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Laser distance sensor takes on low-cost rivals

03 February, 2009

Sick has launched a laser sensing system for proximity measurements and presence detection, that is designed to tackle the increasing competition that the company is facing at the lower end of the market.

Recent years have seen the arrival of several laser measurement systems priced at around £200 – about half of what Sick has traditionally charged. But, according to Sick UK product manager Darren Pratt, many of the low-cost rivals have drawbacks, such as inaccurate measurements, unreliable performance with dark or shiny targets, erratic performance in bright light, and difficulty in setting up.

Sick’s new DT50 sensor, priced at around £220, has been designed to compete with the lower-priced rivals and to avoid their limitations. The company “set out to eliminate the frustrations with laser sensors currently available at this price point, particularly lengthy and complicated set up and reliable detection under changing conditions,” says Pratt. The new sensor, he contends, represents “a step change” for laser sensing technology at a low price level, “even in conditions that would confuse most high-end sensors.”

The fast-acting sensor incorporates new technologies and produces a temperature-stable light spot claimed to achieve a positional accuracy of 10mm over its whole 10m range – up to seven times better than some rivals. Pratt claims that it works well with dark, light or reflective surfaces, and is easy to install. He adds that it is almost immune to ambient light interference, and will work in light levels up to 40,000 lux, even if they are changing rapidly.

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