Manufacturer of induction heaters selects infrared temperature sensors from Micro-Epsilon

Non-contact infrared temperature sensors from Micro-Epsilon are being used on a range of medium and high frequency induction heaters in order to measure the temperature of metal components during heat treatment. The sensors were selected due to a range of factors, including low cost, compactness and interchangeability.

Over the past 12 months, Cheltenham Induction Heating Ltd, a specialist manufacturer of frequency induction heaters, has selected the thermoMETER CTM1/M2 infrared temperature sensor from Micro-Epsilon, for use across its range of induction heaters.

Part of the Ambrell Group, Cheltenham Induction Heating Ltd specialises in the design and manufacture of high, medium and low frequency induction heating equipment, including all associated handling equipment and fixtures for use in industrial, scientific and medical applications.

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Electronics key to new, unique magneto-inductive displacement sensor

A unique range of displacement measurement sensors has been developed, which combines the robustness and proven measurement performance of eddy current sensor technology with the latest printed coil and permanent magnet technology.

Launched at this year’s Hanover Trade Fair in Germany and now available in the UK, Micro-Epsilon’s new mainSENSORs family of Magneto-inductive displacement sensors not only benefit from having an extremely compact design relative to their measuring range, but also offer OEMs an attractive price-performance ratio for mid-to-high volume applications.

At the core of this groundbreaking new sensor technology is Micro-Epsilon’s proven eddy current sensor technology, which provides the new sensor with robustness, high speed and high resolution measurements. However, it is how Micro-Epsilon has applied and combined this proven technology to the new sensor that provides users with several technical advantages. As well providing a new, simplified displacement measurement technique, the new sensor also offers extremely high basic sensitivity and excellent temperature stability (low thermal drift).

Chris Jones, Managing Director at Micro-Epsilon (UK) Ltd comments: “The magneto-inductive sensor was originally developed by Micro-Epsilon as a high volume, low cost solution for load detection in washing machines. Since then, the technology has been developed further resulting in an industrial-grade family of standard displacement measurement sensors, which will prove invaluable in many mid-to-high volume OEM applications, including hydraulics, automotive, off-highway vehicles and special purpose machines.”

“Due to simplified electronics, Micro-Epsilon is now able to produce low cost versions of the sensor with printed circuit boards and basic analogue outputs, or we can combine this version with a microprocessor to create a digital output sensor, including PWM, CANbus and other digital interfaces. The electronic circuit design and production is undertaken in-house at Micro-Epsilon’s PCB production facility, allowing full design flexibility of the electronic layout combined with complete quality control over the product. This enables Micro Epsilon to offer a genuine competitive advantage to its customer base. We now have in-house capabilities to produce more than three million sensors per year.”

Jones is keen to point out that mainSENSOR is not a ‘Hall Effect’ sensor. He explains: “Although the new sensor uses a permanent magnet as the target, unlike Hall Effect sensors, it does not suffer from relatively low sensor accuracy or high temperature drift.”

In contrast to the widely used Hall Effect measuring principle, mainSENSOR uses Micro-Epsilon’s unique, patented measuring method, which is based on a linear relationship between the position of the permanent magnet and the output signal. Due to its in-house mechanical and electronics manufacturing capabilities, Micro-Epsilon has been able to produce the complete sensor without having to rely on any external sub-component suppliers.

The underlying functioning principle of the sensor is based on a coil, which is supplied with alternating current, resulting in a primary magnetic field. According to the Maxwell formula, this magnetic field induces eddy currents in the electrically conductive material arranged opposite the coil. In the field of the eddy current sensor is a special film, which attenuates the eddy current sensor depending on the strength of the magnetic field. Using this method, a linear relationship between the distance to the magnet and the output signal can be established. As printed coils can be used inside the sensor, manufacturing does not rely on any semiconductor processes.

