Industrial Automation – It Doesn’t Have To…

Industrial Automation - It Doesn't Have To... Be Unsafe

February 09, 2021 Dave Rice, Datalogic Season 2 Episode 3
Industrial Automation – It Doesn’t Have To…
Industrial Automation - It Doesn't Have To... Be Unsafe
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Safety of employees is a top priority for plant managers.  In addition to the countless aspects that represent safety risks throughout a facility, the total cost of serious workplace injures exceeds over $1 billion per week according to the 2020 Workplace Safety Index.

This is HUGE, so we brought in a safety expert to get the low-down.

Dave Rice is the Territory Sales Manager with Datalogic's Sensors & Safety Division.  Dave has been in safety product sales for more than a decade -- Dave knows Safety!

When you listen to this episode you will learn more about Dave and Industrial Safety, as well as:

  • Hard guarding versus Light-based guarding

  • Who is responsible for what

  • What are the Safety Categories

  • Application examples - when to use light-based as opposed to hard guards

You'll also hear Dave's take on collaborative robot guarding.  Does he agree or disagree with Brandon's Brandology?

Stay tuned throughout the episode to learn about some innovative safety products that Datalogic offers.  

Datalogic does more than safety.  For a follow-up episode, which of the following would you like to learn more about?

  • Vision Systems
  • Barcode Scanning Systems (1D and 2D)
  • Laser Marking Systems

Send us your comments or give us call us at (865) 409-1555.

Thank you for listening!

Brandon Ellis  0:25  

Hey everybody, this is Brandon Ellis with "Industrial Automation - It Doesn't Have To." I'm your host. And with me today she wasn't here last week, or last time is Beth Elliott, our marketing coordinator. Hey Beth.


Beth Elliott  0:37  

Hey, how are you doing?


Brandon Ellis  0:38  

Are you all rested and relaxed and R&R'd?


Beth Elliott  0:41  

I would hope so. Hey, I appreciate Matthew sitting in for me. He did an excellent job.


Brandon Ellis  0:47  

He did. He did a lot better than I did. I think last, the last podcast missed two things. And that was you and not me. 


Beth Elliott  0:55  

Oh please.


Brandon Ellis  0:56  

But I really enjoyed that. That was a great. Man, he knows his stuff. 


Beth Elliott  1:00  

He does. He does. And we've got somebody else here that knows his stuff too. 


Brandon Ellis  1:03  

That's right. So, let's get straight into that. What's the title for today?


Beth Elliott  1:07  

Today we're going to talk about "Industrial Automation - It Doesn't Have To... Be Unsafe." And with us, we have a special guest, Dave Rice with Datalogic. Dave, do you want to tell the listeners a little about a little bit about yourself and what you do over there Datalogic?


Dave Rice  1:26  

Sure, I've been with Well, first of all, I'm up here in Wisconsin. So, I'm a ways away from you guys. But then with Datalogic for about three years after spending eight years at another company. And so, I've done sales of safety products for I don't know, the total of 10 or 11 years now. So just mainly in a field sales role, but also in some consultative roles as well. So yeah, that's, that's where I am, where I come from, and look forward to discussing with you guys.


Brandon Ellis  1:57  



Beth Elliott  1:58  

Sounds great. Yeah.


Brandon Ellis  1:59  

So, let me let me we got Dave Rice Datalogic. Okay, so Dave, I appreciate the introduction. So, we're talking about safety systems today. And I don't know if he got the point across, but Dave, is excellent when it comes to safety, and with Datalogic, that's one of the product groups that he's responsible for so. And he came from another company, we'll just leave it at that, that he did a lot of safety type systems in that as well. So, Dave, I really appreciate you being with us today. So, let's jump straight into it. Industrial Safety. What does it mean? What's your definition? If you had to give me a one liner on what industrial safety is?


Dave Rice  2:42  

Well, I hear it all the time for my customers. And I would probably say how to make something foolproof or what they would say idiot proof. That would probably be my layman's terms, definition of it. 


Brandon Ellis  2:54  

Sure. So, we're talking about equipment. We're talking about usually talking about equipment, or processes, things of that nature, Beth, where if it's not done correctly, a person can, a human being, we're not really trying to protect product, we're trying to protect people. So, the person a person could potentially be harmed in some way. And so, as we talk about that, there are different types of safety systems. Now Datalogic specifically does what we call light-based guarding, but there is also a whole world of what we call hard guarding.


Beth Elliott  3:33  

I think we can I can picture a hard guarding better more than a light guarding.


Brandon Ellis  3:37  



Beth Elliott  3:38  

That's what you see around, you know, the barriers. 


Brandon Ellis  3:42  

That's right, that's right. If you see walls or expanded metal or well, if you see bars, if you see, you know, steel bars, you may be in a place you don't need to be.


Dave Rice  3:56  

Or cages, you know, robot cages or something like that. That's pretty common for hard guarding.


Brandon Ellis  4:02  

That's right. So, any kind of a barrier, so you hit the nail on the head there, is a hard guard, but also how, so that if they're bolted like a barrier would be bolted. But now you still need to have access. 


Beth Elliott  4:13  



Brandon Ellis  4:14  

So, maintenance needs to have access. Engineering may need to have access. Even sometimes, the associate may have to have access if there's a condition where they need to go in and clear out a product or something along those lines. And it needs to be in a known safe way of doing that. So hard guards have to be penetrable. Light guards are guarding an area that - how would you say it, Dave, always may need to be constantly, as far as the process, you know, broken or moved through? 


Dave Rice  4:47  

Yeah, that's basically you know, how much time is going to be spent inside the machine as part of a regular routine of either the machine cycle or maintenance or something like that kind of helps dictate, you know how much hard guarding needs to be involved.


Brandon Ellis  5:00  

And, and then hard guarding. There are devices such as what we call interlocks, usually for doors, or access doors, things of that nature. So those interlocks can be monitored. There are sensor-based monitors. There are physical latch assemblies and locking assemblies and things of that nature.


Dave Rice  5:24  

Magnetic switches. Yep. 


Beth Elliott  5:25  

Oh, okay. 


