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FOOD & BEVERAGE APPLICATIONS Contrinex’s Photoelectric, Inductive, RFID and Machine Safety sensors are trusted across the many aspects of Food & Beverage manufacturing and packaging.
During manufacture of dairy products, raw milk travels between successive processes through stainless-steel pipework. Rotary-shaft control valves maintain process sequences correctly, ensuring that no cross-contamination occurs during CIP cleaning after each batch is completed. Robust washdown inductive sensors, mounted on existing rotary actuators, monitor control-valve status around the clock, providing real-time positional feedback to a plant-wide control system in a simple, cost-effective manner CUSTOMER APPLICATION At a European dairy-processing plant, milk products, made from pasteurized or raw milk, require hygienic transportation between successive operations. Process engineers use stainless-steel pipework to transport liquid ingredients from one operation to the next. Fluid flow is managed using control valves fitted with electrical, hydraulic or pneumatic actuators. Multiple rotary-shaft valves deliver raw milk from holding tanks to each process station in sequence, maintaining specified flow rates and volumetric limits. Once processing of each batch is completed and all process vessels are drained, closed-loop CIP cleaning commences. Accurate, repeatable valve sequencing is essential to prevent any chance of cross-contamination between processing and cleaning sequences. A robust, highly reliable sensor system, capable of withstanding the harsh washdown regimes in force, is needed to monitor control-valve positions during processing. Where possible, sensors must be mounted on existing rotary actuators, and real-time communication with existing plant-wide control systems is mandatory.
Customer Solution Sensing the position of a rotary-valve actuator is a routine task for Contrinex Classics washdown inductive sensors. These sensors interface directly with a range of industrial process controllers and provide cost-effective confirmation of control-valve status around the clock. A purpose-designed bracket, mounted on the top surface of each actuator, holds two sensors; these are positioned with the sensing faces vertically aligned, one above the other, and facing the actuator shaft. NAMUR-compatible (VDE/VDI 3845) mountings on the actuators provide a known datum for the sensors. A solid plastic disc, mounted on the shaft, carries two or more stainless-steel targets, positioned at 90 degrees to each other around the outer peripheral surface of the disc. Each target occupies either an upper or a lower position corresponding to height of one of the sensors. As the shaft rotates, opening and closing the valve, the targets pass in front of the sensing faces, triggering the sensors. These M12-diameter devices, rated to IP68/IP69K, have all-metal bodies with PBTB sensing faces and vacuum-encapsulated electronics; each features an industry-standard PNP normally open output. Fully embeddable, and with a sensing range up to 2mm, they are well suited to the hostile operating conditions of a washdown environment. Each sensor has an integral M12 connector, interfacing with the customer’s control system via a TPE-S-sheathed cable. Reliability is excellent; the system is simple and cost-effective.
APPLICATION - WASHDOWN INDUCTIVE SENSORS MONITOR DAIRY VALVES
APPLICATION - RFID ELIMINATES HOSE-COUPLING ERRORS
Bulk-handling and pneumatic transport system designers use RFID technology to eliminate connection errors at manual hose-coupling stations for fluidizable materials. Coupling stations, with IO-Link enabled read/write modules (RWMs) mounted on each outlet pipe, use manual quick-release hoses to feed materials to multiple machines. RFID tags, mounted integrally within each hose coupling and blanking cap, identify the mating parts uniquely, allowing individual outlet/hose combinations to be verified at the time of connection. CUSTOMER APPLICATION Bulk-handling systems across diverse industries, including food processing, plastics and pharmaceuticals, rely heavily on pneumatic conveying systems for transporting powders, granulates and other fluidizable materials. Pneumatic conveyors offer quick, reliable high- volume transportation with minimum degradation of the transported material. Coupling stations offer a simple and cost-effective means of connecting several material sources, typically silos or storage bins, to multiple processing machines. A pipe from each source enters the bottom of the coupling station, where it branches, providing multiple outlets for each material. Quick-release hoses, connected manually to the corresponding outlets, feed materials to machines. Unused outlets are capped.
