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Electrically activated e-stop buttons will save time and energy

11 May, 2017

The German safety expert Pilz has developed an electrically-operated emergency-stop pushbutton which, it says, can save time and energy, and allow machines to be returned to service more rapidly after a shutdown. The PITestop active device has a built-in light ring to indicate its status.

When used with Pilz’s PNOZmulti control systems, the e-stop can help to implement flexible safety concepts, suitable for smart factories.

The e-stop is said to be particularly useful in plants where sections of machinery need to be moved. It can be used to activate or deactivate sections safely, in accordance with the revised safety standard, ISO 13850.

ISO 13850 places high demands on the availability of e-stops and the ability to recognise them clearly. Until now, an inactive e-stop had to be covered, to avoid any confusion in the event of danger. Sometimes this was difficult to achieve in practice. The revised ISO 13850 provides new design options and, for the first time, defines a third status – “inactive” – for e-stop pushbuttons. Safely monitored illumination via the new pushbuttons now allows safe activation.

With PITestop active, machines can be designed with more flexibility and the operating mode can be switched faster on interlinked machines – from a semi-automatic mode, with lots of individual modules, through to a fully automatic mode, in which each e-stop affects the whole chain.

The e-stop can be integrated into a safety circuit. It is no longer necessary to deactivate it manually, thus saving time. Equally, it is no longer necessary to put mobile operator panels away safely; they merely need to be deactivated safely, increasing safety.

Pilz’s PITestop active e-stop pushbutton can be used to implement flexible safety concepts, suitable for smart factories

Plant modules can be switched off or added, allowing inactive machine parts to be switched off to cut costs and save energy – without needing an additional cover for inactive e-stop buttons. The e-stop can save energy because it is no longer necessary to keep power applied to the entire plant to maintain its function.

Furthermore, fast and unique assignment is possible in an emergency, because once the PITestop active has been operated, its status is indicated by flashing continuously. So machines can be returned to service more quickly.

The new pushbutton is available in IP65-protected panel-mounting versions or in surface-mounting versions with M12 connections.

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