SICK Goes Flat Out for Performance with Mini-Smart Sensors

19 Mar 2021

SICK has launched its versatile W4F family of miniature smart sensors.

Each sensor has been developed to achieve next-generation detection performance and incorporates powerful new optical technology to master common sensing challenges with complete reliability.

The SICK W4F family of photoelectric smart sensors pack a choice of class-leading detection options and application-specific optics into the same, rugged, 16mm x 40mm x 12mm housing. Each features SICK’s trademark BluePilot push-turn pinpoint alignment and on-sensor status display.

Impressing with their resilience to bright ambient light, the versatile W4F smart sensors multiply intelligent machine integration options for almost any application, no matter how tight the available mounting space.

The SICK W4F family comprises eight different sensor types, split into the Optical Experts together with a range known as Optical Standards.

Superstar Performers

“Whether you need to detect jet black, high-gloss, highly reflective, perforated, transparent, wire-thin or flat products, the W4F has a specialist Optical Expert that is up to the task,” explains David Hannaby, SICK’s UK Product Manager for Presence Detection. “The W4F’s extended smart sensor features unlock more diagnostics and monitoring, while process information including distance measurement can be output to configure smart automation tasks.”

Optical Experts

Among the W4F Optical Experts is the new SICK W4F Multi-Switch with two separate switching points, together with a distance measurement output in millimetres (mm). It is therefore possible, e.g., to reliably detect a pack both when it is upright or lying on its side using just one sensor, or to enable a robot arm to travel more quickly by allowing it to stop in two steps. Using distance measurement, an automated response can be designed to alert when products drift away from a pre-set detection position on a conveyor, or to measure the width of a roll of paper or fabric.

Another highlight is the new foreground suppression sensor optic, capable of reliably detecting low, flat objects less than one 1mm in depth on a conveyor, even if they are highly reflective. The new SICK W4F Foreground Suppression Sensor excels when detecting flat products, even if they are extremely dark and glossy, such as chocolate bars, PCBs, batteries or smartphone components.

The SICK W4F V-Optic features a new V-focused light beam, designed to achieve exceptional accuracy when detecting mirror-reflective or completely transparent products such as glass panes. Low-remission, or tiny components such as solar wafers are detected reliably, as well as objects as thin as a single fuse wire.

The SICK W4F DoubleLine upgrades SICK’s Multi-Line technology adding more power and performance to detect components that have uneven surfaces, recesses, holes, perforations, grids or grooves, such as plastic totes, packs of pharmaceuticals, or printed circuit-boards with cut-outs.

The W4F Optical Standards sensors have already proven themselves in the field as space-saving and high-performing all-rounders. The through-beam photoelectric sensor has a long sensing range of up to eight metres, while the photoelectric retro-reflective sensor extends up to five metres.

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