Learn which laser distance sensor is best for your application.
The laser distance sensors from AutomationDirect are an awesome way to get pinpoint, accurate, and high-resolution distance measurements from 80 micrometers all the way out to a hundred meters. The family of sensors currently breaks down like this: with increasing part numbers, giving you increasing range. These yellow triangles are pointing to the class 2 lasers, for example if we look down here we can see it as a class 1 and a class 2 laser for each range. Why would you pick one over the other, well the main difference is the power output of the laser. Class one lasers have a max output power of half a milliwatt. While class 2 lasers are double that at 1 milliwatt, so if you have an environment where you have bright lights or even in direct sunlight you'll want to consider using the brighter laser. If you're in a typical industrial environment with subdued lighting class 1 lasers will work just fine. Keep in mind the safety requirements are different between the two: class 1 lasers are considered safe from all potential hazards, class 2 lasers are also considered safe because of the assumption that your natural eye blink reflex will protect you. But you probably don't want to be the one that tests that, so you'll want to make sure that the class 2 laser is used where it can't end up pointing into or being reflected into someone's eye. This chart summarizes some of the main differences between the groups of sensors use the actual data sheets for final say of course but it does give you a good general sense of the capabilities of these sensors. These two guys can only do object detection, they don't have an analog output so that's why I have them shown in gray here. They look for object presence, so they're a diffused type sensor with the ability to suppress background objects. The first thing to look at is range, if you only need an inch or two then these guys are great. If you need 100 meters well then you only have one choice, but if you need something in the 1 to 10 foot range you have a number of choices so how do you know which to use? At first glance you can see this 2011 sensor seems to have a lot more features than these guys over here, for half the price. Why is that well the difference is the resolution, if you want to measure the thickness of thin films for example then you're probably gonna want one of these guys that can measure down to 8 - 50 micrometers, which are about a hundredth resolution of the guys. If you don't need that extreme resolution then definitely take a look at these they're fully loaded and can do just about anything you can imagine for a lot less money. And don't forget to look at what class the laser is again class 2 lasers are twice as powerful as the class 1 lasers so you'll want to consider using those in brightly lit areas. So once you see 1 or 2 the fit your application, check out the tech tip video that covers that sensor to see a very thorough walkthrough of how to configure and use the sensor these lasers have a ton of options. And each group of lasers has its own unique way of doing things, so while there's a lot of overlap between them we went ahead and created a separate video showing how to configure each group. So we could point out the unique features of each set of sensors and when you're done with that, check out the how-to videos that show you exactly how to wire it to a PLC and then how to program the PLC to use it.
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