A new international standard has been published for the design, manufacture, and testing of electro-sensitive protective equipment for safeguarding machinery. The guideline, issued by the IEC, covers opto-electronic devices, such as light curtains and light-beam devices. Many machines have such devices to sense whether a person is hazardously close. The new standard covers only the functioning of the electro-sensitive protective equipment and how it interfaces with the machine. It does not specify the dimensions or configurations of the detection zone and how it relates to hazardous parts for any particular application. Nor does the standard specify what constitutes a hazardous state for any machine.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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