Drives and Controls Magazine
‘First’ radar-based safety barrier is unaffected by dust
Published:  29 January, 2019

An Italian company claims to have developed the world’s first radar-based safety barrier system which, unlike optical systems, is not affected by smoke, dust, machining waste or liquid splashes. Inxpect’s LBK system is certified for SIL 2 / PL d for safety-critical applications.

The system is based on FMCW (frequency-modulated continuous wave) radar devices that emit 24GHz radio waves and use proprietary algorithms analyse the signals reflected by both static and moving objects. The sensors, which do not need to be precisely aligned, have a 4m range with a 110-degree field-of-view in the horizontal plane, and 30 degrees in the vertical plane. Six of them can be mounted up to 2.5m apart and connected to the same controller to protect an area up to 15m wide.

The system performs two safety functions. If it detects someone entering a potentially dangerous area, it can place machinery in a safe condition. It can also inhibit machinery from restarting if personnel are still in a hazardous area. The system can detect which part of a protected area has been entered and initiate the appropriate actions. It can issue pre-alarms to avoid sudden machinery stops.

A radar sensor from Inxpect’s LBK system

The LBK controllers are configured via PC-based software to define warning and danger areas.