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Proximity Sensor Terminology

Never use this catalog for installation or Break function (N.C., Installation notes
operation of equipment. Refer to manual
for installation and operation instruc-
normally closed) Select a sensor compatible with the oper-
A break function causes load current to ating environment: verify the compatibility
flow only when a target is not detected. between building materials, the presence
of chemicals, temperature range, protec-
The following descriptions refer to the tion degree, vibrations, shocks, EMC,
European standard EN 60947-5-2. of Degree of protection supply voltage available, load type, etc.
September 95. If not otherwise specified, proximity Select the sensor by referring to the size
The specifications given here are intended switches (when installed in accordance and type of material to be detected.
to be minimum performance values with manufacturer’s instructions) have Check the minimum distances between
described by the standard. minimum IP65 protection against dust and sensor and damping materials or another
water jets.
Proximity switches must not be mutually
Differential travel (H) Check that the number of operations does
not exceed the maximum switching
influenced. For this reason, a minimum The differential travel is given frequency. If the phase of the output signal
distance between them (referred to as as a percentage of the effective operating is important, check the turn on and turn off
alignment) must be provided. distance (Sr) and is the maximum differ- time.
ence between the switching distances. The
differential is intentionally introduced to Metallic chips or dust must not accumulate
guarantee the stability of the output state on the sensing face. The distance between
in case the target is positioned near the the sensor and the object to detect must
switching points. not exceed the assured operating distance
Sa; the best operating distance is Sn/2.
Check the effect of vibrations.
Install the sensor using the installation
connections accessories and do not exceed the
Keep sensor cables and power cables maximum tightening torque.
separated to avoid electrical interference.
Non- The power supply voltage must not exceed
Embeddable Embeddable
Size D A the specified limits UB.
A (mm) (mm)
If a non-stabilized supply voltage is used
Ø3 0 -- for DC sensors, the maximum voltage
M4 0 -- peak under minimum power consumption
conditions and minimum voltage peak
Ø4 0 --
under maximum power consumption must
M5 0 -- not exceed UB limits.
5X5 0 --
M8 2 / 3* 8
8X8 2 / 3* --
M12 6 / 10* 12
M18 12 / 20* 30
M30 30 60

*Extended distance models

If the power supply of the sensor is also

used to switch inductive loads, a suppres-
sion device must be provided. A fuse to
protect the power supply line is also

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Proximity Sensor Terminology PLC


Leakage current Material Influence: Table 3 Off-state (leakage) PLC

The leakage current is the current which

Target Material Operating current (Ir) DL205
passes through the output transistor Distance PLC
This is the current that flows through the
when it is blocked (this must be taken into Steel Type FE 360 S(n) x 1.00 load circuit of the proximity switch in the DL305
account, especially in the case of parallel Brass S(n) x 1.00 OFF state at the maximum supply PLC
connection of several switches). voltage.
Aluminum S(n) x 1.30 DL405
Copper S(n) x 0.89
LED status indicators Open collector
SS (1mm thick) S(n) x 0.57 Field I/O
Proximity switches may incorporate one The output transistor is not internally
SS (2mm thick) S(n) x 0.90
or more color indicators. The meaning connected to a pull-up or pull-down load. Software
of the colors are: It is therefore possible to connect an
external load supplied by an external C-more
CONTINUOUS YELLOW: Output ON Mounting voltage.
CONTINUOUS RED: Fault Shielded (embeddable) proximity switches Other HMI
(on AC models, RED = output ON
These proximity switches may be flush Operating distance
mounted regardless of the metal being (sensing range) (S) AC Drives
Make function (N.O., used. For reliable operation, it is neces-
normally open) sary to observe the minimum distances The operating distance is the distance at Motors
from adjacent metal targets. which a standard target approaching the
A make function causes load current to active face of the sensor causes a sensor
flow only when a target is detected. Steppers/
output state change. Servos

Material influence Output type and load Motor

The nominal sensing distance S(n) is connections –3-wire Proximity
defined using precisely defined Sensors
measuring conditions (See Operating NPN
Distance.) Other conditions may result in There are two power wires and one Sensors
a reduction of the operating distance. output wire. The switching element is
The tables in the next column show the connected between the output wire and Limit
influence different target materials have the negative terminal, and the load is
on the operating distances of the connected between the output wire and Encoders
sensors. the positive terminal. In the ON state, the
current sinks from the load into the Current
Material Influence: Table 1 Sn = Nominal sensing distance
switching element. Sensors
(see Rated operating distance)
Target Material Operating
Distance Pushbuttons/

