Drives and Controls Magazine
Sensor monitors colour intensities
Published:  01 June, 2005

Sensor monitors colour intensities

An American company claims to have developed the first industrial colour sensor that can output colour intensity, allowing automation processes to be finely tuned, and colour control to be tightened. EMX Industries` ColorMax-1000 sensor will allow operators and PLCs to know not just which colour is being sensed - but how much colour.

The sensor`s sampling speed (5kHz) is said to be up to five times faster than competitors. It is also claimed to have the industry`s highest resolution and repeatability specifications, and twice the colour-matching memory of its rivals.

The sensor, which has a range of 30-100mm, uses a high intensity white LED to project modulated light onto the target. At 50mm, the beam diameter is 4mm or 8mm, allowing pinpoint readings to be made with minimal background interference. The sensor analyses the reflected light for its RGB values and intensities, and outputs analogue values for each RGB reading, allowing operators to determine how much colour there is and to spot trends.

Software algorithms ignore shiny surfaces that can fool other sensors, according to EMX. Typical applications are expected to include detecting colour marks on parts and packaging, and matching car bumpers and mirrors to the body colour.