Brandon Ellis  5:27  

So those things are all specific to the hard guard type of guarding. So, if there is a door that needs to be sometimes accessed, and that door needs to be accessed only at certain times by certain people, a magnetic switch can monitor that door. And if it opens when it shouldn't, the machine will shut down to a safe go enter, it should enter it should enter into a safe state. Right? Am I laying it down correctly, Dave? 


Dave Rice  5:56  

Yes, yep yep. 


Brandon Ellis  5:58  

And then if it's something that should not be accessed, like a door, that we don't want anybody to access, unless the machine is in a very specific safe state already, then that's where your interlocks come into play, not just a magnetic switch or magnetic sensor. But in this case, it's actually like a latch or lock on a door. So, it's physically locked. And then when we say it's safe, it unlocks.


Dave Rice  6:27  

Or, you know, a key or something like that, you'll often hear like lockout tagout. And that's usually something where somebody might even have to bring a key inside the inside the cell, and the cell can't be operated without that key.


Beth Elliott  6:42  

Oh okay, so if somebody were in there, it couldn't turn, turn on while they're in there?


Dave Rice  6:48  

Correct. Yep. Exactly. Yeah.


Brandon Ellis  6:50  

Yeah. So, if you're inside working on the robot, and we've talked about robot cells. You asked me for the definition of robot cells and things of that nature. So that's the area where the robot operates. 


Beth Elliott  7:02  

The work envelope.


Brandon Ellis  7:03  

The work envelope. That's right, well, outside of the work, it's anywhere that the robot could go. Because sometimes robots are working in a defined work area, but they are capable of going outside of that area if something goes wrong. And so, in that, whatever situation if you're in harm's way, close enough to the to the robot or the process. I'm using a robot as an example. But any process that that is unsafe, if you're close enough to it, or can get close enough to it. It's usually a large area, like walking inside of a room, and someone outside of the room has access to the start button. 


Beth Elliott  7:41  

Oh, that's not good. 


Brandon Ellis  7:41  

That's what he's talking about is these little keys that you can, you would have to remove it to even a lot of times to even get the door to unlatch.


Dave Rice  7:48  

Put it around your wrist; walk into the cell.


Brandon Ellis  7:50  

Yeah, you've got the key with you inside, and then as far as LOTO, which is lockout tagout, that means you've actually turned power off or turn something into a position, put a lock on it with a key and you have the key in your hand as well. So, there's various types of safety keys, and then just regular lockout keys and things of that nature that says, this thing cannot be started until I say, you know, I'm clear, at least I'm taking my lock off or putting my key back in. If there's more than one key, then there's other people that have to put their keys in. So, it's kind of like the movies when you know, the VP and the President have the launch codes, and they both have to put their keys in the two different things across the room and all this kind of stuff. I mean, it's meant to make sure, doggone sure that this system cannot do anything that could cause harm until everybody that is involved checks off and says okay. That's where hard guards come into play. So, it's a little different with light guarding. Take us there, Dave.


Dave Rice  8:53  

Yeah, so light guarding we'd probably think of in applications that are you know, there is regular access that is needed to the machine, either that or the severity of the machine, or it may be a little bit less severe or dangerous of a machine but kind of a trade-off between those two as to how much access we need to have to the machine and you know how dangerous said machine is would which would, you know, potentially necessitate more using light guarding like, you know, safety area scanners or light based systems like light curtains, or safety photo eyes or something like that. 


Beth Elliott  9:34  

So, it's subjective?


Dave Rice  9:35  

Safety sensors.


Brandon Ellis  9:36  

Subjective. Subjective. It's absolutely subjective. So light guarding and the way that it works, he mentioned two things there. He mentioned safety scanners. And then he mentioned light curtains or what did you call it, a safety photo eye?


Beth Elliott  9:57  

What's the difference between those, Dave?


Dave Rice  10:00  

Safety light curtain think of, you know, an actual, like a stick with multiple sensors inside of it, that's going to guard a, you know, 3, 4, 5, 6-foot-tall area. Whereas safety photo eyes are more of thought of in much tighter applications where all you are looking for is to guard like a two-inch or three-inch-tall space but are also safe to have the same safety rating and, you know, protect the machine the same way just guarding a much smaller envelope. 


Beth Elliott  10:31  



Brandon Ellis  10:31  

So, if you think about, I don't know, Ocean's 11, or something like that when they turn on the grid, and it's all kinds of laser beams and they have to make sure they don't break. There's a whole what we call an array of beams. That's a light curtain.


Beth Elliott  10:46  



Dave Rice  10:47  



Brandon Ellis  10:48  

The safety photo would be one beam.


Beth Elliott  10:50  

Oh, okay. 


Dave Rice  10:51  



Brandon Ellis  10:51  

And so, the best example of that is on your garage door, if you have any kind of a newer-type garage door, it should have a sensor on the bottom, if it's an automatic garage door, should have a sensor on the bottom, that's just one's a transmitter, it shines the light. The other side is the receiver that receives the light. And if the light gets blocked for any reason, and the receiver says, something's in the way, and it won't let the garage door close.


Beth Elliott  11:17  

Those are a lot newer than what I have.


Brandon Ellis  11:19  

You have an old garage door. We're gonna have to work on that.


Dave Rice  11:22  

I'm gonna call OSHA on you.


Brandon Ellis  11:24  



Beth Elliott  11:24  

Oh no, no.


Brandon Ellis  11:25  

Yeah. You are unsafe, Beth. So those would be I mean, real world examples of, of the difference of photo being a single beam, a light curtain be multiple beams, but you have transmitter and receiver. So, he called it sensor or a receiver. So, one is producing a light, the light shining the flashlight, if you will, the other one is looking for the light. And if it doesn't see the beam, then it knows something's in the way. And that is what kicks off the safe, the safety action. 


Beth Elliott  11:57  



Brandon Ellis  11:57  

So, shutting down a machine or something like that. But an example of those is if you're doing a process where just as an example, the operator needs to reach inside, reach through the light curtain area to place a part in into a part fixture or nest or something like that. And then they come out of it. They take their arm out. Now there's no beams broken. And when they hit the start button, it can go ahead and run. Then there's that that's safety in terms of not starting a process until it's in a safe state. And then there's also the safety of having to stop a process that's already underway. If someone breaks the beams in the light curtain scenario. And so, there are things that have to be figured in that as far as distances and there's he mentioned OSHA, Occupational Safety and Hazards Association. Is that right, Dave?


