Fortress introduces a configurable E-stop

Fortress Interlocks has introduced an Emergency Stop (E-Stop) into its eGard range of safety interlocks that can be configured to connect to a programmable logic controller (PLC) or AS-i network.

Configurable E-Stop

The E-stop AS-i enabled has only one flexible cable that clips the E-stop and base connector together for easy installation. Easy connection to an AS-i monitor means that programming complex functions can be completed through a single monitor and, once verified, the system cannot be modified without access passwords as an added security measure.

eGard is a modular system that simply clips together and provides a vast number of options including the addition of stop and start switches, indicator lights or gate switch modules and designed to fit straight on to a standard extruded aluminium machine guarding without the need for additional brackets. Ease of installation of the modules and unit, and an internal network that is self-configuring, provides huge cost savings to the specifier on wiring and installations. All eGard configurations can be easily connected to PLCs and mimic panels, or used on an AS-interface network.

The beauty of eGard is its adaptability; modules and features can constantly be added or removed. Its corrosion resistant body is designed for Category 4, high risk, applications and complies with international standards.

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Forticrete Relies on Fortress Interlocks

Forticrete Limited has installed safety switches from Fortress Interlocks at its site in Leighton Buzzard that specialises in the manufacture of concrete roof tiles and is one of twelve Forticrete sites across the country.

Chris Phillipson, Site Manager at the Leighton Buzzard plant, said that the Fortress products were specified for the new plant right at the outset of the project. “Forticrete has had previous experience with Fortress Interlocks. We knew they were reliable in conditions like ours where it is sometimes dusty with a lot of vibrations. They worked with us right from the beginning to specify a product that was suitable for the working conditions whilst meeting our needs for maximum uptime and very high levels of functional safety.”

Several amLok AS-i solenoid switches, from the amGard range of interlocks, were installed on the three production lines which are fully automated and move at high speed.

A worker uses amLok AS-i

The heavy duty, handle operated switches prevent workers entering hazardous zones such as rack loaders and where robots are used to pack roof tiles onto pallets. In order to enter these guarded areas, the operator must select the stop on the control panel, and only when the machine has completed its run-down cycle will the solenoid within the amGard become energised, allowing the handle to be released and permitting entry.

Chris said that their decision to install Fortress amLok AS-i products was for several reasons, “Safety integrity is our main concern but we also want an efficient production line. amLok AS-i  is an intelligent system that could be integrated with our fully automated plant and give the least possible down-time while maintaining operator safety.”

Forticrete is a subsidiary of CRH, an international leader in building materials.

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ThyssenKrupp safeguards workers with amGard.

Fortress Interlocks has supplied German industrial giant ThyssenKrupp with amGard solenoid interlocks at its steel production plant in Duisburg, Germany.

The amGard AutoLok safety switches regulate access to the battery area of the new Schwelgern furnaces that melt iron ore. The modern furnaces, part of KBS GmbH and sister company of ThyssenKrupp Steel AG, began production in 2003 and produce approximately 2.5 million tons a year.

ThyssenKrupp

The AutoLok is part of the amGard range of heavy duty industrial safety gate switches. It has a robust steel tongue that traps the access door closed when the machinery is running. Operated by a solenoid within the unit, the tongue is only released from the lock when the operators have stopped the machine and the run down time of the machine has elapsed, breaking the channels of the safety circuit. The integral solenoid becomes energised and a yellow LED on the unit lights up to indicate the actuator can be released and the operator can open the guard door. A red LED indicates when the tongue is removed.

A spokesperson for ThyssenKrupp commented that, “Safeguarding our workers is our number one priority. Using amGard eliminates the risk of human error and potential danger and just knowing our workers are protected brings huge relief.”

AutoLok is particularly suited for machines that require quick and frequent access to equipment via hinged or sliding doors. It is designed with a tamper proof locking mechanism and heavy duty construction that can withstand even the harshest environment. Both the head and tongue can rotate in 90º increments, and the tongue allows misalignment by ± 12mm.  AutoLok interlocks are suitable for category 4, high risk, applications.

