What is the working life expectancy of an inductive sensor?
In practical terms, the life expectancy of an inductive sensor is indefinite. This conclusion is based on the operation of the sensor within the specification rating of the product with some margin for improved lifetime usage.
If the sensor is operated at room temperature without the effects of shock, vibration, temperature fluctuations, power supply spikes, or exposure to moisture, the sensor will outlive our life expectancies and may in fact never fail.
For instance, if the sensor is operated at room temperature, 24 VDC supply, and no temperature changes, the sensor may last a lifetime and never fail. This longevity is because the sensor is being operated well within the range of the components used to design the product.
What affects the life expectancy of an inductive proximity sensor?
The worst enemies of the inductive sensor are the effects of the 1) temperature on the electronics and mechanics of the inductive proximity sensor, as well as 2) possible impact from the target material.
This is due to the fact that temperature changes cause mechanical expansion and contraction of the materials and can eventually cause the life expectancy to shorten. Another factor is that high ambient temperatures increase the internal temperature of the electronics, causing the electronics to degrade over long-time exposure to increased temperature. As is typical of most electronic devices, the life expectancy will decrease with increases in the ambient temperature of operation.
As far as impact and related failure, the sensor face of standard inductive proximity sensors are made of plastic materials. Impact on the sensor face might damage the internal winding system components.
If sensor face impact is a concern, then a metal face inductive sensor like the Pile Driver might be the appropriate product to reduce this possible failure mode.