Today, SICK UK presents a sneak preview of a product to be launched at the Hanover Fair later this month. The UE410 FlexiSOFT is a DIN-rail mounted, software-based modular safety controller for applications that require more sophistication than basic safety relays but do not require the complexity of a full-scale safety PLC.
The UE410 FlexiSOFT is a development of the well established UE410 Flexi Classic. Where the UE410 Flexi Classic was programmed by means of rotary switches, the Flexi Soft comes with a software configuration tool, which allows safety engineers to configure complex safety systems – from simple logic gates like AND, OR, etc., to more advanced functions such as safe on/off timers and set/reset function blocks.
Iain Smith, Product Specialist for Integration Technology at SICK, explains: “The UE410 Flexi Classic is designed for customers who want to manipulate safety logic without going through PC software and this is still the best solution for customers not wanting to adopt a software safety solution.
“The UE410 FlexiSOFT units are 22.5mm wide, and programming is achieved through a small M8 connector port on the CPU from a serial cable connected to a PC’s RS232 connector port. The program is in the plug. If the system needs replacing for any reason, you just take the plug out, put a new unit in and put the plug back in. You do not have to worry about re-programming or forming links between terminals.”
The UE410 Flexi Soft series comprises a number of DIN-rail mounted units: a CPU control unit, eight single-channel safety input module, mixed eight input four output module, one dual-channel safety relay output module (2N/O) and a two dual-channel safety relay output module (4N/O). Diagnostic data can be obtained from the RS232 port on the main CPU and later in the year will be the introduction of diagnostic modules which can interface to standard network topologies.
The types of sensors that can be connected include electromechanical and non-contact safety switches, light curtains and light switches, laser scanners and camera systems, two-hand controls, safety mats, safety edges and so on. Actuators include motor contactors, drives and signalling equipment.
These modules can then be combined with one another to build a bespoke safety logic system specific to the users application, using the interface connections on the side of each unit. A combination of up to 96 inputs and 48 outputs can be supported.
UE410 FlexiSOFT has two CPU variants – one with the enhanced field interface (EFI) and one without. The former has two EFI ports, allowing the connection of scanners, light curtains, etc. Using the FlexiSOFT software tool, the safety engineer can configure a safety solution by selecting safety function blocks from a schematic front end and connecting them together in a logic editor.
“Say for example you have an emergency stop pushbutton, you just drag a graphical representation of the unit and drop it into the schematic, and then ‘wire’ it to other function blocks on the schematic to design how you want the safety logic to operate,” Smith concludes.
The UE410 FlexiSOFT will significantly enhance the range of safety solutions available from SICK.