FEATURE Sensors & Sensingy

Complete solution packages, consisting of sensors, connectors, cables, distribution boxes and software modules for actuator control, can reduce the complexity of industrial automation

Reducing complexities in industrial automation

Janina Antonio, Marketing Manager at Heilind, explains that system complexity can easily be avoided, especially with innovative solutions


industrial automation, networking and a growing number of sensors are enabling ever closer process monitoring. Inevitably, this leads to

greater complexities in signal acquisition, connection technology and cabling. For those with fl exible manufacturing processes, automated control of material replenishment and accurate prediction of machine faults, complete solution packages exist that use sensors, connectors, cables, distribution boxes and software modules to reduce these added complexities.

Closer process monitoring Take the case of a level sensor used for monitoring a tank’s content level; if the level drops below a set threshold, an alarm lamp raises awareness so that level can be topped up, or additional material ordered during procurement.

18 July/August 2020 | Automation

Today, this process is very diff erent: the level sensor is connected to a digital process chain, so if the contents of a container fall below a pre-set threshold, a signal is transmitted to a controller with an automated order triggered via the ERP system. This signal is manifold, and includes temperature, pressure, fl ow sensor values and more, in addition to the material level. In total, 30 sensors have been installed on pumps and along the supply pipes to monitor the entire process. The sensors are wired with an M5, M8 or M12 connectors suitable for harsh environmental conditions, whilst motors are connected with rugged M23 connectors.

Instead of many individual cable connections to the controller’s PROFINET bus, adjacent sensors and motors are connected to a distribution box at the nodes. Here, the signals are bundled via a cable and

routed to the master box, from where only a single cable goes to the controller. With this setup, overall cabling and assembly costs were reduced signifi cantly.

Monitoring processes components Molex and Amphenol supply complete solution packages featuring connectors, cables, distribution boxes and master boxes, with variations available for different environmental conditions. Some manufacturers also offer software modules and development services for actuator control.

The LS02 level sensor from Standex Meeder, for instance, is available with normally open, closed or changeover contact types, providing maximum-rated power of 100W (400VDC/1A). This sensor can also be connected to a digital processing chain to trigger an automated order.

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