The new compact and communication-enabled contrast scanner from SICK is called the KT3/IO-Link.
Thanks to its small housing, the sensor can even be mounted when space is very limited, e.g. in a pharmaceutical packaging plant or a bag forming, filling and sealing machine.
As a result of its RBG diode, the KT3/IO-Link detects all common contrasts with a high level of reliability – and, with dazzle adaptation, even on strongly reflective target objects. Its highlight, however, is the IO Link interface.
It permits remote parameterisation of the sensor via the plant’s recipe-handling system, allows diagnostic information to be called up at the press of a button, remote maintenance and, finally, offers the prerequisites for logging processes in compliance with CFR21 Part 11.
This opens up the opportunity of a hitherto impossible simplification of the control and operation of packaging machines – with simultaneous comprehensive logging of processes.
The communication possibilities of the KT3/IO-Link simplify both the transition between different packaging orders as well as error correction and preventive machine maintenance – particularly when the sensor’s signals and information are integrated in a user interface and visualised there.
Thus, during commissioning, a precise setting of the contrast scanners can be undertaken on the touch-screen for each of the packaging designs or each recipe to be processed.
During operation, the particular programmed parameters (e.g. the contrast-related switching threshold, transmission colour and output logic) can be called up from the automation system, transferred to the sensors and, if necessary, displayed on the panel.
There is therefore no longer any need for mechanical re-adjustment of the sensors for each change of order, their settings are 100% reproducible from order to order, and processes can thus be logged in accordance with CFR21 Part 11 (the Code of Federal Regulations, Electronic Recording, Electronic Signatures; US Food & Drug Administration Regulations).
In the case of a fault, the machine operator can immediately gain an idea of the possible cause. He or she touches the appropriate sensor image on the panel and immediately obtains all the important diagnostic information, e.g. the current and taught-in contrast quality.
This information also makes it possible to carry out preventative plant maintenance during a break in operation and thus prevent lost time caused by unplanned machine downtimes.
For the end-user IO Link in general, and the KT3/IO-Link in particular, therefore offers greater flexibility, process reliability and availability.