Tag Archives: COUNTAPULSE CONTROLS (PTY) LTD

MUTING REINVENTED

Smart Process Gating, introduced by Leuze, has made muting processes more economical as well as simpler and safer. This technology is available in southern African from leading sensor solutions specialist, Countapulse Controls.

Gerry Bryant, managing director of Countapulse Controls, explains that in intralogistics as well as in the automotive and packaging industries, material locks often need to be safeguarded against unauthorised access by means of safety sensors.

Previously, muting processes with muting sensors were required to clearly identify when transported goods were approaching a protective field. These muting sensors were then to bridge the passing of these goods through the protective field at the correct moment.

Significantly, the Leuze Smart Process Gating method has completely eliminated the need for signal-emitting sensors making this a far simpler and more reliable solution in these applications. This solution is based on the Leuze MLC safety light curtains and this means that conveyor systems can be made more compact.

This configuration of the sensing solution has eliminated the risk of misalignment or damage to the sensors, and in addition because it is so simple to install there is a reduction in capital input costs. There is also a considerable reduction in maintenance and servicing requirements which also reduces costs.

Increased reliability and sensing accuracy is a major advantage of the Leuze Smart Process Grating solution, and this will increase not only productivity but also safety in an operation. In the case of typical intralogistics applications, the height of the protective device is entirely dependent on the safety-related requirements and this sensing methodology does not require synchronisation beams to be taken into consideration, again saving on cost and increasing reliability.

With the Leuze Smart Process Gating solution, the first muting signal comes from the process controller (PLC), while the second muting signal is generated by the protective field itself. Smart Process Gating requires a detailed knowledge of the process so that the necessary control signals are made available in the expected time window.

Countapulse Controls offers a full technical advisory service that can assess any application, and provide the most appropriate solution using Smart Process Gating technology.

SMALL BUT MIGHTY: ALWAYS ON THE RIGHT RACK

With the IPS 200i, Leuze electronic has introduced the smallest camera-based sensor on the market for compartment fine positioning with high-bay storage devices in single-depth storage. Available from Johannesburg based Countapulse Controls, this sensor offers some powerful advantages, among these its fast commissioning and simple alignment.

Speedy commissioning is one of the most powerful advantages of the Leuze IPS 200i sensor. This is accomplished using a web-based configuration tool and adjustments are made directly on the small camera-based device itself. Engineered for optimum user friendliness, an alignment system with feedback LEDs provides additional support.

Due to its clever and compact design, the Leuze IPS 200i only needs a small space on high-bay storage devices. This enables quick, easy and accurate compartment positioning in either small part container storage warehousing or in single-depth pallet high-bay warehouses.

Equipped with powerful, ambient-light-independent IR LED lighting, a single device can be used for the entire working range of up to 600 mm. A model with integrated heating is also available for use in refrigerated warehouses where temperatures go down to minus30 °C.

Ensuring optimum reliability under all conditions is managed by its integral monitoring system with a quality score which identifies diminishing reading capacity of the sensor early on. This reduces downtime and improves the availability and cost effectiveness of the sensing systems.

Countapulse Controls is the official southern African distributor for Leuze electronic’s range of sensing solutions and its team is able to provide technical input and support. This ensures that the most appropriate technology is applied to a given application.

TECHNICAL SUPPORT BRINGS CUSTOMISED APPLICATIONS SOLUTIONS TO THE FORE

When economic pressure increases, companies often adopt a cautious stance. Conversely, Countapulse Controls has survived by instituting technological innovation in the face of socio-economic uncertainty.

In its more than 60 years in business, this leading supplier of sensing solutions has created a sustainable business model by focusing on anticipating and exceeding market demands. The resultant range of high quality sensing and monitoring devices has often been first to market.

Since introducing Hengstler mechanical counters to South Africa in the 1950s, the company has witnessed drastic advances in sensing and monitoring technology. Managing directors, Gerry Bryant says that it is critical for companies to keep abreast of ever developing sensing technology.

He emphasises however that all this technology is worth nothing if the technical support is not available. “The sharing of applications knowledge plays a crucial role in increasing productivity and reducing downtime, especially as many companies no longer have internal technical support divisions.”

An aggravating factor for customers is the emergence of a plethora of online shops offering sensing and monitoring technology at bargain basement prices.

“While the low prices might be an attraction, the lack of technical pre- and after-sales advice is a liability. Hi-tech items, by their very nature, require instruction for their maximised performance. It is unlikely that this level of guidance and support is available in an online shopping forum,” Bryant cautions.

In the complex process and manufacturing environments, utilising sensing, monitoring and measuring instruments that have not undergone due diligence and that do not have a great deal of reputational weight is highly risky. The failure of such products causes major production line issues and the safety around such products cannot be guaranteed.

