Whether wooden Euro pallets or special pallets made of plastic—flexible solutions are required for detecting different types of pallets on conveyor lines. Based on a customer requirement, Pepperl+Fuchs has developed a sensor solution that is now available for the entire conveyor technology and intralogistics industry: The Pallet Detector consists of an application-specific sensor bracket that can be combined with a photoelectric or an ultrasonic sensor, depending on the pallet type. Unlike conventional systems, the Pallet Detector is not mounted on the side, but integrated into the conveyor line. This minimizes the installation effort and at the same time increases occupational safety.
Conventional solutions for pallet detection require a large number of individual components: The sensor and reflector are attached to protruding round bars outside the conveyor line using appropriate brackets. The Pallet Detector from Pepperl+Fuchs, on the other hand, offers an intelligent installation concept: A bracket with an integrated mirror is installed on the crossbar inside the conveyor line. From there, the sensor attached to the bracket detects the presence of, for example, the middle pallet foot. Since this sensor solution consists of only two components, the effort required for installation and commissioning is significantly reduced. Transport and storage costs are also reduced to a minimum, which results in optimized logistics processes from the manufacturer to the end customer. To make installation even more convenient, the sensor and mounting bracket can also be supplied pre-assembled.
The Pallet Detector from Pepperl+Fuchs not only reduces logistics and assembly costs, but also increases occupational safety: Since the sensor solution is integrated into the conveyor line, there are no protruding round bars that would pose a safety risk to employees on site—unlike the conventional assembly method.
Both the mounting concept and the sensor technology are specially tailored to the requirements of pallet detection. The sensor bracket with integrated mirror has a 45° angle so that dirt and dust simply slide off. This reduces maintenance costs, while the compact design enables space-saving installation.
In addition, the modular solution can be adapted to different pallet types. For the detection of Euro pallets, a photoelectric diffuse mode sensor is used: Due to background suppression, the R20x series sensor precisely distinguishes between pallets and conveyed products. Since the sensor is equipped with application-specific algorithms that distinguish dust and dirt from objects, its dirt resistance is significantly increased. Furthermore, an integrated alarm function provides early notification as soon as the mirror needs to be cleaned. This enables predictive and targeted maintenance.
For special pallet types whose features cannot be blanked out by the programmable logic controller, an ultrasonic version is available: The F77 diffuse mode sensor easily detects shiny plastic pallets. Due to its large sound beam, the ultrasonic sensor easily detects pallets with larger holes or notches. The sensor solution for pallet detection from Pepperl+Fuchs can therefore be adapted to diverse requirements in conveyor technology.