Thomas Birchinger, mainSENSORs Product Manager at Micro-Epsilon describes the benefits of the new technology: “The sensor has an extremely high basic sensitivity, which enables a very simple and consequently low cost evaluation circuit. With an eddy current sensor as the technological core, both very fast and very high resolution versions of the sensor can therefore be produced. A pulse width modulated signal is available as an output signal, which can be easily read by a microcontroller using a time measurement, which opens up a wide range of potential applications.”

The first standard industrial sensor in the mainSENSORs family is the MDS-40 M30, which has a 40mm measuring range and an M30 cylindrical, barrel-type stainless steel housing. The alternative to this is the OEM version, the MDS-40MK, a miniature flat rectangular PCB version with a plastic housing and a 40mm measuring range. The signal output provides 4-20mA or 2-10V DC.

As Chris Jones states: “Micro-Epsilon doesn’t just manufacture sensors, we have more than 40 years of experience in providing sensor solutions to OEMs, so we understand the importance of providing complete solutions and supporting our customers. Many of the companies we have worked with view us as a consulting, development and application partner that provides sensor solutions for complex, customer-specific measurement, inspection and automation. We don’t sell sensor products; we have a firm belief in always selling technical advantage to our customers. The mainSENSOR is a perfect illustration of this.”

For more information on Micro-Epsilon’s mainSENSORs family of Magneto-inductive displacement measurement sensors, please call the sales department on 0151 355 6070 or email:

– ENDS –

Notes: Micro-Epsilon ( is a major global manufacturer of sensors, headquartered in Germany. The company’s range of sensors measure everything from displacement to distance, position, vibration, dimensions and thickness, using both contact and non-contact measurement techniques. These techniques include inductive, differential transformer, eddy-current, capacitive, laser-optical, potentiometric and draw-wire principles.

With more than 40 years’ experience in the industry, Micro-Epsilon isn’t just a sensor manufacturer. The company is highly innovative and understands the importance of providing complete solutions and support services for its customers. The firm is renowned for its expertise in consulting, development and application of industrial sensors to complex, customer-specific solutions for measurement, inspection and automation. The focus is on selling technical advantage to its clients.

Non-contact temperature sensors help Corus

Non-contact infrared sensors are being used to monitor the temperature of steel strip on an experimental small-scale rolling mill at Corus’ Swinden Technology Centre in Rotherham.

The rolling mill, which is approximately one-eighth the size of a conventional full size rolling mill, will incorporate four infrared temperature sensors from Micro-Epsilon to measure process temperatures at various positions along the process line. The rolling mill will enable Corus to make better, more informed decisions with respect to cooling methods for different steel strip products. This includes the simulation of different cooling techniques for various types and grades of steel.

Four Micro-Epsilon thermoMETER CTM2 temperature sensors will be positioned at various points in the rolling and cooling process. Two of these sensors are already in position and have been used to measure temperatures on the high temperature rolling side. The other two sensors will be located on the cooling conveyor, one at the start and another low temperature version of the sensor at the end of the cooling system. The process temperatures on the rolling side vary from 850 deg C up to 1,100 deg C, whilst temperatures on the cooling side are down to 600 deg C. The sensors located on the rolling mill housing are positioned so that they point straight down into the centre of a steel block from a distance of around 400mm.

As Garry Beard, Development Engineer at Corus Swinden Technology Centre states: “The scale model rolling mill is being developed to test different cooling regimes for Corus’ steel strip products. In early 2009, we decided that we needed some new non-contact temperature sensors on the rolling mill. These sensors needed to be small, robust and accurate. At the time, we were using temperature sensors that were relatively large in comparison to the Micro-Epsilon ones. We also wanted dedicated sensors that we could fix to the rolling mill.”

After evaluating Micro-Epsilon’s range of non-contact infrared temperature sensors, Garry Beard selected the thermoMETER CTM2 version. “The compact size, accuracy and repeatability of the sensors swayed our decision. Micro-Epsilon was also happy to lend us a trial sensor to enable our engineers to try it out on the rolling mill. We also had an onsite demonstration of the sensor and excellent technical support from Micro-Epsilon when we needed it,” says Beard.

