Injection Molding Facility Collision Monitoring

Application Brief: Injection Molding Facility Collision Monitoring

Industry: Materials Handling

Application: Injection Molding Facility Crane Collision Monitoring

Summary: Consider the potential safety concerns, downtime and costs faced when an overhead crane, such as the cranes that handle die changes at an injection molding facility, collides with equipment on the production floor. Many of these facilities have low overhead clearance, often have many “cells,” or clusters, of workstations equipped with costly load/unload robots packed as efficiently as possible in the available space, and each cell is monitored by a single operator.

Such was the scenario faced at a plastic injection molding facility in Georgia, where Laser‐View Technologies helped solve this very problem with the right combination of a Crane Sentry® controller and a master wireless communication gateway with multiple remote interfaces.

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It’s not difficult to imagine what could happen if an object on an overhead crane runway, such as a robotic arm that normally remains below the level of the bridge crane hook or load, suddenly changed elevation into the path of an oncoming crane. A plastic injection molding facility in Georgia faced this very scenario, and decided the best approach would be to prevent any potential collision from ever happening.

The physical layout of the facility and distances separating four injection molding machine work centers, however, required the use of a wireless solution that had to be capable of preventing an overhead bridge crane from entering the work center zones while an automated part removal robotic arm was elevated. Because the crane needed to have access to any particular work center zone to change out the molding machine die as necessary, the solution also needed to warn the machine work center when the crane bridge approached and entered the work center zone to prevent unintentional activation of the robotic arm.

Laser‐View Technologies provided a solution that included a Crane Sentry® controller equipped with a master wireless gateway module to monitor, process and relay input signals from four remote interface modules, each equipped with a wireless radio, mounted at each machine work center. In this application, the laser sensor was mounted near the Crane Sentry® controller on the crane bridge and aimed at a flat target plate on the wall. The master wireless I/O module mounted on the Crane Sentry® communicated with the remote interface modules, which relayed the digital output signal provided by the customer when the robot arm was raised, and received/relayed the Crane Sentry® input signal when the crane approached any of the machine center zones.

As a result, the customer was able to prevent the bridge crane from entering the machine zone while the automated part removal robotic arm was raised, and yet was able to safely permit overhead crane entry into machine zones as necessary when the robotic arm was lowered.

Key Application Notes

  • Teach up to 8 No-Fly zones
  • Simple installation, low maintenance
  • Relay outputs for interface with VFD
  • Color touchscreen controller & display
  • Wireless interface module pre-integrated

For more information on Crane Sentry®, please visit email us at info@laser‐ or contact us here.