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Light curtain merges sender with receiver

04 September, 2009

Sick has developed a compact light curtain system which, for the first time, combines the sender and receiver elements in the same miniature housing. The miniTwin 4 system also achieves continuous end-to-end field coverage with no blind spots.

According to Sick UK’s safety specialist, Seb Strutt, the new light curtain “is already creating excitement internationally because it solves applications where traditional light curtains would be too big and awkward to install, and do not offer as much value for the performance. It means light curtain protection can be extended to a wide range of new applications and configurations.” 

Because each housing includes both send and receive functions, as well as controls and LED status indicators, any two identical devices can be used as a light curtain without needing an extra controller. Spares can be stocked as single devices, rather than in send/receive pairs.

The modular units are 120–1,200mm long and can be cascaded or daisy-chained end-to-end to achieve sensing lengths up to 3.6m without blind spots. The housings have a 15 x 32mm cross-section and offer a range of up to 4m and a choice of three resolutions from 14–34mm.

The curtains can be configured to protect L, V or U shapes, allowing easy access to workpieces or to change tool bits or jigs, while offering complete protection. They are ideal where all-round accessibility and visibility is required which would be restricted by fixed barriers.

Automatic configuration and alignment tools are built in, along with status and diagnostic LED displays. Rapid response times allow reduced reach distances for operators and thus smaller machine footprints.

The miniTwin 4 curtains meet performance level pl “e” (BS EN13849-1) or SIL3 (IEC 61508), or the sector standard BS EN62061.

In Germany, the system has already won the reddot and IF design awards.

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