ifm electronic has launched more point level sensors with what it believes to be the most reliable deposit suppression on the market.

Not so long ago ifm electronic launched the groundbreaking LM point level sensor which has been a big hit ever since with the ability to ignore tricky deposits and even foam. The first devices, designated LMT, were launched as specific hygienic versions using seals, materials and surface finish specifically with food process in mind.  As a result, the LMT was over-specified for use in other areas.   That has now been addressed with the launch of the LMC series of point level sensors with the popular characteristics of the LMT, manufactured in a form that is better suited to general applications.

The new LMC range can be set to almost any liquid or viscous medium as well as to bulk materials. Permanent medium temperatures to 100°C or a heavy build-up are no problem. 

Installation of the LMC is simple and flexible with the variants on offer. The option of a thread at the back permits variable installation depths and application-specific installation. Orientation of the probe is not an issue, unlike the classic vibrating forks that must be installed in one direction.

The LMC is factory set for ease of operation in most media, but it is simple to alter settings to suit a specific task. Even differentiation between substances is possible using the two independent switching outputs. The LMC range has IO-Link, allowing remote setting and storage of parameters, along with other benefits.    The LMC family reliably monitors levels, e.g. in machine tools or wastewater management, or protects pumps from running dry. Issues that commonly affect vibrating forks, such as the wrong orientation or a heavy build-up are not a problem to the LMC.

Industries with applications for the LMC range across the board from automotive and bioenergy to steel and water; they are designed for use in diverse equipment from parts washers to lubrication systems, bioreactors to concrete pumps.

The underlying technology employed by the LM sensor for level detection is impedance spectroscopy.      Here the electrical behaviour of the medium is analysed in a frequency range between 100 and 200 MHz, the device essentially measures the dielectric properties of a medium as a function of frequency. It can be understood as a similar principle to that used in a capacitive sensor, but it can discriminate a higher level of deposit on the face of the sensor itself and in the surrounding area. It is this ability that makes the technique very useful with sticky media and with foam.  Individual media and also their adherence show a characteristic behaviour. Predetermined values within the sensor allow them to recognise certain media, or media types, such as water-based or oil based, but equally allow the sensor to disregard their adhesion or foam.

The LMC release consists of two versions, optimised for different ranges of media, either oil-based or water-based  to enable simple installation without adjustment.  although the new unit is adjustable by the user, with the inclusion of IO-Link , the IEC61131-9 standard that is rapidly gaining currency with  automation manufacturers and users. With the latest IO-Link technology built-in from the start the LMC can be adjusted simply to virtually any liquid, viscous medium or bulk material.  Each of the two switching outputs can be set independently of each other so it is also possible to differentiate between two different media. The parameters can be set with IO-Link and USB interface accessory E30396.

Shock and vibration resistance are guaranteed by the robust stainless steel housing, sealed to the highest possible rating of IP69K.  With no moving parts and a smooth surface (the surface characteristics of the PEEK tip of the sensor is Ra < 0.8 µ) is virtually impossible for residues to stick to it or clog the sensor. Even with viscous and sticky media, the LMC point level sensor operates reliably.

In summary, the LMC point level sensors ignore sticky materials or foam with remote parameter setting and diagnostics. In short, they offer useful and cost-effective adjustable point level sensors for all applications.

The LMC operates on a DC supply of 18 to 36V and with its IP rating up to 69K and ambient temperature range covering 20 degrees Celsius below freezing up to 85 degrees, and a medium temperature of 100 degrees C it is ideally suited to most environments and applications. .  The connection uses an industry-standard M12 connector to take the complementary PNP signals back to the panel.

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