When design engineers become euphoric, there must be a good reason. Perhaps the latest safety controller from SICK that cleverly incorporates advantages? It is so safe and intelligent that a new word had to be invented for it: Flexi Soft. A solution that is flexible, scalable and easy to program using custom software – yet soft on the budget. New functionalities for networking safety stations, for cascading safety switches and sensors, as well as for integrating signals that are not safe now introduce even more flexibility into safe control technology.
Currently, one can discern three trends with respect to safety-capable control solutions: one aim is making it possible to achieve safe networking of modular machine components in a simple way. Beyond that, there are calls for economically efficient integration of safety switches and sensors into machine modules. Finally, another objective is being able to integrate even devices in non-safety-capable design in the most cost-effective way. The innovations of Flexi Soft fulfill these requirements.
Flexi Line: linking safety functions of modular plant components
Here is how the new Flexi Line interface revolutionizes the safety-capable implementation of modular machine designs. One can safely network up to 32 safety stations in a simple way with Flexi Soft main modules by using their integrated Flexi Line interfaces, thus linking safety functions over several machines. In this manner, separate plant modules can be commissioned according to the individual constellation or depending on the installation on site, with the option of alternatively integrating individual machine components later.
Flexi Loop: for cost-saving, decentralized integration of safety switches and sensors
The decentralized Flexi Loop integration design enables cost-saving cascading of safety switches and sensors within a machine module as well as setting up extensive diagnostic options. The use of Flexi Loop allows integrating cost-efficiently up to eight sensor cascades with up to 32 dual-channel safety switches and safety sensors each via unshielded 5-core standard cables and standard M12 connector technology.
This is technically and economically interesting with regard to machines and plants featuring a large number of places to monitor, such as doors, protective flaps, covers, emergency stop buttons, as well as machine openings protected by electro-sensitive devices. Conditional on the use of suitable devices, currently the switch and sensor cascading using Flexi Loop meets the requirements of PL e according to DIN EN ISO 13849-1.
Extension modules send standard signals ‘safely on their way’
For cost-effective integration of sensors, photoelectric sensors, or lamps that are not safe into the Flexi Soft safety controller, new extension modules with standard inputs and outputs are available starting immediately. The FX0-STIO extension block features six inputs and outputs each that are not safe; the FX3-XTDS provides eight safe inputs and four outputs that are not safe. In addition, both Flexi Soft extensions have two separate channels for free configuration.