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 Communication Protocol Maximum DC Voltage Terminal Type Light Source IP Rating Maximum Current Interface Response Time
RS Stock No. 818-1747
Mfr. Part No.EE-SX673-WR 1M
BrandOmron
TWD925.00
Each
units
Fork Through Beam (Fork) 5 mm NPN - - - 24V Pre-Wired Infrared IP50 35 mA - -
RS Stock No. 845-3493
Mfr. Part No.XUY92CGAMP24
TWD10,478.00
Each
units
- Through Beam - NPN - - - 24V - - IP20 - - 33 ms
RS Stock No. 818-4092
Mfr. Part No.EESPY412CHN
BrandOmron
TWD1,472.00
Each
units
Block Convergent 2 → 5 mm NPN - - - 24V Connector Infrared IP50 80 mA - -
RS Stock No. 729-5110
BrandRS PRO
TWD2,510.00
Each
units
Barrel Retroreflective 0.05 → 7 m NPN 4-Wire Cable 2m - - 30V - LED IP67 100 mA - <=0.5 ms
RS Stock No. 891-9514
Mfr. Part No.RLK31-8-2500-IR/31/115
TWD2,572.00
Each
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Block Diffuse 0 → 2.5 m Relay 5-Wire Cable 2m 240V - 240V - Infrared IP67 40 mA - <25 ms
RS Stock No. 617-0701
Mfr. Part No.E3ZM-R86
BrandOmron
TWD5,806.00
Each
units
Block Retroreflective 100 mm → 4 m PNP 4-Pin M8 Connector - - 30V - LED IP69K 100 mA - 1 ms
RS Stock No. 818-4109
Mfr. Part No.E3ZT86AOMS
BrandOmron
TWD4,649.00
Each
units
Block Through Beam (Emitter and Receiver) 10 mm PNP M8 Connector - - 26.4V Connector LED IP67 100 mA - 1 ms
New
RS Stock No. 205-5109
Mfr. Part No.WL280-2R1631
BrandSick
TWD4,000.00
Each
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Rectangular Retro Reflective 15 m Relay Contact Cable 240V - 240V 5-pin LED IP66, IP67 - - 15 ms
New
RS Stock No. 203-1357
Mfr. Part No.SOOD-BS-L-PN-50
BrandFesto
TWD5,290.00
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Block Diffuse 50 mm NPN, PNP Cable With Plug - - - - - - - - -
RS Stock No. 768-5936
Mfr. Part No.E3FADP23
BrandOmron
TWD2,471.00
Each
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Barrel Diffuse 1 m PNP 4-Pin M12 Connector - - 30V - LED IP67, IP69K 25 mA - 0.5 ms
New
RS Stock No. 205-5253
Mfr. Part No.WL9LG-3P2252
BrandSick
TWD10,300.00
Each
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Rectangular Retro Reflective 3.5 m PNP Connector M8 - - 30V 4-pin - IP66, IP67, IP69K - - 500 μs
New
RS Stock No. 205-4928
Mfr. Part No.GL6-P6212
BrandSick
TWD3,600.00
Each
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Rectangular Retro Reflective 6 m PNP Cable with connector - - 30V 4-pin PinPoint LED IP67 - - 650 μs
RS Stock No. 695-6798
Mfr. Part No.XUB0ANSNL2
TWD3,377.00
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Barrel Multimode 0.12 m, 0.3 m, 2 m, 15 m NPN 3-Wire Cable 2m - - 24V - Infrared IP65, IP67 100 mA - <2 ms
New
RS Stock No. 205-5219
Mfr. Part No.WL11-2P2432P07
BrandSick
TWD5,000.00
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Rectangular Retro Reflective 10 m PNP Connector M12 - - 30V 4-pin LED IP66, IP67, IP69K - - <2.5 ms
New
RS Stock No. 205-4849
Mfr. Part No.WL4S-3F3130
BrandSick
TWD5,400.00
Each
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Rectangular Retro Reflective 4 m PNP Cable with connector - - 30V 3-pin PinPoint LED IP66, IP67 - - 500 μs
RS Stock No. 908-7126
Mfr. Part No.OPB771TZ
BrandOptek
TWD235.00
Each
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Barrel Diffuse 2 → 5.6 mm TTL Wire - - 1.8V Wire Lead LED - 40 mA - -
RS Stock No. 817-1557
Mfr. Part No.RL31-8-1200-RT/73c/136
TWD2,828.00
Each
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Block Diffuse 1.2 m Push Pull 4-Pin M12 Connector - - 30V - LED IP67 100 mA - <1 ms
New
RS Stock No. 205-5122
Mfr. Part No.VL18-4P3840
BrandSick
TWD2,400.00
Each
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Barrel Retro Reflective 3.7 m PNP Connector M12 - - 30V 4-pin LED IP67 - - 2 ms
RS Stock No. 125-4548
Mfr. Part No.PM-Y45-C3
BrandPanasonic
TWD948.00
Each
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Fork Through Beam (Fork) 6 mm NPN 3m Cable - - 24V Cable Infrared IP64 50 mA - 20 μs, 80 μs
New
RS Stock No. 205-4960
Mfr. Part No.GL6-P0312P08
BrandSick
TWD2,368.00
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Rectangular Retro Reflective 6 m PNP Cable with connector - - 30V 3-pin PinPoint LED IP67 - - 650 μs