Temperature measurement data collected by the four temperature sensors is fed into the rolling mill’s software program where it is used to model and simulate the different cooling methods for the steel strip. “The sensors on the rolling stand have been installed for more than eight months now and are performing without any problems. As soon as our instrumentation team set up the sensors and controllers, it all seemed to work very well, with data being fed from the Micro-Epsilon controller to our own data logger. In fact, we are so confident in Micro-Epsilon’s products that we have just ordered four similar sensors for use in plant process monitoring,” says Beard.

Micro-Epsilon’s thermoMETER CTM2 range of infrared temperature sensors measure process temperatures from 250 deg C up to 1,600 deg C and so are ideal for use with metals, metal oxides, ceramics and composites. The sensors benefit from double precision laser sighting and a 40:1 or 75:1 optical resolution. Sensor response times are from 1ms. The sensor weighs just 40g and the controller 420g.

The thermoMETER CT laser M1/M2 can be used in ambient temperatures up to 100°C without any cooling required and has an automatic laser switch off at 50°C. The sensor measures at very short wavelengths (1.0-1.6μm), which minimises temperature measurement errors on surfaces with either low or unknown emissivity.

A range of accessories and optional extras are available for the CTM1/M2 range, which protect the sensor in harsh operating environments. These include air purging accessories, K or J type thermocouples outputs and a range of integrated digital communications interfaces, including Profibus DP, CAN open, USB, RS232, RS485 and Ethernet.

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Visit Mtec 2010 and see Live working demonstrations of the latest displacement, temperature and 2D/3D surface profile measurement sensors

Visitors to stand 1420 at this year’s Mtec 2010 exhibition (Advanced Manufacturing UK, 27-28 April 2010) will have the opportunity to view live working demonstrations of a range of new displacement measurement and non-contact temperature measurement sensor products from precision measurement specialist Micro-Epsilon (UK) Ltd.

Micro-Epsilon’s 6m x 6m stand will be split into three main areas: optical sensor systems for 1D, 2D and 3D measurement; non-contact displacement measurement sensors; and non-contact temperature measurement systems – which together provide a unique portfolio of sensor technologies.

In the optical sensors area, visitors can see live working demonstrations of Micro-Epsilon’s new 2D/3D laser triangulation sensors, the scanCONTROL 2700 and 2800 series. The latest scanCONTROL 2710, for example, is a 2D/3D laser profile sensor that is not only more compact than its predecessor, the 2810, but also offers new set up and configuration software. The sensor is ideal for industrial automation, robotics and machine building applications, where space is often restricted.

The sensor does not require a separate controller and so can be quickly mounted onto robot arms, inspection equipment and production lines. The sensor can be set up to measure the profile of adhesive beads, weld seams, channels, grooves, gaps, angles and steps, as well as for parts recognition, traceability and robot guidance/positioning.

Measuring ranges are from 25mm to 300mm in the vertical axis and 22mm to 148mm in the horizontal axis. A small output module for DIN rail mounting is also available to convert the sensor output data into common fieldbus systems, including CANbus, Profibus DP, Ethercat and IEEE. Measurement results can be output using digital or analogue modules for further processing and evaluation.

Micro-Epsilon’s stand will also showcase a brand new non-contact metrology system that offers portable surface profiling, imaging and thickness measurements down to nanometre resolutions. The Hornet3D machine, developed by Rhombus VS Ltd, Hornet3D is a flexible, modular system that can be customised for specific surface profiling applications. The machine utilises high precision optoNCDT 2401 confocal displacement sensors from Micro-Epsilon.

In the non-contact displacement measurement area, Micro-Epsilon will be demonstrating the latest eddy current and capacitive displacement measurement sensors. The new capaNCDT 6500 series, for example, is a non-contact multi-channel capacitive measurement system that offers sub-nanometre resolution and unmatched temperature stability. The system enables rapid changeover of sensors without any re-calibration required and is available as a benchtop or 19-inch rack-mounted unit.

