safeHDDM makes safety laser scanners immune to wood chippings
Industrial parquet manufacturing has made fine wood flooring more affordable and available. The European parquet industry now produces over 80 million m2 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 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,” explained 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,” added Isele.
The microScan3 safety laser scanner uses safeHDDM scanning technology. The technology combines a compact design and a wide scanning range in one device, with reliability in dust and ambient light.
safeHDDM is based on SICK’s HDDM measurement method (HDDM = high definition distance measurement) and uses intelligent filtering and evaluation. 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.
The requirements in the wood industry are diverse and exacting. Whether you are dealing with sawdust, wood chippings or splinters, the microScan3 safety laser scanner works well even when used with parquet flooring and is designed to provide maximum operational safety under harsh ambient conditions.
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 safeHDDM scanning technology.
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