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Sensors are a pivotal component in making equipment intelligent. They allow operators to monitor changes in security, pressure, motion, temperature, and performance. Depending on the system required, different levels and types of safety sensors are used. Here are a few safety applications trusted by the Automation Department at Carney.


Safeguarding protects automated machinery from unauthorized access or intrusion, protecting people places and other assets. The height size and distance of a given perimeter all need to be carefully considered when determining a suitable type of guarding for the desired application. Different types include:


A fixed guard with optoelectronic sensors becomes a permanent part of the machine and has no moving parts. Constructed of any material that is suitable when compared to the relative risk analysis of the system. This type of guarding is usually fabricated of screening, wire, plastic, steel bars or sheet metal. This guarding allows operators minimal access to the machine which makes maintenance more difficult but provides better protection.  

pipe cutting, automated, material handling, canada

This fixed guarding was installed as part of our latest automation project, a pipe-cutting and

handling system designed for a manufacturer in British Columbia, Canada


Interlocked guarding is open, disengaging power and preventing the machine from starting when installed. Using any combination of pneumatic, mechanical, electrical, or hydraulic power, interlocked guarding allows access to the machine for maintenance faster than that of fixed guarding. Although it requires detailed maintenance, this type of guarding provides full staff protection.


Also permanently fixed, adjustable guarding can be calibrated to handle materials of different sizes. This guarding is locked into place manually meaning all employees must be trained to properly operate it. Operators can disengage adjustable guarding at any time which may result in interferences with visibility and may lead to incomplete protection if not done correctly.   


This type of guarding provides a moving barrier, triggered by the size of the product in the handling area. As the operator moves the product into the area of hazard the guard is pushed away to allow the product through then returns to its original position afterwards. Conveniently self-adjusting guards offer different degrees of protection accommodating a wide variety of machines. Often commercially available, self-adjusting guards are an off-the-shelf and convenient solution.

Read more about guarding here

Light Curtains

Light curtains can be used instead of or to complement your perimeter guarding solution. The standard has an emitter and receiver wired back to a safety relay. Sometimes mirrors are integrated to allow multiple sides to be monitored off a single light curtain. To minimize wiring onsite, light curtains can be coupled with an emitter and receiver. It then reflects its safety signal from a passive mirror.

Limitless functions mean that light curtains can be programmed or integrated to suit each unique machine because it can differentiate between people and materials, protect hazardous areas, provide multi-sided access and scan for authorization. This sensory solution is perfect for guarding explosive areas, machines with strong loads omitting strong vibrations or shock and limiting access to areas where dangerous chemicals are used.

Outfitted with functions to ensure workplace safety and regulation compliance light curtains have restart interlock, device monitoring, recognition and PSDI mode built in.

Read more about light curtains here

Safety Laser Scanner

A safety laser scanner is built using time-of-flight technology, emitting a pulse that is reflected from a target if present. The time required for the pulse to travel between the scanner & reflector is proportional to the distance, allowing the scanner to detect objects within a defined area. As the scanner has multiple programmable fields, it can be mounted vertically or horizontally and integrated into the physical guarding to protect it from damage. This versatility makes it a powerful safety device. Safety area scanners work well on mobile equipment in an area that requires operators to work or pedestrians to walk through.

safety scanner, sick sensor, safety, laser scanner, motion detector

Pictured above is a SICK laser scanner used on many of our fully automated systems.

Perfect for motion devices such as AGVs or MGVs, safety laser scanners are a cost-effective solution that is ideal for providing safe access to hazardous areas. These scanners offer dust filtering, user-defined I/O and 70 sets of safety zone/warning zone combinations supporting complicated changes.

While there is a very wide array of safety sensors and products available in today’s market, over 35 years we’ve narrowed down the best available in Canada regularly outfitting our automated equipment with the latest and greatest in safety.

Learn more about Carney Automation: https://carneyautomation.com