Sensor manufacturer Baumer is presenting a real attention-grabber for the beverage industry at the Brau Beviale fair -- SmartReflect, the first light barrier that operates without a reflector and recognizes all types of beverage packaging, including transparent glass or plastic bottles.
Already nominated for the Automation Award, this innovation represents Baumer's development of the most reliable form of object detection in the field of photoelectric sensors, which are triggered by the object's physical interruption of the closed beam of a light barrier. In SmartReflect light barriers, the light beam is closed by, for instance, a machine component. Detection takes place regardless of the color and material of the background and the relevant object. This dispenses with the separate reflectors or receivers customarily required until now.
In the beverage industry, photoelectric sensors or light barriers are most commonly used in filling and packaging applications. Especially for such operations, Baumer offers SmartReflect in a hygiene-and-washdown design with protection class IP 69K and its proTect+ leaktight concept. It monitors the process by, for instance, recognizing the correct positioning of the foodstuff filling material. This has hitherto called for the complex installation of a sensor as well as the necessary reflector – both requiring hygienic shielding. The reflector is an extra element requiring the additional effort expenditure of regular cleaning. Furthermore, the aggressive cleaning agents gradually wear down the reflector and necessitate its eventual replacement. By dispensing with the reflector, SmartReflect also abolishes the otherwise necessary effort of mounting, starting up and aligning the reflector.
SmartReflect consequently offers measurable added value overall by reducing operating costs and ensuring maximum process reliability.