Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

Sick launches AGV forklift safety solution

Sick has developed the Safe AGV Forklift, a PLd/SIL2-certified safety solution that enables a driverless forklift to continue to operate productively when the forks are in the load-carrying position.

The Sick Safe AGV Forklift is claimed to solve ‘stop-start frustration’, which slows operation and leads to wear and tear of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) fitting with a forklift: when the protective laser scanning fields are infringed because the forks are down, the AGV must be brought to a safe stop.

Designed specifically for AGV forklifts with a drive wheel, the device integrates two laser scanners providing protective fields in front and behind the vehicle, with a controller and an encoder to monitor the speed of the vehicle.

The Sick AGV Forklift is a functional safety system designed to meet both current EN1525 and forthcoming ISO 3691-4 safety standards.

Seb Strutt, Sick UK’s Senior Product Manager for Machinery Safety, said: “When the Sick Safety Laser Scanner protective field is obscured by the forks carrying a load, or during loading and unloading, the AGV can continue to proceed at a safe speed of 0.3m/sec, without requiring personnel supervision.

“In addition, the Sick scanners operate a warning detection field as well as a protective stop field, so that the AGV slows when objects are sensed at a distance, reducing the wear and downtime associated with constant start/stop operation.”

The system comprises a Sick S3000 remote laser scanner for forward scanning and S300 Mini Remote laser scanner for rear scanning, a Sick DFS60S Pro safety encoder and a Flexi Soft CPU controller with associated modules and function blocks, including a Sick Drive Monitor.

The Sick S3000 laser scanner has a maximum distance measuring range of 49 m, a warning field range also of 49 m, and a stop protective field of 7 m, and can be programmed for up to 64 different fields. The Sick S300 laser scanner has a maximum distance measuring range of 30 m, a warning field range of 8 m and a stop protective field of 3 m. The S300 can be programmed for up to three fields.

The Sick DFS60S Pro safety encoder is a blind hollow shaft incremental encoder, for 60 mm drive shafts, certified for PLd/SIL2 safety installations. The package is completed by a Sick Flexi Soft pcu controller, with function blocks that can be selected to meet different AGV models and requirements.