safeHDDM¨ makes safety laser scanners immune to wood chippings

safeHDDM¨ makes safety laser scanners immune to wood

Stacking always results in chippings

industrial parquet manufacturing, fine wood flooring became affordable and
available to anyone. The European parquet industry now produces over 80 million
square meters of parquet flooring every year. To
achieve this figure, there are stringent requirements
for the systems used for automated wood processing: Sawdust and wood chippings are
very challenging for conventional safety sensors. They are nonetheless expected
to perform their tasks regarding
operational safety with both reliability and precision. 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 of 2-layer and 3-layer wooden
parquet floors and sports flooring at its production facility in St.
Margrethen, Switzerland. In what is known as the loading stage, the station
between the parquet layer compression and the surface treatment, a robot feeds
in the parquet floorboards by de-stacking them from a pallet. Due to space
restrictions caused by a nearby machine, it was not possible to protect the form of doors or light grids. Since
safety laser scanners, unlike light grids, also offer rear stepping detection
and therefore prevent a machine from being restarted unintentionally, a safety
laser scanner 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 lifting or
setting down 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 accumulate over the entire pallet slowly,”
explains Heinz Isele, Engineering Manager at Bauwerk Parkett. “There are up to
a hundred layers on top of each other. This
occasionally, especially at the end, causes a small cloud of chippings to be
released when they are lifted with the
vacuum system, which then triggered the scanner.” The consequence was that the
availability of the system was limited. “With the new scanner, the microScan3,
we were able to eliminate this issue” adds Heinz Isele. The microScan3 safety
laser scanner 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 a 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

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

The digital
filtering of the remissions resulting in a histogram accumulation suppresses random
individual remissions, while remissions from coded pulse sequences of the
scanner are reliably detected and evaluated even with the required low signal
strengths. As a result, dust particles or contamination
on the optical interface have a considerably less negative impact on the
detection reliability and the reliable protective function. Moreover, the
parabolically shaped front screens of the latest generation of safety laser
scanners with safeHDDM¨ deflect all reflections that arrive outside
of the optical path of the laser pulses and their remissions into an optical
trap – away from the receiver element in the device. This also increases the resistance to dust and contamination of
safety laser scanners with safeHDDM¨ .

Intuitive operation

Many people 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 as well.

The new Safety
Designer configuration and diagnostic software make
configuring and commissioning the system extremely easy. Areas can be defined
freely and sent to the scanner via USB. During operation, the status
indicators, LEDs, and display are visible from several angles, even from a
distance. Together with the user-friendly pushbuttons on the device, the status
indicators on display allow for simple
device diagnosis and operation at all times.

“The display of the
microScan3 is also graphically better, more intuitive, and offers more
information than the purely LED-based display of the previous version. For
example, you will now see a cleaning symbol if the front screen needs to be cleaned,” explains Heinz Isele about the additional advantages.

Thanks to the use of
smart connectivity and standardised M12
plug connectors, the microScan3’s cabling is not just simple – it also saves on
connection costs. The device can also be replaced quickly and conveniently
thanks to the integrated configuration memory in the system plug.

The mounting bracket
with integrated guide rails means that the scanner can be attached and adjusted
with ease. Thanks to the proven light-metal die-cast housing, microScan3
achieves a high level of mechanical resistance. It protects hazardous areas at
loading and unloading stations, multi-sided access points to machines and
material gates, machines in harsh environments, as well as hazardous points
with an object resolution of up to 30 mm.

microScan3 – impressive even with parquet flooring

The requirements in the wood industry are diverse and exacting. Whether
you are dealing with sawdust, wood chippings, or splinters – the new microScan3
safety laser scanner is impressive even when used with parquet flooring and
offers maximum operational safety under harsh ambient conditions. Offering 350
parquet floors in 11 types of wood, 57 colours,
with fivedifferent possibilities for surface
treatment and texture for each, Bauwerk Parkett excels in providing diverse
parquet options. At the same time, the company places value on the well-being
of customers with its conscious choice of materials that facilitate healthy
living. In its manufacturing activities, it ensures this quality by combining
technical expertise with the very latest technology. Even in Bauwerk’s modern
production facilities, there is no substitute for manual and visual inspections
by experienced staff.

Fortunately, the members of staff are well protected in the operating
area of the stacking robot thanks to the microScan3 safety laser scanner, while
the system availability has been enhanced
thanks to the state-of-the-art safeHDDM¨ scanning technology.

Written by: Max
Boehme, Product Manager Industrial Safety, SICK AG, Waldkirch

Michael Bangert,
Account Manager Factory Automation. SICK AG, Stans

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