Dave Rice  12:54  

I think it's Health. 


Brandon Ellis  12:56  

Health. That's it. Health.


Dave Rice  12:57  

Yep. Yep.


Brandon Ellis  12:57  

I got it close. So, OSHA regulates that from a federal level. 


Beth Elliott  13:02  



Brandon Ellis  13:02  

And TOSHA in Tennessee. Yeah.


Beth Elliott  13:04  

Do you have WOSHA in Wisconsin?


Dave Rice  13:08  

Probably do, but I just haven't heard it called that way.


Beth Elliott  13:11  

Okay. Sorry. 


Brandon Ellis  13:14  

WOSHA? Yeah, yeah, there, we can have some fun with that. But let's keep moving. So that so OSHA sets those standards and decides what, you know, they ultimately, they're going to do the investigation if someone gets hurt, so they come into play. But that said, there are OSHA equations or guidelines that a safety coordinator would utilize, and the safety coordinator is really the responsibility of the organization themselves. And so now we're getting into whose responsibility is it for safety. Now, I'm kind of getting ready to go down one trail, but I need to come back to the safety scanners. I haven't forgotten about the safety scanners because they're different than the light curtains, but with a light curtain. And this is going to end in a question to you, Dave, so be ready. With the light curtain, I know that there are equations that we have to decide distance and then also with whatever the operation is. If the operation is moving, you know, maybe it's a press that's only moving, you know, cycling, maybe at one inch on down to press apart and come back open, or a big ole sawblade that's sawing lumber, okay, that's an exposed blade. Well, based upon the type of operation or process and how subjectively unsafe that's determined to be. Also, how fast can I arrest it? You know, stop it, make it safe. All those come into play as to how far away the beam distance. Remember, we talked about breaking the beam, how far away that beam needs to be from that point of contact that you're wanting to avoid. If it's a saw blade, and I it's going to take you know, three seconds to stop the blade, this big blade that those beams are going to be pretty far back. If you're using a light curtain. Or you can use a hard guard, which means it all comes down to this, if someone's coming that direction, and they trip over something and begin to fall, then a falling, tripping action is close to, I don't want to say a sprint, but it's closer to a run than a walk. And so that's reason they come up with all that. Am I saying that right, Dave?


Dave Rice  15:28  

Yeah, yep, certainly. So yeah, those safety distances, and safety scanners do have them too. It's just not the same equation.


Brandon Ellis  15:36  

Okay, that was my question. What's the difference in the safety equations, roughly, just generally? Are there differences when it comes to the safety scanners versus light curtains?


Dave Rice  15:48  

Yes, there are differences. But they both factor in basically the response time of the system overall. So, from the time that you break the light curtain to the time the machine stops, which has to factor in, you know, the stop time and the machine, the stop time of the relay, the response time of the light curtain. And all that comes into play with the overall response time of that shutting down action, and it's a trade-off between that the resolution of the curtain. So how tight is the are the beams between the light curtain.


Brandon Ellis  16:23  

How close they are together.


Dave Rice  16:22  

Right. Yep. So, the wider the beam spacing, technically the further away the light curtain has to be from the hazard. And then the other constant is the which OSHA said, I think it's either OSHA or ANSI says that the approach speed for somebody, you know, coming into that light curtain is 63 inches per second. So


Beth Elliott  16:45  

It's very exact.


Dave Rice  16:46  

Yeah, yes, that's very. So, 63 inches a second is the standard for when somebody is approaching the light curtain, that's the speed to assume that they're approaching that light curtain. And then you know, what is the resolution between the beams and then the response time of the of the overall system will dictate how far that device should be from the individual hazard pinch plate. 


Brandon Ellis  17:14  

And so that comes into play with both safety scanners and light curtains. So


Dave Rice  17:18  

Yeah, the only other thing is safety scanners are a little bit more, the equation is a little bit more difficult. Because usually you're scanning parallel to the hazard rather than perpendicular to it. Whereas a light curtain is mounted usually vertically. And the hazard is, you know, beyond that vertical screen, let's say, whereas a safety scanner most often is mounted on the floor and scanning a given area, almost like a mat, a virtual mat along the floor. So, it's kind of a different way to think about the same process. But the height of the safety scanner also comes into play in terms of its equation, but it's using the same variables. It's just a different way to calculate it.


Brandon Ellis  18:03  

Right. And so, safety scanners work a little differently than light because a safety scanner looks like a Mr. Coffee coffee machine. That's what I think of.


Dave Rice  18:14  

It does. Yep. 


Brandon Ellis  18:16  

Where, you know, so what it's doing is it's actually taking a single laser. And that laser is coming down on a mirror that's spinning and so it's scanning really fast. And so even though it's one laser beam, it's moving. It's not 360 degrees, but what with Datalogic, what's your all's maximum 270 or 


Dave Rice  18:38  



Brandon Ellis  18:39  

275, so 200 almost I mean close. So, it's looking out from the Mr. Coffeemaker and this this laser beam is going is shooting out. And think of sonar like with you know, how sonar works, you send us a sound out, and then you're looking for the echo response, well, we call that time of flight. And so that that light sensor that's picking up the reflection of the laser, is we know when it went out, and we know how long it took to come back. So, we can tell if something's with, you know, how close something is, within the distance range. And so, you can do some really cool tricks with that, in that a light curtain is pretty much a light curtain. Now there's things you can do with light curtains, you can do blanking where you basically say, there, here's an area, so many beams that we are going to ignore all the time. You can do muting where you say we're only going to ignore them at certain times during certain operations. And that's, that's really it, right with a light curtain? And those are the primary things tricks that we can do with a light curtain.


Beth Elliott  19:44  

I read about


Dave Rice  19:44  

Yeah, I would say that's pretty fair. Yep.


Brandon Ellis  19:46  

What were you gonna say? 


Beth Elliott  19:47  

There's I read about a couple other things when I was working on the Datalogic page, but I can't remember what they were. 


Brandon Ellis  19:55  

All right. 


Beth Elliott  19:55  

My bad.


Brandon Ellis  19:56  



Beth Elliott  19:56  

I thought it was like, 


Brandon Ellis  19:58  

When you're doing the grids.