Steel Type FE 360 S(n) x 1.00

Unshielded (non-embeddable) Output type and load Lights
proximity switches
Brass S(n) x 0.64 connections –3-wire Process
When mounting non-embeddable
Aluminum S(n) x 0.55 mounting proximity switches in PNP
Copper S(n) x 0.51 conducting materials (metals), it is neces- There are two power wires and one Timers
sary to observe the minimum distances output wire. The switching element is
Stainless Steel (V2A) S(n) x 0.85 Comm.
from adjacent metal targets. Flush connected between the output wire and
mounting in non-conducting materials is the positive terminal, and the load is
Material Influence: Table 2
permitted. connected between the output wire and TB’s &
Operating Wiring
Target Material Distance the negative terminal. In the ON state,
the current flows from the switching Power
Steel Type FE 360 S(n) x 1.00
element into the load.
Brass S(n) x 0.44
Aluminum Protection
S(n) x 0.36
Copper S(n) x 0.32
protection Enclosures
Stainless Steel (V2A) S(n) x 0.69
No damage will occur in the presence of Appendix
surge pulses exceeding UB and energy
less than 0.5J.
Part Index

w w w. a u to m at i o n d i re c t . c o m / p rox i m i ty Sensors 17–53

Proximity Sensor Terminology
Polarity reversing Repeat accuracy (R) Switching frequency (f)
protection The repeat accuracy of the Switching frequency is the maximum
No damage will occur to proximity effective operating distance (Sr) is output switching frequency performed by
switches if the supply wires are reversed. measured over an eight hour period at an the output circuit when standard targets
ambient temperature of 73°F (±9°) [23°C cross the sensing field at a distance of
(± 5°)] at a specified humidity and with a Sn/2. The targets are spaced 2d.
Protection against specified supply voltage. The difference • For DC sensors, the minimum output pulse
width must not fall below 50 µS.
inductive loads between the measurements shall not
exceed the specified value, or if not speci- • For AC sensors, the minimum output pulse
Unless otherwise specified, DC sensors are fied, 10% of Sr. must not fall below half a sine period
protected against inductive overvoltage by (ie. for 60 Hz, 1/60÷2 = 8.33 ms.)
use of a surge diode or a zener diode.
Ripple Temperature range
Unshielded proximity This is given as a percentage of the mean
Unless otherwise specified, the minimum
supply voltage. It is the maximum peak-to-
switches peak value of the admitted ripple voltage. temperature range is –13 to +158°F (-25
The sensor housing does not cover the A ripple voltage of <10% Ue is desirable. to +70°C).
side of the sensing head. This type of
sensor has a higher sensing range than the Shocks Turn-on time
shielded type.
In accordance with IEC 68-2-27 Turn-on time is the elapsed time from
when the target enters the sensing range
Rated insulation voltage Pulse shape: half-sine
until the output switches.
(Ui) Peak acceleration: 30g
Pulse duration: 11 ms Turn-off time
Unless specified differently, all of the
sensors with a supply voltage of up to 50 Turn-off time is the elapsed time from
VAC and 75 VDC are tested at 500 VAC. Shielded proximity when the target is removed until the output
Sensors with a supply voltage up to 250 switches switches.
VAC are tested as follows: A metal housing surrounds the coil, and
Class 1 (with earth terminal) at 1500 VAC
only the front of the active face is sensitive.
Class 2 (with double insulation, without earth The device allows flush installation on
terminal) at 3000 VAC.
metal plates without any performance
change. Refer to Alignment when installing
Rated operating distance shielded sensors side-by-side.
—(nominal sensing
distance) (Sn) Short-circuit
This distance does not take into account
manufacturing tolerances (±10%) or vari- All DC sensors have integrated short-
ations due to external conditions, such as circuit protection. AC sensors should be
voltages and temperatures not falling protected externally by such devices as
within the rated values. fuses.

Standard target
A standard target is square, 1mm thick,
and made from type FE360 carbon steel.
The length of the side of the square is
equal to the diameter of the sensor’s active
surface, or three times the
rated operating distance (Sn), whichever is

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Proximity Sensor Terminology PLC


Voltage drop (Ud) 4-wire NPN or PNP 4-wire NPN and PNP DL105
This is the voltage measured across the (programmable output There are two power wires, and the
active output of the proximity switch when output type is wiring programmable. An DL205
the rated operational current (Ie) flows in
state) NPN output is available by connecting

the load at the rated supply voltage and There are two power wires: one the PNP terminal to the negative power DL305
the temperature is at 73°F (±9°) [(23°C N.O./N.C. selection input wire and one supply line. A PNP output is available by PLC
(±5°)]. Unless specified differently, the output wire. The output state is program- connecting the NPN terminal to the posi- DL405
following values are guaranteed: mable by connecting the input wire to tive power supply line. PLC
•Two-wire DC models <8 VDC one of the power supply lines.
Field I/O
•Three-wire DC models <3.5 VDC Time delay before
•Two-wire AC models <10 VDC 4-wire NPN or PNP availability (tv) Software
(complementary The time delay before availability is the
Vibration outputs) time between the switching on of the
In accordance with IEC 68-2-6 There are two power wires: one normally supply voltage and the instant at which
the sensor becomes ready to operate Other HMI
Frequency range: 10-55 Hz open output wire and one normally
closed output wire. correctly.
Amplitude: 1mm
During the reset the output circuit is in AC Drives
Sweep cycle duration: 5 min.
OFF-state; false signal may be present
Duration of endurance at 55 Hz: 30 min. but the duration shall not exceed 2 ms. If Motors
in each of the three axis directions not specified otherwise, the reset dura-
tion doesn’t exceed 300 ms. Steppers/



