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3 Reasons to Upgrade Your Color Sensors

11/7/19  |  Scott DeVost, Rexel Technical Consultant

Sensing More Than Fifty Shades of Gray

The world—and manufacturing—is full of color. We see color as the result of the interaction between an object, a light source, and an observer. In machines, the observers are color sensors. If the sensor senses a color value within a specified range, a pre-determined action takes place (e.g., switching output). The more sensitive the sensor, the wider the variety of colors it can detect. Let’s look at three reasons why it might be time for you to upgrade your color sensors.

#1. A Wider Range of Color Sensing

The latest Allen-Bradley® 46CLR ColorSight™ Ture Color Sensor is IO-Link enabled, which allows the sensor to send the true RGB (red, green, blue) color and intensity information directly to the Logix controller over Ethernet/IP. These color sensors send the controller the four-digit number for the colors red, green, and blue as well as intensity. The numbers will range from 0 to 4,095 for each of the three-color values and intensity of the target.

#2. More Flexible for Complex to Simple Applications

A white target will send an intensity value of 4,095, while a black target will show 0. By monitoring these values, it is possible to monitor slight color shifts and intensities as well as different colors. Applications that were difficult to solve with previous color sensors are now possible by monitoring these values in the PLC. Applications such as ensuring that the product maintains its color and doesn’t shift to sorting applications based on color are possible using the Allen-Bradley 46CLR sensor.

If you have a simpler sorting application like the example above and don’t need to use IO-Link, you can still use these IO-Link color sensors as standard sensors with up to three PNP outputs. You can teach one of the three outputs to switch on red, another output for green, and the third output for blue. You also can teach the sensor multiple colors per output. For example, you could set up an output to switch on red and pink. Then, if you ever wanted to utilize the IO-Link capabilities, just add an IO-Link master to your Logix system. In addition to true RGB color and intensity information, IO-Link will also provide a counter, timer, internal temperature, location indication, signal strength, and triggered information.

#3. Offers a Variety of Options for Specific Needs

The 46CLR sensor comes in three different models: glare suppression, small spot size (for small object detection), and long range. The long-range version has a sensing range of up to 150 mm. The sensor has an IP67 and IP69 zinc die cast rated enclosure, tactile push buttons, backlit LCD display, and a 270-degree rotatable M12 connector.

We Can Help You in Every Sense

The Allen-Bradley 46CLR might be the solution that you need. Whether you have a simple color-sorting application or are looking to distinguish between different shades of gray, we can help you find the right color sensors. Contact us today.

All images are © Rockwell Automation®.