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Safe cooperation with robot colleagues

25 June 2018

Schmersal demonstrates at the Automatica 2018 trade fair safety solutions for industrial robots. 

Robots are the backbone of Industry 4.0 and are gaining ground all over the world. But compliance with strict safety requirements is a basic prerequisite for the operation of robot systems in production. At Automatica 2018 in Munich, Germany, the Schmersal Group presented an extensive range of coordinated safety components and safety systems for industrial robots. These products allow a wide range of robot workstations to be reliably and efficiently made safe, to protect people and at the same time, increase plant productivity.

Opto-electronic and tactile safety equipment
Schmersal has developed various ranges of safety light curtains and light grids which fulfil different requirements and guarantee economic access protection for robot workstations while taking up very little space. A safety field made up of infrared beams is sent by the transmitter and evaluated by the receiver. If an object or a person breaks the safety field, a stop signal is immediately triggered in order to stop the machine. The safety switching mats from Schmersal allow monitoring of whole areas, not just access points. They guarantee step-back protection, i.e. as long as an operator is in the hazard area, the machine cannot be started. 

AZM201 solenoid interlock / BDF200-SD control panel
With the highly coded AZM201 RFID interlock combined with the BDF200-SD, individually, ready-to-connect safety solutions can be pre-assembled for the safety doors on robot cells. Thanks to the built-in RFID technology, the AZM offers tamper protection as required. In the D-variant of this solenoid interlock, two safety functions are covered by a single piece of safety switchgear. The AZM201-D is therefore particularly ideal for setup mode on robot workstations. Using the built-in SD interface (SD = Serial Diagnostics) in the BDF200-SD, the non-safe diagnostic signals from the command and alarm devices can also be transferred via an SD gateway to the controller. The status data and diagnostic messages can be used for preventative maintenance, thus contributing to improving machine availability.

Signal evaluation solutions
Depending on the complexity of the safety circuit, Schmersal can provide different solutions for safe signal evaluation. For smaller robot systems, the multifunctional safety relay modules in the Protect SRB-E range are ideal, these cover a range of applications and are easy to configure.

The modular PSC1 safety controller from Schmersal enables the programming of more complex, individual safety solutions. The PSC1 not only evaluates the safe signals from the sensor systems connected, it can also forward non-safe diagnostic signals via a standard bus system to an automation controller or the IT environment. There is a universal communications interface where the user can simply select and configure various fieldbus protocols using the software on the PSC1. This allows, for example, signals to be evaluated which are relevant to avoiding downtimes or increasing plant availability.

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