SICK Introduces New Automation Light Grids for Logistics and Machine Building Applications
What are automation light grids, and how can engineers utilize them in logistic systems and machine operations?
Counting and two-dimensional inspection tasks are a crucial part of factory automation. Automation light grids are classified as a broad term. They are light grids capable of completing basic and advanced measuring and inspection tasks. SICK AG manufactures and supplies sensors and sensor solutions for industrial applications. Recently, the company released its new second-generation light grid, the SLG-2 automation light grid.
These automation light grids can provide individual evaluation of measurement data through single-beam evaluation. Image used courtesy of SICK
The SLG-2 Automation Light Grid
One of the key aspects of SICK’s new light grid is that it integrates into machines where space is limited.
The device's dimensions measure 12 mm x 24 mm, which means it is one of the most compact automation light grids currently available on the market. The form of the SLG-2 is slim, flat, and comes with no blind zone. It has also been designed to enable easy and flexible mounting.
SICK released a new SLG-2 series of switching automation light grids. Image used courtesy of SICK
The device offers customers a multiple crossbeam function (with up to 9 beams) for detecting objects that are flatter than 1 mm. With this function, the light grid can achieve a resolution of 6.5 mm.
SICK has also incorporated its patented optical element (of less than 5 mm) to provide optical robustness by avoiding ambient light, light reflections, and potential interference from other nearby optoelectronic sensors. The SLG-2 light grid is available with detection heights from 100 mm to 2,400 mm, which can be adjusted in 100 mm increments.
Engineers can use the integrated measurement, classification, Smart Task functions, and available diagnostics for data evaluation and implementation. The diagnostic functions for SICK’s new light grid enable the collection of data for predictive maintenance. This diagnostic information can include the presence of a teach-in error, sync error, hardware error, or pin short circuit error, the quality of the run alarm, invalid process data, and temperature. This can provide uninterrupted availability of the light grid.
The SLG-2 automation light grid can measure the height of pallet loads and the number of objects on the pallet. Image used courtesy of SICK
The SLG-2 light grid also features an IO-Link COM3 (Communications 3) interface. IO-Link is a short distance, bi-directional, digital, point-to-point, wireless (or wired), industrial communications networking standard (International Electrotechnical Commission, IEC 61131-9). This standard connects digital sensors and actuators to an industrial Fieldbus or a type of industrial Ethernet.
Warehouse Logistics and Automation
Automation light grids like the SLG-2 can be used for complex applications such the examples listed listed below:
- Material handling on conveyor belts
- Counting objects
- Automated storage
- Parking assistance in automated parking systems
- Detection of people sizes in customs controls
- Detection of excess bag lengths
- Automatic doors
- Order fulfillment
For pallet verification applications, automation light grids can measure the maximum height of the pallet and overhang. Data collected can then be transmitted to the programmable logic controller (PLC) via bus systems.
Light grids such as those manufactured by SICK, can offer fast response times concerning object detection. This can promote high-speed manufacturing processes and contribute to facility productivity.