Home Automation Look but don’t touch: The SICK SPEETEC speed and length sensor

Look but don’t touch: The SICK SPEETEC speed and length sensor

by Sophie Stevens

With the SPEETEC non-contact sensor for speed and length measurement, SICK says it has added a compact, affordable, eye-safe laser surface motion sensor to its portfolio, able to measure a wide range of continuous, web-fed or cut-to-length plastic products down to a resolution of 4 µm.

According to SICK, SPEETEC combines unprecedented affordability with precision surface measurement for process control and quality inspection tasks used in the manufacture of plastic products including processes such as the extrusion of plastic pipes or PVC-U profiles, and cut to length of sheet materials. The Class 1 eye-safe infra-red laser light eliminates the need for special guarding or safety measures required by many conventional velocimeters.

The SPEETEC uses the Laser Doppler principle to work at speeds between 0.1 and 10 m/s to measure directly on the material surface with an accuracy of 0.1%, and a repeatability of 0.05%.  Typically, Return on Investment can be achieved in under 12 months, according to Darren Pratt, SICK’s UK product manager for motion control sensors.

“The performance and affordability of the SICK SPEETEC will come as a surprise to many machine builders and manufacturers,” he said.  “It therefore promises to automate in-line measurement processes for process control, quality checking, or cutting at levels of speed or accuracy which would not have previously been possible.

“The SPEETEC’s non-contact measurement principle means there is no danger of marking or damaging the substrate, important, for example for delicate, smooth or soft products. There is no longer a need for any marks or scales on the material itself. What’s more, unlike a measuring wheel which can wear over time due to adhesion of abrasion with the material surface, the SPEETEC’s measurement function cannot be impaired in this way, so maintenance and downtime is reduced.”

Product testing and field trials have already shown the SPEETEC to be reliable even when measuring materials with challenging, highly reflective, dark-black or uneven surfaces. SICK also expects to see it being installed to increase process speeds where rotary encoders or measuring wheels would be prone to inaccuracy due to slippage of the material.

The SPEETEC is easy to mount due to its generous mounting tolerances and compact design. The rugged aluminium housing, measures just 140mm x 95mm x 32.5mm. The SICK SPEETEC can be set up in a matter of minutes and does not require any supplementary electronics to process the signal output.  The Laser Doppler measurement is automatically converted onboard the sensor into TTL/HTL signals identical to those of an incremental encoder, so that they can be easily integrated into the machine control system.

Darren Pratt is offering 30-minute one-to-one presentation and online demonstration to anyone who would like to discuss whether the SPEETEC is right for their application. For more information, please contact Andrea Hornby on 01727 831121 or email andrea.hornby@sick.co.uk.


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