Fortress Interlocks is a world leader in the design and manufacture of a range of safety interlocks for all industries. For more information please visit the company website at www.fortressinterlocks.com

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Multi-Adaptable Head Module For All Door Safety Applications

The head module for Fortress Interlocks’ innovative eGard safety and control system is suitable for all types of door. It rotates through 360 degrees for ease of installation, and features both top and side entry. Its adaptability makes both ordering and configuration simple, and means the system can easily be reconfigured if circumstances change.

eGard head module

eGard simply clips together and the head seals the configuration and terminates the electrical connections. The head can then easily be positioned for left or right hand sliding doors, or in any position in between for hinged doors down to door radii as small as 150mm. It is available with a selection of robust tongue actuators, all of which can be mounted without the need for brackets or drilling.

Featuring a tamper-resistant mechanism, it has a mechanical life of one million operations. The housing is made from glass-reinforced PBT, providing exceptional toughness and durability, and it is sealed to IP65. Retention force when locked is 1000 Newtons.

Like the rest of the eGard system it can be installed on machinery guarding in minutes. It mounts simply on extruded aluminium (which many machine guards are manufactured from). It connects using standard M5 screws which fit the spring-loaded T-nuts supplied with the extruded aluminium.

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eGard and AS-i – A Perfect Match

Machinery safety specialist Fortress Interlocks has introduced an AS-interface (AS-i) control and safety base module for its eGard system, enabling eGard to be simply connected to an ‘AS-i Safety at Work’ control network in minutes.This provides significant time savings over other systems.

eGard and ASi

eGard is a modular system that can control access to hazardous machinery, via gate switch and trapped key technology, and include simple machine or access controls such as push buttons, e-stops and lamps. The AS-i base has two addresses: one for connecting the safety circuits and one for connecting the control I/O. AS-i is a cable network system that allows machinery safety technology to operate in parallel with standard machine controls on a single network with a common communication protocol (Actuator Sensor Interface).

With the AS-i base module, installation of an eGard system on an AS-i network takes a matter of minutes from unpacking to commissioning. The eGard modules are simply clipped together and the AS-i cable connected. The extensive range of eGard modules enable the creation of an almost endless list of solutions. The modularity also makes eGard extremely flexible, allowing quick addition or removal of modules (functions). Compared to hardwiring it eliminates dual safety circuit cabling costs, provides comprehensive diagnostics and features patented error checking.

The AS-i base module features an LED status indicator and an AS-i standard 4 pin M12 quick connect fitting for connecting dual safety circuits and up to 4 inputs and outputs.

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Fortress Wins ‘Green’ Innovation Award for eGard

Fortress Interlocks has won the prestigious ‘Green’ Innovation Award at this year’s innovation & Design Excellence Awards (iDEA) against strong competition. The award, announced at a gala reception at the Hilton Hotel in London at the end of September, was for Fortress’ eGard, a unique new product which combines both machine safety and control modules in one flexible unit.

iDEA Award
Tim Stubbs, Engineering Manager, and Mike Golding, Managing Director, of Fortress Interlocks
 
The iDEAs, organised by Eureka, New Electronics and Cranfield School of Management, recognised that the innovation behind eGard opens up a new, large market sector for Fortress.  The award also recognised that Fortress designed and manufactured eGard along environmental principles following advice from Envirowise*, taking into account the whole life-cycle of the product.
 
eGard has a radical design and is a completely new approach to controlling access to hazardous machinery and equipment.  It is built from clip-together modules and integrates trapped key and safety gate technology with service modules such as indicators and buttons, internal releases and emergency stops.  The internal network is self-configuring.
 
Fortress decided to make the housing from polymer and the main advice from the environmental Envirowise ‘audit’ was to use the same material throughout to make recycling more efficient.  Fortress elected to use a glass-filled grade of PBT.  Other parts are made of stainless steel.  In addition, the housing has no fixings or adhesive; parts are clipped together or ultrasonically welded.  This reduces component count and also makes recycling much easier.
 
