What Are Displacement Sensors? Autonics Launches New Sensor Range

May 20, 2020 by Robin Mitchell

This week, Autonics announced the BD series, its latest displacement sensor range.

Displacement sensors are sensors that can measure the distance between a fixed location.


What are Displacement Sensors?

Unlike range finders, displacement sensors are designed for use in surface profiling to measure an object’s thickness, height, and width with a focus on automated processes. 

Displacement sensors come in a wide variety of types with each type using a different mechanism for measuring distance. These different types of sensors also work with specific materials, some working with liquids while others with solids. 

Examples of measuring techniques include ultrasonic (using a form of echolocation), laser ranging, optical, and eddy current. The technology chosen will affect what materials can be measured and at a certain range. 



The BD series displacement sensor being demonstrated to detect various target material or color including black/white paper, stainless steel, rubber, PCB, etc. Image used courtesy of Autonics


Ultrasonic based techniques have a slow response and low accuracy, but have the highest range and can work with most material types. Laser focus techniques have a short target range, but high accuracy and too can work with most materials. 

Optical systems also have high accuracy but can measure greater distances, whereas eddy currents have a short target range and can only measure metal objects. Thus, choosing the right sensor for the job is essential. Autonics has developed a sensor to help reduce downtown and increase efficiency. 


Autonics: Redefining Displacement Sensors

Autonics is a company that specializes in industrial automation solutions. The company offers sensors, controllers, motion devices, measuring equipment, laser marking systems, and connection equipment. 

Autonics also offers a wide range of software solutions such as atLogic, atDesigner, atMotion, and aLidar, all of which designed to work with their associated products. Now, Autonics has released its latest product, the BD Series, which aims to continue advances in displacement sensor technology.


How Does the BD Series Differ From Other Sensors?

The latest displacement series are laser-focused sensors designed to provide accurate measurements for use in various materials in a wide range of different environments. The new range can be easily maintained with the sensor and amplifier unit being detachable, while providing a maximum resolution of 1um. 

The BD Series provides accurate displacement measurements despite the color or the material of the target and can operate at different reference distances, including 100mm, 65mm, and 35mm. The sensors can also work with other sensors allowing up to eight interconnected detectors supporting multiple measurement functions, including addition, subtraction, and average. The sensors have a protection rating of IP67 and integrate mutual interference protection, making them ideal for a wide range of different industrial applications. 


bd series displacement sensor

The new BD sensor. Image used courtesy of Autonics


The BD sensor range also has a range of built-in filters, including median, average, and differential, which allow the sensors to react differently to changes in displacement. Examples of applications suitable for the BD series include engine block manufacturing, steel plate production, and automotive parts machining. Also available for use with the BD Series is the BD-A1, a display that shows the current reading from a sensor. 

Their IP rating makes them highly appropriate for most environments and their ability for the sensors to work in tangent with other sensors makes them highly adaptable to almost any application. 

The inbuilt filters allow for either the detection of sudden changes or gradual changes and the use of laser technology allows for them to be used with most materials regardless of their color.