How to Select Optical Triangulation Position Sensors
Image Credits: Baumer Ltd, MTI Instruments Inc. Optical triangulation position sensors use reflected waves to pinpoint position and displacement. They are noncontact height or range measurement devices.   How Optical Triangulation Position Sensors Work These sensors use an optical transmitter to project light on the target. The reflection of that light is focused via an optical lens on a light sensitive receiver. The distance is...
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Q & A on Optical Triangulation Position Sensors

We asked our users for their input on Optical Triangulation Position Sensors. Here are the results of 78 users familiar with Optical Triangulation Position Sensors.

Who Took Our Poll? | Design Trends | Applications and Use | Features | Buying Advice |

Who Took Our Poll?Top

Design TrendsTop

Q:
What new technologies are influencing optical triangulation position sensor design?
9 answers
Answers:
Better and cheaper software for signal analysis; change from PSD detectors to CMOS (still I think PSD is faster for rapid vibration studies).
~Leif E, Engineering Consultant, Stockholm, Sweden
Blue light - can be used to more accurately measure organic mater such as flesh. Also, great for targets which may be glowing hot.
~Marketing/Sales, Livermore, CA
Chip resolution, better algorithm for surface detections
~Svante L, Engineering Consultant, Österskär, Sweden
We are using Metavision (England) brand equipments
~Atilla A, Electrical Engineer, TURKEY, TURKEY
Pneumatic air velocity echo measuring.
~Harm K., Engineering Consultant, Drachten, Netherlands
Optics that move
~Marketing/Sales, Elgin, IL
Range, accuracy
~John H, Research & Development, Exton, PA
Image sensor
~Research & Development, Chung-li City, Taiwan
Temperature
~Engineer, Blankenfelde-Mahlow, Germany

Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative optical triangulation position sensors?
12 answers
Answers:
Keyence, because they are fast Micro-Epsilon, because they are innovative (e.g. blue laser)
~Engineer, Blankenfelde-Mahlow, Germany
Keyence; Micro-epsilon; (selcom)
~Leif E, Engineering Consultant, Stockholm, Sweden
LFM electronic and IFM efector
~John H, Research & Development, Exton, PA
Micro-Epsilon and Keyence
~Marketing/Sales, Livermore, CA
I haven't any idea.
~Atilla A, Electrical Engineer, TURKEY, TURKEY
Dinel and Baumer
~Sorin Stoenescu, Technical Support, Brasov, Romania
Micro-epsilon
~Laszlo Schmidt, R/D engineer, Budapest, Hungary
GlobalSpec
~Rodolfo Ernesto Picardi, General Management, Bahía Blanca, Argentina
Keyence.
~Harm K., Engineering Consultant, Drachten, Netherlands
Keyence
~Svante L, Engineering Consultant, Österskär, Sweden
Keyence
~Marketing/Sales, Elgin, IL
MTI
~Doug B, Faculty/Staff, Saskatoon, Canada

Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used optical triangulation position sensors for?
22 answers
Answers:
We are using for seam welding tracing. We are steel tube producer. 1) We are using submerged arc welding technology. Before the welding we must detect center position of weld bath. Lasers are necessary for this. After detecting the milled steel center we are moving the torches to the center of the bead that the weld always must be in the center of. 2) And we are using for ultrasonic fault detection systems for steel tube. There are some triangulation sensors that detect the weld seam position after welded. And it's centering the ultrasonic sensors on center of weld bead. This is necessary for fault detection in weld inside.
~Atilla A, Electrical Engineer, TURKEY, TURKEY
I have designed triangulation systems for position measurements in cow milking machines (mm range), for flatness measurements in the micrometer range. and for 3D-measurements of dental imprints (micrometer range), and some more..
~Leif E, Engineering Consultant, Stockholm, Sweden
Tire thread profile Ride height of race cars / motorcycles Thickness of wood Thickness and profile of tablets Autodistance for large scale screenprint machine Bread volume measurement ..
~Engineering, Design, Bensheim, Ghana
Distance measurement, height measurement, motion measurement, vibration measurement
~Research & Development, Chung-li City, Taiwan
Moving machine part detection, materials handling to detect position of packages.
~John H, Research & Development, Exton, PA
Chewing gum pellets measurement pipe measurement lumber measurement
~Engineering, Design, St.-Petersburg, Russia
ROVs (Remote Operating Vehicle) Sub aquatic Operations (DiverS)
~Rodolfo Ernesto Picardi, General Management, Bahía Blanca, Argentina
Considering for creeping tests of overhead-line conductors
~Laszlo Schmidt, R/D engineer, Budapest, Hungary
Step height, thickness, flatness, warpage runout, etc
~Marketing/Sales, Elgin, IL
To measure cylindrical devices at approx. 5m distance
~Stefano Corradini, Engineer, Reggio Emilia, Italy
Step measurement for thickness; vibration analysis
~Marketing/Sales, Livermore, CA
Measuring output gauge in extrusion processes.
~Harm K., Engineering Consultant, Drachten, Netherlands
Sensing fill level of a vibrating bowl
~Sorin Stoenescu, Technical Support, Brasov, Romania
Robot control, roll grinding machines
~Svante L, Engineering Consultant, Österskär, Sweden
Different applications in industry
~Engineering, Consulting, Maribor, Slovenia
Roundness/ovality measurements
~Engineer, Blankenfelde-Mahlow, Germany
Measuring vibrations amplitude
~Engineering, Faculty/Staff/Student, Gyor, Hungary
For vertical tank calibration
~Engineering, Other, TEMA, Ghana
Hydraulic cylinder position
~Doug B, Faculty/Staff, Saskatoon, Canada
I didn't use them yet.
~Engineering, Design, Ramnicu Valcea, Romania
Aerial photography
~Engineering, Design, Balashikha, Russia
Dental surgery
~General Corporate Mgmt, Champanier, France

Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that optical triangulation position sensors have been used for.
8 answers
Answers:
As said before, to detect position of a cylindrical device (about 15mm diameter) at approx 5m distance, but in open external space.
~Stefano Corradini, Engineer, Reggio Emilia, Italy
Worked an application for a medical R&D lab to measure the precise position of a hand to determine range of motion.
~Marketing/Sales, Livermore, CA
Intelligent Laser probe for CNC machines. Built in with vision system to detect holes & edges.
~Svante L, Engineering Consultant, Österskär, Sweden
Oh no ..... we'd rather keep that for ourselves.
~Harm K., Engineering Consultant, Drachten, Netherlands
Interlock indication, ovality measurements
~Engineer, Blankenfelde-Mahlow, Germany
See applications above
~Leif E, Engineering Consultant, Stockholm, Sweden
Counting heart beats
~Marketing/Sales, Elgin, IL
Detection of glass
~John H, Research & Development, Exton, PA

Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of optical triangulation position sensors?
1 answers
Answers:
Yes, measuring range was too close and the sensor was destroyed
~Marketing/Sales, Elgin, IL

FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
11 answers
Answers:
Measuring on dark (black) surfaces nearby the compound's surface (warm -up to approx. 90 °C; contaminating environment (vapors).
~Harm K., Engineering Consultant, Drachten, Netherlands
Smaller laser heads with higher temperature capability
~Engineer, Blankenfelde-Mahlow, Germany
A small simple, and reasonably cheap line sensor
~Leif E, Engineering Consultant, Stockholm, Sweden
Adjustable optics to change the measuring range
~Marketing/Sales, Elgin, IL
Fast 3D surface detection, moving target
~Svante L, Engineering Consultant, Österskär, Sweden
Product with 10 micrometer precision.
~Ji YANG, Research & Development, Nanjing, China
- to discriminate in case of sunlight
~Stefano Corradini, Engineer, Reggio Emilia, Italy
Integrated Ethernet connector port
~Marketing/Sales, Livermore, CA
1m range, 10um resolution
~Laszlo Schmidt, R/D engineer, Budapest, Hungary
Increased length capacity
~Doug B, Faculty/Staff, Saskatoon, Canada
Best accuracy
~John H, Research & Development, Exton, PA

Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using optical triangulation position sensors?
7 answers
Answers:
Observe that presented measurement capacity is very often on a nice white uniform reflecting surface, and that might not be what you have in your application. Anyhow the probes today function quite nicely.
~Leif E, Engineering Consultant, Stockholm, Sweden
There are many laser triangulation sensor types to select from. Be specific with the sales engineer about your target and measurement goals.
~Marketing/Sales, Livermore, CA
Buy IFM's background suppression sensors. They have the best resolution and are tested well beyond the proximity switch standards.
~John H, Research & Development, Exton, PA
Use sensors with teach-in function to enhance measurement resolution.
~Engineer, Blankenfelde-Mahlow, Germany
Choose some grades better than you read from the white papers.
~Harm K., Engineering Consultant, Drachten, Netherlands
Test the real case before starting a project.
~Svante L, Engineering Consultant, Österskär, Sweden
Test it first
~Marketing/Sales, Elgin, IL

Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of optical triangulation position sensors?
8 answers
Answers:
Realize that it's not possible to have very good measurement resolution and a very small spatial spot at the target at the same time (laser speckle problems).
~Leif E, Engineering Consultant, Stockholm, Sweden
Don't have targets approach from the bottom. The targets need to approach parallel to the optical split between the receiver and transmitter.
~John H, Research & Development, Exton, PA
No. At least in my case, all applications are unique a bit exotic. The selection of the sensor must be done based on test requirements.
~Engineer, Blankenfelde-Mahlow, Germany
Be sure to consider things like "averaging" when evaluating one component to another. Some manufacturers play the game very well.
~Marketing/Sales, Livermore, CA
Study worst case scenarios. Especially warm vapors may disturb your expectations.
~Harm K., Engineering Consultant, Drachten, Netherlands
Investigate more in the capability of measuring the specific target surface.
~Svante L, Engineering Consultant, Österskär, Sweden
Do not mount that kind of sensors into dust environment.
~Sorin Stoenescu, Technical Support, Brasov, Romania
Test if first
~Marketing/Sales, Elgin, IL


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