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Pilz Unveils Safety Solution for AMRs

The safeguard was developed by automation technology supplier Pilz to ensure an efficient flow of goods in production and logistics handled by complex Autonomous Mobile Robots.

Pilz

This content was written and submitted by the supplier. It has only been modified to comply with this publication’s space and style.

Pilz, a supplier of machine-safe automation technology, has developed a comprehensive safety solution in accordance with ISO 3691-4 for an efficient flow of goods in production and logistics handled by Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR). It consists of the safe small controller PNOZmulti 2 with new functionalities for synchronization monitoring and activation, the safety laser scanner PSENscan, and the industrial firewall SecurityBridge.

Freely navigating mobile platforms, AMRs can avoid obstacles or people without stopping. The required safety functions are complex. Particularly when cornering, it must be possible to switch between several protection zones to ensure that collisions are avoided.

With the new function blocks in the software tool PNOZmulti Configurator of the safe small controller PNOZmulti, synchronization of the axes on an AMR can be monitored reliably. The program function compares the encoder values of the two axes, enabling conclusions to be drawn about the mobile platform’s direction of movement.

With this information, the safe zone switching required can be implemented dynamically in the safety laser scanner PSENscan, the second component in Pilz’s safety solution. This also is made possible by the equally new PSENscan function block in the PNOZmulti Configurator. PSENscan can dynamically switch up to 70 protected fields using the “zone selection function.” At high speed, the protection zones are larger to ensure that obstacles are detected at an early stage. At slower speeds, they can be correspondingly shorter to keep downtime to a minimum.

The configurations created in the PSENscan Configurator can be imported and processed in the navigation computer for the freely navigating platform. The safety laser scanner PSENscan provides the laser beams’ distance data, for localization and navigation of the mobile application. Data transfer is via UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and can be queried via standard, open interfaces via a C++-Library or ROS (Robot Operating System). This gives users flexibility and makes it simple to create maps of the environment for navigation.  

As freely navigating platforms, AMRs communicate with their master controller by radio. This makes them vulnerable to external attack, leading to unauthorized data access or manipulation. Map data could be queried and in the worst-case scenario AMRs could even be shut down. The industrial firewall SecurityBridge protects the network from manipulation and ensures that no unauthorized person can access the mobile platform’s internal IT network during operation.

The solution for safeguarding complex AMRs expands the existing offer from Pilz for safeguarding track-bound Automated Guided Vehicle Systems (AGVs). For years Pilz also has supported operators of AGVs with a comprehensive range of services for implementing safe applications. Pilz’s offer starts with the development of safety concepts in the design phase and continues up to start up, or on request even up to the international conformity assessment, including training. 

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