SICK unveils smart box detection for safe continuous material flow on packaging lines

UK – SICK has unveiled a new Smart Box Detection system for its deTec4 Safety Light Curtain, aiming to ensure operator safety and a continual and efficient output on packaging lines.

The SICK Smart Box Detection system is a plug-and-play automation solution for the SICK deTec4 Safety Light Curtain.

It uses intelligent pattern recognition to detect cuboid objects and even some cylindrical goods that produce a cuboid-shaped silhouette, and differentiate them from people.

Unnecessary stoppages are therefore avoided, for example at the in- and outfeeds of packaging machinery, or close to loading and unloading machinery in intralogistics facilities. The protected area above the material remains safeguarded by the light curtain at all times.

The SICK deTec4 Smart Box Detection is the first safety system of its kind to facilitate safe material flow without having to receive signals from an external machine controller.

It removes the need to use muting sensors, which take up space, require maintenance and can be easily knocked or damaged.

In addition, the SICK deTEC4 Smart Box Detection system can also replace the tunnel guards that are frequently used to protect the openings of machines. As a result, the maximum distance to the hazard can be reduced by more than half.

The SICK Smart Box Detection system is quick and easy to configure using dip switches integrated into the SP2 system plug, so there is no requirement to use a laptop or software.

There’s also no need for any additional teach-in, programming, mounting or wiring. Each system can be configured to meet the needs of the application, and if objects of different heights and lengths are being detected, for example on a conveyor, there is no need to teach them or to adjust the configuration of the safety solution.

Martin Kidman, SICK UK’s Market Product Manager for Safety Solutions said: “Installing a SICK Smart Box Detection system can improve productivity significantly.

“This will be welcomed both by machine builders and end users in a wide range of industrial and logistics facilities e.g. in goods inward areas where top- and side loaders are in operation; or in secondary packaging lines, or on the outfeed of rejected boxes.

“There are also both cost- and space-saving benefits from installing Smart Box Detection. Machine designers can build new machinery in a smaller footprint, while production teams can remove tunnels, or eliminate the need to keep an inventory of muting sensors, for example.”

Last year, SICK designed a new Roller Sensor Bar for quick and easy installation, high sensing performance, and preventing conveyor jams and unplanned downtime in packaging, parcel sorting, and logistics hubs.

Similar developments include Ishida’s X-ray inspection system with combined sensor and image processing technology to detect foreign bodies inside packaging and increase productivity rates; and EyeC’s ProofRunner Wide Web inspection system for flexible packaging in wide web applications.

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