One difficulty with very high resolution measurements is the transmission of data via analogue output channels to the user’s own acquisition system. Often, signal noise due to cable interconnects and earthing loops results in reduced system performance, since these are seen on the output signal as noise. By converting the analogue signal to a digital Ethernet output internally in the capaNCDT 6500 controller, this problem is eliminated and can then be transmitted anywhere in the world to another IP address.

Due to its extreme resolution and flexibility, the capaNCDT 6500 is ideally suited to high-accuracy R&D applications, aerospace and defence, test laboratories, quality assurance and semiconductor manufacturing applications.

If visitors have a requirement to measure temperature, part of Micro-Epsilon’s stand will be devoted to the company’s thermoMETER range of non-contact infrared temperature measurement sensors. The range is growing rapidly and now includes a compact, high speed, low cost inline thermal imager; a fibre optic ratio pyrometer for high temperature metals; low cost infrared temperature measurement sensors with integrated controllers for OEMs; infrared temperature measurement solutions for specific industry sectors, including glass, iron and steel; and a range of handheld thermal imaging cameras.

For more information on Micro-Epsilon’s products or to arrange a product demonstration on the stand at MTEC 2010, please call the sales department on 0151 355 6070 or email:

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New low cost handheld thermal imager now available from Micro-Epsilon

thermoMETER i5

Precision sensor manufacturer Micro-Epsilon UK Ltd has set up a new partnership agreement with Flir Systems UK, a leading supplier of infrared thermography systems. Micro-Epsilon will now offer its customers a range of low cost handheld thermal imaging cameras, which complements Micro-Epsilon’s existing range of non-contact temperature measurement products.

Micro-Epsilon’s thermoIMAGER i series comprises three models, the i5, i40 and i50. Starting from £1,995, the thermoIMAGER i5 is a compact, lightweight, multi-purpose infrared camera that requires little training and provides engineers with a low cost ‘point-shoot-detect’ camera. However, even at such a competitive price, the i5 is still accurate enough to measure temperatures up to 250 deg C, whilst being able to detect temperature differences as small as 0.10 deg C.

The i series expands Micro-Epsilon’s already comprehensive thermoMETER range of non-contact infrared temperature products. Over the last five years, the company has built up significant expertise in non-contact temperature measurement and so is able to provide valuable technical advice and guidance to customers, including product demonstrations. Micro-Epsilon can deliver from stock and provides local support in the UK.

As Chris Jones, Managing Director at Micro-Epsilon (UK) Ltd comments: “The new partnership agreement makes absolute sense, as both companies are leaders in their field of expertise and have a similar philosophy of providing technically advanced products at competitive prices. The agreement enables us to provide our customers with a comprehensive range of infrared temperature sensors and thermal imagers, both inline and handheld versions, from a simple low cost inline sensor, to a market leading thermal imager.”

In terms of its weight, size, price and performance, the thermoIMAGER i5 is unbeatable. Weighing just 340g and with a length of 22cm, it is the lightest and most compact camera currently available on the market.

The i5 produces instant, point-and-shoot JPEG infrared images that carry all required temperature data and that can be stored internally or externally, sent and analysed. The camera detects temperature differences across complete surfaces or components in electrical, mechanical and building/office applications, helping to detect potential overheating problems, avoiding costly failures, damage to equipment and energy losses. The camera has a bright, 2.8-inch LCD display and a long life battery for five hours of continuous operation.

thermoMETER i50For those engineers that require a higher resolution camera, additional functionality and who need to document their findings, Micro-Epsilon’s thermoIMAGER i40 and i50 handheld infrared cameras are ideal.

The i50 is a powerful instrument with a choice of measurement modes. It has a 140 x 140 infrared resolution at an excellent sensitivity, as well as a 2.3mpixel visual digital camera. The camera stores up to 1,000 standard jpeg images onto its micro SD card. This means the images can be viewed in other common software applications. The i50 is also incredibly compact and lightweight, weighing just 600g. The i50 is protected to IP54 and so can be used in harsh industrial environments.