Field Device Examples - Photo


3-Wire Connections Limit



NPN (Sinking) PNP (Sourcing) Sensors
Field Device Example Field Device Example Pushbuttons/
24VDC DC Sourcing Input Module 24VDC DC Sinking Input Module
+ – + – Process

+ Brn Common + Common

Brn Relays/


Output Blk Optical Blk Optical

Sensor Sensor TB’s &
Input Isolator Output Input Isolator Wiring

Current Sourcing Current Sinking
Configuration Configuration
Blu Blu Circuit
– – Protection
(NPN) Current Sinking (PNP) Current Sourcing
Field Device Enclosures
Field Device


Part Index

w w w. a u to m at i o n d i re c t . c o m / p rox i m i ty Sensors 17–55

Frequently Asked Questions
How do inductive proximity What output do I need? Do AutomationDirect supplied
switches work? NPN or PNP? sensors operate on AC or DC
Inductive proximity switches are used to This is determined by the device you are
detect the presence of metallic objects connecting the sensor to. Most The majority of AutomationDirect supplied
without actually contacting the object. DirectLOGIC PLC modules (except 305 sensors operate on 10-30 VDC. However,
Their high-speed switching and small size series) allow NPN or PNP sensors to be we do offer the VT1, VK1, and VM1 series
make them indispensable in automation connected. This is determined by how the that operate on 20-253VAC.
applications. sensor is wired to the PLC.
Inductive proximity switches consist of a Can my sensor be installed in a
coil driven by an oscillator. The oscillator
How do I choose between normally washdown area?
creates an electromagnetic field which open (N.O.) and normally closed
appears at the active face of the switch. If (N.C.)? Yes. All AutomationDirect supplied prox-
a metal target enters this area, the electro- imity sensors carry an IP67 or IP68 enclo-
magnetic field is reduced and the switch N.O. sensors do not pass power to the sure rating. This rating allows temporary
turns on or off. PLC until an object is detected. N.C. submersion of the sensor into water.
sensors always pass power to the PLC until
Some typical inductive sensor applications What does switching frequency
an object is detected. The majority of
are: counting metallic objects, monitoring
the position of elements in a machine,
Centsable sensors are N.O.; however, mean to my application?
some sensors offer the option of N.C.,
sensing the presence of metallic parts like This is how fast your sensor can sense an
such as PKW, PMW and CT1 series.
screws, etc., and measuring the rotational object, reset, and sense another object.
speed of axial detecting cams. When do I want quick disconnects For example, if a sensor has a switching
(Q/D) versus embedded cable frequency of 100 Hz or 100 cycles per
What is the difference between second, the sensor can sense a maximum
inductive and capacitive sensors? output?
of 100 objects per second. This is very crit-
There is a slight cost increase to purchase ical in many applications such as gear
The primary difference is sensing material.
a sensor and a Q/D cable compared to rotation measurement.
Inductive sensors only detect metallic
objects while capacitive sensors will detect only purchasing a sensor with a pre-
attached cable. However, the Q/D output
Can the sensor be put into a
materials such as wood, paper, liquids,
cardboard, etc. allows easy replacement of a failed sensor. vibrating environment?
This is important in minimizing machine or
Yes. Frequency range of 10-55 Hz,
How do I know what size proximity operation downtime.
maximum amplitude of 1mm. Duration in
sensor I need? What is the difference between 2- any axis a maximum of 30 minutes.
It depends on two factors: mounting space wire, 3-wire, and 4-wire sensors? What is the temperature range of
and sensing distance. Each application
has a specific space available for the 2-wire sensors: allows either NPN or PNP the sensors?
sensor and each application has a outputs (don't have to select).
Most sensors operate between -25°F and
requirement for how close the sensor can 3-wire sensors: standard sensors. When 70°F. However, check the specifications
be mounted to the sensed object. ordering, you must choose between NPN for exact ranges.
and PNP output.
What is the difference between 4-wire sensors: Allow either N.O. or N.C. If I wire my proximity sensor wrong,
shielded and unshielded? outputs (don't have to select). Must still will it damage it?
select NPN or PNP output.
With a shielded proximity sensor, the face Possibly. All sensors contain polarity
of the sensor may be mounted flush with reversal, short-circuit and transient noise
metal, whereas an unshielded sensor may protection. However, the transient protec-
NOT be mounted flush with metal (other- tion is only effective under 30 VDC.
wise the sensor will always be ON). In
many applications, flush mounting is a
requirement. Also, unshielded proximity
sensors allow for greater sensing

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