SICK’s next-gen sensors pilot the future of food sensing

SICK’s next-gen sensors pilot the future of food sensing

Launched in a global release today, SICK’s next-generation W16 and W26 smart sensors with “BluePilot” alignment are at the helm of a streamlined portfolio of photoelectric sensors, radically-upgraded to optimise ease-of-use with complete object detection reliability.

The W16 and W26 proximity, reflex and through-beam sensors are manufactured at a purpose-built, fully-automated production facility in southern Germany.

They mark the culmination of a two-year, €multi-million research and development project involving extensive consultation with SICK customers worldwide.

“When we asked our customers in the food and beverage industries what was most important for future development of photoelectric object detection, they put usability top of the list; they already expected our sensors to be robust, 100% reliable and always available,” says David Hannaby, SICK’s UK Product Manager for Presence Detection.

“So, we set out on a journey to achieve the best of all worlds in one family. We developed the new operating technologies our customers wanted, as well as bringing together all of SICK’s leading optical sensing capabilities with rugged immunity to the harshest challenges of food and beverage processing and packing.

For usability, the W16 and W26 sensors are launched with SICK’s new BluePilot assistant, which features a line of five LEDs mounted on top of the sensor for quick, easy and accurate alignment of the light spot even over long distances. The BluePilot combines a potentiometer and teach-in button to simplify set up, range assessment, and application mode selection and a provides real-time on-sensor status display.

Manufactured in new robotic production facility to ensure consistent plug-and-play alignment of every device, SICK W16 and W26 sensors also bring together SICK’s best-in-class optics to meet any detection challenge in the food industry.

Consistent operating stability is achieved through reliable sensing of difficult products such as transparent bottles filled with clear liquids, packs with glossy or uneven outers, shiny foils or high-contrast prints and labelling.

An industry first in-built Bluetooth option allows easy monitoring and advanced commissioning from smart phones or tablets.

Smart IO-Link two-way communication is standard on all devices to enable easy set up and parameter cloning of replacement sensors, addressability and diagnostic functions, as well as opportunity to incorporate sensor-level smart tasks such as counting and time measurement.

Every W16 and W26 comes in a robust Vistal housing to withstand all chemical, thermal and mechanical environmental conditions as well shocks and vibrations. They are designed for long life with IP66, IP67 or IP69K protection (depending on model) and operating temperatures of -40oC to +60oC.

The casing is laser-etched with all product identification so that the sensor remains easily identifiable even after years of service. A 2D barcode enables easy identification and access to product manuals via mobile phone.

For more information on SICK’s W16 and W26 sensors, email