Beth Elliott  19:59  

Oh, okay. 


Brandon Ellis  20:00  

Is that what you're talking about?


Beth Elliott  20:00  

The cascading or?


Dave Rice  20:03  

Cascading. Yep. So, you could attach multiple light curtains together to make like an L or something like that which you usually see in like a weld cell, where you know, you have a rotating table or something like that, that operators or, or a robot is putting parts on. But there's a, you know, a horizontal element to the area that you're trying to guard in addition to a vertical element. So, you can cascade light curtains to make like an L shape. So, you have more than just a single plane. And that's what they call cascading usually in most brands.


Brandon Ellis  20:35  

So that's cool. That's great. So that's another cool trick you can do with light curtains because if you are doing the blank, the blanking that I was talking about, if it's just if it's just one light curtain pair, then you're blanking as far left or right if they're if they're in the vertical orientation as far as left and right as that many beams, but if you have the cascading now you have beams coming vertically and horizontally. So, you can say I'm muting this many horizontal beams and this many vertical beams and now you are muting a square or rectangle essentially, in space, So 


Beth Elliott  21:14  

Muting or blanking?


Brandon Ellis  21:15  

I'm sorry, blanking.


Beth Elliott  21:17  



Brandon Ellis  21:17  

Did I say muting? 


Dave Rice  21:18  



Brandon Ellis  21:19  

So, so that that means that if a lot of times with a robot, or if what I've seen before is long metal, in this case, if a piece of long metal is coming through into a work cell, it's you can open like a six-inch by six-inch window and say anything passing through that six-inch window is okay, we'll ignore it. But if anything breaks any beams outside of that six-inch square in space, then it's a safety hazard, we'll shut the machine down. So that's a trick that you can do with cascading,


Beth Elliott  21:55  



Brandon Ellis  21:56  

Light scanners, you can draw some crazy looking zones, to say, we're going to look way out over here on this side from, you know, 45 degrees out to 180 degrees. And then we're going to come way in and say, okay, we don't really care much on this here. And then we're gonna go back out real far until we can just like putting tape on the floor. And saying, if you step over this line


Beth Elliott  22:23  

Then the machine shuts off


Brandon Ellis  22:24  

The machine's gonna shut down. And then you can go outside of that and create warning zones. So, you can say, if you come in, not beyond that line that you put on the floor, so to speak, but out another layer, an outer layer and say if you come in here, we're gonna we're gonna flashlights or as you like to say, 


Beth Elliott  22:42  

Shock 'em.


Brandon Ellis  22:43  

Shock 'em. We're going to alert the person to say you're getting close. And if you keep coming close, we'll shut you down. So, these are things you can do with safety scanners that are really cool. That you can't really you can't really do that with a light curtain, not easily.


Dave Rice  22:58  

Correct. Yep, yeah, they're different kinds of applications, I think of to. And the other way, a light curtain, or a I'm sorry, safety scanner is, is beneficial to is when you start thinking about whether or not you need an automatic or manual reset to, you know, clear the light curtain or clear the safety scanner, once it's become unblocked. With a safety scanner scanning, you know, parallel to the floor. If you have a safety scanner mounted inside of a robot cell, it can tell that somebody entered the cell and has kept being inside the cell. Whereas with a light curtain, once you pass that light curtain unless there's a horizontal element to it as well, if you just have a vertical light curtain, and you walk past that light curtain, there's no way for the light curtain to know that you've gone past it. It doesn't differentiate it going through it one direction versus through it another direction. So, the light curtain doesn't know that you're still inside the machine, whereas the safety scanner would. So, a lot of times a safety scanner can negate the need for the auto or for the manual reset, because once you clear the safety scanner, it knows you're out of the machine rather than inside of it.


Brandon Ellis  24:10  

That's a great point. That's a great point. So again, talking about a room. So here in elliTek's podcasting studio, we have one door, you go in and go out that door. If I had a safety scanner, a light curtain there, I could tell when you broke it, but I couldn't tell if you walked through or not. Did you just step into the doorway?


Dave Rice  24:33  

Or did you step out? Yeah. 


Brandon Ellis  24:34  

Or did you go all the way through and inside the room? A safety scanner, what he's saying would if it was mounted in such a way that it's scanning the entire floor. Unless you're levitating, I'm gonna be able to see your legs or something like that to know that there's something in this room. And then I would paint, you know, when I was talking about putting the line on the floor, I basically would create it to say I don't care once you're outside of the doorway, I'm going to ignore that. But if you come inside the door, I can see that. So, with the light curtain what we have to do, and this is a great segue because it takes us into the sentiment of a safety category. But the most basic safety category with light curtains, you have to have a means of resetting. So, when you break the light curtain, which means that you've broken one of the beams that are deemed to be, you know, we don't want these broken.


Beth Elliott  24:39  



Brandon Ellis  24:46  

Yeah, they're important, or the machine is in a state that says I'm not muting, I'm watching the beam. So, once you, once those beams are broken. And again, this is usually during a processing type safety movement. Remember I said there was not starting, you know, the safety that keeps the machine process from beginning.


Beth Elliott  25:53  



Brandon Ellis  25:54  

And then there's a safety process that the process is underway. And we want to arrest the process to take it to a safe state. Those are kind of two different flavors. Usually, in the case where you have a process that's already underway, which means if you break the safety light curtain, we need to arrest the process to make it safe. Once that takes place, then you have to and now everybody's clear, and it's time to restart the process. Before we can't just come out of the curtain and say, okay, it's not blocked anymore start again. That's the automatic reset that he's talking about. You can't do that. We used to do that a couple of decades ago all the time. But now we can't. And that falls under the safety categories, which are putting into place I guess, by OSHA in the United States, but that basically says that if you break it, when you come back out of it, you have to physically press a button at the very least, and reset everything.


Beth Elliott  26:54  

Okay, gotcha. 


Dave Rice  26:55  

Unless you're talking like an in like an application like an assembly machine where you have a machine frame, that's, you know, a small opening and operators are loading parts in and out of a nest or fixture, obviously, then you know that you haven't gone past the light curtain because you're not gonna, you're not, you know, no one is stepping into that fixture. I mean, you can't get past that. So, somebody's arm would go in and out of it. So usually in like those assembly loading stations, usually those are applications with light curtains that are automatic reset, because there's no way to get past the light curtain without the machine without, you know, it's too small of an area basically. Whereas you have a robot cell. And if you have a light curtain on the entry to the robot cell, sure somebody could walk into the robot cell, and you wouldn't necessarily know about it with a light curtain once they've, you know, gone past the light curtain. It would know that it broke, but it didn't know which way it was the person was traveling. 


