Traditionally, modern construction machinery is controlled and moved predominantly by hydraulic systems, which means that electronics and control technologies have played only a minor role in many applications. This is changing with safety-relevant aspects and driver-assist functions now setting the stage.

Gerry Bryant, managing director of leading sensor specialist Countapulse Controls, says that it has become obvious over time that the role of sensor technology will become increasingly important in construction equipment.

“Machinery deployed in these industry sectors are subjected to harsh operating conditions including varying climatic conditions, long working hours and exposure to dust, dirt and liquids. This means the demand on sensors is often extreme requiring robustness and a high degree of protection,” Bryant says.

Commenting on typical applications, he says encoders are used for positioning, angular, speed and length measurements in construction machinery applications, and assume tasks that facilitate the driver’s work and enhance productivity.

Examples include straight-to-the-point positioning of loads for hoisting equipment or restricting work zones in order to protect against collisions. Another classic example is where the devices are used in safety-relevant functions such as providing warning signals to the driver as soon as the machine enters a critical situation. A classic example of this would be where excessive loads could cause hoisting equipment (hoisting cranes, excavators) to tilt.

Agricultural and forestry machine applications use encoders to facilitate automation of many applications, making work significantly easier and increasing productivity. This could include speed-controlled sowing in agriculture right through to automated measuring of tree trunks. Automated processes that increase productivity in agriculture are becoming more and more sophisticated using satellite-controlled systems.

Bryant says that encoders used in construction equipment prove their capabilities under extremely harsh conditions by providing reliable feedback on the positioning, excursion angles or speeds.

The Hengstler range of robust encoders, available from Countapulse Controls, has a proven track record in this industry sector with devices completely free from sliding contacts ensuring high reliability and longevity.

Programmable absolute encoders do not require any re-adjustment as compared to similar technology products such as potentiometers which are adversely affected by temperature fluctuations and wear and tear. In addition, encoders offer full 360° scanning capability facilitating accurate feedback over a full turn or even several turns. Multiturn versions make it possible to read the exact number of turns at any time, even after voltage drops or complete power failures.

Encoders used in these applications must meet the essential technical requirements which include a high degree of protection, wide temperature range, high shock and vibration resistance, high resistance to water and humidity, as well as high load resistance of the shaft.

Encoders should provide protection that meets IP67 ratings or even IP69 ratings. A temperature range extending from minus 40°C to 100°C ensures reliable operation under harsh environmental conditions, such as direct exposure to sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. To prevent water condensate caused by internal heating and cooling phases, the enclosure should be specifically sealed. Shock resistance varies depending on the application, but should be 1,000m/s2 minimum and vibration resistance should be 100m/s2 minimum. Since construction equipment is often cleaned using steam or high-pressure washers, high resistance to compressed water is great importance.

With its “Heavy Duty” product range, Hengstler offers suitable encoders (HSDxx, HDxx, ARxx) which meet all these requirements. Extremely high mechanical ruggedness, for example, is achieved by using a state-of-the-art opto-asic and coding disk made of plastic instead of the common glass type, which may break under extreme load conditions.

This Hengstler range of encoders is also available with a stainless-steel enclosure rated to NEMA 4x and 6P with double sealing, ensuring reliable operation in environments that require high resistance to high-pressure washers or corrosive chemicals.

Encoder types Hengstler HSDxx and HDxx are intrinsically safe variants and can be used with the appropriate IS barrier, certified according to ATEX EEx ia IIB T4. This makes them suitable for applications in corrosive atmospheres or applications requiring high resistance to splash and surge water.

Hengstler offers another extremely rugged range with its magnetic encoder series. The Hengstler AR-XX features not only a particularly rugged enclosure, but also generously dimensioned self-contained ball bearings, making it resistant to high mechanical stresses and even high axial and radial forces. 12-bit resolution allows the highest acceleration rates as well as underwater operation.

All products are electrically compatible with standard encoders and available with the common interface types (SSI, BiSS, CANopen, analog or parallel).

Bryant says that rugged technologies make it easier for electronic components to enter and become established in the field of construction equipment. They also respond to the requirements for high safety, productivity and operator convenience.


When using the principle of triangulation for navigating automated guided vehicles (AGVs), vehicles are often equipped with two different scanners – one for safety and one for navigation. Now there is a more cost effective alternative – the new Leuze RSL 400 safety laser scanner.

This innovative safety laser scanner not only ensures that AGVs are operated safely by means of protective and warning fields, but also simultaneously captures the measurement values for the navigation software. This means that only one scanner is needed for both safety and navigation.

