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Reflectors for photoelectric sensors

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Reflectors for photoelectric sensors

Reflectors for photoelectric sensors are elements that enable detection of an object through a light beam in the case of using reflective sensors. They are characterized by a simple structure and allow for the detection of objects distant from the sensor, even at large distances of several meters. Reflective sensors can be used for precise tasks - there are models available on the market that detect the presence of transparent foil or glass.

Reflectors for photoelectric sensors - function and application

As an element of a reflective system, reflectors for photoelectric sensors are used in the engineering, food, chemical and pharmaceutical or printing industries, but also in many others. Reflective sensors use visible light, but also invisible light (most often infrared, less ultraviolet), both ordinary and laser. In any event, the reflector must be constructed in such a way that it is possible to reflect light of a given type from a certain spectrum.

How does a reflective photoelectric sensor work?

A standard photoelectric sensor reflective consists of an optical transmitter (emitter) and receiver (detector), which are housed in one housing. The transmitter emits light of a specific wavelength towards the reflector placed in front of the sensor, which reflects the beam towards the sensor. This returns to the device and is detected by the detector.

Sometimes sensors are equipped with polarizing filters through which the beam reflected from the reflector and returning to the sensor is passed. In this way, interference is avoided, which is especially important for the detection of mirror surfaces.

Types of reflectors for reflective sensors

Reflectors for photoelectric sensors must be carefully matched to the device to ensure the most precise detection. Manufacturers always inform in the technical documentation which sensors the reflector can work with.

Reflectors are made of various materials - PMMA is most often used as a reflecting surface, i.e. acrylic glass in combination with a material that is a light-impermeable base. It can be ABS, for example, but also other polymeric materials etc.

It is good to know that the reflectors take various shapes - round (circular), square and rectangular reflectors are available on the market. There are also strip reflectors of various widths and lengths that can be adapted to your needs.

Fields of application of the reflection sensor

The reflection sensors are placed in automated production lines where they act as a detector. Their tasks usually include detecting the presence of an object in a specific area at relatively short distances, which usually do not exceed a few meters. These are the most standard detection capabilities of photoelectric sensors, although the group of reflective sensors has a greater range. It can reach even several meters for non-transparent objects. Detecting the presence of foil, glass or plexiglass requires smaller distances between the sensor and the reflector.

Reflective sensors for detecting transparent objects are often an element of production lines for PET bottles, glass packaging (eg they are used to count jars or glasses on a conveyor belt) or foil. In the latter case, sensors are often used in automatic monitoring devices, where they detect material breaks, e.g. when winding foil to be wrapped on spools. As long as the foil strip is running continuously, the sensor does not respond. When it detects a break, the sensor responds and the corresponding control signal triggers a specific behavior of the machine (e.g. winding end and kickback).