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Safeguarding danger zones with electrosensitive protective equipment

Safeguarding danger zones with electrosensitive protective equipment (ESPE) is particularly suitable when access or encroachment in a danger zone cannot be prevented, but the dangerous movement must be reliably switched off. The protected field is in this case safeguarded by optical sensors. The following text details sample applications for electrosensitive protective equipment.

Access guarding on robot cells

Access guarding on robot cells

Access to the danger zones of robot cells that are safeguarded by a safety fence can be provided by a gate or an opening in the fence.
Light curtains are best suited when barrier-free access to the danger zone is required. They monitor entry into the danger zone and safely switch off the robot as soon as they detect access by a person.
An acknowledgement by the controller must be provided to restart the robot.

Safeguarding presses

Safeguarding of presses requires light curtains with high resistance against vibration, fast reaction times and high performance levels. The light curtains serve to protect against interference with a dangerous movement. All light curtains used should therefore have finger protection. The press is safely stopped as soon as the light curtains detect a finger in their protected field.

Access guarding on presses

Multi-sided safeguarding of press lines

Safeguarding of press lines

Large press lines require regular tool changes and the tools may, for example, be transported on rails to get them into or out of a press. The entrance and exit area must be safeguarded in this case. A combination of one light curtain pair and two mirror columns can help to save space, costs and installation time. The mirror columns deflect the infrared beams of the light curtain, so that one light curtain pair is sufficient to safeguard all three sides to be monitored.

Safeguarding work places in close proximity

Light curtains may interfere with each other when several work stations are in close proximity. Light curtains with integrated coding provide a solution to this problem, as they do not interfere with each other, even at close proximity. This is particularly important when the transmitter of the first light curtain pair sends beams in the direction of the receiver of the second light curtain pair. The light curtain pairs can in this case be configured with different beam codes, e.g. Code A and Code B.

Safeguarding work places in close proximity

Safeguarding conveyor belts for material supply/removal with muting

Safeguarding of conveyor belts

Light curtains with muting ensure problem-free operation when material is supplied or removed by a conveyor belt. This is particularly important for transporting packages in logistics centres or warehouse areas. L-muting only allows for the transport of material in one direction (forwards) while T-muting allows for the transport of material in both directions (forwards and backwards). The package is recognised by the muting sensors and may pass through the protected field. The muting lamp lights up during this time. The speed of the conveyor belt is also monitored and evaluated by the controller.

Safeguarding material supply and removal with blanking

Light curtains with fixed or floating blanking are suitable when a fixed or mobile object is inside the protected field of the light curtains. Fixed blanking is required when objects permanently extend into the protected field of the light curtains and therefore interrupt certain beams of the light curtain. Floating blanking, on the other hand, is used when moving objects permanently penetrate the protected field of the light curtain (e.g. cables), so that they interrupt certain beams of the light curtain. Both types of blanking stop the dangerous movement when the protected field is penetrated outside of the blanked area.

Safeguarding by blanking

Access guarding with rear access protection

Safeguarding with rear access protection

Protection against encroachment behind the detection zone is appropriate when not only access to danger zones but also the inside of the danger zones is to be safeguarded. Two light curtain pairs are cascaded for this purpose, i.e. they are connected to each other with a cascading cable. Several cascaded light curtains behave like a single light curtain and form a continuous protected field. Such applications do not allow acknowledgement in order to prevent a restart.

Safeguarding space-critical applications

Narrow light curtains are particularly useful for safeguarding space-critical applications such as engraving or milling. This is because every centimetre counts in such designs. The light curtains safely monitor encroachment in the danger zone without requiring a lot of space. They safely switch off the machine movement when the protected field is interrupted.

Safeguarding space-critical applications

Linear cascading for space-critical applications

Safeguarding by linear cascading

Light barrier devices with a small design are particularly suitable for machines with open access areas and little space for safety sensors, such as SMD assembly machines. Light curtains can be cascaded longitudinally by using cascading cables to protect long machines. This establishes a continuous protected field. The system is safely stopped when somebody reaches into the protected field.


Pilz GmbH & Co. KG
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