Area Guarding for Robotic Cells
The objective of a safeguarding application where an operator and robot are involved is to maximize operator access to the inspection station while safeguarding the operator from danger. The importance of area guarding for this application is to detect intrusion and provide a stop signal, as well as provide continual sensing in the inspection station.
In this work cell, the robot picks up material and places it in a package as it moves along the conveyor, and the operator uses the inspection station to ensure the package was filled with the correct amount and type of material. In order to achieve the most productivity, it is critical that this individual does not enter the Protective Field (red area).
Safety laser scanners work well for safeguarding applications where user access and protection are equally important. Banner’s AG4 Safety Laser Scanner with a 190º scanning angle fits nearly any shape and can evaluate an operator’s position by range and rotational angle. Its flexibility allows for new safeguarding shapes when work cell dimensions and parameters change.
The AG4 also provides a warning field (green area) and a protective field (red area) within the designated safeguarding area to alert individuals who are getting too close to the robot before prompting a complete shutdown. When an object is detected, the AG4 calculates its position; the AG4 will allow the robot to continue to operate during warning field detection or will force a shutdown during protective field detection.
A safety laser scanner can be a cost-effective solution for safeguarding applications compared to other safeguarding options. Safety mats are often used in hazardous work cell areas, but they are costly and wear out quickly. Other machine safeguarding options include protective barriers and gates, which effectively safeguard an area, but limit the operator’s access. The AG4 Safety Laser Scanner allow optimal operator access to speed up the inspection process and increase productivity.