Bryant says that the wise alternative to online shopping is one-on-one technical instruction and support. “A reputable supplier will leverage the years of hands-on experience and expertise resident in its technical staff. OEM training provides the supplier’s team with specialised knowledge and skills pertaining to specific instrumentation. By focusing on tried and tested matching of products to applications, suppliers are able to ensure best fit in all instances.”

Bryant says the company’s hotline is one way of investing its experience and capabilities back into the industry. “This product and applications knowledge is delivered as a value-added benefit to our customers.”

Bryant maintains that when one considers the customer’s application, it is important to understand that selecting sensors is not as simple as matching a model number to a requirement. “One needs to carefully assess the operating environment. Parameters that should be considered include the range of the sensor, the speed of the automatic process, the background conditions and type of product, auxiliary equipment and the circuits within the process. By adopting a structured approach to selecting the most appropriate sensors or flow monitors for a given application, customers will experience enhanced operational advantages.”

LEVERAGING EXPERIENCE TO PROVIDE SENSOR SOLUTIONS IN PACKAGING

Modern packaging plays an important role in preserving, protecting and selling a host of products, from items tiny enough to need tweezers to be picked up to those that need a forklift to be moved. Packaging also comes in a confusing array of materials and can be very costly if incorrectly selected or processed.

Countapulse Controls offers a broad range of opto-electronic sensors which have been developed to ensure packaging lines operate at peak cost efficiency to the packaging industry. Made by the respected German instrumentation manufacturer Leuze Electronic, the sensors are purpose-designed for the feeding, packing, dosing, detecting, labelling, sealing and other operations that go into the makeup of any packaged product.

Countapulse Controls’ managing director, Gerry Bryant points out that the variety of materials used for packaging, as well as the surface properties and the specialised printing used in the industry require the highest standards of instrumentation and machinery:

“Modern, high-production packaging uses cutting edge technology, and sensors applied to these applications have to be capable of meeting the demanding requirements,” he says.

Leuze is one of the leading developers and manufacturers of opto-electronic systems, which use light in various spectra for sensing, monitoring and controlling products and equipment in the production line.

This includes standard opto-electronic sensors, colour sensors, label detectors and sensors for workplace safety. Also in the range are sensors for foil and glass detection, CCD sensors, forked photoelectric sensors and sensors for differentiating between glass and PET.

These can be effectively applied to hasten and improve quality control in any number of processes. In feeding and conveying, for instance, solid granules, loose goods, paste products, fluids or mixed items are transported, accumulated and passed on. Opto-electronic sensors are used to position products on conveyors, recognise their shapes, measure them for filling and sealing and even check the quality of printing and labelling.

“The many ways used to package products nowadays show the dynamics and bandwidth of the various packaging technologies. Leuze has expended considerable research and development effort in producing its range of opto-electronic sensors, using concepts aimed at improving speed, accuracy and performance in the packaging line,” Bryant says.

The complexity and depth of sensors available on the market can be confusing, and for this reason Countapulse Controls often assist customers in evaluating an application for either the fitment of new sensors or the retrofit of replacement units.

“While the Leuze sensor range is broad enough to offer units of the right type and size for virtually any operation in the line, we have found that in some instances we have sourced alternative sensor solutions for the customer,” he says.

This, he explains, is not unusual at all and with the depth of expertise that resides within Countapulse Controls it is easy to apply best practice sensor technology to an application.

Countapulse Controls has more than 35 years of experience in providing fit-for-purpose sensor solutions on the African continent. The company also operates a 24/7 technical hotline to assist customers.

ABSOLUTE ACCURACY WITH HENSTLER ACURO ENCODER

Absolute encoders are considered ideal for applications where a power outage requires machinery to reorient without having to reconfigure any of its settings.

This, according to Gerry Bryant, managing director of sensor solutions specialist Countapulse Controls, is because an absolute encoder is suited to applications where positional information is required periodically and not continuously.

“When power is restored, the system master or controller will identify the position as soon as the encoder starts relaying information again,” he explains.

Generally, absolute rotary encoders are used as these offer absolute accuracy in determining the position of an object, but as can be seen from the scenario described above this is not sufficient. The encoder cannot simply collect feedback data. It needs to be sent somewhere in a language that can be interpreted by the system. Bryant explains that absolute encoders use binary coding which can be translated into many different protocols.

Countapulse Controls is the official southern African distributor for the Hengstler ACURO range of absolute encoders. These quality sensors have found favour in applications where both speed and position are required, and where there is no room for error.

Using a static reference point, the Hengstler absolute encoder will determine the speed or position of an object and can be configured to measure, monitor and control the linear movement and/or acceleration.