Available from leading sensor specialist, Countapulse Controls, the Leuze RSL 400 safety laser scanner makes use of the latest technology resulting in measurement values with an extremely high angular resolution and accuracy.

The measurement value output of the device is optimised for navigation software which functions in according with SLAM (Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping). These characteristics allow the Leuze RSL 400 to precisely determine the position of the AGV.

The navigation software contains an image of the operating area including all fixed boundaries. The current position of the AGV is calculated by comparing the measurement values to this map. This concept is referred to as natural navigation.

With each revolution of its deflection unit, lasting 40 milliseconds, the safety laser scanner emits 2700 light pulses. These are scattered in all directions, and parts of the scattered light are transmitted back to the scanner. These are used to calculate the distance to an obstacle.

The more detailed and exact the measurement values of the scanner, the more precisely the AGV can navigate. With an angular resolution of 0.1, the Leuze RSL 400 can capture the environment in detail over the entire measurement range up to 50 metres.

This is achieved through a particularly narrow laser spot that maintains its perpendicular shape over the entire scanning angle. It also reduces incorrect measurements, the likes of which can occur on edges.
In addition to the angular resolution, distance values are also important. The Leuze RSL 400 offers an error accuracy of less than 30 mm resulting in high precision. Use of technology in the device has ensured that the values are not affected by the reflectance of the object, whether it is a reflector or a black wall.

The additional output of the received signal strength value for each beam allows autonomous detection of reflectors by the navigation software. When beams strike a reflector, the values differ greatly from any other environment. This makes simple and reliable detection possible.

Safety is also optimised with the Leuze RSL 400 scanner. The device offers up to 100 switchable protective and warning field pairs. The protective fields can be adapted to the respective movement and load conditions of the AGVs.

For example, in 4-field mode with 50 switchable field sets, the Leuze RSL 400 device can monitor up to four protective fields simultaneously. This enables safe and reliable reduction of the speed of the AGV. With its scanning angle of 270°, the device can also cover the front and side areas of AGV at the same time, i.e. it can see around the corner.

With these features and a maximum operating range of 8.25 metres, even large AGVs can be fully safeguarded used only two Leuze RSL 400 scanners.

Available various models with nine functional variants, three of which have data output for AGV navigation, the Leuze RSL 400 safety laser scanner offers four operating ranges – 3.0, 4.5, 6.25 and 8.25 metres. Models available with PROFIsafe/ PROFINET interfaces make it much easier to integrate the devices, particularly when many different protective field configurations are used.


Optical data transceivers are the appropriate choice for any application where data needs to be transmitted without cables and without interference. The Leuze DDLS 500 data transceiver makes contact-free and wear-free optical communication a simple task.

Especially suitable for applications where mechanical systems are pushed to their technical limitations, this robust optical data transceiver has a patented singe hand adjustment process making it quick and easy to achieve precise alignment of the data light beam. Data transmission of longer distances is just as simple as the unit has an integrated laser alignment aid. Four laser spots on the floor assist in the accurate alignment of the device.

Equipped with Leuze’s availabilitycontrol, the transceiver offers constant monitoring of the receiving level which means that in the event of an impending failure the user will be alerted.

The Leuze DDLS 500 supports all common Ethernet protocols including Profinet, EtherNet IP, EtherCat, Ethernet TCP/IP and Ethernet UDP. The device offers real time optical data transmission at 100 Mbit/s over a distance of up to 120 metres.

Access to technical support and information is via local Leuze distributor, Countapulse Controls. The company offers a comprehensive range of sensing, measurement, counting, switching, monitoring and positioning instrumentation, and supports customer through its technical advisory service hotline which is available 24/7.


Engineered with a high tolerance to different materials, the Leuze 10 Series optical sensors detects objects and measures distances with an incredible accuracy of +/-30 mm. Available from Countapulse Controls, these high performance sensors have an operating range of up to eight metres.

The high tolerance of the Leuze 10 Series sensors further extends to the angle of incidence, the colour, surface structure and brightness of reflective material. This enables the sensor to detect different materials, such as wood or matt as well as glossy metal, and this is possible even under varying environmental conditions.

The Leuze 10 Series is also suitable for sensing applications where deep black materials are found or where objects are not ideally aligned or where they are moving rapidly.

The highly visible status indicators on the devices makes for ease of use and the sensors also have large control buttons. The LED display has been designed to facilitate step-by-step commissioning and diagnosis at the press of a button.

