23 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

270-degree safety scanner is `world`s smallest`

270-degree safety scanner is `world`s smallest`

Sick claims to have developed the world`s smallest laser safety scanner. The S300 scanner is a third smaller that the company`s previous models, allowing it to be used in applications where space is tight. It also has a 270-degree scanning field, which is wider than most rivals, leaving a relatively narrow blind spot.

Sick predicts that laser scanners will increasingly replace traditional safety devices such as mats and light curtains. This is already happening at car-makers such as Land-Rover, which has about ten times as many scanners as light curtains, and Peugeot, which is the first UK user of the new scanner, at its Ryton plant.

The scanner has a programmable 8m warning field and a 2m protective field. It can store up to four different scan profiles which can be switched by I/O to change the protection pattern to suit the production process. So, for example, as a complex product such as an exhaust pipe emerges from a machine, the pattern can be varied to cover changing danger areas.

One version of the scanner has an incremental encoder input for applications that need speed-dependent protective field switching.

The Type 3 approved scanner can resolve objects of 30 or 70mm, and can operate on its side to act as a vertical finger or hand guard. Other potential applications include checking gaps on telpher (hanging conveyor) systems, and maintaining protective zones around robots.

The lightweight, low-energy-consumption scanners are expected to be particularly useful on board AGVs (automatic guided vehicles) where they could provide all-round protection, removing the need for control wires and bumpers.

The S300 scanners incorporate plug-and-play configuration memory in the connection plug, and a seven-segment display for commissioning, diagnosis and maintenance. Prices start at around £2,000.