Beth Elliott  27:57  



Brandon Ellis  27:57  

Right, so he I agree with 100% with what he said, but I know from experience, it really comes down to the subjective nature of safety. And that comes down to one thing and this is the point I want to I want us to segue into is who's responsible for deciding what is safe, and what is not safe, because we have some customers, our customers, elliTek customers that say that if the light curtain is broken, even if it's a small machine, it has to be part of a multi button reset. And we get in conversations all the time about well, if you do that every time sometimes, again, if the machine, if the process is not running, they're having to load the parts. You don't want to have them load the parts and then come out and do a multi button reset and then hit cycle start every time.


Beth Elliott  28:46  

That'd be time consuming.


Dave Rice  28:48  

Right. Yep. 


Brandon Ellis  28:49  

So again, it comes down to subjective, the subjective nature. That is the responsibility of the organization. It's not OSHA's responsibility, OSHA sets guidelines. It's certainly not TOSHA's responsibility, they also honor the guidelines and then maybe add to them, or WOSHA if there is such a thing. But it does fall down on the organization. And so, when we were talking, Dave, you and I were talking about this session, before we hit record, you taught me a new term. Do you remember that term? 


Dave Rice  29:26  



Brandon Ellis  29:26  

Onus, and I had not 


Beth Elliott  29:28  

That's a good one. We need a sound effect for that.


Brandon Ellis  29:32  

Onus. It sounds like a very legal term. But


Dave Rice  29:38  

Probably because it is.


Brandon Ellis  29:39  

Yeah. Is that what it is? Because it's not an acronym.


Dave Rice  29:41  

I mean, the onus or the responsibility, however you want to call it yep.


Brandon Ellis  29:49  

We do a lot with acronyms around here. But onus is not an acronym. I think it's a it's really a derived from a legal term. Whose responsibility is it? And so, one of the when you when you and I were talking about that was you had mentioned that it's different. There's some differences between the US and Europe.


Dave Rice  30:08  

Yes. So, I've worked for the company I work for now is Italian, so they're European. And then the company I used to work with was Japanese. And both of those companies, you know, I'm kind of taking it word of mouth sort of thing for my colleagues in overseas. But with both of those companies, they said, the US is a little bit different that usually in Europe and in Japan, that there is a different sense of responsibility that falls on the machine builder, providing the machine to make it safe through directives and whatnot. Whereas with the US, it's thought of to be on the end user to take the machine and make it safe. So yeah, that's just got me I haven't, you know, sold safety systems into the EU or Japan or anything like that. I'm just kind of taking it from what I've heard my colleagues say that, that it is different in the US versus the EU, or Japan.


Brandon Ellis  31:08  

Well, and of course, we are here in the United States, so that's interesting. I didn't realize. So, in Europe, I can guess I can see that Europe and in Asia, that it would, everyone would think that the machine builder or the OEM, or the manufacturer of the equipment. And we have that here in the United States. I'm not gonna I'm not gonna say that, that, that it's not our responsibility to make sure our equipment is safe. But deciding the definitive decision of what's safe and what's not safe definitely in the US, falls that the onus falls upon the organization that is getting the equipment. And so that was kind of new for me, because I haven't sold a lot. I'm sold, not directly, I don't think we've sold we sell individual data products. But that doesn't really, we're not selling robots and things of that nature into the European market.


Dave Rice  32:00  

Workstation. Yeah, you're not selling workstations. And yeah, right.


Brandon Ellis  32:04  

So that's a good point. So, I appreciate I appreciated that when you told me that. And I appreciate you sharing that with us. And everybody that's listening as well. So that said safety categories. There are four of them. And we were talking briefly about these, the categories kind of are based upon the chance of inflicting damage, I guess, maybe is how I would say that how unsafe or no, not how unsafe, but how much damage can be caused?


Dave Rice  32:33  

Yeah, risk level. So, the severity of the injury that we deem would happen if somebody were to be unsafe, and then the likelihood that it is happening, kind of a trade-off. Yep.


Brandon Ellis  32:47  

So, it might be extremely unsafe. But as Dave pointed out, if it's in a part of the machine, that you physically, a human being physically cannot fit into, then the risk level is considered fairly low. But if it's the sawblade scenario, that, you know, you can't, you know, it's big, it's cutting, you know, huge logs or something like that. And there's just saw blade teeth flying everywhere. And it needs to be big, because it's a large process, then now, all of a sudden, that would, could potentially require what we would call category safety category four, which is a very high risk level, and a good chance that that someone could get into the bad part of the machine.


Beth Elliott  33:30  

So, four is highest? 


Dave Rice  33:32  

Worst, correct.


Brandon Ellis  33:33  

Four is the top. And so, from a hard guarding standpoint, the way I describe four is safety category four usually falls to what we talked about earlier with the hard guards that are actually have actuators that lock them, just like door locks, and also have the lockout tagout requirements or the keys the safety keys that Dave referred to. Those types of things where the machine has to be absolutely unable, physically, electrically, unable to start. 


Beth Elliott  34:05  



Dave Rice  34:05  

Yep, and light curtain there are light curtains that I mean, a lot of what we see in the US. This is one thing that's different, too. I mean, I think we sell a lot more light curtains that are category four in the US than in, at least in Europe. Because I know Datalogic as a whole makes a pretty good point about selling their category two light curtains which they also have. But in the US at least we see more category four light curtains. So, there are light curtains that are category four. The main difference between a category four light curtain and a category two light curtain is that a category four light curtain is completely self-checking. Its safety outputs are turning on and off constantly. And the internal workings of a light curtain are actually self-checking those safety outputs to make sure they're turning on and off at just an extremely fast rate just to make sure that they're changing states. But it's too fast for the safety relay or the safety PLC to pick up. That's why it doesn't constantly turn on and off. But internally with a light curtain, it's checking that and it's checking that at a rate that's guaranteed to be faster than the response time of the unit. A category two light curtain does the same thing. But it checks those safety outputs at a much slower rate such that there could be a failure, and the light curtain wouldn't catch itself within the guaranteed response time of the unit. So, it's doing the same thing, just doing it slower. So that's the main difference between a category two and a category four light curtain. So, there's certainly are category four light curtains. But there are also category two light curtains and I would say we see more category four light curtains in the US for whatever reason. Yep.


