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Sensors! The Eyes and Ears of Automation

Sensors are a vital component used in any type of automation. Sensors allow us to know when an object is present, in place, missing, or maybe even defective. Other sensors may tell us even more about what is going on such as how close or far away an object is or how big or small something is when it is changing in size or shape.

Whether you are automating machine control and need to know if a part is in place, automating a conveyor and need to know if a box is present in a certain location or you are winding up material on a spool and need to know when it reaches a certain size in diameter, sensors are usually required in every piece of automated machinery or system regardless of the intelligence of the control being used.

AutomationDirect has thousands of sensors in stock and ready to ship the same day you place your order. Some places our customers have used our sensors are in traditional machine control, industrial automation, water/wastewater, food & beverage applications, and in home automation projects (Note that this is not an exhaustive list). Check out the articles below for more on industrial sensors, how they can be used, and what they can provide.

Sensors Automation

Discrete Sensors eBook

This eBook is for users who wish to advance their sensors knowledge. It covers a wide range of topics such as limit switches, proximity sensors, photoelectric sensors and more.
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What is a Laser Sensor?

A better understanding of distance laser sensors helps when applying these rangefinders in material handling and industrial measurement applications. By Andrew Waugh, Product Manager for Sensor and Safety Products at AutomationDirect What is a Laser Sensor? Laser sensors come in several configurations, with some detecting presence and others measuring distance. A proximity type laser sensor,…
Discrete SensingSensors Automation

A Look into Factor 1 Proximity Sensors

Inductive proximity sensors are suitable for many applications. Selecting models with factor 1 capability makes them even easier to deploy for sensing targets of varying metals. Andrew Waugh, Product Manager for Sensor and Safety products at AutomationDirect, authored an article for the May 2019 issue of Design World titled A Look into Factor 1 Proximity…
Sensors Automation

AutomationDirect’s Area Sensors

AutomationDirect has expanded its sensors offering to include wide area sensors for object detection
+Tech TopicsDiscrete SensingLearning ResourcesProductSensors Automation

Wide and Narrow Views of Position Sensors

Andrew Waugh, Product Manager, Sensor and Safety Products at, wrote an article for the September 2018 issue of Design World titled Wide and Narrow Views of Position Sensors, here’s a summary.  Limit switches, photoelectric switches and laser sensors all provide position sensing, but depending on the application some shine and reflect better. Waugh points…
+Tech TopicsDiscrete SensingLearning ResourcesProcess Sensing & ControlProductProgrammable ControlSensors Automation

Basic Sensors - PLC Fundamentals

For a PLC to monitor and in turn control its application variables, there must be a way for it to sense its surroundings. In today’s industrial realm, there are a huge variety of electrical sensors that provide the input data (position, distance, level, flow, etc.) that control systems need. These basic sensors can be broken…
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Knowing Your Limit Switches

When it comes to detecting position and presence in automated equipment, be sure to consider limit switch as choices available today are robust, and can provide high precision. While photo eyes and inductive switches are popular choices in many applications, precision limit switches can be a better option with repeatable accuracy less than a micron.
Discrete SensingProcess Sensing & ControlSensors Automation

Vision Sensing Becomes Practical for More Applications

Smart vision sensors incorporate on-board machine learning, empowering users to deploy them in common applications, without the cost and complexity of traditional products. Common photoelectric (PE) sensors are the most basic type of “vision” device, but traditionally it has required much more advanced technology to capture and analyze actual images for advanced detection. In an…
Sensors Automation

Tech Tip: Overview of Simple Object Detection and Sensing

Learn about the different kinds of industrial sensors and when to use each type
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How to Handle Your Toughest Sensing Applications

Beyond the standard sensor types used in machine automation—such as photo eyes, limit switches and DC proximity sensors—are a wide range of color, contrast, AC proximity and area sensors. All of these sensors, as well as optical rotary encoders, are used to enable sorting, detection, error checking and positioning for machine automation.