Drives and Controls Magazine
Matchbox-sized ToF sensor can detect tiniest items at 1.5m
Published:  12 October, 2022

The German sensor-maker SensoPart has developed a matchbox-sized time-of-flight sensor that, it claims, can detect the smallest objects at distances of up to 1.5 metres. The FT 25-RLHP sensor uses a red laser-generated light spot which, although tiny, is clearly visible, simplifying alignment.

Time-of-flight (ToF) sensors can work over much longer distances than triangulation proximity sensors, but they can be optically complex. They offer a high level of detection, regardless of the shape, colour and surface finish of the object being scanned. They are not affected by backgrounds such as lamps or shiny metal.

SensoPart says it has succeeded in integrating the optics into a miniature housing measuring 34 x 20 x 12mm, allowing the sensor to be used in applications with limited space. The sensor is equipped with a safe class 1 laser. Switching points and frequencies can be set via pushbuttons, control inputs or IO-Link.

Low hysteresis means that the sensor can detect the smallest objects with good repeatability. A window mode – activated by pushbutton – enables area monitoring. Any irrelevant distance measurements – such as the foreground and background of a conveyor belt – can be masked.

SensoPart’s time-of-flight sensors operate accurately over long distances

SensoPart expects the device to be used for applications requiring both long-distance scanning and reliable detection. Typical examples include checking the occupancy of storage bays in warehouses, monitoring the positions of components in assembly processes, and safety assurance testing for autonomous vehicles.