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Safety technology always has to meet the challenges of its application. In the name of our customers we therefore always think several steps ahead. Every single project is a challenge requiring the perfect solution regarding automated safety. We can demonstrate our ability by citing customer success stories across different industries.
Freezer rooms have become an integral part of our everyday lives. When it comes to foodstuffs, maintaining cold chains is the decisive factor for product quality. Amongst other things, cool it Isoliersysteme GmbH has set itself the task of manufacturing the best possible freezer room doors and the company places its trust here in sensors and door controls from ASO Safety Solutions. The cold environment left the engineers with only a little room for manoeuvre yet they fully exploited what was available.
There are three principles that need to be observed under all circumstances when dealing with foodstuffs: the cold chain, hygiene and once again the cold chain. For freezer room doors from cool it to support these principles, it requires the orchestration of a delicate symphony of mechanics and electronics.
In order to protect the users of doors and gates against mechanical impact, ASO Safety Solutions produce safety contact edges made out of elastomers, or in other words: plastic.
If contact is made with an obstacle, the contact edge is triggered and stops the dangerous movement of the door or gate in fractions of a second. Everybody is familiar with the influence that temperature can have on plastic in everyday life: it becomes softer in warm temperatures and harder when the temperature drops. Extremely low temperature ranges naturally also have an influence on the stiffness of the safety contact edges used by cool it. Quote from cool it: “In those freezer rooms where cool it doors are used, the temperature can easily drop to -30 °C. This can be described with no hesitation as extreme environmental conditions.”
In order to safeguard the crushing and shearing points for cool it doors, ASO had to reduce the hardness of the self-extruded SENTIR edge 35.85 contact edges to generate sufficient switching action on the profile. Consequently, ASO were able to develop a contact edge that was significantly softer across its entire structure than would have been necessary in more moderate temperature ranges. The power measurements on the doors were more than positive as a result. They fell significantly below the stipulated maximum value of 400 newtons (the maximum force recommended by the German statutory accident insurance system) even at -25°C.
Yet it is not only plastic that finds it difficult in cold environments, these types of low temperatures also pose a challenge for electronic components. Therefore, it was not only necessary to adapt the contact edges to the extreme conditions in the freezer room but also the control systems for the doors. Even the smallest components in the DRICO door controls were tested for their material properties. For example, the crystals in the LCD display could freeze, which is why a 7-segment display was fitted instead.
Another difficulty that can arise in combination with the cold is the potential for the door to freeze shut. Therefore, the drive system must generate sufficient force when operated to also move a door in a frozen state in an emergency. “It was important for us to develop a higher torque at a lower frequency. After considering the issue together, we jointly decided with cool it to have a direct drive”, is how ASO Developer Reinhard Schade describes the approach used to find the right solution.
In order to minimise the work for the fitters and service personnel at cool it, a particular focus was placed on ensuring easy fitting and repair on-site. It was possible to keep the fitting work to a minimum by preassembling the DRICO door controls and the drive. A mounting plate, which is fitted between the control and the drive, also offers the additional possibility of separate dismantling. This simplifies the service work significantly.
The realisation of technical requirements is only one of the challenges within this type of project. Another is the organisation of the quantitative workflows and guaranteeing quality standards. In order to not only effectively but also efficiently manage the project with cool it, ASO put its entire processes to the test. It was possible to make concrete deductions for the production of the DRICO door controls as a result.
As a consequence, ASO set up the Electronic Test Field Department where the DRICO door controls were assessed using automatic diagnostic programmes and thoroughly put through their paces on special test stands.
The cooperation with cool it demonstrates very clearly what a difference the ASO concept of “Partner in Performance” makes: A perfect solution can only come to light when the problem has been fully understood. Therefore, we are delighted to also forge new paths together with our customer and jointly develop new solutions.
cool it Isoliersysteme GmbH
Door and gate systems
Products and services:
Hinged doors, swing doors, sliding doors, fire doors, vertical lift gates, rapid roll gates and accessories
Number of employees:
Approx. 200 employees
Task and objective:
Fitting cool it doors with cold-resistant safety contact edges and door controls
SENTIR edge contact edges and DRICO door controls
Contact at ASO:
The balance between productivity and machine safety has been a perpetual challenge for every company in the mechanical engineering sector. In order to maintain this balance without neglecting the safety of operating personnel, HOMAG and ASO Safety Solutions joined forces to plan and develop a safety concept for the BMG range of CNC machining centres. The result meets both the requirements of the customer for high-tech machinery and the ambitious wish list in terms of design.
As a pioneer in the woodworking industry and a quality leader in its market, the HOMAG Group regards innovation as a commitment to the customer. Part of the innovation process is listening to requirements and meeting them in groundbreaking products. Groundbreaking not only in terms of productivity and efficiency, but also in terms of safety and user-friendliness. In order to be able to guarantee this combination of safety and productivity, ASO GmbH developed tactile sensors for HOMAG for inbuilt safety in its BMG 100/300/500/600 ranges.