Customer Solution IO-Link-enabled high-frequency (HF) read-write modules (RWMs) and RFID tags from Contrinex are ideal for this application. An IO-Link- enabled RWM, mounted on each outlet pipe, is connected to a plant- wide control system via two industry-standard 8-way IO-Link master hubs. An RFID tag, mounted integrally within each hose coupling, identifies the hose uniquely, allowing the outlet/hose combination to be verified at the time of connection. Blanking caps also carry unique RFID tags to confirm that unused outlets are capped. The mechanical design of the RWM and tag mountings ensures that the coupling or cap can only be locked in place once the components are aligned accurately. With data-transfer rates up to 38.4k baud, the sensors provide data in real time, triggering an immediate alarm in the event of a connection error. Contrinex IO-Link RWMs are configurable to operate in one of two discrete modes: IO-Link mode allows remote communication via the standard protocol; alternatively, if local control is preferred, standard I/O mode allows the device to function as an intelligent presence- sensing sensor. Process engineers can switch RWMs between modes either remotely, using the IO-Link protocol itself, or locally, using a pre- configured RFID tag (a Master Tag) which is simply placed on top of the RWM during the RWM startup process. With sensing distances up to 60 mm, robust M18- and M30-threaded metal housings and integral M12 connectors, Contrinex RWMs are ideally suited to the environment of a busy industrial processing plant. They are compatible with all ISO/IEC 15693 approved RFID tags, allowing designers ultimate flexibility and excellent value for money.
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CUSTOMER VALUES • Safe, reliable operation in a hostile washdown environment • No risk of cross-contamination between processing and cleaning sequences • Easy integration with existing plant-wide control system • Cost-effective solution requiring minimal maintenance
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PRODUCT ADVANTAGES • Robust washdown sensor rated to IP68 and IP69K • Exceptional resistance to shock and vibration • Affordable high-performance sensor with excellent reliability
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CUSTOMER VALUES • Industry-standard IO-Link interface ensures reliable out-of-the-box connectivity • Dual-mode read-write modules deliver ultimate flexibility • Standard I/O mode operation provides decentralized, local intelligence • IO-Link mode operation provides centralized intelligence • Plant-wide commonality of RWM hardware minimizes spares inventory holding • Integral M12 connectors ensure easy installation and replacement
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PRODUCT ADVANTAGES • IO-Link V1.1 compatibility • Robust metal housings with PBTB sensing faces • Sensing distances up to 60mm • Reconfigurable remotely or via Master Tag
APPLICATION - POST-FILLING CHECK OF ALUMINIUM CLOSURES
Plastic containers, filled with liquid food products, are hermetically sealed at a Portuguese food-processing plant. Prior to containers being capped and packed in bulk, in-line testing confirms that each one has been correctly sealed. A long-distance inductive sensor, positioned directly over the packaging line, senses the presence of an aluminium- foil seal over the top of each container. CUSTOMER APPLICATION Aluminium-foil closures are commonly utilized as seals for plastic containers filled with mustard, ketchup and other table sauces. At a Portuguese food-processing plant, closures are applied to filled containers passing along an automated production line, sealing the contents ready for capping and bulk packaging. From time to time, equipment malfunctions occur and containers leave the sealing station without closures in place. If unsealed containers are not detected prior to capping, entire batches of product may require manual inspection, resulting in lost production, down-time and potential rejection by customers. An in-line sensor system must inspect each container and detect the presence of a foil closure, rejecting any faulty items. Each line processes containers in batches; successive batches may comprise filled containers of differing sizes. The system must accommodate containers whose heights vary by up to 20mm, without positional adjustment of sensors between batches.
