Industrial safety is an essential component in manufacturing. Automated processes usually involve machines that are heavy and moving at low speeds, or light and moving at high speeds. Some of these machines might include dangerous components or might keep moving for a brief period after being shut down. All these scenarios present a safety hazard to the floor personnel, if safety devices are not in place and configured appropriately. In the best-case scenario, an accident can mean a damaged machine and some downtime, but in the worst-case scenario, an injury or death could occur. Therefore, investing in industrial safety devices is a must to keep productivity high, and both workers and machines safe.
Safety sensors are contactless devices, mounted on guards, intended to detect workers entering dangerous areas and stopping machines in those areas when guards are open. They are best applied to machines without inertia (machines that do not keep moving after shutting down). They are usually made up of two parts: the sensor installed on the guard’s frame and the actuator installed on the movable guard. The sensor is activated when the guard is closed. Safety sensors can be actuated by different technologies like inductive, magnetic and RFID. Since these are contactless devices, long service lives can be expected from them.
Safety Switches with Separate Actuators
Unlike contactless safety sensors, safety switches with separate actuators are a contact-based solution for machines without inertia. These products work by inserting an actuator, installed on the movable guard, into the safety switch’s head, installed on the guard’s frame. They normally can be used with hinged, sliding, or removable guards.
Safety Switches with Separate Actuators and Locks
Safety switches with separate actuators and locks are recommended for machines where dangerous conditions and/or moving parts (inertia) persist after shutdown, or to prohibit the entrance of unauthorized personnel to restricted areas. These devices work by not only detecting the actuator when it is close (contactless versions) or inserted (contact-based versions), but also incorporate locking mechanisms for additional security.
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