A Look into New Allen-Bradley Guard Locking Switches from Rockwell Automation

January 05, 2021 by Sara McCaslin

Rockwell Automation added the Allen-Bradley 440G-MZ smart guard lock switches to their safety interlock solutions portfolio.

Rockwell Automation recently announced the release of its Allen-Bradley 440G-MZ GuardLink-enabled smart locking switches that promote employee safety and integrate with existing enterprise systems.


The Allen-Bradly 440G-MZ. Image courtesy of Rockwell Automation.


The purpose of a guard locking switch like the Allen-Bradly 440G-MZ is to protect facility personnel from injury by effectively safeguarding certain areas.


Specifications and Features of the 440G-MZ Switches

The Allen-Bradley 440G-MZ guard locking switches have radio-frequency identification (RFID) unique or standard coded actuators to allow users more flexibility for tamper-proofing them. They also come in a people safe model (power-to-release) and a machine protection model (power-to-lock).

The locking switches have several safety certifications to demonstrate the high level of door locking and position monitoring they make available: TÜV-certified up to SIL 3, PLe, and CAT 4, providing a high level of safety.

The 440G-MZ guard locking switches can be used with various types of guard doors, including doors allowing personnel full-body access to key areas. This particular type of application can be challenging because wider tolerances and higher holding forces may be required, which can lead to misalignment issues—for all of which the 440G-MZ was engineered to account. These switches provide up to 2,500 N of holding force and a +/-5 mm misalignment tolerance.  


Allen-Bradley 440G-MZ guard locking switches make it easier for maintenance technicians to access automation equipment for maintenance because they support full-body access and work with full-size guard doors. Image courtesy of Pixabay.


Network integration is made possible by an EtherNet/IP communication adapter with a safety relay; it can also operate as part of a GuardLink system or as a standalone device via a 5-pin Output Signal Switching Device (OSSD) connection.


GuardLink Technology

One way Allen-Bradley 440G-MZ Guard Locking Switches outclass other locking switches is through Rockwell Automation’s GuardLink technology. This safety-based communications protocol provides access to additional information and functionality while also making it far easier to integrate these locking switches into connected enterprise infrastructures. This technology makes troubleshooting easier through sensor health data plus real-time diagnostics.

GuardLink additionally supports automatic device reset and is fully compatible with the Rockwell Automation EtherNet/IP architecture. Due to the embedded GuardLink, the Allen-Bradley 440G-MG switches are smart safety devices that increase the safety of a facility and have a positive impact on efficiency and productivity.


Uses for Allen Bradley 440G-MZ Guard Locking Switches 

Guard locking switches such as these are commonly used in many different industries, including manufacturing (such as automotive, aerospace, food products, to name a few) and warehouses that depend on automation.

There are a wide variety of applications for 440G-MZ switches, such as machines with built-in full-sized doors (e.g., bottling machines) or robotic and automation systems surrounded by perimeter fences with guard doors allowing full-body access. These switches also work well with computer numerical control (CNC) machines, where trained operators need regular access for cleaning the machines, changing out jigs, removing tools for sharpening or replacement, and similar tasks. 

The new 440G-MZ guard locking switches from Rockwell Automation aim to provide an easy to install solution to potential safety issues related to automation without making it more difficult for legitimate users to access equipment and machinery as needed. These switches are already available for purchase through Rockwell Automation or one of their distributors.