Balluff Unveils New Magnetic Sensing Products for Automation and Welding Systems

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Compact, high precision magnetic discs for rotary encoders and a weld-immune magnetic field encoder are two magnetic sensing products recently developed by Balluff. The company specializes in sensing products for automation and industrial applications, many of which use its proprietary magnetizing process for bringing what it says is a new level of accuracy to magnetic encoders. 

Designed for simple integration into tight spaces and compact systems, the discs, shown above, provide fast evaluation for absolute rotary magnetic encoders. The BML BM1 rotary magnetic encoder can detect all rotations at high speed by measuring the angle or rotational speed for precise absolute feedback solutions for motors, drives and mechatronics. A range of standardized flat and hub-shaped discs is available with inside diameters up to 70 mm and custom modification possible, providing design engineers with great leeway in their product configuration. 

Also new from Balluff is a weld-immune magnetic field sensor for intelligent feedback even in the harsh conditions of a welding environment where flying sparks as well as metal and weld splatter can cause heat damage or stick to the sensors and cables and impair their functionality. Another problem is that high welding currents generate magnetic interference fields which can affect sensor function. Not so, however, with the interference-immune BMF 415KW magnetic field sensor which is especially designed for use in pneumatic cylinders for welding. 

The sensor can detect magnetic fields and suppress them for a specified time between 50 ms and 1000 ms. During this time, the output signal does not change, retaining the state it was in before the interfering magnetic field was detected. The magnetic field sensors query the piston position of pneumatic actuators precisely, without contact, and detect the permanent magnets attached to the piston rod through the non-magnetic cylinder wall. 

Balluff’s proprietary magnetizing process brings a new level of accuracy to magnetic encoders, the company says. Stronger, more sharply defined magnetic poles produced by its Permagnet technology deliver higher practical system accuracy, enabling its encoders to be more tolerant of variation in the working distance between the encoder read head and the tape. The technology reduces dispersion and distortion of the magnetic field throughout the specified working range, reducing the influence of gap-distance variation on the accuracy of the position measurement in real-world applications.  

According to Balluff, its magnetic encoder technology has advanced to the point that it can challenge general-purpose optical scale encoders, delivering equal or better performance than many optical encoders with higher robustness and lower total cost. 

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