Intelligent sensors for higher equipment performance

Inclination detection in Balluff sensors

Powerful, smart sensors and multifunctional solutions are the precondition for increasing the overall system efficiency (OEE). Smart sensors from Balluff provide optimal support because they not only fulfill a primary measurement task, but also provide up to 16 additional condition monitoring features for self-diagnosis and the environmental condition at the installation site (SAMS). This makes them the ideal basis for implementing condition monitoring concepts and increasing the OEE.

In this blog post I will pick out one of these 16 additional functions and present it to you in more detail.

The inclination detection

The function detects the inclination of the installed Balluff sensor. In addition, a change in inclination relative to a reference value can be detected. If the sensor changes its basic position, for example due to external mechanical influences or due to cleaning, this is recognized. The sensor sends via. IO-Link interface a warning bit to the PLC. For this purpose, alarm limit values can be parameterized individually and application-specifically.

The measuring range of the inclination detection is 0…180° with a resolution of ±1°. Due to the high level of accuracy, even the smallest changes in inclination can be detected and thus prevent machine downtimes at an early stage. Inclination detection is integrated in the following product clusters:

Application Example 1

Optical sensors are installed in a defined inclination to monitor the position of the milled part. These inclinations can be changed by mechanical influences or cleaning.
The result: The PLC receives information about the incorrect position of the milled part. However, the real reason for the incorrect position monitoring lies in the position change of one or more sensors. This can be remedied by the inclination detection in the sensor, which immediately forwards information to the PLC in the event of a change. The machine operator thus immediately receives information about the true reason for the error. The PLC also receives information about which sensor(s) is (are) affected. Furthermore the sensor can be localized on site via a ping function in the sensor 

Application Example 2

Optical sensors on a sensor bridge record pasta. The sensors must be positioned in a specific inclination in order to detec the goods. If one of these sensors changes its basic position due to external mechanical influences or due to cleaning, there is a risk that the sensor will no longer correctly identify the goods on the belt. The result: If the goods are supposed to be missing on the conveyor belt, this is communicated to the PLC. The real reason, however, lies in the change of the sensor position. The inclination detection in the sensor registers the change in position and forwards this information to the controller. The integrated ping function makes it extremely easy to localize the affected sensor.

Application Example 3

With the digital position indicator you can handle great product variety quickly and reliably while processing ever shrinking lot sizes. Our position indicator offers semi-automated format changing with an exceptionally friendly user interface. This, combined with its clearly organized operating and configuration concept, increases the flexibility and availability of machines.

But in the environment of the position indicator, manual adjustments by employees occur regularly, and an unintentional change in the position of the position indicator cannot be ruled out. In this case, and even in the case of the complete removal of the position indicator from the spindle axis, the display unit will continue to send signals to the PLC, which are interpreted as valid.

Detection of the position violation and associated error in the position transmission is not possible without the inclination sensor and can lead to significant failures or even collisions in the machine! With the inclination feature in the position indicator, however, the user can easily teach in the correct initial position of the position display at installation with one click and enter a limit value for the permitted inclination deviation.

If a violation of these limit values is detected afterwards, the position indicator reports the violation of the installation position to the control system by means of an error bit. A dangerous machine start-up can be prevented.


Wherever high-value goods are produced flexibly by means of format adjustment, the built-in inclination feature can prevent the loss of resources, production time or even loss of fixed assets.

For more information about the addtional condition monitoring features in the Balluff sensors please click here.

Do you have similar experiences with unplanned machine downtimes or do you want to know more about the Smart Automation and Monitoring System please feel free to contact me.






0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
May 4, 2022 1:57 pm

Timely given the cost pressures we are facing.
Excellent tools to improve OEE!
Thank you for posting Dennis!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x