New Precision Positioning System from Pepperl+Fuchs Provides Fraction-of-a-Millimeter Position Feedback


PosiTrack consists of three basic components; a U-shaped read head, code rail and support hardware, and network and control interfaces. The read head optically scans a uniquely coded rail to determine a carrier mechanism’s position. An internal microprocessor translates a 48 sender/receiver LED array status into a 19-bit code, providing 0.8 mm positional resolution over travel distances to 1,070 feet. Read heads require no calibration, and sophisticated intelligence provides highly reliable data in challenging conditions. Ultra-forgiving rail/read head alignment tolerances and internal compensation for code rail irregularities maximize system uptime. Detailed system diagnostic codes are continuously provided, so a controller is never more than a few milliseconds away from verifying the system’s health.

The code rail is available in either fiber-laminate or stainless steel materials to satisfy various application conditions, and provides a unique positional code every 0.8 mm of read head travel. Both are sold in customer-specified lengths with continuous strips from 1 to 1,070 feet possible. In addition to providing positional feedback, short code rail lengths can be used for carrier/pallet identification. A single reader can identify and position a carrier, saving the expense of an extra ID system. All rail types can be horizontally curved with no affect on the read head’s accuracy. Fiber-laminate rails can also be flexed for vertical bends.

If the PosiTrack read head’s integral RS-485 or SSI outputs don’t suit ones interface needs, control interfaces are available that convert the RS-485 signals to most standard network protocols including DeviceNet, PROFIBUS DP, CANopen and InterBus. In addition, parallel and SSI interface “booster” controllers are available for extra-long cable runs. Bus-compatible interfaces can control up to four read heads.

Pepperl+Fuchs is a world leader in the design, manufacture and application of high quality factory and process automation products and services. Pepperl+Fuchs pioneered the development of proximity sensors 45 years ago, and has set the standard for innovation and quality ever since.

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