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Safety scanner boosts productivity for small autonomous vehicles

20 May, 2021

SICK reports it has launched the first multibeam safety scanner in the world to use safe, solid-state LiDAR technology to enable small autonomous vehicles and line-guided shuttle systems to operate more quickly and productively.

SICK says with the SICK scanGrid2, small transport vehicles like Automated Mobile Robots (AMRs) can operate safely at higher speeds and with higher payloads for a much lower cost-of ownership than has been previously possible using conventional safety laser scanners.

The SICK scanGrid2 is a Type 2 device (BS EN 61496-3) and can be used in safety functions up to SIL2 / PLd (BS EN ISO 13849), as well as for collision avoidance duties.  The company says thanks to the safe, solid-state LiDAR technology of scanGrid2, switching to a safety sensor now offers a rapid return on investment for these smaller vehicles, with the first pilot installations showing productivity increases between 50 and 70%.

Rapid Return on Investment

Dr Martin Kidman, SICK’s UK machine safety product manager explains: “Small shuttle systems are designed to be very simple and cost-effective materials handling assistants, so machinebuilders and operators have often not been able to justify the economics of fitting conventional laser scanners to protect personnel in hazardous areas and avoid collisions. Instead, operators must limit the speed or the payload, or simply avoid using them in unfenced areas altogether.

“In the first pilots using the scanGrid2 on a small AMR, we were able to demonstrate that the maximum vehicle speed could be increased by about 75% from 0.4 m/s to 0.7 m/s. That represents a significant return on investment in terms of productivity and can justify removing barriers and fencing to improve materials handling flexibility and throughput for more efficient workflows.”

SICK engineers have designed the compact scanGrid2 to offer users everything they need for safe operation in a simple package, while ensuring rapid commissioning and maximum vehicle uptime. With a space-saving height of just 43 mm, the device can be retrofitted into existing vehicles, as well as designed into new machines.

Novel Solid-State Technology

The SICK scanGrid2’s novel, in-house developed solid-state LiDAR solution operates with no moving parts using pure semi-conductor technology, with several transmitters, receivers and specialist optics arranged in a semi-circular array in the machine. The scanGrid2 determines the distance to objects using the multibeam time-of-flight principle to scan a protective field of 150 degrees.

The SICK scanGrid2 safely detects objects of a variety of sizes within freely configurable protective field zones. It can evaluate multiple fields and can execute configurable monitoring cases. A warning field zone extends up to four meters beyond the safe 1.1 metre working range for non-safety actions. It is therefore ideal for safeguarding the main driving direction of small and guided AMRs as well as for side protection and safeguarding the reverse drive of mobile platforms.

Installation of the scanGrid2 is rapid using easily accessible interfaces on the front of the sensor housing. It is easy to configure and integrate using familiar and intuitive software tools, such as SICK’s Safety Designer.

Using the SICK Safety Assistant app, diagnostics and servicing can be performed on the sensor quickly and easily, including with a smartphone. Thanks to the addition of a Near Field Communication (NFC) interface, sensor configurations can be transferred wirelessly from one sensor to another using a cloning function within the app.

www.sick.co.uk

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