Industrial Wireless

Wireless detection solves rotating lathe turret problem

January 2015 Industrial Wireless

US-based Betty Machine specialises in meeting and exceeding customer expectations in the manufacture of precision machined parts, CNC and screw machine products. Attention to detail, accuracy and consistency are fundamentals embedded into the culture and processes established by the company.

The challenge

Precision machinery, an expert staff and high-quality raw materials are integral to the production processes at Betty Machine. As material is loaded into a lathe, the operator validates its position and alignment to prevent tooling damage, material loss and production slowdowns. Betty Machine wanted to improve process efficiency by automating this process. The solution would have to perform reliably despite machine vibration, moving components and airborne debris.

The solution

Betty Machine chose the SureCross DX80 FlexPower wireless network from Banner Engineering. This versatile, highly-scalable solution is built around a gateway capable of two-way communication with multiple end point nodes. A single node with an inductive proximity sensor was secured to the lathe turret. The open design of the node made it easy to integrate a third-party sensor into the application. The IP67 rated enclosure and an added polycarbonate shield provided protection from flying debris. An internal lithium battery supplied power to both the node and the sensor. Because the solution is completely wireless, movement of the turret was unrestricted by the addition of the node and sensor. The proximity sensor detects material presence and position. This information is communicated to the node and then transmitted to the remote gateway. The operator receives a pass or fail signal dependent upon material presence or absence.

The gateway centralised data collection for Betty Machine and provided reliable communication between the operator and the sensors. Improved performance was achieved through consistent presence detection that reduced tooling damage and increased throughput.

For more information contact Rodney Topham, RET Automation Controls, +27 (0)11 453 2468,,


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