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SICK safeHDDM® makes safety laser scanners immune to wood chippings

With industrial parquet manufacturing, fine wood flooring has become more affordable and easily available. To achieve production of over 80 million metres of flooring annually, demands stringent requirements on systems used in the European automated wood processing industry: Sawdust and wood chippings are challenging for conventional safety sensors, which are nonetheless expected to perform their tasks both reliably and precisely. One of the leading parquet manufacturers in Europe, Bauwerk Parkett AG, uses the new microScan3 safety laser scanner from SICK to make a stacking robot safe.

The company manufactures a large proportion of its range at its production facility in St. Margrethen, Switzerland. In the loading stage, the station between parquet layer compression and surface treatment, a robot feeds in parquet floorboards, de-stacking them from a pallet. Due to space restrictions, it was not possible to provide protection via doors or light grids.

Safety laser scanners offer step-behind detection and prevent a machine from being restarted unintentionally. Such a device was already being used to make the operating area of the robot safe. This safety laser scanner occasionally reached its limits, if clouds of sawdust were created when moving the wood. “Depending on the intermediate goods process, chippings are mixed in from time to time. And even if there are only a few, they tend to slowly accumulate over the entire pallet,” explains Heinz Isele, Engineering Manager at Bauwerk Parkett. “There are up to a hundred layers on top of each other. This occasionally causes a small cloud of chippings to be released when they are lifted with the vacuum system, which then triggered the scanner.”

The availability of the system was limited. “With the new scanner, the microScan3, we were able to eliminate this issue altogether” adds Heinz Isele. The microScan3 is one of a new generation of safety laser scanners from SICK. Thanks to its innovative safeHDDM® scanning technology, it is setting new standards. safeHDDM® combines a compact design and wide scanning range in one device. The housing of the microScan3 is rugged, with outstanding reliability in dust and ambient light.

Reliability through advanced technology: safeHDDM® scanning technology

safeHDDM® is based on SICK’s HDDM (HDDM = high definition distance measurement). This patented method carries out intelligent filtering and evaluation to deliver a measurement result that is unprecedented by safety laser scanners.

Digital filtering of remissions, resulting in a histogram accumulation, suppresses random individual remissions, while remissions from coded pulse sequences are reliably detected and evaluated. Dust particles or contamination on the optical interface have a considerably less impact on the detection reliability and the protective function. The parabolically shaped front screen deflects reflections that arrive outside of the optical path of the laser pulses, into an optical trap – away from the receiver element in the device. This increases the resistance to contamination of the safety laser scanners.

Intuitive operation

One might assume that a high-performance safety laser scanner would be complex to handle and operate. However, the microScan3 sets new performance standards in this respect. The new Safety Designer configuration and diagnostic software makes configuring and commissioning extremely easy. Areas can be defined freely and sent to the scanner via USB. During operation, the status indicators, LEDs, and display are clearly visible from several angles, even from a distance. The user-friendly push buttons on the device and the status indicators on the display allow for simple device diagnosis and operation at all times. The display of the microScan3 is graphically better, more intuitive, and more informative than the purely LED-based display of the previous version.

Thanks to the use of smart connectivity and standardised M12 plug connectors, the microScan3’s cabling is simple and saves on connection costs. The device can be replaced quickly and conveniently thanks to the integrated configuration memory in the system plug.

The mounting bracket with integrated guide rails allows easy attachment and adjustment. The proven light-metal die-cast housing achieves a high level of mechanical resistance. The microScan3 protects hazardous areas at loading and unloading stations, multi-sided access points to machines and material gates, with an object resolution of up to 30 mm.

microScan3 – impressive even with parquet flooring

Wood industry requirements are diverse and exacting. Whether you are dealing with sawdust, wood chippings, or splinters – the microScan3 offers maximum operational safety under harsh conditions. Bauwerk Parkett ensures high quality by combining technical expertise with the latest technology. Even in Bauwerk’s modern production facilities, there is no substitute for manual and visual inspections by experienced staff.

Fortunately, the staff is well protected by the microScan3 safety laser scanner, while the system availability has been enhanced thanks to the state-of-the-art safeHDDM® scanning technology.

About SICK Automation

SICK is one of the world’s leading producers of sensors and sensor solutions for industrial applications. Founded in 1946 by Dr.-Ing. e. h. Erwin Sick, the company with headquarters in Waldkirch im Breisgau near Freiburg ranks among the technological market leaders. With more than 50 subsidiaries and equity investments as well as numerous agencies, SICK maintains a presence around the globe. In the fiscal year 2015, SICK had more than 7400 employees worldwide and achieved Group sales of just under EUR 1.3 billion. Additional information about SICK is available on the Internet at http://www.sickautomation.co.za or by phone on +27 11 472 3733. 

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