Sensors, Connectors, RFID & Vision
    Photoelectric Sensors

Photoelectric Sensors

Balluff’s photoelectric sensors include a wide variety of housings, such as exclusive miniature designs, tubular styles from 8mm through 30mm, and small, medium, and large block styles. These devices provide non-contact detection of parts over longer distances than other sensing modes such as inductive or capacitive sensors while providing numerous mounting options and flexibility.

Photoelectric sensors provide accurate non-contact detection of targets. They emit infrared, red or laser light, and the target breaks the light beam or reflects the beam back to the sensor to activate the sensor output. Photoelectric sensing modes are divided into three primary types: through-beam, retro-reflective and diffuse. Photoelectric sensors can check for presence, color, distance, size, shape and many more target attributes.

Through-beam sensors are often the go-to photoelectric sensor since no matter what the target object’s color, texture, surface finish, or material, it will be reliably detected. Through-beam sensing mode, sometimes referred to as thru-beam, transmitted beam, opposed mode or beam break, is the oldest photoelectric sensing mode. The light emitter and receiver are in different housings.

Retroreflective sensing mode, occasionally referred to as retro or reflex, requires the use of a reflector or reflective tape to reflect the emitted light back to the receiver. Similar to the through-beam sensing mode, the target must break the light beam to actuate the output.

Diffuse sensing mode, sometimes referred to as proximity or energetic, uses the reflectivity of the target. Unlike other photoelectric sensing modes, the object reflects the light back to the sensor’s receiver instead of interrupting the light beam to actuate the output.


  • Ranges up to 100 meters
  • Plastic and metal enclosures
  • Housings with IP69K ratings
  • Robust and reliable performance
  • Variety of outputs and connections
  • Network compatibility

Product Families

  • Diffuse sensors
  • Diffuse sensor with background suppression
  • Retroreflective sensors
  • Through-beam sensors
  • Fork sensors
  • Angle sensors
  • Optical windows
  • Light grids
  • Light bands
  • Color sensors
  • Contrast sensors
  • Luminescence sensors
  • Fiber-based devices for plastic and glass fibers
  • Plastic and glass fibers for fiber-based devices
  • Micromote Sensors
  • Photoelectric distance sensors

Micromote Photoelectric Sensors

Micromote sensors from Balluff are miniaturized photoelectric sensors with separate electronic processor units. Their highly flexible, purely electric sensor cable makes them a genuine technical alternative to conventional fiber optics, with many added advantages for users. The photoelectric sensor heads have exceptionally small dimensions, excellent technical characteristic values and outstanding flexibility for customer-specific solutions. This makes them ideal for combining optimally with a wide variety of electronic functions, while maintaining convenient operation and maximum visibility. Micromote sensors are particularly well suited to installation in moving machine parts and robot grippers.

The Micromote system combines an external processor unit (amplifier) with exceptionally small photoelectric sensor heads. As a result, it is suitable for even extremely constricted spatial conditions and moving machine elements. The modular system, which consists of Micromote photoelectric sensors and innovative sensor elements, meets the most individualistic requirements. A variety of housing configurations ensure a particularly high degree of design freedom while precise optoelectronic components ensure maximum process accurately for any application.

Balluff offers a highly precise photoelectric sensor which integrates perfectly into an end effector. This mapping sensor features an extremely controlled and focused light spot with outstanding homogeneity, allowing it to detect wafers even just a few μm thick with extreme precision, including reliable detection of full slots, doubled wafers and tilted wafers at all times. The mapping sensor is based on the photoelectric Micromote technology, which enables adaptation of the mapping sensor to any mechanical installation situation, like other Micromote sensors.

Color Sensors

Balluff’s versatile color sensors simplify and accelerate automated processes with recognition of color nuances in textiles, such as painted sheets, as well as with colored markings on packaging or labels. These sensors sort out bad components and thus assure uniformly high product quality, they contributing to a reliable production process.

If an application requires reliable detection of colors or the ability to distinguish shades of color, Balluff’s true color sensor is the solution. Balluff’s true color sensors use white LEDs to provide a greater color spectrum evaluation. BFS 33M true color sensors can discriminate all shades and colors with high accuracy, regardless of the object type. Even the slightest shades, smallest grey level differences or minimal changes to the surface properties are detected without effort.

As a true color sensor, the BFS 33M precisely detects every color in the technical color space, making it suitable for use in a variety of demanding applications including robotics, automated assembly and the packaging industry. The sensor is used in conjunction with a fiber-optic cable, so applications under especially harsh conditions and tight mounting spaces can be handled.

For more information on Photoelectric Sensors from Balluff, as well as how Power Motion can help, please contact us. We have locations in St. Louis, Kansas City and Little Rock, providing distributor and automation solutions services for Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Nebraska, Southern Illinois, Southern and Western Iowa, Northern Louisiana, Eastern Oklahoma and Northeast Texas. Not all products available in all areas.

Balluff Micromote Photoelectric Sensors