Another useful feature of the i50 is a new ‘Picture-in-Picture’ image fusion, which enables the user to view an infrared image superimposed on a visual image. It also includes integrated laser pointer and LED lamps for inspection in low light areas.

The thermoIMAGER i40 is identical to the i50, except that it has a 120 x 120 pixels resolution infrared camera and a 0.6mpixel digital camera, making it more competitively priced than the i50.

All thermoIMAGER i series cameras come with wizard-based reporting software with advanced digital imaging processing and temperature calculation functions.

For more information on Micro-Epsilon’s thermoIMAGER i series of handheld thermal imaging cameras, please call the sales department on 0151 355 6070 or email:

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Draw-wire sensors used for wind turbine rotor blade testing

pr193-rotor test rigDraw-wire displacement sensors from Micro-Epsilon are playing a vital role in the testing of the latest generation of wind turbine blades at the Fraunhofer Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany.

The test rig at the Fraunhofer Institute simulates the distortion of rotor blades due to the effects of wind forces. The tip of the rotor blade can be distorted by up to 10m due to mechanical loads. The rig is designed to measure rotor blades up to a length of 70m.

During tests, the rotor blade itself is mounted horizontally in the test rig. Steel cables are attached to the rotor using guide pulleys and fixed to the rotor blade at various positions along its length, either directly or via mechanical clamps. Twelve draw-wire sensors from Micro-Epsilon are used to measure the distortion.

Two draw-wire sensors for each cable are mounted to the rails on the floor. These sensors measure the movement and the distortion of the rotor blade. The P115 sensors are from Micro-Epsilon’s wireSENSOR range and have measuring ranges of between 3m and 10m. The sensors operate with a digital output signal and are particularly robust due to their aluminium housing.

The principle of a draw-wire displacement sensor is relatively straightforward, hence its inherent reliability. A draw-wire sensor works rather like a tape measure, except the user does not have to read off the measurement of the extended tape. The rotation of the drum on which the steel wire is wound is measured automatically. The drum itself incorporates a long-life spring drive, which ensures the steel wire is rewound.

Chris Jones, Managing Director at Micro-Epsilon (UK) Ltd comments: “In addition to wind turbine testing, our draw-wire sensors are being used in a wide range of applications, from general industrial machinery and scissor lifts, through to more specific uses such as dentist chairs, patient lifting tables, theatre stages, pneumatic and hydraulic systems, aircraft landing gear and forklift trucks. Our wireSENSOR range is proving very popular with UK machine builders and OEMs, who require low cost, robust, reliable sensing solutions that can be easily integrated into their customer’s existing machine, components or control and automation systems.”

The wireSENSOR range uses three main measurement methods: a multi-turn potentiometer, an incremental encoder or an absolute encoder. One of these devices is mounted onto the drum axle, converting the rotary motion of the drum into a signal that can be evaluated. The measured displacement can be output as an analogue current, voltage or potentiometric signal. For a digital output, there is a choice of HTL or TTL, with interfaces for most of the common fieldbus systems, including CANopen, SSI and Profibus.

As with traditional tape measures, the wireSENSOR series is capable of measuring around corners and edges. Micro-Epsilon supplies as accessories deflection pulleys, which deflect the steel wire in the desired direction.

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New two-wire loop powered infrared temperature sensor from Micro-Epsilon

Micro-Epsilon has expanded its range of non-contact infrared temperature sensors to include a new programmable, two-wire loop powered version.


The new thermoMETER CSmicro 2W sensor is a 4-20mA loop-powered device that measures temperatures from –30 deg C up to 1,600 deg C. The processing electronics are integrated in the cable itself, making the sensor one of the most compact, high accuracy, programmable pyrometers available on the market today.

Other sensors of a similar size currently available on the market do not have in-built processing/conditioning electronics to linearise the sensor output. This means the user has to linearise the output himself, which can be complex and time consuming.

