“Zero Force” Optical Touch Button Control System Prevents Repetitive Motion Injuries
ROCKFORD, IL, FEBRUARY 1, 2023 — Rockford Systems, LLC, a global leader in machine safeguarding, today introduced a turnkey control system that ensures on-the-job safety for operators of table-top pneumatic presses, while also reducing their risk of tendon, nerve and neurovascular disorders. Comprised of a control module (GIC2501) and a control bar assembly (LLC2600) that is equipped with “zero force” two-hand control actuators and a twist-to-return emergency stop button, the system delivers on Rockford Systems’ promise of heightened productivity, safety and value.
Pneumatic presses are generally used in high volume, repetitive applications such as assembly, stamping, marking, forming, and punching. As a result, operators may be required to apply force on older styles of high-pressure spring loaded mechanical palm buttons hundreds or even thousands of times per day to manually actuate the press stroke. By integrating photoelectric-based sensors, instead of mechanical buttons, the Rockford Systems “zero force” two-hand control actuators eliminates painful stress on hands, wrists and arms that occurs from repeated pushing. A pulsed infrared beam spans the touch zone so that when the light beam is broken by the concurrent insertion of both the operator’s hands, the press solenoid is energized.
For maximum operator safety, hand insertion must be maintained by both hands during the hazardous portion of the cycle. The solenoid is de-energized when the operator removes one or both hands during the hazardous portion of the cycle, resulting in the cylinder retracting, and the press returning to a safe position. Pre-installed field covers protect the buttons and prevent inadvertent activation of the press. The system is immune to ambient light, EMI and RFI.
Both the control module and control bar assembly have compact footprints, allowing for either mounting on the press structure or for set-up on a table. To provide more comfortable positioning, the two pivoting “zero force” two-hand control actuators are adjustable depending on the press operator’s preference, while not providing for adjustment that would allow defeating. The only required wiring is with the factory-attached multi-conductor cabling that comes with the package. Cabling is inserted into a junction box mounted near the control bar, safely out of the way. It does not require complex logic functions, saving the end-user time and money, and making it an economic safeguarding solution for rebuilding older presses or in the construction of new OEM machines.
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