With vehicle drivers needing to be constantly on the lookout on-site, ifm’s smart sensor technology is offering a higher level of visibility that allows them to be better aware of their surroundings.
ifm’s latest generation of 3D smart sensors with ifm’ detects three dimensional objects to provide a high level of awareness and collision avoidance. The O3M 3D smart sensor determines the distance between the sensor and nearest surface point through to the use of what the company refers to as the “time of flight (ToF) phase shift principle, an ifm patent”.
Syed Ahmad, ifm’s senior technical field support engineer for mobile control systems, told Quarry three-dimensional sensors provide quarry vehicles with a vital advantage over their one- or two-dimensional counterparts.
“Other sensors which are available in the market are usually one-dimensional or two-dimensional,” Ahmad said. “The unique quality of this sensor is that it gives you the information about the object in a 3D plain. That makes it unique because you can see the whole XYZ co-ordinates of a particular object within the region of interest or field of view.”
ifm tested the sensor in quarries before it was released to the industry, allowing the company to implement solutions to machines on both flat and inclined surfaces.
“We implemented some of the techniques through integrating some additional sensors which can tell us whether the machine is on a flat surface or an inclined surface,” Ahmad said. “That enabled us to program the logic of what object or what obstacles to pick depending on what surface we’re on.
ifm’s sensors can detect reflective objects up to 30 metres away by using technology that prevents sunlight from distorting the sensor. In dusty environments, such as a quarry, the O3M sensor is able to detect objects with reflective material, such as an operator’s reflective vest.
“Also, the sensor has a functionality which can tell you if the lens is dirty, so it gives you the information – say for example the lens is 70 per cent dirty now, so the operators can go and clean it,” Ahmad said.
The O3M sensor also features a collision avoidance system that will activate an alarm if an object is too close or in a blind spot. “It basically triggers an audible alarm,” Ahmad said. “Of course, you can have a visual indication of what’s happening at the back while you are reversing and it can give you an output when there is an obstacle within the field of view, so it is enhanced safety for the machines,” Ahmad said.
With an innovative R&D team in Germany, ifm continue to push the boundaries of sensor technology through on-site testing and applications.