Customer Solution Contrinex Extra Distance inductive sensors are ideal for this application. M30-diameter units from the range operate reliably at sensing distances up to 40mm; a single sensor thus accommodates the entire range of container heights. Robust construction with chrome-plated brass bodies and PBTP sensing faces ensures that these devices are suitable for a busy production environment. A single sensor, located immediately after the sealing station and positioned directly above the production line, provides reliable, repeatable detection of the aluminium-foil closures. With a switching frequency of up to 100Hz, this Extra Distance unit is well suited for fast-moving production where high-speed sensing is required. This Contrinex inductive sensor has an industry-standard PNP normally-open interface and an integral M12 cable connector, allowing easy removal and replacement of individual sensors for maintenance. Connection to the customer’s test equipment is via a flexible PVC- sheathed cable. With an unmatched combination of 40mm sensing distance in an M30- diameter device, the customer can now test the entire range of containers without adjusting the sensor height between batches. Contrinex Extra Distance inductive sensors deliver exceptionally reliable test results at production-line speed, without interruption.
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CUSTOMER VALUES • Reliable, repeatable in-line testing of a range of different-sized containers • Testing is completed without difficulty at production-line speed • Immediate identification of containers with missing closures • Elimination of manual inspection and potential batch rejection
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PRODUCT ADVANTAGES • Extended sensing distances up to 40mm • Unmatched combination of 40mm sensing distance in M30-diameter device
A Swiss meat-processing plant uses non-contact ultrasonic presence sensing to increase productivity and eliminate breakdowns when washing empty meat bins. A single ultrasonic sensor, mounted above the conveyor on which the bins travel, checks for meat residues, rejecting any contaminated bins before the wash station. Old, contact- based systems were unreliable, resulting in breakdowns and frequent interruptions to the washing process. CUSTOMER APPLICATION During production, an industrial meat-processing company conveys meat portions around its factory in food-grade plastic bins. After completion of each batch, empty bins are washed prior to reuse. Some bins contain sizeable pieces of meat which, if undetected, accumulate in the washing machine, causing blockages and breakdowns. The resulting interruptions to production are unacceptably frequent. A reliable sensor system must detect the presence of meat residues in bins as they travel along the conveyor. The sensor should identify all non-trivial residues and divert contaminated bins before they enter the washing station. The system should require little or no regular maintenance, and a non-contact sensor, suitable for a hygienic environment, is preferred. Old systems with spring-loaded wand-actuators in contact with the box are unreliable and require regular adjustment; the contact probes need frequent, time-consuming cleaning. The new system has to operate on a fit-and-forget basis.
Customer Solution Contrinex ultrasonic sensors are ideal for presence- and level-sensing applications, and a diffuse sensor from the Compact range (housing size M30) is an excellent choice for this application. Operating range for this metal-bodied, IP65-rated device is between 20cm and 130cm; detection is independent of the target’s color, shape, material or surface structure. Contrinex Compact ultrasonic sensors feature an integral S12 cable connector, allowing rapid disconnection and removal when required. The variable size and shape of meat residue makes it difficult for an uncompensated sensor to detect contamination consistently and reliably; potentiometer adjustment, provided by many manufacturers, is inadequate for this application. Contrinex CONPROG software for Windows®, connected via the APE-0000-001 PC interface, compensates perfectly. Using CONPROG, the operator characterizes the target area of the box during set-up, setting the exact operating parameters of the sensor and ensuring reliable detection. Sensor data is stored, allowing like-for-like sensor replacement without additional set-up. The sensor’s three-wire PNP normally-open output communicates directly with the customer PLC. On detection of a contaminated box, a mechanical diverter shunts the box to a separate conveyor for manual emptying.
