Warwick, UK, February 2018 – Parker Hannifin, a provider of motion and control technologies, is supporting Industry 4.0 initiatives with its new P8S CPS series of ‘smart’ sensors for pneumatic cylinders. The sensors feature intelligent functionality such as the ability to acquire and locally process information, and communicate with upper level controllers and/or local networks.

There are three principal building blocks of what Parker Hannifin terms ‘smart pneumatics’: sensors, processors and communications protocols. As part of a project that saw the company investigate available sensors that can be applied to pneumatics technologies, the company has developed its P8S CPS series. Moving forward, the technology know-how acquired during this process will be fed into other Factory Automation projects, with the advantage that learning curves and time-to-market can be shortened considerably.

The P8S CPS Continuous Position Sensor enables quick, precise, high-resolution and contactless sensing of a piston’s position in a cylinder. Importantly, direct detection of the piston magnet is achieved without the need for separate position encoders or additional mechanics.

For cylinders, linear slides and grippers with common T-slot dimensions, P8S CPS sensors can be mounted without the need for extra accessories, while mounting on other cylinder types, such as round-rod, tie-rod and profile cylinders (and cylinders with a dovetail groove), is possible using a simple adaptor. External mounting of the sensor on the piston cylinder saves time and money right from the start as there are no complicated integration requirements or drilling of the piston rod. Furthermore, thanks to retaining ribs on the side, the sensor holds its position even before the screw is tightened, ensuring that it does not fall out. The rugged screw then holds the sensor in the desired position during operation, even when subjected to shock and vibration. Sensor settings can be adjusted during or after installation using a teach pad or, depending on the variant, IO-Link.

P8S CPS sensors continuously supply data via analogue signals, IO-Link process data or flexible switching point (an LED indicates the output state). The continuous transfer of position data serves to upgrade the functionality of pneumatic cylinders and drives by making them more intelligent and, as a result, more versatile. With this in mind, it is possible to solve engineering challenges in areas such as quality monitoring and process control, particularly in consumer goods markets like packaging. Handling and small-part assembly, machine building, and electronic and solar applications will also benefit.

Both analogue and IO-Link versions are available in measuring ranges from 32 to 256mm. The operating temperature range is -25 to +75°C, while the enclosure is rated to IP67.