Traditional production environments consist of a mixture of numerous mechanical protection devices, such as safety fences which prevent humans or equipment from getting to close to hazardous or sensitive machines or production steps. In more open and flexible production environments, the required safety function is realized by 2D- or 3D-LiDAR laser scanners or 1D-/2D-LED light curtains. These consist of a separated emitter and receiver unit with an embedded photodetector. Hundreds of LiDAR scanners, light-beam/-curtains and controlled mechanical safety fences can be found in each production environment. Driven by the principles of Industry 4.0, production environments are becoming more open and flexible. LEDs, lasers and matching photodiodes from ams OSRAM can be found in many of the installed devices due to their proven quality and reliability.
In order to reduce the overall scanning complexity, the new trend is towards more advanced 3D-scanning in more open environments, which combine the relevant presence detection measurements within a single sensor., This simplifies scanning architectures and opens new algorithmic opportunities for e.g. motion part prediction. ams OSRAM provides a broad offering of vision based sensing products especially suited for 3D-based sensing. These include high quantum efficiency near-infrared global shutter imagers and pattern projectors. Additionally, ready integrated multi-zone time-of-flight sensors provide high design flexibility at very low-computational overhead for obtaining the required 3D position information.
Functional safety in production environments have aspects beyond just localization and presence detection. Often, hazardous machines operated by humans require dedicated hands-off/on detection. Advanced multi-channel capacitive sensing controllers by ams OSRAM paired with smart proximity sensors can be the basis for a comprehensive safety monitoring system, which allows operation of machines only if the overall status is functionally safe. Safe state can be visually indicated by selecting from a rich set of multi-color LEDs at different form factors, package options and power classes. Innovative status indications could also be realized by projecting a user defined pattern or symbol onto the floor or walls around the monitored production equipment.