Application - Ultrasonic sensors Check of Meat Bins on Wash line
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CUSTOMER VALUES • Improved sensor reliability derived from exact characterization of target • Increased productivity arising from elimination of breakdowns • Reduced sensor maintenance resulting from non-contact operation • Industry-standard interface requires little modification to control systems
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PRODUCT ADVANTAGES • Characterised sensors detect targets of variable size and shape • Long-distance, non-contact operating principles • IP65 protection allows operation in hygienic environments • Rugged ultrasonic sensor with metal housing and metal cable connector
APPLICATION - DETECTING CHEESE PORTIONS ON A FOOD CONVEYOR
Contrinex’s small, but powerful C23PA photoelectric sensors are trusted to ensure conveyors deliver cheese portions to packaging stations, with in-line buffering stations regulating their flow to match packaging throughput. The miniature Ecolab-certified sensors detect the presence of each portion after buffering, triggering the packaging cycle. Sensitivity parameters for each portion size, stored on the sensor’s inbuilt memory, may be updated remotely using IO-Link, removing the need for a manual intervention and eliminating the need for unplanned sanitization between batches. CUSTOMER APPLICATION A Swiss manufacturer of premium dairy products produces a range of individually packaged cheese portions in a high-volume hygienic production facility. Once cut to size, cheese portions travel on a food- grade conveyor to a packaging station; the duration of the packaging cycle is dependent on the type of cheese and the portion size. Prior to packaging, a buffering station produces a regular flow of portions with a predetermined spacing to suit the packaging throughput. The two operations must be synchronized; the manufacturer requires a sensor system that detects the presence of each cheese portion as it leaves the buffering station, triggering the packaging cycle. Sensors must be food-grade certified and withstand the aggressive cleaning agents used during washdown routines. They must also accommodate the full range of portion sizes without the need for manual adjustment, as this would necessitate sanitization each time the portion size changes. Maximising throughput is an additional priority; rapid changeover between product batches is essential.
Customer Solution Ecolab-certified, diffuse-mode photoelectric sensors with background suppression from the Contrinex C23 product family are ideally suited to this application. These miniature cubic devices, mounted above product conveyors immediately after each buffering station, detect the presence of cheese portions as they pass underneath. Positioning sensors is simple thanks to a range of adjustable stainless steel mounting brackets. An industry-standard PNP normally open output with an M8 connector ensures optimum flexibility. Additionally, IO-Link, a standardized point- to-point serial connection protocol for sensors and actuators, is enabled on PNP versions at no additional cost, offering the advantages of digital communication without the need for special cabling. A second output provides a stability alarm in the event of reduced sensitivity, flagging the need for preventative maintenance before any performance degradation occurs. Robust sensor construction, featuring miniature (20mm x 30mm x 10mm) plastic housings, ensures reliable operation in the demanding washdown environment; Contrinex C23 devices are rated to IP67. An operating range between 15mm and 250mm, adjustable via a teach button or via IO-Link, accommodates the range of portion sizes without compromise. A brief one- or two-step teach procedure simplifies initial set-up. One- button operation allows process engineers to teach the target object and, optionally, the background, each time a new portion size is introduced. Once taught, sensitivity parameters are stored on the sensor’s inbuilt memory and may be retrieved or updated remotely via IO-Link, eliminating the need for manual adjustment. These rugged miniature sensors meet the customer’s need for reliable operation with little or no manual intervention, while unplanned sanitization is avoided. The solution is highly cost-effective with minimal non-productive time; throughput is maintained at or above target levels.
Human error can result in hoses being connected to the wrong outlet, causing costly errors if undetected; systems designers require real- time confirmation that the correct hose has been connected to each outlet, or, where no connection is specified, that a blanking cap is in place. An industry-standard interface is highly desirable; ultra-high- speed communication is not essential.
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CUSTOMER VALUES • Ecolab-certified sensors are ideal for hygienic production facilities • Wide operating range accommodates full range of portion sizes • Sensitivity parameters are retrieved or updated remotely via IO-Link • Unnecessary sanitization between batches is avoided • Simple one- or two-step teach procedure optimizes initial sensor set-up • Stability alarm highlights reduced sensitivity, avoiding unplanned stoppages • Downtime is avoided by eliminating the need for technicians to attend machines
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PRODUCT ADVANTAGES • Ecolab-certified photoelectric sensors with background-suppression mode • IO-Link serial-connection protocol enabled on PNP versions at no additional cost • Pre-taught sensitivity parameters stored on inbuilt sensor memory • Remote sensitivity retrieval or update via IO- Link • Robust sensors with miniature (20mm x 30mm x 10mm) plastic housings
The sensors are corrosion-resistant and impervious to water ingress and has the additional benefit of offering a range of low-cost stainless- steel mounting and protection bracketry. The reliability of the sensors in the application has been excellent.
