Light curtain questions


Thread Starter

Ron Gage

Hi folks:

I have been put into a rather peculiar position with a customer due to a light curtain issue.

Basically, the customer has insisted on using brand "x" light curtain because they advertise that they are the only manufacturer who is
compliant with some new IEC standard regarding machine safety. I believe the standard number is like IEC-61496-1&2 or something like that. Another standard that might be applied is IEC-62046-1.

Anyhow, there are issues with this curtain product. It is highly sensitive to ambient light changes, it takes 2 minutes to power the device up or recover from a "fault condition", and it needs to be reset twice to work once. To point, we have faulted out this light curtain product already with a "balding man" walking near the array. Talking to the other major brand
manufacturers and they all say "What Standard - sounds like a BS sales pitch to us."

My questions: Is this standards change for real? Has anyone else heard of this? Is it now going to be standard to have a 2 minute power on cycle for a safety device? Have we been fed a BS line from the sales folk?
Ron Gage - Saginaw, MI
([email protected])
I use the Lenze lumiflex, ER 30 - 1500. It meets
IEC 61496. It works well, is not very sensitive to ambient light
changes, and needs only one reset. I have not tested it with balding men.
It is important that products are according IEC. So a product is expected to have a certain quality in functionality. But knowing what is told in a IEC number gives the sales people a advantage.
Perhaps talking to the IEC will help to give you more information on your problem.

Good luck, Sisko Bos
[email protected]

Roberta Nelson Shea

IEC1496 parts 1 and 2 are applicable to light curtains world wide, however certification to this standard is not a requirement in North America. There are various standards that apply to the design, manufacture and use of light curtains, however the USA does not have test standard for light curtains with the same degree of detail as IEC61496. There are many manufacturers of light curtains whose products have been certified to meet IEC61496. Certification provides a measure of comfort regarding the product. However since it is not a requirement in the USA and since there is no enforcement or checking, the product may only be "designed to meet" and not really be certified to meet the standards. It may be a marketing game or it may be real. Regardless of the certification, you must get satisfactory performance from the product and feel comfortable about the supplier.

Henry Maricic

Hi Ron,
I need to investigate if there are any current standards, or requirements, on use of light curtains in industrial environment. You have mentioned couple of standards: IEC-61496-1&2 and IEC-62046-1. Can you tell me where can I get information about these standards?
I would greatly appreciate any leads.
Thank you very much

Henry Maricic

Hi Romerta,
I need to investigate if there are any standards in USA regarding use and installation of light curtains in industrial environment.
You say: "...There are various standards that apply to the design, manufacture and use of light curtains..." Are you talking about international standards?. Where can I get more info on IEC61496?

Ken Naughton

Mr. Gage,
I was just surfing the web and I noticed your message regarding the E30-1500 light curtain. I am the Engineering Sales Manager for Leuze Lumiflex in the US. The issues that you have mentioned are absolutely not normal conditions. This particular light curtain is extremely immune to changes in ambient light. It is almost impossible to find a way to fault out the light curtain from light changes. The startup time of the light curtain is much faster than 2 minutes, it is in the miliseconds range. You should not be getting a fault signal at all unless there is some type of hardware problem with the curtain. I believe that this particular unit has a hardware fault that is causing your problems. I realize that this message is pretty old and I am sure that you have already resolved the issue, but I want to assure you that in working with this product for several years it is extremely reliable. Please let me know how things worked out and also if you have any questions.

Thank You,
Ken Naughton
Leuze Lumiflex, Inc.

I'm with Scientific Technologies, one of leading safety light curtain manufacturers. I have a couple of links for you that might help explain IEC61496 (1&2):
You can also get copies of the standard from: (IEC 61496 Part 1 $134.00, IEC 61496 Part 2 $108.00).

Note that all the major suppliers now offer at least some safety light curtains that meet the IEC61496 standard.

Best regards,

Tom Knauer
Scientific Technologies, Inc.

Roberta Nelson Shea

Within the USA, OSHA's reference to light curtains is OSHA 1910.217. However there are many ANSI references relating to the application and use of light curtains. The most popular and generally applicable of the ANSI standards are ANSI B11.19 and ANSI /RIA R15.06. These detail the selection, application, integration and use of light curtains. As far the design and manufacture of light curtains, presently the most exacting and detailed standard is IEC/EN 61496.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].



Roberta Nelson Shea

Are you concerned with meeting European standards or USA or Canadian? The answer is different depending on the country of end-use.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].