Confocal controller aims to open up new applications in high volume production M

icro-Epsilon has launched a new range of confocal controllers for

distance and thickness measurement applications. Available in a single or a new dual-channel version, the sub-micrometer resolution controllers offer the cost- effective use of confocal measurement technology in high volume applications for machine builders, system integrators and continuous production environments. The new entry level confocal controllers are designed to offer a high resolution, high accuracy solution where alternative technologies, such as laser triangulation and other optical measurement sensors are measuring at their limits. The new IFC2421 and IFC2422 controllers offer the high precision that comes with the confocal chromatic measurement principle yet at an affordable price, making them suitable for applications where the higher specifications of the confocal IFC2461 & 71 series are not needed.

MAIN FEATURES The confocalDT IFC2421 controller is a single channel controller, while the confocalDT IFC2422 controller is a two- channel version, where both channels are evaluated simultaneously. Both controllers offer a variety of features and benefits, including ease of use via a web interface; fast configuration via pre-defined user setups; high speed compensation feature for difficult, changing surfaces; thickness calibration; adjustable measuring rate from 100Hz up to 6.5kHz; and Ethernet, EtherCAT, RS422 and analogue outputs. The controllers can be offered as a standard version for distance measurements or as a multi-peak version for multi-layer thickness measurement. Configuration is carried out by the intuitive web interface, so there is no need for any additional software. IFC2422 is designed as a two-channel

version. The dual channel feature enables evaluations from both channels simultaneously and at the full measurement rate. This can be of particular benefit in process control tasks such as shape or geometrical measurements of glass bottles and containers, or where the cost advantages of the two-channel version are important for the customer. Chris Jones, managing director, Micro-

Epsilon UK, comments: “The dual- channel version of the controller allows

20 JUNE 2017 | AUTOMATION The controllers can be used with all

The all-metal, DIN rail mountable controllers are designed for use in OEM and continuous production applications

two confocal sensors to be connected to a single controller. The controller is then able to calculate and output differential measurements from each sensor, such as step height, parallelism, flatness and thickness. Having only one controller means easier installation and a lower cost solution. This is of particular interest in price-sensitive applications where confocal sensor technology was previously cost-prohibitive.”

SIMPLE SET UP AND OPERATION The all-metal, DIN rail mountable controllers are designed for use in OEM and continuous production applications across all industry sectors, particularly glass, semiconductor, plastics, medical and other high precision applications. They are simple to set up and operate, and the user can remotely configure measurement channels using the intuitive, web-based software via Ethernet. The user does not need to install any other measurement software.

Micro-Epsilon confocal sensors, including the latest miniature 4mm diameter confocal sensors in axial or radial versions. In addition, because the controllers were developed in-house by Micro-Epsilon, they benefit from the company’s vast experience in the development of high speed, high precision optical sensors. The controllers have a rugged industrial design and use a high performance CCD array as the sensor element. In addition, whereas most conventional confocal controllers use an integral fan and air vents in order to cool the controller during operation, the confocalDT IFC2421 and IFC2422 controllers use a passive cooling system that does not require a fan or air vents. This greatly improves the controller’s protection rating and longevity. The confocal measurement principle is

designed for high accuracy, non-contact displacement, distance and position measurement against any surface: solid, transparent, polished mirrored surfaces, low reflective matt surfaces and even liquids. Almost all industries benefit from this measurement principle as it can be used in both R&D and in-process measurements. In particular, the semiconductor, micro-lens, automotive parts, medical, glass, and MEMS industries use this sensor technology in many different ways.

Micro-Epsilon T: 0151 355 6070

merson’s water and steam detection system is said to be the world’s first single controller solution to be certified to IEC 61508 for safety instrumented functions up to SIL 3. The Mobrey Hydratect 2462 water and steam detection system is used in a wide variety of applications where the detection of water or steam is vital for safe and efficient plant operation, such as boilers, steam drums and steam line drain pots. This helps to protect valuable plant assets, prevent downtime, save costs and improve worker safety. The functional safety assessment performed by Exida enhances Hydratect’s reputation for reliability and durability. Exida, world leader in functional safety certification, has assessed Hydratect and determined that it meets the requirements of SIL 3. The Hydratect system is suitable for the most demanding applications within power generation, refineries, chemical, steel, pulp and paper plants.



conditions of up to 300 bar and 560°C. Failure of equipment in such applications can have serious consequences – the Hydratect offers the benefit of SIL 3 approval guaranteeing its reliability. Hydratect is a modern replacement for conventional float switches, and consists of a compact twin-channel electronic unit, connected to a pair of electrodes. Each channel gives independent indications of the presence of water or steam that are claimed to be more reliable than those obtained with electro-mechanical devices. 2462-hydratect


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