04/25/2005 • Image processing / Optical metrology • Sensor Technology

Profiler – the professional for profile detection

SICK is presenting, for the first time, the Profiler profile sensor for applications in which edges, openings, bulges or other geometrical shapes provide height information that is the measure of all things. The device lays down a line of light over the profile to be measured and very precisely detects deviations from the defined measurement tolerance – even if, for example, the height of the object in the measurement field fluctuates for process-related reasons. The Profiler is mainly used for automating industrial production and testing processes.

The Profiler is designed as a stand-alone device with integrated evaluation. It operates like a single-line camera system with the functionality of a photoelectric switch, as it requires no separate illumination or external evaluation computer. Height information on profiles, or the distance between two edges, for instance, is evaluated. Laser optics generate a 30 mm long line of light over the target object, e.g. a line of glue or an opening, at operating distances of 100 +/- 25 mm. Its operating principle therefore permits distance-independent profile detection. So height fluctuations on a conveyor belt system, for example, have no effect on Profiler function and accuracy.

Professional profile evaluation

The Profiler's colour display shows what the 2-D receiver element has detected and thus permits precise adjustment of the sensor. Even difficult profiles can be detected with great accuracy as a result of the device's high resolution in the micrometer range.
The three switching outputs – which signal, for example, whether taught-in or programmed tolerance values have been exceeded – and the 4 - 20 mA analogue output provide the downstream plant controller with the measured values required for determining position or for a quality assessment.

Wide area of use

Rapid, precise and economical monitoring of height profiles is necessary in many applications. The Profiler's most important areas of use thus include checking for gaps in automobile bodywork, inspecting profiles and welded joints, guiding robots (e.g. during the attachment of lines of glue), checking the content of blister packs or deep-frozen packaging, or monitoring filling heights. The considerably lower number of reception elements to be evaluated in the profiler, compared to camera solutions, allows the rapid processing and evaluation of profiles, making the device suitable for use in high-speed processes and plants.
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