Rockwell Automation Revamps 450L GuardShield Safety Light Curtains
Rockwell revamps their 450L GuardShield safety light curtains with new, patented technology, offering customers transmitter and receiver dual functionality for a more efficient and economical safety solution.
Light curtains are an integral part of many different plant processes. They help to reduce the costs associated with safety fencing, in addition to making cell access easier than other hard fencing options. To help customers with the ease of use and costs associated with their light curtain systems, Rockwell Automation welcomes their newest Allen-Bradley 450L GuardShield safety light curtains. Installation has been simplified with the help of alignment lasers and muting options, and both sides of the light curtain system can now be used as a transmitter or a receiver, making the curtains more versatile and reducing the need for a spare parts inventory.
Rockwell's updated light curtains use new patented technology that allows the curtains to function as either a transmitter or a receiver. Image used courtesy of Rockwell Automation
What are Light Curtains?
Light curtains are an integral part of different robotic cells and automated processes. They are used to help protect workers from machinery by creating an invisible barrier between the inside and the outside of the cell. When the cell is in operation, the light curtains become active and anything that crosses between them will trip the safety circuit, making the cell automatically go into an estop.
Light curtains are useful in protecting not only personnel but the expensive equipment inside the cell as well. They can protect systems inside from crashing into forklifts or other equipment should they enter the cell while it is in operation. Light curtains are useful in protecting areas without the need for hard protection such as physical safety fencing or walls, helping to reduce the cost of robotic cells while also increasing ease of use.
Light curtains are an invisible barrier used for safety and equipment protection purposes. Image used courtesy of Rockwell Automation
Traditionally, light curtains have a sending and receiving unit that needs to be aligned and calibrated to fit each individual application. Once calibrated, the curtains are ready to protect whatever they are placed in front of and are useful in creating full body protection in a number of applications. Light curtains have to be able to receive a signal in order to mute their operation whenever it is appropriate for personnel to enter the cell, and generally, a PLC is used to determine when to mute the curtains and when not to based on external inputs such as buttons.
GuardShield Safety Light Curtains
Rockwell Automation has recently revamped their light curtains to produce their new 450L GuardShield Perimeter Access Control (PAC) safety light curtains. The new light curtains contain patented technology that allows either curtain to function as a transmitter or a receiver. This is different from traditional light curtains that normally have a dedicated transmitter and a dedicated receiver. Rockwell believes this will help customers reduce cost and the amount of backup equipment necessary for spare stock since a single curtain offers dual functionality. It also offers customers a more efficient and economical path to upgrading future projects should light curtain needs change with future cell improvements.
The 450L GuardShield PAC safety light curtains are more efficient and economical than Rockwell's earlier models. Image used courtesy of Rockwell Automation
The curtains have been designed to help users with easier installation thanks to an integrated laser alignment system. It also has plug in dip switches and different muting options to help customers with configuration after the installation process. In addition, serial connection is possible due to cascading plug-ins. In order to help reduce cell footprints, the curtains are compact with versatile mounting options to help with the installation process. The 450L safety light curtains are TÜV certified PLe, Type 4 IEC 61496-1/-2, SIL CL3 in order to comply with the ISO 13849-1 and IEC 62061 standards.
Making their start in 1903, Rockwell has made their name as a world leader in industrial automation. With their latest safety light curtains, Rockwell continues to provide customers with quality technology and solutions.