PLUS Automation ® Limited © 2020 Lyth Farm, Lyth Lane, Ombersley, Droitwich, Worcestershire. WR9 0LG
Helping you #MakeSenseofSensors
FOOD & BEVERAGE APPLICATIONS Contrinex’s Photoelectric, Inductive, RFID & Machine Safety sensors are trusted across the many aspects of Food & Beverage manufacturing and packaging.
Customer Solution IO-Link-enabled high-frequency (HF) read-write modules (RWMs) and RFID tags from Contrinex are ideal for this application. An IO-Link-enabled RWM, mounted on each outlet pipe, is connected to a plant-wide control system via two industry-standard 8-way IO-Link master hubs. An RFID tag, mounted integrally within each hose coupling, identifies the hose uniquely, allowing the outlet/hose combination to be verified at the time of connection. Blanking caps also carry unique RFID tags to confirm that unused outlets are capped. The mechanical design of the RWM and tag mountings ensures that the coupling or cap can only be locked in place once the components are aligned accurately. With data- transfer rates up to 38.4k baud, the sensors provide data in real time, triggering an immediate alarm in the event of a connection error. Contrinex IO-Link RWMs are configurable to operate in one of two discrete modes: IO-Link mode allows remote communication via the standard protocol; alternatively, if local control is preferred, standard I/O mode allows the device to function as an intelligent presence-sensing sensor. Process engineers can switch RWMs between modes either remotely, using the IO-Link protocol itself, or locally, using a pre-configured RFID tag (a Master Tag) which is simply placed on top of the RWM during the RWM startup process. With sensing distances up to 60 mm, robust M18- and M30- threaded metal housings and integral M12 connectors, Contrinex RWMs are ideally suited to the environment of a busy industrial processing plant. They are compatible with all ISO/IEC 15693 approved RFID tags, allowing designers ultimate flexibility and excellent value for money.
APPLICATION- RFID ELIMINATE HOSE-COUPLING ERRORS
+ CUSTOMER VALUES • Industry-standard IO-Link interface ensures reliable out-of-the-box connectivity • Dual-mode read-write modules deliver ultimate flexibility • Standard I/O mode operation provides decentralized, local intelligence • IO-Link mode operation provides centralized intelligence • Plant-wide commonality of RWM hardware minimizes spares inventory holding • Integral M12 connectors ensure easy installation and replacement PRODUCT ADVANTAGES • IO-Link V1.1 compatibility • Robust metal housings with PBTB sensing faces • Sensing distances up to 60mm • Reconfigurable remotely or via Master Tag + + CUSTOMER VALUES • Safe, reliable operation in a hostile washdown environment • No risk of cross-contamination between processing and cleaning sequences • Easy integration with existing plant-wide control system • Cost-effective solution requiring minimal maintenance PRODUCT ADVANTAGES • Robust washdown sensor rated to IP68 and IP69K • Exceptional resistance to shock and vibration • Affordable high-performance sensor with excellent reliability +
Plastic containers, filled with liquid food products, are hermetically sealed at a Portuguese food-processing plant. Prior to containers being capped and packed in bulk, in-line testing confirms that each one has been correctly sealed. A long-distance inductive sensor, positioned directly over the packaging line, senses the presence of an aluminium-foil seal over the top of each container. CUSTOMER APPLICATION Aluminium-foil closures are commonly utilized as seals for plastic containers filled with mustard, ketchup and other table sauces. At a Portuguese food-processing plant, closures are applied to filled containers passing along an automated production line, sealing the contents ready for capping and bulk packaging. From time to time, equipment malfunctions occur and containers leave the sealing station without closures in place. If unsealed containers are not detected prior to capping, entire batches of product may require manual inspection, resulting in lost production, down-time and potential rejection by customers. An in-line sensor system must inspect each container and detect the presence of a foil closure, rejecting any faulty items. Each line processes containers in batches; successive batches may comprise filled containers of differing sizes. The system must accommodate containers whose heights vary by up to 20mm, without positional adjustment of sensors between batches.