Beth Elliott  35:53  

Oh, okay. For what I didn't know, if maybe Europe had they had to have hard guards for category four.


Dave Rice  35:59  

No, it's not a specification that you have to have hard guarding for category four. Category four, I mean, there, like I said, there are light curtains that are category four. And, you know, in the US, that's what we stock here in the US is all category four light curtains, because that's what you see 95% of the time here in the US. But certainly, in Europe, we stock more category two.


Brandon Ellis  36:22  

I guess in the United States, it's go big or go home.


Dave Rice  36:31  

Exactly. Which So yeah, I mean, that's just a difference between the two. But yeah, with the light curtains, it comes down to you know, there's more of a structure to detect those faults that could occur with a category four than a category two.


Brandon Ellis  36:48  

That's good to know. I honestly, I had forgotten about that. That there were that that it was possible to do a category safety category four rating on a light curtain. And I'm sorry. You had told me that before, and I forgot. So


Dave Rice  37:02  

No, that's okay. It's, I mean, it's, like I said, it's, I think a little strange to the people in our headquarters in Italy, I think is usually surprised when we sell more category four than then category two, but that's what we stock the most of here in the US.


Brandon Ellis  37:19  

That's what, that's what I would, that's what I would feel better with. But so there we go. So, we have the safety category, safety category four, as you pointed out, Beth, is the highest, I mean, the most intense. Safety category one is the lowest, which means that any chance of damage. So, my scenario, I talked about the sawblade then I talked about a small little, you know, fixture press or something that wasn't really doing much, it's not moving very far, if the light curtains are broken, or the safety device is broken, we can shut it down very quickly before anybody gets there. It's back in the machine as Dave pointed out. So, it's not like you can walk in and get in there and stay in there with it. So that would definitely fall under safety category one. And because it's negligible, well, I shouldn't say definitely, I would think that it would fall into that. Again, the onus is on the organization. And they may their safety coordinator may say uhuh that's a two or three, you never know. But that's my definition of a negligible safety category one is, the chances of getting to the point, or getting to the point won't really hurt you. But we want something there. And so that safety category one, and then two and three, and two and three are between those, of course.


Dave Rice  38:37  

Yeah. And for to reach cat. I mean, this for the sake of the, you know, light curtains that we were talking about, if you wanted to put that in relation to a safety scanner, what is the highest safety category a safety scanner could achieve on a machine, it's actually category three. There is no category four or there is no safety scanner that could achieve category four safety. And that just has to do with the nature of the safety scanner being not a - well, I shouldn't say this is definitive. This is what I've been told. It has to do with the safety scanner being a reflective device rather than a through beam style device. So, there's two paths of travel that the light curtain has to take. And depending on the target that it hits off of, you know, being relatively subjective, it could scatter the light and, you know, one in a million scenario or something like that. That's what I've been told is the difference between the light curtain and the safety scanner as to why a safety scanner cannot be category four.


Brandon Ellis  39:41  

Well, that makes sense. Whether that's actually the case or not, I'm going with it. So


Dave Rice  39:46  

Yeah, I don't I should look that up. I actually have never done the research on that. And relying on word of mouth over, you know, 10 years at two different organizations that sell similar stuff. So, but well maybe look into that a little bit more after this.


Brandon Ellis  40:03  

Well, the takeaways are it's subjective as to the category. It's subjective as to what is considered safe. But the onus, we're in the United States anyway, falls upon the organization that's getting the equipment. And then if it's safety category four, you better pay attention. 


Dave Rice  40:20  



Brandon Ellis  40:20  

So that said, let's, let's keep rolling on. So, this is a great conversation. What types of, we were talking about example applications, and what we may use, in terms of some applications, it just makes more sense to use a hard guard, some applications may make more sense to use the light-based safety. And so, we probably talked about a few of those already. But let's just review those, a couple of those really quickly. So, one of the things is robot cells. We already talked about robot cells. Most industrial robot cells, it's going to be a combination. That's what we see the most of hard guard around certain areas, maybe door switches, magnetic door switches, and things of that nature. But on the front end, either another process is introducing product or a person is introducing product or taking product away. And so usually, that's where we would put at the very least, and most commonly, we would put light curtain, I think.


Dave Rice  41:22  

Yep, yeah, the other thing to consider too is, you know, you know, space on the floor, and both of them both, whether you're talking a light curtain, or a Safety scanner, or hard guarding, you know, take up space, there's just a, because with the safety scanner, a light curtain, you do have to factor in that safety distance. So, you can't just put the safety scanner or the light curtain, around the exact point that fits into your space. You have to put it at a distance that is deemed safe, which might stick out a little bit more than is an ideal fit. But then you think about the hard guarding as well, that takes up space, too. But that might be a factor and considerations. How much space do you have on the floor as to what makes more sense. But yeah, you're certainly right, with, you know, a large robot cell, usually you're gonna see at least two sides of it hard guarded with a cage, maybe three sides of it. And then the front, usually you would probably see a light curtain or a safety scanner or something like that. 


Dave Rice  41:28  

Or both if it's a large robot.


Dave Rice  41:30  

Or both. Yep. 


Brandon Ellis  42:26  

Again, if you're, if you're walking in, if you can walk in with it. If it's a robot that's on a pedestal, or on some type of a table or table, it's a small, small, you know, what we would refer to as a small industrial, you know, three foot by three-foot type work area or something like that, then usually, you don't have to worry about having a scanner or anything inside. Because again, you can't really fit in there physically and not be sticking out through the opening, which means you broke the light curtain. 


Dave Rice  42:56  

Yeah, right. 


Brandon Ellis  42:56  

But if it's a large robot, and some of the larger robots that many people do, that we do, you can get in there with it and beyond the light curtain, easily and the light curtain be made behind you basically all the beams unbroken while you're still inside. And so that's where the safety scanner, sometimes we do both. 


