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I'm after a sensor and I'm wondering what would be the best type for the following.

Requirements - Accurately measure in the 5-10mm distance range, +/- 1mm. Sense small undulations in a surface moving with a velocity of 500mm/min. Most importantly - be reliable in a high heat, dusty environment.

It's going to be used to keep a cutting torch a set distance away from a plate, so this is the type of heat I'm talking about. Obviously if the sensor has the range it could be offset and calibrated, so it doesn't need to be sitting right next to the torch or anything.

I was thinking laser, but I've got concerns about the dusty environment. I wanted to confirm with more experienced opinions. Thanks.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What kind of torch: plasma or gas burner? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 15, 2013 at 1:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev it's a Gas Oxy torch. \$\endgroup\$
    – Peleus
    Apr 15, 2013 at 2:37

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There are capacitive sensors for your application.

Have a look at Sensor OHC made by Hypertherm.

enter image description here

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On aircraft engine turbines, the blades need to be ground down to ensure that they are all the same length when built onto a rotor. The bare rotor assembly (plus fitted blades) is spun slowly and a capacitance probe measures the tip clearance of the blades. The capacitance probe "value" is used to control a grinding wheel to correct for anomalies in blade length.

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