Home > SICK’s Flexi Soft safety controller meets safety challenges of high-powered lasers in electronics production

SICK’s Flexi Soft safety controller meets safety challenges of high-powered lasers in electronics production

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The Flexi Soft safety controller from SICK is being used by a leading US supplier of laser-based manufacturing solutions for safer laser processing.  

Laser has become an established process tool in electronics, semiconductor and solar wafer production industries with benefits such as speed and accuracy. Laser can also be a safety hazard to operators with the result that regulations in most industries restrict the use of lasers and provide guidelines to maintain safety.  

A leading US supplier of innovative laser-based manufacturing solutions for the micro technology industry frequently uses power lasers (Class 4) in its equipment. The laser is used for cutting, trimming, ablating or etching electronic components.  

Class 4 is the highest class of laser radiation and indicates a high level of danger. Laser light is highly regulated due to potential human safety hazards in its application. The relevant industry standard in the US for laser/LED safety is ANSI Z136, which addresses the proper selection, application and use of light-emitting devices with the potential to create a safety hazard.  

Following the 2001 revision of the standard governing the safety of laser products in Europe (EN) and internationally (IEC), the classification system was overhauled with ISO/IEC, ANSI and OSHA now requiring a safety interlock system on machines that use Class 4 lasers along with specific monitoring requirements.  

Flexi Soft safety controller and SICK interlock switches, emergency stop switches and safety light curtains, which meet the applicable standards for safety-rated control of a laser system are being used by the manufacturer.  

Key advantages of Flexi Soft safety controllers:  

  • Modular solution allows the customer to expand and use on multiple types and sizes of laser cutting and trimming machines
  • Optional gateway communications for remote monitoring and troubleshooting of machine and safety process
  • Monitors laser status (on/off) and disables access to the laser trim area when enabled and ‘on’
  • Allows the e-Stop of laser and monitor door status (open/closed)
  • Eliminates problems experienced with interlock ‘bounce’
  • Can be adapted to any type of laser processing system and configured to protect as many or as few points as required
  • Inherent monitoring and communications capability for remote monitoring of the safety system and the machine for performance

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