Customer Solution Contrinex Extra Distance inductive sensors are ideal for this application. M30-diameter units from the range operate reliably at sensing distances up to 40mm; a single sensor thus accommodates the entire range of container heights. Robust construction with chrome-plated brass bodies and PBTP sensing faces ensures that these devices are suitable for a busy production environment. A single sensor, located immediately after the sealing station and positioned directly above the production line, provides reliable, repeatable detection of the aluminium-foil closures. With a switching frequency of up to 100Hz, this Extra Distance unit is well suited for fast-moving production where high-speed sensing is required. This Contrinex inductive sensor has an industry-standard PNP normally-open interface and an integral M12 cable connector, allowing easy removal and replacement of individual sensors for maintenance. Connection to the customer’s test equipment is via a flexible PVC-sheathed cable. With an unmatched combination of 40mm sensing distance in an M30-diameter device, the customer can now test the entire range of containers without adjusting the sensor height between batches. Contrinex Extra Distance inductive sensors deliver exceptionally reliable test results at production-line speed, without interruption.
+ CUSTOMER VALUES • Reliable, repeatable in-line testing of a range of different-sized containers • Testing is completed without difficulty at production-line speed • Immediate identification of containers with missing closures • Elimination of manual inspection and potential batch rejection PRODUCT ADVANTAGES • Extended sensing distances up to 40mm • Unmatched combination of 40mm sensing distance in M30-diameter device + + CUSTOMER VALUES • Ecolab-certified sensors are ideal for  hygienic production facilities • Wide operating range accommodates full range of portion sizes • Sensitivity parameters are retrieved or updated remotely via IO-Link • Unnecessary sanitization between batches   is avoided • Simple one- or two-step teach procedure optimizes initial sensor set-up • Stability alarm highlights reduced sensitivity, avoiding unplanned stoppages • Downtime is avoided by eliminating the need for technicians to attend machines PRODUCT ADVANTAGES • Ecolab-certified photoelectric sensors with background-suppression mode • IO-Link serial-connection protocol enabled on PNP versions at no additional cost • Pre-taught sensitivity parameters stored on inbuilt sensor memory • Remote sensitivity retrieval or update via IO-Link • Robust sensors with miniature (20mm x 30mm x 10mm) plastic housings + + CUSTOMER VALUES • Improved sensor reliability derived from exact characterization of target • Increased productivity arising from elimination of breakdowns • Reduced sensor maintenance resulting from non-contact operation • Industry-standard interface requires little modification to control systems PRODUCT ADVANTAGES • Characterised sensors detect targets of variable size and shape • Long-distance, non-contact operating principles • IP65 protection allows operation in hygienic environments • Rugged ultrasonic sensor with metal housing and metal cable connector +
APPLICATION - POST-FILLING ALUMINIUM CLOSURE CHECK
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TRANSPARENT APPS

Bulk-handling and pneumatic transport system designers use RFID technology to eliminate connection errors at manual hose-coupling stations for fluidizable materials. Coupling stations, with IO-Link enabled read/write modules (RWMs) mounted on each outlet pipe, use manual quick- release hoses to feed materials to multiple machines. RFID tags, mounted integrally within each hose coupling and blanking cap, identify the mating parts uniquely, allowing individual outlet/hose combinations to be verified at the time of connection. CUSTOMER APPLICATION Bulk-handling systems across diverse industries, including food processing, plastics and pharmaceuticals, rely heavily on pneumatic conveying systems for transporting powders, granulates and other fluidizable materials. Pneumatic conveyors offer quick, reliable high-volume transportation with minimum degradation of the transported material. Coupling stations offer a simple and cost-effective means of connecting several material sources, typically silos or storage bins, to multiple processing machines. A pipe from each source enters the bottom of the coupling station, where it branches, providing multiple outlets for each material. Quick-release hoses, connected manually to the corresponding outlets, feed materials to machines. Unused outlets are capped. Human error can result in hoses being connected to the wrong outlet, causing costly errors if undetected; systems designers require real-time confirmation that the correct hose has been connected to each outlet, or, where no connection is specified, that a blanking cap is in place. An industry-standard interface is highly desirable; ultra-high- speed communication is not essential.