With rugged silicon coated optics (15:1 or 75:1), the thermoMETER CSmicro 2W offers a system accuracy of ±1.0% and ± 0.3% of the reading respectively. The sensor can be used in ambient temperatures of up to 130 deg C without having to cool the sensor head.

A two-wire loop powered sensor extracts the power it needs to operate its electrical circuits from the loop itself. There is no separate power feed from the analogue input card or from anywhere else. The current that the device draws becomes part of the 4-20mA that flows in the loop, therefore the device does not require more than 4mA to operate. This means the number of wires and connections are reduced. Two-wire loop powered sensors are predominantly used by the process manufacturing industry, including oil and gas, petrochemicals, chemicals and power generation companies.

With the thermoMETER CS micro 2W, an optional USB connection and Micro-Epsilon’s CompactConnect software enable the user to set up and configure the sensor or to change the emissivity to suit the target material. The USB interface enables the user to connect to a PC or laptop in order to configure the temperature range and output span of the sensor or to download new parameters. The free software includes analysis functions such as a graphical display that shows temperature trends and enables automatic data logging for analysis and documentation.

For more information on Micro-Epsilon’s thermoMETER CSmicro 2W, please call the sales department on 0151 355 6070 or email:

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Draw wire sensors offer precision in operating theatres

Chris Jones, Managing Director at Micro-Epsilon (UK) Ltd discusses how draw-wire displacement sensors are helping medical operating theatres in a number of critical applications, including X-ray machines, CT scanners, patient tables and flexible surgical arms.

Operating Table

Utilisation and cost efficiency are now just as important measures to medical operating theatres as they have always been to manufacturing companies. The latest operating tables, for example, offer numerous functions for precise handling of the patient, but need to be efficient and cost-effective.

Typically, operating tables are modular in design and offer multiple adjustment options for the precise positioning of the patient during an operation. As well as the height of the table, the horizontal position and several angular functions for the head, torso and legs also need to be adjustable.

In order to enable these adjustments, suitable measuring devices are required. Draw-wire displacement sensors are ideal for this, combining a compact design with high precision and long service life. The sensors can integrate easily with the operating table, offering an excellent price/performance ratio for the customer.

The principle of a draw-wire displacement sensor is relatively straightforward, hence its inherent reliability. The sensor works rather like a tape measure, except with a draw-wire sensor; the user does not have to read off the measurement of the extended tape. The rotation of the drum on which the steel wire is wound is measured automatically and the measurement signal is output in either analogue or digital formats. The drum itself incorporates a long-life spring drive, which ensures the steel wire is rewound.

The latest X-ray machines also require precise positioning so that they can provide high quality images of patients. The digital camera on these machines has to be aligned exactly with the X-ray tubes so that high resolution recordings can be produced. The cameras, X-ray tubes, the table and the wall stands can be moved on several axes, providing maximum flexibility.

X-ray table and generator

Draw-wire sensors can be used to position the mechanical moving parts. The synchronisation controller in the X-ray unit then uses the displacement data from the sensors to ensure that the X-ray tube and camera move parallel to each other.

Similarly, Computer Topography (CT) equipment requires fast, precise but cost effective measurement systems. Spiral, helical and dual source CT systems all require more precise, faster sensors.

The length measurement equipment for the horizontal reclined position is important here. In order to obtain the best possible overall image of the target, the individual X-ray sections, which normally travel through the object, have to be measured with smaller and smaller spacing. To do this, the sections are compiled in a 3D model to obtain voxels (volumetric and pixel). Based on this complete volume data set, any 3D views or sectional planes can be produced. In order to correctly align the sections, the horizontal position of the couch must be measured precisely. Therefore, a measuring system with very high resolution and long measuring range is required. Here, draw-wire sensors can offer resolutions down to 0.001% of the measuring range.

Draw-wire sensors are not only suitable for horizontal and vertical axis measurements; they can also be used to measure angles on operating tables and flexible surgical arms.

