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Design News, April 2013

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Automation & Control Banner's Breakthrough in Wireless photoelectric Sensors Completely self-contained, wireless photoelectric sensor provides solution for control and monitoring applications, deterministic performance, and a five-year battery life. By AL PreSher, ContriButing editor S20 Aut o m At i o n & C on t r o l / A s u p p l e m e n t t o D e s i g n ne ws A p ril 2013 [www.designnews .com] SourCe: Banner engineering W ireless solutions are making headway in factory photoelectric sensor requires 2,000 times less power than a cell control and monitoring applications, driven by phone. Compared to a standard photoelectric sensor, the cost the obvious advantages of reducing infrastructure premium for the wireless solution is less than the cost to hard requirements such as cabling, conduit complexiwire the system. ties, and installation requirements. To achieve the five-year battery life, the design also needed The newest entry in this space is what Banner Engineering to reduce the power required to operate the sensor over a is calling the world's first completely self-contained wireless thousand fold on what was already a low power sensor. One photoelectric sensor. The SureCross Q45 features a proprietary, technique used to reduce power consumption is to quickly turn self-contained battery, radio, and sensor in an all-in-one package. the sensor on and off. Using a its own network protocol to optimize bandwidth and "We made the sensor very fast so it could take a reading in a power usage, the unit offers communication capabilities of up to fraction of a millisecond. Then, we can turn the sensor off for, 3,000 ft/1 km line-of-sight, and a battery life of up to five years. say, 100 milliseconds," Gardner said. Many times a second, the Banner's proprietary wireless technology used in the new sensor is turned on and operated for a very short period, but photoelectric sensors is based on the 2.4 GHz ISM band, and the majority of time it is essentially off. Sophisticated algocreates a frequency-hopping, spread spectrum solution. The rithms within the sensor control when it is using power. system doesn't use Zigbee, WiFi, or other standard radio communication architectures because those solutions can't provide Application Advantages and Limitations all the characteristics that this application requires. Specifically, "If a customer is trying to implement a system with millisecthey are not designed for small amounts ond or sub-millisecond operation which of data, exceptionally low power, detercould be categorized as high speed, wireministic data transfer, and very long range less is not what you want," said Gardner. "A wired system is still faster for those communications. types of applications with more brute "The wireless photoelectric solution is force power available." only sending a few bits of data over the air But if the application has long cable with each update," Bob Gardner, senior runs and more real-time performance reproduct manager at Banner Engineerquirements, versus high-speed operation, ing said in an interview. "The standard Gardner said the wireless sensors typically infrastructures are designed to handle a lot respond in 125 milliseconds. Wireless is more data. For example, Bluetooth (which also suited for applications where there is is very inexpensive) is designed to be very motion between the PLC and end device short range and typically opens a voice such as a transport mechanism or conchannel which is far more data transfer veyor. A wireless system design is much than the photoelectric system requires." less expensive than implementing slip "After investigating these other potenrings using cable trays and flexible cables. tial solutions, it ends up we can have an Another application advantage is if the order of magnitude better performance if sensor is located a long distance from the we built a solution from the ground up. control. On a small machine where the Our DX80 wireless system has been on the market for more than five years, and the SureCross Q45 from Banner distance is only five feet, it may not make sense, but if the distance is 500 feet, init's the technology we have used in the features a proprietary, selfstalling the wireless sensor costs less than new Q45 sensors," he added. contained battery, radio, and A key to the design is that the wireless sensor in an all-in-one package. installing the cable.

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