Glossary of Sensors, Switches & Automation Terms

Thanks to the Sensor, Switch, Smart Camera, and Machine Vision device OEM's who've helped us compile our listing here.

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ECKO - See Eddy Current Killed Oscillator principle

Eddy currents - Currents induced on the surface of a conducting mass by the rate of change in magnetic flux, see below.

Eddy Current Killed Oscillator (principle) - Proximity sensors are generally constructed with four main elements: a coil and ferrite core assembly, an oscillator, a convertor/detector, and an output device- see figure below. The oscillator creates a radio frequency field that is shaped and defined by the coil and core. As a target is placed in this field, eddy currents are generated in the surface of the target. The oscillator, being a limited power device, will lower (kill) its amplitude as the eddy currents are generated. The convertor/detector rectifies the AC signal to DC and compares it to a preset value. The output is triggered when a difference in value is measured.

schematic of inductive proximity sensors

Effective beam - The portion of a beam that must be sufficiently interrupted for an object to be reliably sensed.

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) - Electrical noise that may interfere with proper operation of sensors, programmable logic controllers, counters, data recorders, and other sensitive electronic equipment. Common sources of EMI include lighting fixtures and controls, motors, generators, and contactors.

Embeddable - See Shielded sensor

Emitter (photoelectric) - The light source within any photoelectric sensor (LED, incandescent bulb, laser diode).

Error proofing - Also called "mistake-proofing", or Poka-Yoke. Any method and practice of designing machinery operations and processes, so chances for error can be avoided; errors most commonly due to human actions as they interact with machinery and processes. An example is adding sensors and programming, where by an inductive proximity sensor detects a special tab on a stamped part. After loaded into a fixture by an operator, if that tab isn't detected (meaning the wrong stamping has been loaded), then the subsequent robotic welding sequence is halted. This way mistakes are eliminated from heading upstream in the production process. Error proofing originates from a Japanese developed production process, read more Poka-Yoke Example below, where a limit switch lever detects for a "poka-yok" notch in automobile frame before welding.

sensors poka yoke error proof

Enclosure rating - Classification of the protection of electrical equipment from electric shock, foreign bodies, and water.

Excess gain - See Margin

Explosion-proof - Hazardous location term that refers to explosion containment.

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