Ultrasonic sensors work via the use of sound waves. These waves will echo off the target and return to a transmitter. Since the speed of sound is known, the time between the sound burst and return is translated into distance. The sensor is fitted with a processor that calculates this distance and uses it for level indication. It will also account for temperature when making calculations. These sensors are used for many purposes. We will examine a few of them uses of an ultrasonic sensor below.

1. Loop Control 

Loop control allows for high level of automation. The result is that a large factory can be operated by only a small amount of staff. A good example of this is an ultrasonic water level sensor that is used in a nuclear power factory to ensure there is always enough water to be turned into steam.

2. Roll diameter, tension control, winding and unwind 

As people enjoy their morning coffee and read their morning newspaper, they may not have a clue as to what a crucial role a float level sensor plays. Without the proper tension, newspapers would have blurred images and wrinkled results. The sensors help to ensure that the roll of paper is at the right tension with a millimeter of accuracy.

3. Liquid level control 

This function of an ultrasonic water level sensor can be used to control the flow rate in an industrial process. The sensors send signals that it uses to detect the level of the liquid. This data from the liquid level sensor can then be used to control how much liquid is let into the inflow valve.

4. Thru beam detection for high-speed counting 

Detection of things such as bottles is too fast to do with any other method than sensors. This makes ultrasonic through beam sensors great for this job. Ordinary ultrasonic sensors would just not work. The time between one bottle and the next is too short to allow the signal to bounce back for counting.

5. Full Detection 

This is one of the most basic functions of an ultrasonic sensor. The liquid level sensor is attached to an industrial container to detect when it is full of a certain material. It then sends a signal to the controller, which shut down the inflow valve. This helps to eliminate the chances of human error.

6. Thread or wire break detection 

This is yet another important purpose when working with industrial equipment. It helps to ensure that all parts are working, as they should and that unavoidable breaks do not cause a break down in the production process.

7. Robotic sensing 

This is a field of study that is intended to give robots more human –like abilities. By being equipped with a float level sensor, a robot is able to estimate the conditions of its immediate environment. With sensitive sensors, it can make out things such as steps and objects even in darkness.

8. Stacking height control 

This is an important feature, especially when working on a production line. The robotic arms would not have any way of telling how much they have stacked unless they have a sensor. It helps to avoid catastrophic over stacking.

9. 45° Deflection; inkwell level detection; hard to get at places 

During the production process, you will come across areas where detecting levels of liquids is important. However, the design of the factory makes it impossible to reach these areas. In such a case, a cheap ultrasonic sensor will fulfill this role perfectly. It is especially so when dealing with clear liquids where an optical sensor will not be of much help.

10. People detection for counting 

There are many instances when detecting people is important. For instance, a building may have a minimal number of occupants who are allowed at any time. It may also be for security purposes where a certain area is sensitive, and the presence of people is unwanted without warning.

11. Vehicle detection for car wash and automotive assembly 

Most car washes today operate automatically. There is usually just one or no staff member at all operating the car wash. The only way such a car wash is able to operate is by having ultrasonic sensors. These sensors are also used in assembly plants to detect when new part land on the production line.

12. Irregular parts detection for hoppers and feeder bowls

Feeder bowls are used to feed industrial parts into a production line. If a part is defective, the only way to detect it is using sensors. The ultrasonic sensors use sound waves to detect parts that are not oriented in the right direction or that may be defective.

13. Presence detection 

Presence detection is quite easy to achieve. It can also be an important function of any production process. By using ultrasonic sensors, the production line can be halted or started depending on the presence or absence of parts.

14. Box sorting using multi-transducer ultrasonic monitoring system 

This process entails the use of multiple sensors to detect the shape and sizes of boxes. By doing so, the boxes can then be sorted into specific piles. This reduces the need for having human beings in the production area. Even when people are needed their role is reduced to inspections and ensuring everything goes as planned.

15. Contouring or profiling using ultrasonic systems

Contouring is quite important in any production process. It helps to ensure evenness during production. If you own a small or major production line, the only way to ensure evenness is via the use of ultrasonic sensors. The good thing about them is that any dust that may result from the production process does not affect them.


This list has been able to demonstrate that the use of sensors is highly important in any industrial process. The best part about these sensors is that they are so cheap. They are also easily adaptable to even the most difficult situations. Ultrasonic sensors are an affordable method of reducing waste in any production process.