Experts at ifm efector continue to tell clients, and the industry, about the importance of adopting automation technology as the manufacturing continues to evolve. Adam McCleery writes. Read more
Meet product sales manager Darryl Blackeby – an expert in the vision and identification product range of ifm (such as sensor cameras). Darryl is inspired by how customers use ifm sensors and is always interested in finding new applications for sensors that can help businesses improve and increase their efficiency.
One of the key reasons Syed Ahmad is passionate about working with ifm is that the company is always generating innovative, technologically-advanced products.
As an Internal Product Specialist, Syed sees the difference that ifm solutions can make to businesses, helping them with preventative maintenance of machinery and automation.
Hear what Syed has to say about ifm’s unique product and service offerings in the Australian market.
Meet Chris Dicker who is both the Australasian Product Manager and Complex Product Manager for ifm in Australia. Chris has extensive experience working in the industry and with ifm, he has genuine passion for the products because they are such high quality and are designed to be easy-to-use and implement. Hear how Chris gets great personal satisfaction from helping customers find that perfect solution.
Food industry professionals had a chance to share ideas on data management solutions and sustainable packaging at the Australasian Waste and Recycling Expo (AWRE).
The expo, held on the 29th and 30th of August, aimed to challenge thinking about current waste standards and the future of waste disposal and recovery.
Exhibitors included companies that work with the food and beverage industry, such as ifm Efector, Source Separation Systems and DB Packaging.
Joshua Riley, from Source Separation Systems, showcased the company’s composting products.
The Kitchen Caddy is a container that houses compostable household waste, which can then be disposed of in a compost system or suitable council bins. The company also made a range of liners derived from corn that wasn’t fit for human consumption, Riley said.
“All the liners are Australian Certified compostable,” he said.
The liners left no plastic bits in the soil, like some biodegradable products did, he said. The ink used on the liners is soy based and also not toxic to the environment.
Riley said it was difficult getting people to change the way they thought about waste.
“It’s not rocket science. It’s not hard, but the challenge we face is that people don’t like change. Once you get their mind changed, it’s easy,” said Riley.
Rachel Beaver, educator and trainer at DB Packaging, also said people needed to change their mindsets.
DB Packaging makes compostable plates and bowls, and compostable transparent bags.
Many people used cling wrap to showcase the contents of a product, but there were other materials available, said Beaver.
“We don’t need cling wrap. We need to get people to change their minds,” she said.
“We are starting to work with different bodies to change consumers’ perceptions. Everyone has to be involved,” said Beaver.
Companies behind making products such as compostable containers and machinery used to deal with waste were also at the expo.
Ifm senior sales engineer Jason Woo said ifm provided mobile controls for hydraulic systems used by companies to lift bins and used for crushers, for example.
“The target market would be the machine builders for rubbish trucks,” he said.
Ifm also has a range of sensors that help with data management.
With effective data management people can see in real-time when machines need maintenance or when they are working overtime.
“It also monitors consumption so consumers can see what they are using too much of,” said Woo.
Being able to monitor machines easily, could help businesses save energy and save on costs, he said.
Everything waste-related was covered at the expo to materials, machinery and data solutions. The expo was held at the International Convention Centre at Sydney’s Darling Harbour.
According to a recent report by the US-based Grand View Research consulting company, the global photoelectric sensors market size is expected to reach US$2.09 billion ($2.83 billion) by 2025.
The global photoelectric sensors market size has been growing in recent years, with more companies realising the power of automation in improving efficiency in their manufacturing processes.
The growing demand for photoelectric sensors is attributed to the rising penetration of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the numerous benefits offered by the sensors – including maximising asset utilisation, improving productivity, and enhancing work safety.
ifm efector’s national product and brand manager, Glenn Thornton, is also of the opinion that an uptake in the use of photoelectric sensors in Australia is inevitable.
“With the way the markets are going, the companies will be forced to use automation to enhance their efficiency and productivity,” he said.
The company, a global manufacturer of sensors and controls for industrial automation, has developed the new O6 laser sensor to complement its O6 sensor family.
The new O6 laser features a background suppression system that is colour-independent at the 100mm range. This enables the laser sensor to detect tiny objects where conventional red light sensors reach their limits.
The laser is also equipped with IO-Link functionality, making it possible to automatically parameterise the sensors, diagnose plant states and transmit measured values without loss.
“The new O6 laser sensor has a fine and uniform light spot, which enables it to provide precise detection and consistent laser alignment,” Thornton said.
ifm first introduced the O6 Wetline photoelectric sensor series about four years ago, growing the product suite over time.
The small rectangular design of the O6 was designed for wet areas in the food industry. The stainless-steel body offers the protection rating IP68/69K that is particularly suited to harsh wet environments in food production such as dairies, breweries and abattoirs.
ifm followed these product series with a new O6 range released in 2016 in a plastic body – offering the same optical performance as the lasers with the stainless steel body, but at a competitive price.
The new precise laser sensor with the 100mm detection range adds to the existing laser sensors in this family of products, which also include a through-beam laser with a range up to 15 metres and retro-reflective laser with a range up to eight metres.
“The retro-reflective arrangement uses a reflector to bounce the inverted light beam back from the transmitter to the receiver. A through-beam arrangement consists of two sensors. One sensor acts as the power unit and sends the laser beam, while the other one acts as a receiver,” Thornton said.
With such a varied range, the need for consultancy services is apparent. “When the customers visit our service centres or approach us directly, we help them identify the best technology for their particular applications,” Thornton said. “We ask them questions to determine whether they need the sensor for packaging, manufacturing or parts assembly applications, to understand the challenges for mounting the sensors and to find out the required distances to the objects. Accordingly, we advise them on the suitable technology,” he said.
The O6 laser features IO-Link functionality, which is a worldwide open-standard protocol for connecting sensors and devices. Through this technology, a binary laser diffuse reflection sensor becomes a high-precision distance sensor. This creates new application possibilities, including length and height monitoring.
“The IO-Link technology allows for millimetre-scale accuracy, making the sensor suitable for measurements within the 100mm range,” Thornton said.
Precise distance measurement enables the sensors to detect the presence of very small parts, such as small seals, washers, screw heads, metal clips and electronic components.
IO-Link is a powerful, yet simple protocol, which enables smart connection of sensors and substations to the control level. IO-Link uses standardised interfaces that work with all IO-Link technology. If a sensor fails, it can be replaced without interrupting the production line.