Customer Solution Sensing the position of a rotary-valve actuator is a routine task for Contrinex Classics washdown inductive sensors. These sensors interface directly with a range of industrial process controllers and provide cost-effective confirmation of control-valve status around the clock. A purpose-designed bracket, mounted on the top surface of each actuator, holds two sensors; these are positioned with the sensing faces vertically aligned, one above the other, and facing the actuator shaft. NAMUR-compatible (VDE/VDI 3845) mountings on the actuators provide a known datum for the sensors. A solid plastic disc, mounted on the shaft, carries two or more stainless-steel targets, positioned at 90 degrees to each other around the outer peripheral surface of the disc. Each target occupies either an upper or a lower position corresponding to height of one of the sensors. As the shaft rotates, opening and closing the valve, the targets pass in front of the sensing faces, triggering the sensors. These M12-diameter devices, rated to IP68/IP69K, have all- metal bodies with PBTB sensing faces and vacuum- encapsulated electronics; each features an industry- standard PNP normally open output. Fully embeddable, and with a sensing range up to 2mm, they are well suited to the hostile operating conditions of a washdown environment. Each sensor has an integral M12 connector, interfacing with the customer’s control system via a TPE-S-sheathed cable. Reliability is excellent; the system is simple and cost- effective.
APPLICATION - WASHDOWN INDUCTIVE SENSORS MONITOR DAIRY VALVE POSITION
During manufacture of dairy products, raw milk travels between successive processes through stainless-steel pipework. Rotary-shaft control valves maintain process sequences correctly, ensuring that no cross-contamination occurs during CIP cleaning after each batch is completed. Robust washdown inductive sensors, mounted on existing rotary actuators, monitor control-valve status around the clock, providing real-time positional feedback to a plant- wide control system in a simple, cost-effective manner CUSTOMER APPLICATION At a European dairy-processing plant, milk products, made from pasteurized or raw milk, require hygienic transportation between successive operations. Process engineers use stainless-steel pipework to transport liquid ingredients from one operation to the next. Fluid flow is managed using control valves fitted with electrical, hydraulic or pneumatic actuators. Multiple rotary-shaft valves deliver raw milk from holding tanks to each process station in sequence, maintaining specified flow rates and volumetric limits. Once processing of each batch is completed and all process vessels are drained, closed-loop CIP cleaning commences. Accurate, repeatable valve sequencing is essential to prevent any chance of cross-contamination between processing and cleaning sequences. A robust, highly reliable sensor system, capable of withstanding the harsh washdown regimes in force, is needed to monitor control-valve positions during processing. Where possible, sensors must be mounted on existing rotary actuators, and real-time communication with existing plant-wide control systems is mandatory.
Customer Solution Ecolab-certified, diffuse-mode photoelectric sensors with background suppression from the Contrinex C23 product family are ideally suited to this application. These miniature cubic devices, mounted above product conveyors immediately after each buffering station, detect the presence of cheese portions as they pass underneath. Positioning sensors is simple thanks to a range of adjustable stainless steel mounting brackets. An industry-standard PNP normally open output with an M8 connector ensures optimum flexibility. Additionally, IO-Link, a standardized point-to-point serial connection protocol for sensors and actuators, is enabled on PNP versions at no additional cost, offering the advantages of digital communication without the need for special cabling. A second output provides a stability alarm in the event of reduced sensitivity, flagging the need for preventative maintenance before any performance degradation occurs. Robust sensor construction, featuring miniature (20mm x 30mm x 10mm) plastic housings, ensures reliable operation in the demanding washdown environment; Contrinex C23 devices are rated to IP67. An operating range between 15mm and 250mm, adjustable via a teach button or via IO- Link, accommodates the range of portion sizes without compromise. A brief one- or two-step teach procedure simplifies initial set-up. One-button operation allows process engineers to teach the target object and, optionally, the background, each time a new portion size is introduced. Once taught, sensitivity parameters are stored on the sensor’s inbuilt memory and may be retrieved or updated remotely via IO- Link, eliminating the need for manual adjustment. These rugged miniature sensors meet the customer’s need for reliable operation with little or no manual intervention, while unplanned sanitization is avoided. The solution is highly cost-effective with minimal non-productive time; throughput is maintained at or above target levels.
