Clear signaling of process statuses
31 October 2018
Every company needs to ensure that its machines and systems are being well utilised and have high run-times. After all, idle and downtime periods in machines and plants don’t contribute towards economic success. Consequently, production schedulers endeavor to keep downtime to a minimum. In order to intervene as quickly as necessary, it’s important to signal process statuses clearly.
This is true of routine processes as well as unscheduled or even unforeseen events, including dangerous situations. These signals must be so clear that they can be detected easily, even in situations where employees may be under pressure or even stressed. It is state-of-the-art to use signal towers. That’s why it is important to use colours that people already associate with certain kinds of situations. A simple example is at pedestrian cross walks: green for walk and red for don't walk. Every machine operator can recognise that machines with green signal status are running normally while red indicates a potentially hazardous situation.
Under some circumstances, it is not sufficient to use only visual signals to inform the machine operators of the status and therefore to take the first step towards reducing the length of a downtime period. For example, the environment within the building or the lighting situation may make it difficult to discern things visually. In such cases, audible signaling is essential because it makes the recipient aware via another sense.
The Murrelektronik signal towers in the Modlight Pro series, with diameters of 50 or 70 millimetres, can be used to put together up to five colour elements in an individual configuration. In addition to red and green, they are also available in yellow, blue and white. They can be used for the signaling of process statuses, for example in accordance with the specifications of machinery standard IEC 60204-1.
These colour elements can be clicked together without tools easily and quickly. The elements have practical connection terminals, are colour coded and represent the colour of the light. This helps reduce the risk of assembly errors. There are also preassembled Modlight Pro signal towers in the most commonly used colour combinations.
Bulb replacement is a thing of the past thanks to the use of innovative and energy-saving LED technology. LEDs have a very long service life and can usually shine for at least 40,000 hours at full illumination. Even after that, lighting intensity is only slightly reduced, which is scarcely perceptible to the human eye. This means that these towers remain maintenance-free over the entire service life of a machine. This saves time and money! Compared to the previous models, the optimum arrangement of the signaling system ensures that process statuses can also be identified across long distances.
A buzzer module can be incorporated for audible signaling purposes. It is fitted to the Modlight Pro as a terminal component, thus replacing the cover of the basic element. The buzzer unit is designed to be clearly audible in all directions. With a dip switch, one of four tones can be selected for each signal tower. This means that a clear distinction can be made whenever there are several machines in the same building. The volume level can also be adjusted. A maximum volume level of 90 dB ensures that these acoustic signals can still be heard clearly, even in a loud environment.
Thanks to their housing, Modlight Pro signal towers fulfill the IP65 protection class. Comprehensive approvals and resistance to vibration enable these units to be used all around the world, opening up versatile options for use in the industrial sector. For example, signal towers can also be used for building automation. These signal towers are available with a plug-in M12 connector. A special feature is the magnetic base which enables each tower to be mounted quickly, and also removed temporarily for transportation. These towers are very easy to clean because the surface is smooth and rounded.
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