Flexible surgical arms

Flexible surgical arms are used to assist surgeons during surgical procedures, providing them with several degrees of freedom of movement. Starting from a calibrated zero point, the arm, which is attached to an operating table, automatically performs the required incremental movements. An endoscopic camera is guided by the robot arm, achieving a 360-degree view with up to 80-degrees incline from the perpendicular of the endoscope.

Typically, the arm must be immune to MR and X-rays and so sensors cannot be used in the area directly above the operating table. Therefore, direct measurement of the angular movements of the arm with angle sensors is not possible. However, the angle of rotation can be measured indirectly by using draw-wire sensors, which are installed underneath the operating table. Several sensors are required, which provide either an angle proportional output signal (potentiometer) or a digital incremental output.

For more information on Micro-Epsilon’s range of draw wire displacement sensors, please call the sales department on 0151 355 6070 or email:

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Bespoke position sensor design – how Micro-Epsilon can work with

valve lift sensorInitially, we have an introductory meeting with an open mind. Micro Epsilon has many different proven sensor technologies and so before we recommend a sensor solution, we must understand fully the user’s requirements. Then we will review this information and propose either an existing sensor design that can be adapted to suit the customer’s needs or a bespoke solution. Most importantly, if a solution already exists for the requirement, it makes no sense to make modifications to a sensor for the sake of it, this costs time and money for both companies. If a sensor does not already exist, then we can work through the complete sensor development cycle from functional prototypes to per-production samples and thought to final sensor production in high quantities. Quite often however, after 40 years of sensor design and development, the solution lies between those two options and quite often, minor modification to a current design is the right solution.

A recent example of this we can mention is the development of an OEM turbocharger speed sensor for the automotive industry. Micro Epsilon has produced turbo speed measurement systems for many years for R&D environments, but the brief here was to develop that system into a package suitable for high under bonnet environments that could be fitted to every turbocharger produced. This posed several initial problems, including sensor and electronics miniaturisation, developing a solution that would meet the strict environmental specifications for under bonnet use, developing a sensor that could be assembled automatically and of course reducing the system price to an acceptable level for the automotive industry. The complete development here was 18-24 months, and in that time, we moved from a prototype solution with discrete electronic circuits, to an ASIC electronic circuit approx 20mm2 and a completely molded, engineered plastic sensor which can be produced in volumes of upto 3 million pa.

If you have a requirement for displacement of temperature sensors and would like to speak to an expert, please call Micro-Epsilon UK on +44 151 355 6070, email or visit

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What are the pro’s and con’s of using contact vs. non-contact sensors – where should each be used?

optoNCDT2200This can be a discussion that can fill many pages of any article! In simple terms, when looking at a sensor selection, contact sensors are generally simpler devices and will usually have a lower unit cost. They can be very accurate with resolutions to sub micron levels, but by the nature of their design will be a slower measurement than non-contact sensors. Of course they have to be in contact (I.e. touching) with the target to be measured and so this can sometimes give problems and increase the cost of sensor integration. For example, a target that may be damaged by contact (e.g. glass) or may be contaminated, (e.g. pharma, or food products)  or hot or continuously moving targets will all be difficult to measure with a contact sensor. Finally, contact sensors will tend to wear with time, resulting in reduced performance and repair or replacement costs.

Non-contact sensor technologies on the other hand measure very well against virtually any target materials including glass and liquids. They have the same or often much higher resolutions as contact sensors and because they are usually solid state sensors (I.e. no moving internal components) they will measure much more quickly and will not wear, therefore the cost of ownership of the product may be lower than a contact solution. Non-contact sensors usually have a higher unit cost and so for large volume OEM applications, for example automotive applications, this may restrict the use of these technologies however when the cost of ownership is considered in OEM applications, one can often find the non-contact sensor to be more favorable.

If you have a requirement for displacement of temperature sensors and would like to speak to an expert, please call Micro-Epsilon UK on +44 151 355 6070, email or visit

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