OMRON Releases New ZW Series Displacement Sensors for EtherCAT with Compact Sensor Heads - Sysmac Automation Platform -

November 15, 2012

Kyoto, Japan -- OMRON Corporation (TSE: 6645, ADR: OMRNY) today announced the release in November of a new group of ZW series confocal fiber displacement sensors.

ZW series confocal fiber displacement sensors:
  • Controllers with EtherCAT
  • Sensor heads (2 models with measuring distances of 7 mm and 30 mm)

Following the Sysmac automation platform*1 launch in July 2011, OMRON further expands the Sysmac lineup with the addition of new confocal fiber displacement sensors with EtherCAT interfaces to the ZW series released in February 2012. Connection with controllers and drive devices, such as servomotors, via ultra-high-speed open network EtherCAT enables flexible, high-speed machine control.
Ultra-compact sensor heads with measuring distances of 7 mm and 30 mm will also be released to enhance the sensor head lineup which currently features 20-mm and 40-mm models.

The Sysmac automation platform has reduced the need for wiring work and has enabled centralized management with one single EtherCAT network allowing connection of the NJ series machine automation controller with vision sensors, AC servomotors/drivers, inverters, and I/O terminals. The addition of the ZW series confocal fiber displacement sensors to the Sysmac automation platform makes machine construction more convenient than ever.

The new sensors will be exhibited at "SPS/IPC/DRIVES" to be held in Germany in November 2012. Please visit the OMRON booth to witness the fast and highly accurate performance of Sysmac Studio software-controlled machines equipped with the ZW series sensors,

*1. Sysmac automation platform
Complete machine control through one software suite and one seamless connection with a variety of I/O devices. Machine and motion programming is fully compliant with IEC 61131-3, and the dedicated software suite features functions such as programming, motion designing, and network setting allowing easy control of all connected devices and freeing users to engage in further production innovation.


  1. The features of existing ZW series sensors that make them highly-suited to integration into devices have been retained including the following three important features:

    • Ultra-compact and ultra-lightweight sensor head: 24 x 24 x 64 mm and only 105g
    • Sensor heads with low impact on operating environment: no noise or heat generation
    • Stable measurement from the same mounting position even for different materials
  2. The linking of height information and position coordinates helps to improve system productivity
    EtherCAT can be used to connect to servo drives or encoder input slaves to quickly get the position coordinates and ZW displacement. The height information and XY position coordinates can be easily linked, which increases processing precision in machine control applications and facilitates maintenance in the inspection applications, such as helping to isolate errors or carrying out alignment-drift monitoring management.

    The linking of height information and position coordinates

  3. Shorter machine takt times with high-speed digital outputs
    Response times for measurement commands when using the kind of Ethernet or RS-232C generally used for digital (serial) outputs of displacement sensors are both inconsistent and slow, making them unsuitable for real-time control. With high-speed digital output through EtherCAT, it is possible to achieve a continuous output with a constant period as short as 500μμs - eight times faster than OMRON's previous models. Digital communications also provides great immunity to noise and this solves common problems with analog output methods, such as the inability to support long-distance transmissions and noise countermeasures.

    high-speed digital outputs

  4. Improved measurement resolution for multipoint measurement applications
    The high speed and concurrency provided by EtherCAT enable high-precision multipoint measurements with multiple sensors for displacement sensor applications. More than one sensor can perform synchronous measurements of the distance from the sensor to the target surface and the thickness of wide objects such as sheets of metal and glass by eliminating the previous time error in measurements between different sensors.

    multipoint measurement applications

  5. Tracing, adjustment, and simulation of machine movement
    Sysmac Studio enables development, testing, and adjustment of devices connected via EtherCAT. The entire range of actions from sensing to motion control can be visually represented on screen and this reduces the man-hours required to set up systems and identify problems. There are also offline functions to debug signal control programming. It is also possible to simulate machine operation before actual installation onsite.

    Tracing, adjustment, and simulation of machine movement

    * As of November 2012, version 1.04 of Sysmac Studio does not have setting functions for the ZW-series Displacement Sensor and will be upgraded soon.

  6. Sensor head providing stable measurement of the thickness of thin sheets of glass
    The newly-released sensor head with a measuring distance of 7 mm can stably measure the thickness of thin sheets of glass, a feat not easily achieved with conventional compact sensor heads. To measure transparent glass, light waves received from the front and back surfaces of the glass must first be separated. This sensor head achieves separation for stable measurement of surface displacement of glass sheets as thin as 75μμm while boasting a compact size.

    Sensor head providing stable measurement of the thickness of thin sheets of glass

ZW series Product Lineup

Sensor Controllers with EtherCAT
  ZW-CE10T (New) ZW-CE15T (New)
Input/Output type NPN PNP
External interface EtherCAT, Ethernet , EtherNet/IPTM, RS-232C, Analog output, Parallel I/O
Measurement cycle 500μs to 10ms  
Filtering Median/average/differentiation/high pass/low pass/band pass
Outputs Scaling/various hold values/zero reset/logging for a measured value
Number of configurable banks Max. 8 banks
Sensor Heads
  ZW-S07 (New) ZW-S20 ZW-S30 (New) ZW-S40
Measuring range 7±0.3mm 20±1mm 30±3mm 40±6mm
Spot diameter 18 μm dia. 40 μm dia. 60 μm dia. 80 μm dia.
Static resolution 0.25μm 0.25μm 0.25μm 0.25μm
Linearity ±0.8μm ±1.2μm ±4.5μm ±7.0μm
External Dimensions 24mm x 24mm x 64mm
Weight Approx. 105 g


Headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, OMRON Corporation is a global leader in the field of automation. Established in 1933, OMRON has more than 37,000 employees in over 35 countries working to provide products and services to customers in a variety of fields including industrial automation, electronic components, social systems, healthcare, and the environment. The company has regional head offices in Singapore (Asia Pacific), Beijing (Greater China), Amsterdam (Europe, Africa, and the Middle East), Chicago (the Americas), Gurgaon (India), and Sao Paulo (Brazil). For more information, visit OMRON's website:

  • Sysmac is a trademark or registered trademark of OMRON Corporation in Japan and other countries for OMRON factory automation products.
  • EtherCAT® is a registered trademark and patented technology, licensed by Beckhoff Automation GmbH, Germany.
  • EtherNet/IP™, is the trademarks of ODVA.
  • Other company names and product names in this document are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
For more press information, please contact:
Masahiro Kawachi
Automation Systems Division HQ
OMRON Industrial Automation
OMRON Corporation
Tel: +81-75-344-7068

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