As production processes become increasingly automated and robots play a larger role on the production line, manufacturers are looking for more ways to maintain and reinforce a safe work environment.
The new Allen-Bradley GuardShield 450L safety light curtain system from Rockwell Automation is a flexible, cost-effective solution that enhances safety while improving productivity through innovative transceiver technology.
Unlike traditional safety light curtains based on pre-defined transmitter and receiver units, this next-generation light curtain system features a patented transceiver design that employs plug-in modules to establish each unit’s function as a transmitter or receiver. Once powered up, the transceiver learns its functionality from the plug-in module.
“When light curtain systems are developed on the traditional transmitter/receiver architecture, customers need to buy multiple light curtain models to accommodate different features,” said Manfred Stein, global product manager, Safety Light Curtains, Rockwell Automation. “Now, they can purchase identical GuardShield 450L sticks and customize the features with different plug-ins.”
Five-pin plug-ins are available for basic on/off functionality, while eight-pin plug-ins provide manual and auto restart with external device monitoring (EDM). To further simplify setup, advanced function settings are configured through dual in-line package (DIP) switches located on the plug-in module.
Ideal for hand and finger detection, and offered in a wide range of protective heights, the light curtain system is also equipped with an active protective field that senses the entire length of the transceiver. This feature reduces the inactive sensing areas that generally appear at the top and bottom of other light curtains.
Unlike traditional light curtain systems, the active sensing field and compact design allow customers to install the GuardShield 450L light curtain system inside a machine frame as opposed to outside or on the machine. Additionally, flexible mounting kits and built-in alignment indication allow for quick, trouble-free installation.