Baumer announces the new U500 NextGen ultrasonic sensors from Baumer, featuringOneBox Design, qTeach, which are also available with their O500 photoelectric sensor cousins. Before we get to what's so cool about the U500 series, let’s start by discussing what ultrasonic sensors are all about.
Instead of sending and receiving light like photoelectric sensors, ultrasonic sensors emit and receive sound. The sound that they throw off is a really high frequency, in the range of 120 kHz to 400 kHz. That’s far beyond what most people can hear, which usually falls in the 20 Hz to 20 kHz range.
Inside they have a transducer which acts as both a loudspeaker and a microphone. The transducer emits pulses of sound and then stops. After the transducer stops vibrating, which takes a small amount of time, the sensor begins to listen for the echo from the pulses it just emitted. It can calculate the distance of an object by measuring how long it takes for the echo to return.
Because the loudspeaker takes some time to stop vibrating before the sensor can begin to listen, ultrasonic sensors have a blind area close to them. This can be quite a large area on some sensors, but Baumer’s U500 is relatively small – only 100 mm. Thanks to the integrated electronics, the U500 is quick with a response time of only 50 or 80 ms depending on the version.
So, why would we use an ultrasonic sensor over a photoelectric? Ultrasonic sensors work great in environments with a lot of dirt, mist, or vapors that can give photo sensors all sorts of trouble. Since they’re not using light, color makes no difference to them. Shiny objects, clear objects, liquids – no problem with ultrasonic sensors.
Baumer’s newest NextGen sensor, the U500, represents a great addition to our already extensive ultrasonic sensor portfolio. It’s already proving itself as a powerful product both in price and performance. The U500 comes in three flavors: A reflective barrier, a proximity sensor, and a distance measuring version.
All three adhere to the OneBox Design philosophy in the 500 size. They share the same housing with the O500 photoelectric sensors. They all also have qTeach, just like the O500. The U500s have a full meter of sensing distance, which compares favorably to many competitors.
The reflective version acts very much like our groundbreaking SmartReflect sensors. You teach it the background, and the sensor detects anything that returns an echo that differs from the background. It creates a barrier of sound; break the barrier, get a signal.
The proximity version of the U500 doesn’t require a background. You teach it an object, and it detects anything that is that close or closer. It also has a window teach function which allows you to make the sensor not only ignore objects too far away, but also objects too close.
The distance measuring U500 provides an analog output, either 0-10 VDC or 4-20 mA. It has an adaptive output feature which automatically detects if it should be delivering a voltage or current output. The same sensor does both, and it automatically configures its own output. It’s a great feature, and customers love the versatility and ease of use.
Ultrasonic sensors solve a lot of applications that can give other technologies problems. The U500 is the new leader in ultrasonic technology.