OMRON Launches New Safety Light Curtain with World's First Position Detection Muting Function |

OMRON Launches New Safety Light Curtain with World's First Position Detection Muting Function

Kyoto, Japan, Dec. 19, 2005 - OMRON Corporation (TSE: 6645; US: OMRNY), a global leader in automation, sensing and control technologies, announced today that its Industrial Automation Company (IAB) launched the following new products in the Japanese market on December 7, 2005.

Products to be launched:

  • Model F3SJ-A Ver.2 - Safety Light Curtain
  • Model F39-GWUM - PC Tool "SD Manager" for the F3SJ
  • Model F39-MC21 - Setting Console for the F3SJ

    Main Features of the F3SJ-A Ver.2 Safety Light Curtain

    1. New features added to muting function - first of its kind in the world:
    The muting function temporarily disables the light curtain when a workpiece, conveyance pallet or other item passes through its detection zone. OMRON's F3SJ-A Ver. 2 offers two new capabilities for this muting function.

    (A) Muting function with position detection capability (world's first):
    In the past, for applications in which the operator must install a workpiece to his equipment for processing, it was difficult to install a light curtain because it could not distinguish between a situation where the operator was temporarily blocking the light curtain's detection zone when installing a workpiece, or a situation in which an operator had mistakenly entered the hazardous area when processing was in progress. To cope with this situation, the F3SJ-A Ver. 2's muting function incorporates position detection capability - the first of its kind in the world. Instead of determining the start and end point of muting through the detection of a workpiece (or human) as was done previously, the new muting function uses a limit switch or sensor to detect a machine/robot position signal that determines whether the processing machine or robot (sources of danger) is in a safe condition (or stopped) or in a hazardous condition with the machine/robot in motion or with processing underway. This makes it possible to disable the light curtain only when the equipment is in a safe condition - the world's first muting function with position detection. This in turn enables the use of a light curtain for safety protection even when the operator has to install a workpiece on the equipment.

    (B) Partial muting function:
    Conventional muting functions disable all sensing beams when a workpiece is detected passing through the detection zone. OMRON's new partial muting function enables specified optical axes to be disabled by muting, keeping optical axes that are unrelated to the workpiece passage active even during muting. The use of this partial muting function minimizes the risk of being unable to detect human access to the dangerous area, which is coincidental with the passage of a workpiece, leading to further enhanced machine safety.

    2. New warning zone setting function (world's first):
    The F3SJ-A Ver. 2 makes it possible to divide the light curtain's detection zone into two areas: the machine stop area and a warning area. With this new function, the light curtain can be installed horizontally so as to first issue an alarm when the operator approaches the dangerous area and then stop the machine only if the operator further approaches the dangerous area. This helps reduce compromised machine operability due to temporary stops caused by the operation of the light curtain.

    3. Blanking function added :
    In cases where a part of the machine is always inside the detection zone of the safety light curtain, there was previously a problem in that the safety output was consistently kept off due to the presence of certain optical axes for which beams are consistently obstructed, which in turn made it impossible to start the equipment. To solve this problem, the F3SJ-A Ver. 2 features a new blanking function that can disable detection for beams which are constantly blocked; and turn off output only when more than the specified number of beams is obstructed.

    Features of the F39-GWUM PC Tool "SD Manager"
    The SD Manager is a tool for setting parameter configurations of the new functions incorporated in the F3SJ-A Ver. 2 safety light curtain or monitoring the status of functions with a personal computer. The light curtain can be connected to a PC via a dedicated interface cable. Connection requires a USB terminal on the PC side and a dedicated cable branch connector on the safety light curtain side. The SD Manager application software for Windows provides function selections, parameter settings and the monitoring of function status. Besides setups for safety applications, such as muting, warning area setting and blanking, a variety of other functions are included to reduce labor requirements for installation and maintenance of the safety light curtain, including the following:

    1. Incident light level indicator:
    When installing the safety light curtain, the optical axes of the emitter and receiver must be aligned with each other. Since the safety sensor uses infrared light for its emitting element, this alignment can be very difficult and time-consuming, especially if the emitter and receiver are some distance apart from each other. The incident light level indicator provides an at-a-glance indication of the amount of received light for each optical axis by means of a bar graph, enabling easy and accurate optical axis alignment.

    2. Interference light level indicator:
    Bar graph indication also shows the amount of interference light, which can cause malfunction of the safety light curtain.

    3. Error log display:
    The safety light curtain is equipped with error indicator lights used for troubleshooting. The SD Manager gives more detailed information regarding the fault status along with a log of problems that have occurred in the past. Possible causes of errors and countermeasures are simultaneously displayed, contributing to the reduction of labor required to restore the light curtain to its normal state in case of a fault.

    Features of the F39-MC21 Setting Console
    The F39-MC21 setting console provides all settings and monitoring for newly added functions incorporated in the F3SJ-A Ver.2 safety light curtain. This handy unit is especially convenient when it is difficult to bring a PC into the light curtain installation area or for quick function setups and monitoring.

    Main Applications
    Detection of finger/hand/limb/body access to openings in automobiles/automotive components assembly/manufacturing lines, machine tools, metal processing machines, conveyor machines, packaging machines and molding machines; as well as human entry inside guard fences installed in an industrial robot moving area

    Sales Target: Model F3SJ-A Ver.2: 50,000 units/year during initial year

    Production Facility: OMRON Corporation Ayabe Factory

    About OMRON
    Headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, OMRON Corporation is a global leader in the field of automation. Established in 1933 and headed by President Hisao Sakuta, Omron has more than 25,000 employees in over 35 countries working to provide products and services to customers in a variety of fields including industrial automation, electronic components industries, and healthcare. The company is divided into five regions and head offices are in Japan (Kyoto), Asia Pacific (Singapore), China (Hong Kong), Europe (Amsterdam) and US (Chicago). The European organisation has its own development and manufacturing facilities, and provides local customer support in all European countries.
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