Beth Elliott  43:14  

Okay. What other what other application examples like, Is there something with palletizing? And conveyors or anything like that?


Dave Rice  43:23  

Yeah. So, if you're talking like material handling, you had mentioned, I mean, that certainly is an application that lends itself to one side of the light, or one side of the cell being open and guarded by a light curtain or a safety scanner. Because, you know, if you have a palletizing cell, you have a flow of material that's usually traveling in a conveyor, that's obviously not going to be passing by hard guarding, it's physically impossible for it to pass through that. So, you need to have an opening with a light curtain or a safety scanner to allow that product to go through. But that's also an application that usually lends itself well to muting, which you talked about a little bit earlier. Whether you're doing that with a safety scanner or light curtain, it's done exactly the same way with both, but the idea is that you have sensors, or maybe a safety PLC, that tell the device the light curtain or the safety scanner that there are products in front of it, but I don't want to detect those products. I just want to detect, you know, something on top of those products. So, it allows the product the pallet of material through but doesn't trip the light curtain or doesn't trip the safety scanner. So that that's usually an application that lends itself to a muting light curtain or muted, muted safety scanner.


Brandon Ellis  44:44  

And so, then we come to Brandology, collaborative robots. Dave, I have said over and over and over again that I've never seen a collaborative robot use collaboratively. In fact, they always have usually not light curtains but safety scanners.


Dave Rice  45:03  



Brandon Ellis  45:04  

What say Ye?


Dave Rice  45:06  

Well, the idea behind a robot is, you know, it doesn't need, or a collaborative robot I should say, that it doesn't need as much safety. And that that's certainly true. But you also have to factor into, what is it carrying, if it's carrying something that's heavy, if it's carrying something that's sharp, if it's carrying something that could potentially damage somebody, it still needs to be guarded. And if it's traveling over somebody's head, or I think it's above, you know, a certain level like shoulder level that it also needs to be guarded too. So, there's certainly a lot of scenarios that still lend itself that still require it to be to be guarded. And I would say Datalogic as a whole, to just do a little plug has been very successful guarding collaborative robots. And that's mainly with safety scanners, because we have one model that is specific, not specific to a collaborative robot. But 95% of these safety scanner models that we sell are for collaborative robots. And I say that because it has ways to utilize the collaboratives E-stop condition, the collaboratives slow down condition, and the collaboratives pause condition, all at the same time. Which you know, usually require each one of those usually requires a redundant set of safety outputs in order to get the robot to slow down, pause, and certainly e-stop. And one of our safety scanners that we have has that so there is a model of safety scanner that we've been extremely successful selling for guarding collaborative robots, even though collaborative robots, by their definition are supposed to be more safe that they might not need them.


Brandon Ellis  46:49  

So, what you're saying is you agree with my Brandology?


Dave Rice  46:53  

Yes, for sure. I mean


Brandon Ellis  46:56  

Yes. All right. 


Dave Rice  46:58  

I see it all the time. I mean, I shouldn't say I see it all the time these days, because it's been, you know, nine months or whatever it's been since I've, you know, seen customers on a daily basis. But yeah, pre COVID. I would say, yeah, there weren't too many days that would go by where I saw a collaborative robot that was truly being collaborative.


Beth Elliott  47:17  

Hey, Dave, can you what is that safety scanner that Datalogic makes for that? 


Dave Rice  47:20  

It's, yeah, it's called the, it's the Laser Sentinel Enhanced. And this specific model that it comes in a three-meter model, depending on how far the range needs to be, and then also a five-and-a-half-meter model. But it's the M3 or the M5 17 08. And it's, part of the SLS, the Safety Laser Sentinel is our series, and then it's the enhanced model. And it's different than the rest because it has three sets, independent sets of safety outputs. So, one safety, one set of safety outputs can be tied to the robots slow down condition, another set of safety outputs can be tied to the pause condition, and then the other set of safety outputs can be tied to the e-stop condition. So that when somebody steps in each of those specific zones that are tied to those conditions, the robot responds accordingly.


Beth Elliott  48:20  

That's smart.


Brandon Ellis  48:21  

Okay, so that said, of course, our podcast, we pride ourselves on not being salesy, but I have been really just blown away with some of the cool stuff that Datalogic is doing in safety stuff. So just like you're talking about with the SLS, that, you know, being kind of built for the collaboratives. Any other safety specific products that are new for 2021 that or even came new in 2020? Might as well, we nobody got to see anything in 2020.


Dave Rice  48:54  

Yeah, right. Exactly. It's new to most people.


Brandon Ellis  48:57  

Are there two or three things that I that I don't know about? That, that you do that you might want to tell us about really quickly?


Dave Rice  49:04  

Yeah, I there's, I mean, there's one thing that we have that I always make a point of telling people, that's pretty, that's pretty cool that we've actually had out for a while. It's nothing new, but it's a light curtain. And a traditional light curtain, you know, you have a transmitter and a receiver, and both of them are electronic. Right. So, you have an electronic transmitter and electronic receiver. We have on a light curtain that where the receiver is technically not electronic, so it doesn't have any wires going to it. 


Brandon Ellis  49:33  



Dave Rice  49:33  

So, for applications 


Brandon Ellis  49:34  



Dave Rice  49:35  

Yeah, so for applications where you need that light curtain, but you don't want to route cables, you know, all over the place to have the receiver run, you know, 60 feet of cable back to the panel. There's a style of light curtain where we have just the receiver doesn't have any power to it. It's just dumb, and all the brains is actually in a transceiver. So that's something not many people know about, but I like that tell people it's out there because it's pretty slick. It's really good for robotic applications as well as those applications, those palletizing and material handling applications that require muting because it has those that has that muted those muting inputs as well.


Brandon Ellis  50:16  

So, it works like a basically a retro reflective-type sensor would, a photo sensor would work?


Dave Rice  50:21  

Correct. Yep. But it's an array. It's a safety rated array. Yep. 


Brandon Ellis  50:25  

So, an array of those sensors. That's really that's really a cool idea.


