With the pending anniversary of 9/11 unleashing its annual torrent of opinion columns about our response to the events of that day, I thought it appropriate to not offer up yet another opinion column on the topic. Instead, I chose to look at an instance highlighting one of the many roles automation is playing in our increasingly security-conscious post-9/11 world.
This particular case involves Robotic Security Systems Inc. (RSSI), a manufacturer of vehicle security barriers based in Panama City, FL. The company was founded in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks to address the need for heightened security measures.
Seeing a growing interest in automated vehicle barriers which can be quickly deployed, the company chose to focus on the maintenance and installation footprint issues associated with hydraulic and pneumatic vehicle barriers. This focus led to the design of an all-electric vehicle barrier known as RSS-2000, an electric system for raising wedge-style security barriers to stop speeding vehicles from penetrating secure areas.
To select a linear actuator solution for the RSS-2000, RSSI turned to Exlar Corporation, a manufacturer of linear and rotary motion products based in Chanhassen, MN. The actuator chosen by RSSI is the GSX40, which reportedly combines the advantages of roller screw technology with a brushless servo design. The roller screw mechanism-designed for converting electric motor power into linear motion within the actuator-features planetary rollers assembled around the actuator’s extending rod that follow threads, which are machined on the inside surface of the actuator’s hollow armature.
Driven by the GSX40, the RSS-2000 is reportedly capable of delivering positioning speeds of up to 3000 rpm, which roughly translates into 10 inches per second for the barrier. The Department of State has certified the RSS-2000 as being capable of stopping a 15,000 lb. vehicle traveling at 50 mph.