*Envirowise is a government-supported environmental consultation service which offers UK businesses free, independent advice on ways to increase competitiveness by using resources efficiently, minimising waste, and reducing environmental impact.

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Internal Release Adaptor Safeguards Personnel

Safety specialist Fortress Interlocks has introduced an Internal Release (IR) adaptor for the company’s amGard range of modular safety gate switches. It provides an internal release function for safety and access key installations. The IR adaptor is compatible with a Fortress Stop, a non-solenoid gate switch that will switch off the safety circuits.

Internal Release Adaptor

The amGard range combines both trapped key and gate switch technology to control access to equipment protected by safety guarding. The IR adaptor provides a means of escaping potentially dangerous areas such as robot cells, cold stores and warehouse bays. If an operative becomes trapped inside an area they can use the IR adaptor to unlock the door from the inside.

When pressed, the button on the rear of the unit releases the tongue from the actuator head, unlocking the area and allowing the operator to exit. If required, the IR adaptor can also be used to cut the power to any dangerous machinery. Combined with a Stop unit, the IR adaptor will break the safety circuits, shutting off power to machinery inside the area.

The amGard range consists of modular units, providing maximum flexibility. Customised interlock systems can be created to individual specifications using standard products. The modular functionality means amGard can easily be configured to accommodate the latest safety standards and be updated in the future.

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Access and Control System Extended with Key Interlock Modules

Industrial safety specialist Fortress Interlocks has introduced a range of key interlock modules for its eGard system. eGard is a fully modular system that can control access to hazardous machinery, via gate switch and trapped key technology, and can also include simple machine or access controls such as push buttons, e-stops and lamps. The extensive range of modules offers numerous flexible solutions.

eGard Key Module

eGard now combines the functionality of trapped key interlocking with practically any combination of gate switch and/or control modules in one flexible unit. It simply clips together and is easily installed. Modules now include mechanical locks, electrical (solenoid) locks, safety switches, indicators and buttons, emergency stops, and a selection of actuators suitable for both hinged and sliding doors. eGard can connect to programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and mimic panels, or can be used on an AS-interface network*.

There are over 4,000 billion combinations of modules possible. eGard can therefore be customised for every application, providing a single source of gate access hardware. eGard features patented mechanical and electrical connection between every module. It provides a complete gate access control system encompassing safe and standard I/O in one simple modular arrangement.

The internal network is self configuring, for ease of installation and reconfiguring. eGard is easily fitted to any machine and electrical connections are quick disconnected at one end, minimising wiring. It is engineered for Category 4** applications and is international standards compliant. Manufactured from glass reinforced PBT it has exceptional toughness, durability and corrosion resistance and has stainless steel parts for long life.

*AS-interface (AS-i) is a new cabling system that allows machinery safety equipment, such as access gate switch interlocks, to operate in parallel with standard machinery controls on a single network with a common communication protocol.

**Category 4 – High risk category defined by European machinery safety regulations EN954-1.

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Keyswitch Facilitates Safe Access And Robot Programming

Safety specialist Fortress Interlocks has introduced an option pod with keyswitch for the company’s amGard range of modular safety gate switches. The option pod ensures an operative can only enter a potentially hazardous area when it is safe. It prevents inadvertent restart of the machinery while they are in there, and a second pod inside the area can be used to initiate safe robot programming using the key.

amGard option pod

AmGard combines both trapped key and gate switch technology to control access to equipment protected by safety guarding. Removal of the key from the pod selects machine stop at the end of a run down cycle. When the solenoid within the connected gate switch has been energised access can be gained. The operator takes the safety key into the hazardous area preventing restart.

Inside the guarded area a robot’s teach mode can be initiated by insertion of the key into a second pod. This overrides the circuits that operate the robot and enables the separate circuits that allow safe teaching. Reverse robot or machine start is only possible when the key is released from the programming pod, the door safely closed, and the key inserted into the pod onto the guarding door.

The amGard range consists of modular units, providing maximum flexibility. Customised interlock systems can be created to individual specifications using standard products. The modular functionality means amGard can easily be configured to accommodate the latest safety standards and be updated in the future.

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