Maximum radius of operation thanks to SENTIR bumper
SENTIR mat contact mats are often used for applications like those at HOMAG where they are laid in a row and monitor the area in front of a machine, acting as a familiar method of guaranteeing safety. „We wanted to enable open access to our machines. Large and heavy items routinely need to be positioned,“ explained Carsten Kanitz, Product Development CNC Processing, „and materials have to be transported to the machines on pallets or trolleys. Contact mats are a very reliable and safe way to protect entire areas, but we wanted to offer machine operators more comfort and more flexibility and allow them to use the machine without the interference of floor mats.“
So it quickly became clear that the obvious way forward was the SENTIR bumper safety contact bumper. Safety contact bumpers are used wherever sensors are expected to have long and convoluted travel distances. If the machine operator and machine gantry should collide, the sensor in the contact bumper will send a signal to the machine control unit and will, for example, trigger an emergency stop of the machine. At the same time, the bumper acts as a cushion, absorbing the impact and preventing worse things from happening.
Both the quality and the design of the HOMAG bumper are processed and finished to the nearest millimetre. The classic method of building bumpers is to make the height much greater than the area of the bumper. In this case, however, it was important to protect the entire front of the relevant machine consoles – a small paradigm shift which inevitably led to a complete rethink of the construction of the SENTIR bumper at ASO.
„At a mechanical level, one of the greatest challenges was to keep the switching action of the bumper constantly sensitive over its entire surface,“ said Markus Horstkemper, Head of Development at ASO, explaining the challenges of the project. „The interplay of all the materials is important here, starting with the special cover right through to the modified sensor elements.“ The demands on the outer covering in terms of resistance and mechanical properties of the SENTIR bumper therefore prompted ASO Safety Solutions to leave well-trodden paths and to try out a different route.
Sector of industry:
Products and services:
Woodworking systems, remote maintenance, servicing, assembly, repairs
Number of employees:
Brief and objective:
To equip CNC machining centres with an inexpensive and yet high-quality safety solution
SENTIR bumper surface switch sensor
ASO contact person:
AutomationDirect is a quickly growing company with a well-recognized name in the Industrial Automation Market. They were the first industrial controls company to successfully use a direct sales catalogue for PLC products and are now setting the standard in industrial control sales online. AutomationDirect has been selling safety components via their online channels for years now. This concept was new to ASO, as ASO had always sold safety products only after applications had been discussed in-depth to find the perfect and safest solutions; however, AutomationDirect has proven that online sales of safety products are in fact very possible, when the right customer base is reached.
AutomationDirect started selling safety products successfully in 2010. Since then, they have constantly increased their offering by adding new products. Safety mats and edges were on their radar for a while, but they hadn’t found the right combination of product and supplier that aligned with their vision. After an employee of AutomationDirects’ engineering team spoke highly of ASO products, having used them for years in the field, AutomationDirect reached out to ASO to learn more about the company and products in 2015. Their team liked the products and quickly realized ASO would be a great fit and both companies could benefit from a partnership moving forward. It took two meetings at ASO’s US headquarters in Rockaway, NJ and a trip to Germany to meet with ASO President and CEO Helmut Friedrich as well as the R&D department to come to an agreement to collaborate.
After finalizing contracts, choosing suitable products, designing adequate packaging and revising manuals to add disclaimers for end customers ensuring the safety of their applications and installations, AutomationDirect was getting ready to market ASO’s products online. They developed content for their website, product images and instructional videos to demonstrate the proper use of ASO’s safety products. In November 2017, a final inspection and approval took place at ASO’s US offices, and in December 2017, ASO’s safety products were launched on AutomationDirect.com.
The ASO portfolio on AutomationDirect.com consists of different size SENTIR-safety mats, with either molded ramp rail or corresponding aluminum trim kits. They also added bulk material for ASO’s SENTIR edges intended for self-assembly, plus cables, aluminum profiles, and pre-assembled SENTIR edge kits that include accessories (cables and aluminum profiles). To round up their offering of ASO products, AutomationDirect decided to also sell ASO’s safety relay ELMON rail 41-822, specifically developed for the US market, as well as other accessories.
After the launch, the sales of ASO safety products rapidly increased and have been consistently growing ever since. The collaboration between AutomationDirect’s team consisting of Andrew Waugh and Larry Reynolds and ASO continues to be fruitful and positive. “Since the start of our collaboration, working with ASO Safety Solutions has been extremely easy and rewarding. We don’t have much feedback from our customers, however this is considered great news as a majority of feedback is provided when an issue is at hand,” says Andrew Waugh, Product Manager for Sensor and Safety Components at AutomationDirect.
Both companies are very satisfied with the positive development and are looking forward to a continued fruitful business relationship. Due to all the success rates, there will likely be more ASO products to be added to AutomationDirect’s portfolio in the near future.
Cumming, Georgia, US
Direct sales of PLC products
Products and services:
Online shop and catalog for Safety Products, Programmable Controllers, Universal Field I/O, Software, Operator Interfaces, Drives, Motors and Motor Controls, Motion Control Products, Power Transmissions, Pneumatics, Process, Relays and Timers, Sensors, Pushbuttons, Switches and Lights, Terminal Blocks and Wiring, Communication, Power Products, Enclosures, Circuit Protection, Tools and Test Equipment
Task and objective for ASO and AutomationDirect:
Selecting suitable products from ASO’s product portfolio for direct online sale, designing adequate packaging and manuals
SENTIR mat safety mats, SENTIR edge safety edges, ELMON rail safety relays
Contact at ASO:
Simon Rockel, Svenja Sperlich