Generally, within the manufacturing process, the sensor collects different types of process data for feedback control.
A sensor is a transducer that allows for the transformation of a signal, or otherphysical variable, from one form to another.
Different sensors types are outlined in Table 4.1; they can generally be classifiedaccording to the category of stimulus or physical variable they are required tomeasure. Table 4.1: Sensor categories by stimulus
Mechanical Positional variables, velocity, acceleration, force, torque, pressure, stress,strain, mass, densityElectrical Voltage, current, charge, resistance, conductivity, capacitance Thermal Temperature, heat, heat flow, thermal conductivity, specific heatRadiation Type of radiation (e.g. gamma rays, x-rays, visible light), intensity, wavelengthMagnetic Magnetic field, flux, conductivity, permeabilityChemical Component identities, concentration, pH levels, presence of toxic ingredients,pollutants
Sensors can be classified according to the category of stimulus or physicalvariable they are required to measure; these include stimulus that aremechanical, electrical, thermal, radiation, magnetic, and chemical in kind.
Sensors may also be classified as analogue or discrete. A sensor that isanalogue in operation produces a continuous analogue signal whose valuevaries in an analogous manner with the variable being measured. A sensor thatis discrete produces an output that can only have certain values. The twodiscrete sensor types are binary and digital. A binary device produces one of twovalues, for example on/off. A digital device produces a digital output signal aseither a set of parallel bits; or a series of pulses that can be quantified. In bothcases the digital signal represents the quantity to be measured.Digital sensors are becoming more common owing to their compatibility tocomputing systems, and their relative ease-of-use. A new development in sensortechnology is the emergence of micro-sensors, tiny sensors only a few microns insize that are usually fabricated out of silicon. A list of common sensors andmeasuring devices used in automation, together with explanations or sources of further information is given in Table 4.2. Table 4.2: Common measuring devices and sensors used in automation
Device Explanation or further information: