Light Curtains and Safety Laser Scanners – Which Is Right For You?
Friday, July 28, 2017
The single most critical aspect of running any manufacturing business safely and efficiently is to implement reliable safeguards for your machinery. The two most common of these are safety light curtains and safety laser scanners. Both are applicable to a multitude of safety applications such as area guarding/perimeter protection, point of operation guarding and entry/exit guards. The following are some tips to help you chose which will suit your needs best
Point of Operation This refers to the area of the machine where work is performed and to protect these areas it is important to detect approach within a very close proximity to the hazardous point. Using an optical device to protect this area allows the minimum distance to be foreshortened and allows the operator to work more ergonomically. Safety light curtains like SICK’s deTec4 have a very slim profile that can easily be mounted close to the hazard and resolution can be set small enough to detect a hand or finger approaching tripping a sensor and allowing a quick response from the safety system. Because a safety laser scanner requires a greater minimum distance it may not be feasible for this application.
Area Guarding/Perimeter Protection While these are similar, there are some distinct differences that will dictate which type of safeguard to us. While area guarding typically refers to safeguarding a hazard point on one side of a machine, perimeter protection refers to safeguards that protect multiple sides. Because a light curtain can use the sender/receiver concept it can be used with mirrors to cover multiple sides. A safety laser, on the other hand, which is based on freely defined fields and so can be tucked away for discrete mounting, lends itself more to area guarding than to perimeter protection.
Entry/Exit Safety laser scanners used with vertical protective fields work well in situations where material is being moved into a safeguarded are via active switching of protective fields. The protective field is designed with a contour that allows the passage of material without activation of the device. Safety light curtains, horizontally arranged, are well designed for use when you require the differentiation of movement of material from a person, making them applicable to machines with no access points covered by doors or hard guarding.
For all your machine safety needs, be they photoelectric sensors, safety light curtains, safety laser scanners or industrial vision systems, we can help. Call us today at Rilco Industrial Controls and let our Team of experts walk you through the SICK USA brand’s line of products and applications to help you find the solutions that best suit your needs.
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