Dave Rice  50:30  

Yeah, it, it's, it's one of my favorite products that we have, but not many people know about it. The limitations on it are the res, you know, we talked about the resolution on light curtains being a factor for your safety distance. The resolution on these guys is such that we call them body safe. So, they're not going to be used for applications where we're trying to detect or prevent fingers or hands or something like that. They're going to be used in robotic applications where we're trying to protect somebody from entering a cell, not just an individual fixture or something like that.


Brandon Ellis  51:05  

Because the beam spacing is so wide.


Dave Rice  51:07  



Brandon Ellis  51:07  



Dave Rice  51:08  

Yeah, exactly.


Brandon Ellis  51:08  

Which it would have to be because you're doing a reflective type thing.


Dave Rice  51:11  

Exactly. Because the more with that reflective curtain, there's more chance that the beam would, you know, interfere with each other if they're that close together.


Beth Elliott  51:20  

What else do you got up your sleeve there, Dave?


Dave Rice  51:23  

So, I've heard some rumblings in the, some safety over Ethernet stuff that's coming. So, if you're doing like, you know, customers are using safety PLCs from Siemens or Allen Bradley. There's some stuff in the works for not released yet. But stuff in the works for Safety over Ethernet, whether it's PROFIsafe or CIP Safety. And then I've also heard rumblings about some safety stuff with IO-Link. 


Brandon Ellis  51:53  



Dave Rice  51:54  

Yep, I know you guys you guys. I thought might be interested in that. So


Brandon Ellis  51:57  

Yeah, we do a lot with IO-link. Yeah, we do. 


Dave Rice  52:00  

So that is in the works, too. But you didn't hear it from me.


Brandon Ellis  52:05  



Beth Elliott  52:06  

We won't tell anyone.


Brandon Ellis  52:07  

Except they did. 


Dave Rice  52:09  

Yeah, right, exactly.


Brandon Ellis  52:10  

Hey, man, I appreciate you sharing some of that stuff. So that guy's really 


Beth Elliott  52:14  

That's cool. 


Brandon Ellis  52:14  

Beth, I'm hearing this for the first time. So, you heard it. You heard it here first, guys. That's awesome. Um, so we're gonna start wrapping up here we're coming in on the top of our program. Datalogic's portfolio I have, as we've done various and various and sundry of these podcasts. I have mentioned Datalogic by name multiple times in multiple for multiple products, the vision systems, the barcode scanning systems, the safety stuff is fantastic. We have just had such good luck with them from an integration and machine building standpoint. The barcode scanners tie straight into our MES Gateway, our IIoTA products and things of that nature. We I just really have become quite the fan of Datalogic as far as all the products that we partner with, but Datalogic is certainly one of our, our top lines that we that we partner with. And so, there's safety, which we've gone through today. But I want to just mention some of the other portfolio because I see us doing podcast in the future. So, as you're listening to this, there's a comment section. Give us some comments if any of these sound really good to you. We want to I'd like to hear back and I'm sure Beth would as well, as we are planning in the future. I'm not sure that that Dave would be our guest but someone from Datalogic might be. But that's vision systems, the barcode scanning systems 1d and 2d and then also laser marking systems. And that's one that that I don't know that a lot of people realize that Datalogic does is laser marking. But you're if you're going to read a code, you have to first write the code. And we were talking in our fd, our FDA FSMA podcast about the Food Safety Modernization Act.


Dave Rice  54:04  



Brandon Ellis  54:06  



Dave Rice  54:06  

All those buzzwords. Yep. 


Brandon Ellis  54:08  

And so I was like, are you going to be able to laser etch a leafy green vegetable? So, we'll see. So 


Dave Rice  54:13  

Hey, we've done an egg before.


Beth Elliott  54:15  

Have you really? 


Dave Rice  54:16  



Beth Elliott  54:16  

Interesting. My goodness. 


Brandon Ellis  54:19  

Awesome. So, the Datalogic portfolio is certainly a great thing. Now Dave, you work a lot with the sensors, sensor group, and also the safety. But I did want to give a shout out to the to the other product lines in the portfolio, because we really, we really think a lot of you guys and what you can do.


Dave Rice  54:37  

Well, we certainly appreciate that. We'd like working with you too. And we'll continue to do so.


Brandon Ellis  54:41  

Well, you really will after you hit the Primetime of "Industrial Automation - It Doesn't Have To."


Dave Rice  54:45  

All right. I'll be looking for those reviews, those sky-high reviews flying in now.


Brandon Ellis  54:49  

Yeah, yeah. You may have reporters on your lawn.


Dave Rice  54:51  

Yeah. This is my big break.


Brandon Ellis  54:54  

That's right. So, guys, if you get a chance to check it out. It's, Dave, I really appreciate you taking some minutes with us today and your insights and your expertise. Beth, as always, I appreciate you. is our website and elliTek


Beth Elliott  55:14  

And I've made a new page on it. 


Brandon Ellis  55:16  



Beth Elliott  55:17  

For the podcast. So, if you go to you can just slash podcast, and it's right there, all the episodes. You can subscribe to our RSS feed and you can find us on all your favorite streaming apps. And you can also find us on Facebook at elliTek hyphen, Inc. on LinkedIn, and on Facebook and did I say Twitter.


Brandon Ellis  55:44  

Twitter. Yeah. If you want to follow me, what's my my 


Beth Elliott  55:47  

You're boss hog. 


Brandon Ellis  55:48  

I'm da boss hog. The daboss underscore hogg with two GS, at the boss hogg. Guys, Thank you very much. Dave once again. 


Beth Elliott  55:58  

Yes, thank you, Dave. 


Brandon Ellis  56:00  

Beth, thank you. 


Dave Rice  56:00  

Sure. Thank you.


Brandon Ellis  56:01  

Thank you for being here. Because it's always so much better when you're here. And Dave, thanks for making it better too and so "Industrial Automation - It Doesn't Have To... Be Unsafe"


Beth Elliott  56:17  

With Datalogic 


Brandon Ellis  56:18  

With Datalogic. Yeah. Thanks, Beth. Thanks, Dave. See ya guys.


Transcribed by

What is Industrial Safety?
Types of Safety Systems - hard guarding
Types of Safety System - light guarding
Differences between Safety Scanner and Light Curtains
Cool Tricks with Light Curtains
Crazy Zones with Light Scanners
The Subjective Nature of Safety
Safety Categories
Application Examples - light versus hard guarding