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Quick Disconnect for Safety Mats

Quick Disconnect for Safety Mats

Golden Mousetrap 2009 WinnerUMQ Series Safety Mats from OMRON Scientific Technologies feature a patented IP67 quick-disconnect cable connector that reduces inventory requirements, simplifies installation and makes it possible to replace damaged cables in the field.

The safety mat operates as a simple, normally open switch. When a specified minimum weight is applied to the safety mat, the switch closes. A signal is sent to the safety mat controller which, in turn, sends a stop signal to the guarded machine.

The quick-disconnect feature allows users to easily adjust cable length in the field and, since the cable is not attached until the end of the installation process, significantly reduces the potential for cable damage during installation. But even if a cable is damaged, the mat can be repaired in the field without replacing the entire mat - a feature unique to the UMQ series.

The key to the design and patent is the integration of an air pressure equalization valve into the connector, along with the electrical connections. According to Richard Puddicombe, a product manager for OMRON, non-connector mats require an air equalization valve to be molded into the mat which is closed before operation. The valve allows the air in the mat to equalize with the surrounding atmosphere, as mats may be installed in locations that are significantly higher than sea level where they are manufactured. Integration of the air valve into the connector means that no separate operation is required when installing the mat because the air pressure is automatically equalized.

Puddicombe says the UMQ series are the only safety mats available today to offer the quick-disconnect functionality. With existing non quick disconnect solutions, cables are permanently attached to the mat. If a mat is damaged, the cables for the replacement mat must be re-routed to the mat controller, a process which can be very labor intensive.

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