Innovative engineering has resulted in an absolute encoder that has optimised functionality while being easy to operate. Designed as a modular system, the absolute encoder can be configured to allow the correct variant for an application taking factors such as motor feedback and automation into account.

The Hengstler ACURO is equipped with an open BiSS sensor interface allowing for optimal integration into any system.

Johannesburg-based, Countapulse Controls has an in-depth understanding of the application of absolute rotary encoders and is able to assist the market in selection of the best fit solution for a given application.

PRECISION OVER LONG DISTANCES WITH LEUZE

Leuze distance sensors have a solid reputation for maximum accuracy over both small and large distances. These sensors are used everywhere geometric parameters such as height or width need to be determined and are characterised by high resolving capacity at high measurement rates.

The Leuze ODSL 30 is capable of measuring distances on black objects up to 30 metres away and on bright objects that are as far as 65 metres away. The sensor resolution of 1 mm facilitates highly accurate measurements with an accuracy ratio of +/-2 mm over the complete measurement range.

By automatic adjustment of the exposure time to the intensity of light, independence from the reflectivity properties of an object can be achieved further ensuring the accuracy of the measurement values. The unit also has a referencing function which prevents fluctuations in measurement value.

The unit is equipped with an integrated display which shows the measurement values and this allows the sensor to be easily adapted to the measurement application at hand.

The Leuze ODSL 30 has an integral key pad with an LCD display and the unit interfaces with analogue outputs, serial RS 232/485 interfaces and teachable switching outputs.

It is available from Countapulse Controls, leading southern African sensing solutions company. With more than 35 years of experience on the continent the company offers a wide range of sensing solution for all industries and is able to assist customer in appropriate selection of the best fit for an application.

FIT FOR PURPOSE SENSING SOLUTIONS

Replacing original sensing, measuring and monitoring devices represents the ideal opportunity to assess a specific application and the suitability of the equipment.

This is according to Gerry Bryant, managing director of Countapulse Controls, who says that often a better fit for purpose solution which incorporates new technology is available.

Often the selection of the original sensing devices occurred with one particular machine, rather than the entire process, in mind. Bryant says that when replacing the original sensors, it is possible to achieve a more holistic overview of the process.

“By involving a specialist sensor supplier like Countapulse Controls in this process, it is often possible to provide a far more cost efficient and plant related solution, and this can end up providing significant cost savings for an operation,” Bryant says.

As sensing and measuring technology continues to develop, all industries have to adapt. Bryant says that Countapulse Controls has evolved from being a supplier of technologically superior sensing and monitoring devices to a solutions provider offering advanced technology packages that incorporate high level support.

This is underpinned by assistance in both the selection of application appropriate and cost effective solutions, as well as the installation of total systems.

“When assessing a customer’s application, it is best to look beyond a single problem area. A more structured approach is required to obtain a general overview of the specific requirements. And by considering the overall operation of the plant, we are able to provide a solution that encompasses any unforeseen needs within the process,” Bryant says.

Bryant cautions that selecting sensors is not as simple as matching a model number to a requirement. There is the need to assess the operating environment and gain a comprehensive understanding of the elements that need to be monitored, and only then can a fit-for-purpose sensing solution be applied.

Parameters that need to be taken into account include the range of the sensor, the speed of the automatic process, the background conditions and type of product, auxiliary equipment and the circuits within the process.

An example would be selecting a photo electric sensor that is suitable for various switching distances within a plant. The customer would have the option of standardising on one sensor type, as opposed to having different devices throughout the process, and this would reduce parts inventory and associated operating costs.

A failure to understand the full capabilities of a specific device could result in the selection of a far costlier sensor, when a more cost effective option would suffice in a particular application.

“Technical acumen and experience play a large role in reducing the effects of human error, which could result from uninformed product choice and the absence of appropriate technical information,” he says.

This is where a dedicated technology and solutions provider like Countapulse Controls plays a vital role. “Each application has unique, specific needs. In order to provide a balanced solutions driven approach, it is advisable to select a supplier with extensive industry knowledge and a diverse portfolio of customers.”

Countapulse Controls is able to provide its local customers with the latest technology and innovations being introduced into major international markets such as Europe.

“By maintaining excellent relationships with our principals, in addition to an intimate understanding of the local market, we are able to identify those products that are most suited to the southern African context. This differentiates us from online suppliers that are merely selling boxes, as opposed to application specific solutions,” Bryant concludes.
MLD Light Beam

RELIABLE DETECTION OF OBJECTS AND FILL LEVELS

Leuze’s range of optoelectronic and inductive switches with capacitive proximity switches make it possible to apply a solution for all detection requirements from a single source. Using innovative technology, these sensors are able to reliably detect and monitor fill levels and detect objects through packaging materials.

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