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20 January, 2018

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Safety mat combines protection with machine control

10 January, 2018

The German industrial safety equipment specialist Pilz has developed a new type of pressure-sensitive safety mat, with built-in position detection that can be used to provide control functions, thus combining safe area monitoring with machine operation in one device. The company predicts that the PSENmat will lead to new machine control concepts.

The mat’s switching functions can be defined virtually, avoiding the need for separate switches. It can be divided into 40 switching fields, each of which can be evaluated individually and adapted to the machine’s operating status or a worker’s sequence of movements. Operating or reset functions can be programmed for any point, effectively creating a “virtual footswitch”.

The built-in switching function can be used to implement hands-free working. Areas of the mat can be marked, allowing operators to perform hands-free quality control checks, for example. A red area could mean a failed check, while a green area could be used to indicate a successful check.

In addition to its control functions, the mat provides protection against potentially dangerous access to machinery in accordance with the EN ISO 13856-1 standard for pressure-sensitive safety mats. When someone enters the danger zone, it can be used to decelerate or stop machinery. For applications with poor visibility, there is also protection against encroachment from behind. The mat provides safety functions up to SIL 2 / PL d and has a reaction time of less than 25ms.

Pilz's pressure-sensitive mat combines safety and control functions

The mat also offers flexibility in terms of its safety functions. Previously, safety mats have been restricted to fixed combinations of mats and matching evaluation devices. The new mat lets users connect to any compatible evaluation device or controller via standardised OSSD (output signal switching device) outputs.

Up to 22 of the mats, or other safety sensors, can be connected in series, reducing the need for cabling in larger applications. The robust mats are protected to IP67 and can be used in ambient temperatures from 0–55°C.

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