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Plug-in modules give light curtains their ‘personality’

23 June, 2017

Rockwell Automation has announced a range of safety light curtains with a patented technology that uses plug-in modules to determine whether a transceiver operates as a transmitter or receiver. Once powered up, the Allen-Bradley GuardShield 450L transceivers adopt their functions from the module.

The plug-in modules are available either as five-pin versions for basic on/off functions, or as eight-pin versions that provide manual and auto restarts with external device monitoring (EDM).

“When light curtain systems are developed on the traditional transmitter/receiver architecture, customers need to buy multiple light curtain models to accommodate different features,” explains Manfred Stein, Rockwell’s global product manager for safety light curtains. “Now, they can purchase identical GuardShield 450L sticks and customise the features with different plug-ins.”

The light curtains incorporate an active protective field that senses the entire length of the transceiver. This reduces the inactive sensing areas that can appear at the top and bottom of other light curtains.

This active sensing field, combined with the compact design of the transceivers (30 x 30mm), allows the new light curtain system to be installed inside a machine frame, rather than on the outside.

The light curtains are suitable for hand and finger detection, and are available in protective heights from 150–1,950mm, in increments of 150mm. Flexible mounting kits and built-in alignment indicators result in fast, trouble-free installation. To simplify set-ups further, advanced function settings are configured via DIP switches on the plug-in modules.

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