What is a Proximity Sensor?

A proximity sensor is a component which is designed to detect the absence or presence of an object without the need for physical contact. They are non-contact devices, highly useful for working with delicate or unstable objects

Some key features and benefits of proximity sensors include:

Motion detection of metallic & non-metallic objects
Used in a wide range of temperatures, ranging from -50°C to 100°C.
High speed motion sensor with non-contact properties
Can be used in applications with an oil or water level
Quicker response times than a contactor

Types of Proximity Sensor

There are several types of Proximity Sensors, all of which are appropriate to various applications. They are designed to provide a high-speed response and have a general universal working principle.

Proximity Sensors transmit data about the presence or motion of an object via an electrical signal when the object is in the sensor’s range. Although, different types of Sensor differ slightly dependant on type. The types of Distance Sensors available are:
Infrared Sensors (IR Sensor)

Infrared Sensors or IR sensors consist of Passive Infrared Sensors (PIR) and Active Infrared Sensors. Both types of device use infrared (IR), however, a PIR sensor has a pair of pyroelectric infrared sensors in a magnetic lens which engage when the signal between them changes.

An active IR sensor uses an IR LED that emits an infrared beam towards an infrared receiver. The receiver will detect obstacles that block the infrared radiation.
Inductive Proximity Sensors

An inductive proximity sensor uses an oscillating circuit which generates an electromagnetic field. A change in oscillation occurs when the device detects any type of ferrous metal within the inductive proximity including aluminium, copper, brass, and iron.
Capacitive Proximity Sensors

Capacitive Sensors are similar to Inductive Sensors, but they can detect nearly all other shapes and materials and can even function even through non-metallic walls. They are designed for use with non-ferrous materials and are ideal for close-range applications such as level detection and monitoring.
Ultrasonic Proximity Sensors

Ultrasonic Sensors emit and receive a high frequency sound wave which can be reflected or absorbed by anything within the sensor’s range. Ultrasonic sensors are generally high speed and can be used over long distances for the measurement of wind speed, fluid level, and speed through air or water.
Magnetic Proximity Sensors

Magnetic proximity sensors are designed to measure the presence or absence of an object by using an external magnetic field. The reed end of the switch is operated by a magnet. When the reed switch is activated and ON, the sensor also turns ON.

You can learn more in our complete guide to proximity sensors.

Browse the broad range of Proximity Sensors RS Components have to offer and order today for next day delivery.

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