SICK has developed a new Roller Sensor Bar designed for quick and easy installation, high sensing performance, and preventing conveyor jams that can cause unplanned downtime in packaging, parcel sorting, and logistics hubs.

According to SICK, the Roller Sensor Bar has been designed to deliver high sensing performance when detecting the leading edges of varied, flat or irregularly shaped packages on conveyors.

The company says it has made it quick and easy to customise the Roller Sensor Bar so that it can detect a wide range of packaging shapes and sizes simultaneously, in any orientation, and even when they have irregular or thin leading edges. This apparently means it can be adapted for a broad range of detection needs from non-transparent poly bags and jiffy packs through to totes or pallets.

The SICK Roller Sensor Bar can reportedly be mounted between rollers or belted sections, either during conveyor manufacture or fitted to an existing production line, with the company adding that it offers a flexible concept that dispenses with the need to pre-qualify and stock multiple sensor types.

SICK claims that a pre-configured Roller Sensor Bar can be mounted using spring-loaded end caps without it needing to be aligned, further reducing the installation and set-up time. With a choice of ten different connector types and nine standard cable lengths, the company says that installation is simple and efficient for roller conveyors, as well as for belted conveyor sections and flexible conveyors.

The company adds that users can specify the sensor bar length ranging from 200mm to 1.2 metres, then set between two and eight sensing points spaced 500mm and 200mm apart. This allows users to achieve alignment precision and avoid detection blind zones, according to the company.

The SICK Roller Sensor Bar is also positioned to detect from below, which the company explains gives it “excellent” ambient light immunity and allows it to avoid false trips and triggers, such as reflections from high visibility clothing.

In addition, the company says that the IO-Link variant of SICK’s Roller Sensor Bar enables operators to access diagnostic information to reduce conveyor downtime. The IO-Link reportedly allows for the identification of individual beam breaks during product alignment checks, helping to confirm when a divert has happened or to alert when objects are skewed or in the wrong position on the conveyor. SICK adds that it can also track each sensor’s operating status and alter the service or maintenance requirements.

With an IP678-rated housing, SICK says that the Roller Sensor Bar is resilient to the ingress of dust or water during cleaning procedures.

David Hannaby, product manager for presence detection at SICK UK, comments: “Conveyor jams are a common headache for all sorts of packaging industry environments. The Roller Sensor Bar eliminates the unplanned downtime caused when conventional sensor set-ups cause jamming, package build-ups or misdirects.

“Jams can happen when packages catch on sensing holes in the conveyor walls, or on the sensor themselves. The Roller Sensor Bar can also be configured without blind zones at the sides of the conveyor. Installation and alignment time is reduced, and there is no need to purchase extra mounting brackets or reflectors.”

Last year, SICK revealed the Modular Quality Control System (MQCS), which is delivered as a ready-to-use package of hardware and pre-written software for applications including inspection, measuring, counting, and aggregating.