Proximity Sensors Summary

Binary position sensors, as defined in the report, are threshold versions of position sensors, sometimes called discrete position sensors. They are non-contact proximity measuring devices that help to determine the presence or absence of an object or person by detecting a critical or threshold distance.

 

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Summary

Binary position sensors, as defined in the report, are threshold versions of position sensors, sometimes called discrete position sensors. They are non-contact proximity measuring devices that help to determine the presence or absence of an object or person by detecting a critical or threshold distance. The global market for these proximity / presence sensors is expected to grow at a steady rate. Major industries using proximity sensors are machine tools, woodworking machines, packaging machines and other types of machinery. The automotive sector, too, is continuing to be a major market for proximity sensors; so is the aircraft sector. Household appliances and office electronics equipment represent further major markets for presence detection sensors.

Proximity sensors have become smarter through the introduction of microcontrollers, enabling additional functions and specific applications. Laser or fibre-optic proximity sensors are other examples of high-end proximity sensors. So are light curtains and light grids. Reed switches, on the other hand, represent low-end versions of proximity switches respectively presence detection sensors; they have the advantage of being practically maintenance free and immune to contamination.

In modern office equipment, low-end and therefore low-cost proximity switches are used in copiers, printers and fax machines, and increasingly in smart phones. Front-office equipment such as automatic vending machines, automatic teller machines (ATMs), but also gaming machines utilize a variety of inductive and optical proximity switches.

Machinery applications require higher-end presence sensors and proximity switches. They help to increase the automation degree of nearly all types of machinery and often the safety level of production units. Especially feed drives and auxiliary drives are using inductive proximity sensors; however, their usage and market penetration is restricted and counterbalanced by the advance of absolute position sensors in machinery feed drives. Light curtains are used for safety reasons in machinery peripheral equipment to avoid injuries. Materials handling equipment such as continuous conveyors and automatic warehouses are increasingly applying light barriers and other types of optical presence detectors.

Further applications of are automatic door units such as garage doors or doors inside buildings, elevator doors and / or doors inside railway coaches. The building and automotive sector are further industries using high volumes of proximity sensors.

Over the years, these sensors have evolved in terms of sensitivity, compactness, ruggedness and flexibility, as a consequence of ever-growing need for enhanced technology.

Conclusion

The global market for proximity / presence sensors was marginally impacted by the recent economic recession during the years 2008-09. With the crisis hitting all major end-use industries, growth in the market remained relatively flat during the period. However as demand surged in 2010, mainly from the automotive, office, building and industrial markets the pre-crisis strong growth level has reemerged for these markets.

 

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