New safety device has the vision to protectSuppose there was an alternative to light curtains in many installations that gave you similar protection but with a massive increase in flexibility and a huge reduction in installation time, cost and effort. Well, there is such a device, in the form of the Allen-Bradley GuardMaster SC300.
The latest addition to the Rockwell Automation safety opto-electronic product family, the SC300 Hand Detection safety sensor is a compact Type 3, SIL 2, IEC 62061, PLd EN ISO 13849-1 Vision-Based Protective Device (VBPD), which uses image-processing technology to detect the intrusion of objects through its detection window. The safety-sensing function is performed by a single image sensing device, which views a single two-dimensional image against a passive pattern as the background. The detection principle is based on an object of a certain resolution blocking the image-sensing device's view of the pattern. Targeted at light and medium industrial machine guarding applications, the SC300 can be used for frame openings ranging from 400 x 400mm up to 1,500 x 1500mm. The SC300 is incredibly versatile and is easy to install and set up, providing a cost-effective, 20ms response, hand-detection solution that can replace 24-30mm safety light curtains. Its small size and detection offset allows it to be mounted on the inside or outside corner of a frame opening, maintaining the opening while helping protect the SC300.
The unit is used in conjunction with special reflective tape, which defines the boundaries of the sensing field. The reflective tape is offered in two resolutions: 24mm for openings of 400mm to 1m and 30mm for openings of 600mm to 1.5m. No software is required to program or teach the device the style of the opening to be guarded; it automatically detects the reflective tape when the external teach stylus or integrated key switch is used to perform the teach function. The robust reflective tape is designed for industrial applications; however, if it is damaged, the damaged section of tape can be removed and replaced and another teach operation is performed.
For larger openings, two SC300 sensors can be mounted back to back and synchronised so that the maximum opening size can be doubled from 1.5 to 3m. It is also possible to synchronise two SC300s at right angles to each other in order to provide detection on two sides of an opening, allowing an operator to freely work between opposite sides of a machine. Imagine how you'd have to protect a similar space with light curtains, an you can immediately see how much more flexible the SC300 solution can be, and how it can aid productivity.
Set up is a simple four-stage process. First, the unit is mounted in the corner of the opening to be monitored. Second, tape is applied to the 'opposing' inside surfaces of the opening. Then the teach button (or an external key switch) activates the teach function, which the unit uses to detect the entire length of the tape. Finally, the functionality is verified using a test rod that comes as part of the tape pack. Options include: two tape varieties; 2, 5 and 10m power cords; and stainless steel mounting brackets.
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