The compact housing, with integrated recesses for M4 screws or nuts, means installation is possible in applications where space restrictions exist. However, its small size does not impact on the overall performance of the Leuze 10 Series.

A comprehensive range of Leuze sensing solutions is available from Johannesburg-based Countapulse Controls. The company can assess any sensing application and provide a fit-for-purpose solution to meet the specific needs of an operation. A 24/7 hotline is available to assist end users with technical challenges that may be experienced due to lack of knowledge or experience. For further information call 066 148 6287.


The Leuze RSL 400 safety laser scanner with measurement value output is setting new standards in the reliable navigation of automated guided vehicles (AGVs).

Available from leading sensor solutions provider Countapulse Controls, the new Leuze RSL 400 safety laser scanner is the result of many years of experience in the development of safety technology.

This compact safety scanner combines safety technology and qualitatively superior measurement value output in a single device. This enables reliable safeguarding and navigation of AGVs. Measurement value output is optimised to navigation software that functions according to the principle of natural navigation with SLAM (Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping).

Due to its high angular resolution of 0.1 degrees, the Leuze RSL 400 offers extremely detailed scanning of the environment across the entire measurement range of up to 50 metres. This is achieved through a particularly narrow laser spot that maintains its perpendicular shape over the entire scanning angle. The distance values have a high accuracy and are not influenced by reflection of objects.

The additional output of the received signal strength value for each beam allows autonomous detection of reflectors by the navigation software. When beams strike a reflector, the values differ greatly from any other environment, which facilitates reliable detection.

With up to 100 switchable field pairs, the Leuze RSL 400 offers optimum adaptation of the protective fields, even in cases where there are many different movement and loading conditions. Parallel monitoring of multiple protective fields enables safe and reliable reduction of the speed of AGVs.

These new functions are also available as a device model with PROFINET/PROFIsafe interface, thereby making integration extremely easy.

Johannesburg-based Countapulse Controls offers industry access to skilled technical personnel that can advise on sensing solutions across a broad range of applications.


Countapulse Controls advises that German sensor specialist, Leuze electronic is expanding its portfolio of optoelectronic and inductive switches with capacitive proximity switches.

This move will make it possible for users to procure obtain complete solutions for detection requirements from a single source.

The company has been the official distributor for Leuze electronic for more than 45 years and offers a full technical advisory service. This, Gerry Bryant, managing director of Countapulse Controls, says enables the company to provide fit-for-purpose sensing solutions to industries across southern Africa.

The introduction of contactless, wear-free switches which are resistant to electromagnetic influences, interference and contaminants in the air such as dust by Leuze will have major advantages for end users. The capacitive switches are available in a cylindrical or cubic design, as well as embedded or non-embedded versions for a wide range of mounting options.

Due to their semiconductor technology, the Leuze sensors have a long life expectancy, regardless of the detection and switching frequency.

The new variants facilitate contactless detection of numerous different objects and media, regardless of the shape. These sensors are particularly suitable for detecting objects in harsh and dirty environments due to the IP67 rated housing.

These Leuze sensors can “see through” certain materials, which provides optimum accuracy in difficult sensing applications such as those found in food and beverage and printing and packaging operations. The devices can detect products in outer packaging and behind container walls as well as check fill levels and monitor these for completeness.

Countapulse Controls offers a comprehensive range of sensing, measurement, counting, switching, monitoring and positioning instrumentation solutions. Customer support is through the company’s technical advisory service hotline which is available 24/7.


Manufacturing plants, packaging facilities and warehouse operations often have areas where visibility is not what it should be, and not only can these prove hazardous to both vehicles and pedestrians moving in these areas but plant operators have limited visibility as well.

A solution, available from leading sensing solutions supplier Countapulse Controls, is the robust LCAM 408i IP camera which has been engineered for use in industrial environments. Correct positioning of the device will allow visibility into hard to see area with the 5 mexapixel colour camera delivering live stream at high image quality due to its gigabit Ethernet interface,

The housing of the robust Leuze LCAM 408i IP camera is rated at IP65/67 and features an easy to clean glass pane. It is easily integrated into machinery or system controls via M12 connections and requires only a 24 V voltage supply. Flexibility of installation is ensured through diverse mounting options including the use of dovetail, threaded holes as well as an extensive range of mounting accessories.

Configuration is simple and is accomplished via a standard browser and displayed via standard streaming tools. There is no need for additional software, and troubleshooting has been simplified in case of failure.

Countapulse Controls the official distributor of Leuze sensing solutions and products in southern Africa and the company offers industry access to skilled technical personnel that can advise on the application of the products.