APPLICATION - DETECTING CHEESE ON FOOD CONVEYOR
The sensors are corrosion-resistant and impervious to water ingress and has the additional benefit of offering a range of low-cost stainless-steel mounting and protection bracketry. The reliability of the sensors in the application has been excellent.
Contrinex’s small, but powerful C23PA photoelectric sensors are trusted to ensure conveyors deliver cheese portions to packaging stations, with in-line buffering stations regulating their flow to match packaging throughput. The miniature Ecolab-certified sensors detect the presence of each portion after buffering, triggering the packaging cycle. Sensitivity parameters for each portion size, stored on the sensor’s inbuilt memory, are updated remotely using IO- Link, removing the need for a manual intervention and eliminating the need for unplanned sanitization between batches. CUSTOMER APPLICATION A Swiss manufacturer of premium dairy products produces a range of individually packaged cheese portions in a high- volume hygienic production facility. Once cut to size, cheese portions travel on a food-grade conveyor to a packaging station; the duration of the packaging cycle is dependent on the type of cheese and the portion size. Prior to packaging, a buffering station produces a regular flow of portions with a predetermined spacing to suit the packaging throughput. The two operations must be synchronized; the manufacturer requires a sensor system that detects the presence of each cheese portion as it leaves the buffering station, triggering the packaging cycle. Sensors must be food-grade certified and withstand the aggressive cleaning agents used during washdown routines. They must also accommodate the full range of portion sizes without the need for manual adjustment, as this would necessitate sanitization each time the portion size changes. Maximizing throughput is an additional priority; rapid changeover between product batches is essential.
Customer Solution Contrinex ultrasonic sensors are ideal for presence- and level-sensing applications, and a diffuse sensor from the Compact range (housing size M30) is an excellent choice for this application. Operating range for this metal-bodied, IP65-rated device is between 20cm and 130cm; detection is independent of the target’s color, shape, material or surface structure. Contrinex Compact ultrasonic sensors feature an integral S12 cable connector, allowing rapid disconnection and removal when required. The variable size and shape of meat residue makes it difficult for an uncompensated sensor to detect contamination consistently and reliably; potentiometer adjustment, provided by many manufacturers, is inadequate for this application. Contrinex CONPROG software for Windows®, connected via the APE-0000-001 PC interface, compensates perfectly. Using CONPROG, the operator characterizes the target area of the box during set-up, setting the exact operating parameters of the sensor and ensuring reliable detection. Sensor data is stored, allowing like-for-like sensor replacement without additional set-up. The sensor’s three-wire PNP normally-open output communicates directly with the customer PLC. On detection of a contaminated box, a mechanical diverter shunts the box to a separate conveyor for manual emptying.
APPLICATION - ULTRASONICS CHECK BINS ON WASH LINE
A Swiss meat-processing plant uses non-contact ultrasonic presence sensing to increase productivity and eliminate breakdowns when washing empty meat bins. A single ultrasonic sensor, mounted above the conveyor on which the bins travel, checks for meat residues, rejecting any contaminated bins before the wash station. Old, contact- based systems were unreliable, resulting in breakdowns and frequent interruptions to the washing process. CUSTOMER APPLICATION During production, an industrial meat-processing company conveys meat portions around its factory in food-grade plastic bins. After completion of each batch, empty bins are washed prior to reuse. Some bins contain sizeable pieces of meat which, if undetected, accumulate in the washing machine, causing blockages and breakdowns. The resulting interruptions to production are unacceptably frequent. A reliable sensor system must detect the presence of meat residues in bins as they travel along the conveyor. The sensor should identify all non-trivial residues and divert contaminated bins before they enter the washing station. The system should require little or no regular maintenance, and a non-contact sensor, suitable for a hygienic environment, is preferred. Old systems with spring-loaded wand-actuators in contact with the box are unreliable and require regular adjustment; the contact probes need frequent, time-consuming cleaning. The new system has to operate on a fit-and-forget basis.