Safety laser scanners are electro-sensitive protective equipment (ESPE) used for machine safety. Their main function is the activation of a stop signal when the presence of a person is detected within a constantly monitored area (safety zone).
Their base operating principle relates to the measurement, by means of a rotating laser beam, of the distance among all the objects on its plane of rotation, and the subsequent comparison of these distances with the mapping of the safety zone.
All that takes to activate the stop signal is the detection of at least one object within this zone. This function actively operates also up to a 40m perimeter, without the safety requirements: in this case we refer to “warning zone”or“alarm zone”.
Safety laser scanners behave in an extremely flexible way. On one hand, you get to freely design the safety zone within an angular sector of 5.5m radius and a 275° angular opening. On the other, you can also monitor multiple safety zones (each associated with a different pair of safety exits) simultaneously.
In addition, you can customize their detection capacity(30 to 150mm, that is the size of the smallest object that is necessarily detected) as well as their response time, type of restore (manual or automatic), and even the control of external devices(EDM).
Different sets of safety and warnings zones can also be configured with a variety of shapes and sizes, allowing you to call them up dynamically, following the machine operations, via digital inputs or accordingly to a speed value measured by encoders.
The design of Datalogic safety laser scanners is based on operating principles, redundant architectures, and internal diagnostics, all compliant with strict international standards for safety components and are tested and certified for the use on automatic machines with third-party approval. They guarantee “performance level d” in conformity with applicable product safety standards.
Most common applications of safety laser scanners
- Access and presence control on fixed horizontal monitoring area
In its most common application, the laser scanner is located within the horizontal monitoring area close to the floor to detect people’s access to a potentially dangerous area, in which case the machine will shut down immediately, or to identify their presence, preventing the activation of any dangerous movement. In such cases, a second, larger safety zone can be used to slow down a risky movement, and an even larger warning zone can set alarms off to warn people that approaching further will cause the machine to halt.
- Access control on vertical monitoring area
When the machines carry gates that leads to danger points, the laser scanner can be used to monitor the passage by positioning the safety zone vertically and drawing it so that it covers the entire gate. In this case, it is necessary for the scanner to constantly check its position relatively to specific reference points, to ensure that its mechanical movement does not leave any areas uncovered.
- Access control with vertical monitoring area and muting
When the material has to cross the vertical safety zones monitored by the laser scanner, without halting the machine, the shutdown function can be automatically deactivated with a muting option, that exclusively involves the segment through which the material actually passes (partial muting). Signal sequences from dedicated sensors trigger the muting when they carefully detect any material approaching, similarly to what happens with light curtains.
- Securing self-driving vehicles
The laser scanner can also monitor areas around mobile vehicles to prevent them from hitting obstacles or people. For this kind of application, the machine usefully allows you to record up to 70 different sets of safety and warning zones, which can be called up dynamically depending on the position or speed of the vehicle. It is also possible to connect a Master scanner to three Remote scanners via a single communication cable, thus creating a system that can monitor all four sides of the vehicle in a synchronized way. In addition to the safety function, the laser scanner can also transfer the collected measurement data to the vehicle controller via Ethernet, so that it can be used for vehicle tracking.
Most common benefits of safety laser scanners
A friendly, intuitive graphic interface helps you customize the size and shape of the monitoring areas, making laser scanners adaptable to a wide range of applications. Furthermore, any change to the safety functions requires just a few quick software adjustments.
- Dynamic operation
External signals, emitted by the machine controller or by sensors such as encoders or muting photocells, allow the safety laser scanner to modify its own safety function, activating each time the necessary monitoring zones. For this reason, the scanners can adapt to meet all the machines safety needs without reducing productivity or efficiency. Such a feature is also essential to automated guided vehicles safety.
- High level of safety
The safety laser scanners are certified up to “performance level D”, compatible with the safety standards of most machinery and automated guided vehicles.
- Service continuity
Every manufacturer who wants to reduce machine maintenance to a minimum can benefit from Datalogic’s products, designed to uphold the harshest quality tests. Nevertheless, should it become necessary, the safety laser scanner is designed as to replace the worn window, and it is equipped with a removable memory unit, containing a complete backup of the software configuration whatever the case.