Drives & Controls Magazine May 2023

TECHNOLOGY n SICK HAS LAUNCHED what it calls “the world’s first compact 3D time-of-flight camera with safety certification performance level c, in accordance with ISO 13849”. The safeVisionary2 camera uses 3D environmental perception to improve safety and productivity in applications such as AGVs, AMRs and robot cells. Until now, Lidar sensors have been the standard way of monitoring protective fields in two-dimensional planes. The new camera can monitor 3D spaces. It could enhance collaboration between robots and people, resulting in fewer stops and reduced safety distances. By detecting upper bodies, the camera can protect against dangers such as people reaching or leaning into hazardous areas. And because it extends protection at human head heights, it will allow robots to continue operating safely with reduced force and speed. The camera could also be used, for example, to detect empty pallets in robotic palletising applications. “The safeVisionary2 represents a new milestone in safety technology,” says Sick UK’s safety product manager, Dr Martin Kidman, adding that it offers “some exciting new possibilities for certain applications – particularly for increasing the availability of AGVs and other mobile robots, as well as to improve the productivity and versatility of humanrobot collaboration.” With AMRs (automated mobile robots), the camera will improve protection where there is a risk of colliding with objects or people that are higher than the field covered by a 2D laser scanner. In addition, its ability to perceive items to the sides of an AMR will improve protection when the vehicle is turning or rotating – for example, after loading or unloading. The camera may also allow automatic restarts. As well as monitoring protective and warning fields in the path of mobile robots, the camera has a contour detection field that can identify hazards such as stairs or ramps. The 70 x 80 x 77mm camera captures 30 images per second at a resolution of 512 x 424 pixels. It can deliver intensity and distance values to support both dynamic vehicle navigation and collision avoidance. Its solid-state technology resists shocks and vibration. The camera can be used in dark environments. ‘Milestone’ 3D camera will improve factory safety and productivity Sick’s safeVisionary2 camera gives protection in three dimensions