/115
TWD2,086.00
Each
units
Barrel Retroreflective 5.5 m NPN Cable - 30V - LED IP67 100 mA - <=1 ms PC
RS Stock No. 818-1504
Mfr. Part No.EE-SX872
BrandOmron
TWD1,382.00
Each
units
- - - NPN - - - - GaAs Infrared LED IP60 - - - PBT