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Ultrasonic sensors with continuous level measurement

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New ultrasonic sensors from Ifm are distinguished by their long range of up to 8 m. This makes them particularly suited for the detection of objects far away or for continuous level monitoring.

Ultrasonic sensors are used for reliable position detection and precise continuous distance measurement of solids, powders and liquids. They transmit and receive sound waves in the ultrasonic range.

The object to be detected reflects the sound waves and the distance information is determined via time-of-flight measurement. Turbulence, foam, steam, chemical mists, and changes in the concentration of the process material affect the ultrasonic sensor’s response. Turbulence and foam prevent the sound wave from being properly reflected to the sensor; steam and chemical mists and vapours distort or absorb the sound wave; and variations in concentration cause changes in the amount of energy in the sound wave that is reflected back to the sensor. Stilling wells and waveguides are used to prevent errors caused by these factors.

Fig. 1: The new Ifm ultrasonic sensors in M30 design are distinguished by their long range of up to 8 m.

Ifm’s compact ultrasonic sensors provide a particularly small blind zone, long sensing ranges and a high resolution. Blister packages in packaging technology or transparent plastic bowls in the food industry, for example, can be reliably detected. Even in operating conditions with heavy soiling, dust or mist the sensors detect objects reliably and without interference.

The requirement for electronic signal processing circuitry can be used to make the ultrasonic sensor an intelligent device. Ultrasonic sensors can be designed to provide point level control, continuous monitoring or both.

Due to the presence of a microprocessor and relatively low power consumption, there is also the capability for serial communication from to other computing devices making this a good technique for adjusting calibration and filtering of the sensor signal, remote wireless monitoring or plant network communications. The ultrasonic sensor enjoys wide popularity due to the powerful mix of low price and high functionality.

The product range from Ifm includes units with programmable switching output, analogue output, or a combination of both. Output function, switch points and measuring range are conveniently set via a pushbutton on the unit or via wire teach.

Some sensor types can additionally be configured via IO-Link, e.g. using a USB interface. The linerecorder sensor software is used to visualise, transfer and archive parameter sets.
The new Ifm ultrasonic sensors in M30 design are distinguished by their long range of up to 8 m. This makes them particularly suited for the detection of objects far away or for continuous level monitoring, e.g. of bulk materials or liquids. As opposed to photoelectric sensors colour, transparency or the object or medium’s surface shine do not affect sensing.

Table 1: Common technical data.
Common technical data
Current rating Switching output          [mA]100
Ambient temperature                             [°C]-20…70
Temperature compensation
Protection ratingIP 67
ConnectionM12 connector
Status indications                                   LED2 x yellow
Echo                                                          LED1 x green

Adjustable sound beam

Due to limited space, unwanted reflections at the inside of the tank may occur in level applications. This can lead to faulty measurement results. Thanks to IO-Link, the sound beam can be set individually according to the application. With IO-Link, the user is well prepared for Industry 4.0.

Learn more about this sensor and more at the Ifm stand at the Africa Automation Fair taking place from 4 – 6 June at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg. The company will showcase a live demonstration on the features of this brand-new sensor. Other new products released at the recent Hannover Fair in Germany will also be on display. If you can’t make it, Ifm Electronic will be showcasing this and other products at the following events:

  • MyFuture4.0 from 15 – 18 May at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg.
  • The KZN Industrial Technology Exhibition (KITE) from 24 – 26 July at the Durban Expo Centre.
  • Electra Mining Botswana from 10 – 12 September at the Gaborone Fairgrounds.

Contact Ifm Electronic, Tel 012 450-0400,


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