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Programmable safety controllers

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SICK has released UE 440/UE 470 programmable safety controllers, providing safety functions on machines and plants with heightened protective requirements. Safety applications can be achieved with up to two separate or linked switch-off paths. The system has 15 inputs that can be used as single or double channels, eight outputs (of which two are safe output pairs), two-hand functionality, and double bypass.

There are also two safe input pairs for SICK electro-sensitive protective equipment possessing internal device interfaces. The CDS drag-and-drop software guides even inexperienced users through the parameterisation of both the safety controller and connected intelligent safety sensors. Complex safety functions involving up to five operating modes can be implemented simply, rapidly and application-specifically.

The UE 440 has a compact housing and corresponds to Category 4 in compliance with EN 954-1, and SIL 3 according to EN 61508. It fills the technological gap for small to medium-sized machines between a safety relay (which requires a lot of wiring) and a safe PLC (whose cost-benefit ratio would be uneconomical in this machine segment).

The UE 440 has low engineering and initial costs per input and output, a reduced wiring requirement, user-friendly operation during troubleshooting or modification, and online monitoring for reducing the mean time to repair. The integrated configuration memory helps optimise plant availability, as parameterisation or operating-mode-specific settings that have been carried out in the original device are not lost when a sensor is replaced, but can be downloaded to the new sensor.

While simple safety control applications are still solved with safety relays, safe PLCs and open field bus systems are increasingly dominant in larger, more complex production sites. The UE 440 safety controller bridges these two worlds. The UE 470 variant is designed for presses and circular tables, with integrated single-break and double-break functions for eccentric or hydraulic presses. It also offers protective functions by evaluating press-sensitive signals such as bottom dead centre, top dead centre and stoptime monitoring.

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