Plant & Works Engineering
Cost-effective machine safety solutions
Published:  09 February, 2018

Machine safety is the responsibility of all machine designers, manufacturers and end-users from both a legal and moral standpoint. In the past the desire to offer the very best protection has sometimes been tempered with the need to keep costs down, prompting the question – ‘What price safety?’

Automated production equipment, such as press or stamping machines, transport systems and packaging machines can pose multiple hazards to machine operators and other staff. Guarding perimeters and points of operation is critical to protecting personnel from accident or injury as well as preventing equipment damage.

Banner Engineering has a history of producing safety light screens spanning five decades. The investment in research and development in this field, throughout its history, has culminated in the production of the EZ-SCREEN Light Screen range.

EZ-SCREEN is a cost-efficient solution that incorporates the most popular functions from previous generations of light screen systems plus some new beneficial features. Furthermore, features that may complicate the installation or add further maintenance have been stripped out – the result is a streamlined, cost-efficient safety solution.

To accommodate many diverse applications, the EZ-SCREEN LS is available in three resolutions—14 mm, 23 mm and 40 mm—with a range of up to 12 metres. Sensor lengths range from 280 mm to 1820 mm in 70 mm increments. Cascade models are also available which allow users to combine up to four systems of any length, resolution and number of beams which then acts as a single system.

The food industry poses some interesting challenges for safety system manufacturers as light screens, installed on food lines, need to be protected from water ingress and damage while remaining easy to clean in order to comply with relevant food safety standards. To meet this challenge Banner has produced a version of the EZ-SCREEN in hygienic tubular enclosures that are ideal for applications frequently exposed to chemical cleaning agents and high-pressure wash-downs. The IP67/IP69K rated enclosures withstand the harshest common cleaning agents and the polycarbonate housing will not discolour or become cloudy over time, ensuring reliable performance and a long lifespan.

Banner also offers a comprehensive range of safety controllers, safety interlocks, two-hand controls and emergency stop buttons.

Emergency stop buttons are offered in panel mount versions or pre-assembled enclosures. Illuminated models to assist in identification of actuation are also available, but by listening and responding to the requirements of machine builders and operators Banner has gone one step further and is able to offer competitive, custom built solutions.

In conjunction with emergency stop buttons, end-user operators frequently require clear indication of the area where a button is actuated or another problem exists. Using its expertise in LED lighting and indication, Banner offer dual-colour and tri-colour area strip lights, typically white for normal operation, switching to red when actuated. This solution assists operators to quickly identify the problem area and take remedial action. In this type of application multi-colour strip lights can offer a more cost-efficient solution than conventional tower lights and have much greater visibility.

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